Back in March, Inside the Gators released a list of 25 (accidentally made it 26) in-state prospects that the Gator Nation needed to know heading into the spring and summer months.
From that list, three have committed to Florida, nine are committed elsewhere, a couple are still on the market, while a couple of others aren’t really high enough on Florida, or the Gators aren't high enough on them, to justify following them further at this point in time.
Now, with the summer recruiting season over and done with, here’s our new – narrowed down – list of 15 in-state prospects Florida fans need to keep an eye on as we head into the fall recruiting season.
To be clear, these aren’t 15 prospects Florida leads for or we are predicting will sign with the Gators, they are simply 15 in-state prospects in the Class of 2022 that the Gator Nation needs to keep an eye on whether because they could see their rankings increase or decrease, garner more or less interest from Florida, commit or de-commit or something else entirely different.
Basically, for various reasons, these 15 prospects bear watching.
Julian Armella – I was tempted to go with June camp standout Miguel Cedeno here as another offensive lineman who could be offered, but instead, we'll go with Florida's last chance (not even last, best chance) to add a top-end offensive lineman comes in the form of Armella. The Gators trail several programs including Florida State, LSU, and Miami, but he makes this list as we watch and wait to see if UF can at least get him on campus.
David Conner – As top tier targets fell off the board left and right, and then the backup targets did the same, Florida once again handed out a couple of offensive line offers over the weekend. As of today, are in a good spot for the South Florida lineman, but they've been in the early lead for others only to see it evaporate.
Tre Donaldson – Much like with fellow Tallahassee area dual-sport safety Terrion Arnold in the last cycle, the Gators have gone from being the team to beat to likely playing second fiddle – this time to Auburn. He is scheduled to make an announcement soon, but we'll see if that's really the end of the line for him. If Florida lands two defensive backs further down this list, it might not matter. If they don't, you could see them circle back and put some pressure on Donaldson.
De'Carlo Donaldson – He was at Florida last weekend for both Friday Night Lights and the Saturday Cookout. Though he is currently committed to Tulane, he had some impressive early 'foot in the door' type of offers. The Gators like his size and athleticism and see him as an H-Back/Hybrid type rather than strictly as a tight end. We'll see how he performs as well as how the board plays out over the next several months.
Jayden Gibson – In just the span of a couple of months, this went from a slam dunk for Florida to the Gators being in a real dog fight for his services. While I do believe that the Orange & Blue are still at the front of the pack, there's work that needs to be done. Getting him around the commits, particularly Nick Evers, during the Alabama game weekend will be key
Isaiah Hastings – One of our top overall performers at Florida's June Elite Camp (which by the way featured more talent than Friday Night Lights) – he earned an offer from Florida in the last week. Hastings isn't the normal in-state Florida football prospect in that he just arrived here from Canada, but UF still has his attention and though he isn't currently rated by the 247 Sports Composite, he will be – and when he is he should enter the rankings as a four-star.
- Related: UF Elite Camp Insider Notes
CJ Hawkins – Yes, they were in shorts, but by the way he looked and produced at Friday Night Lights, it is clear that he is vastly underrated. He told us he is locked in to Florida, the question is will he sign as an appropriately rated four-star or a well under the radar three-star?
Tony Livingston – After seeing him at the Orlando UC Report Combine, though he made a play or two, he simply isn't as athletic as the tight ends Florida has recently recruited and signed. However, coming off basketball season, he wasn't anywhere near the size of an offensive tackle. His inclusion here is simple. Will he play out his senior season developing as a lineman while putting on weight or will he still be a man without a position at tight end? Or, there's the third option. As we overhead a coach at the combine tell him, he should learn to tackle (suggesting he would make a good defensive end).
Jamari Lyons – The one prospect out of the 15 who is all but a given to be a Gator when it is all said and done. He has publically called Florida his leader and has backed that up by taking multiple visits to campus. Last Saturday, at the conclusion of the Cookout, he stood in the parking lot and all but said that he was going to be a Gator. The one thing to watch for is if Ohio State applies some pressure. At this point, though it may make it interesting, that may not even be enough to change his mind.
Quan Lee – If Florida offers at any time in the process, he would likely jump on board. Being at Buchholz may help in that head coach Mark Whittemore can be counted on to give the UF staff frequent updates, plus there are a couple of other prospects at the school that UF wants to keep tabs on, thus inadvertently helping keep the focus on Lee. For him to even be considered for an offer, UF would likely have to miss on Evan Stewart – which obviously isn't a tradeoff UF (or the fans) want to make – or Alabama would have to steal Isaiah Bond.
Cameron Miller – This has been one of the more perplexing recruiting processes when it comes to Florida. While the first coast defensive back was garnering offers from the likes of Miami, Notre Dame, and Penn State, he told Inside the Gators back in the spring that he hardly heard from the Gators. That may have made some sense when the board was stocked, but as it began to dwindle, you would have thought that instead of offers to prospects such as Jamarrien Burt and Jaqueaze Alexander (who isn't UF caliber) they would have at least reached out to Miller. Now, with his transfer from Fernandina Beach to Jacksonville (Fla.) Trinity Catholic, perhaps he will take the same path as Austin Barber when he transferred from Yulee to Trinity Catholic
Devin Moore – As seems to be a reoccurring theme when talking about top targets in this class, Florida was once the leader, but then lost the race to get him to commit. However, that didn't stop the Gators from sending out an official offer to the Notre Dame commit, singling that they aren't going to give up just yet.
Ja'Kavion Nonar – He was spotted twice last weekend on the back of a golf cart during the Gators Saturday Cookout. Yes, he is a bit of an unknown, but off the cuff, he has great size potential and a lean frame where you could see him putting on 30-pounds and still being able to move. Speaking of being able to move, in the tape I watched, against what is normally an athletic Clewiston squad, he played left tackle and some defensive tackle. He engulfed edge rushers and even had highlights getting to the second level and not just getting in the way or making contact, but actually making a block. I am as big a stargazer as anyone, but he is a bit underrated. Seriously, his offer should have gone out before a couple of these other in-state linemen received theirs.
Jaheim Singletary – As I posted the day he made his commitment to Ohio State, that felt like it was forced in order for him to be on the TV special. Then, as we reported in our Summer Kickoff Preview, Singletary was actually scheduled to attend the event. He didn't but he did make it to campus in June. Florida is on his list, but the Gators are looking up at Miami and Georgia. There's still some time to go here and expect for him to make it to a game or two this season for an official and unofficial visit.
Azareyeh Thomas – he says it is a three-team race between Florida, Georgia Tech, and LSU, but it currently looks like the Gators have a lead over the Tigers heading into the season.
Kamari Wilson – I haven't had a chance to talk to him since his visit to Georgia last weekend, but going into it, after speaking with him after his UF visit in June, it felt like UF had moved back to the forefront for him. One thing is for certain, his recruiting process will feature many twists and turns before it all comes to a head. We'll watch to see how many times UF can get him on campus this fall with IMG making it hard for their players to take visits during their season.