Florida's Great Eight Targets

Nov 11, 2021 | 0 comments

This is Inside the Gators ranking of Florida’s Eight Most Wanted uncommitted prospects in the Class of 2022 based on need, ranking, and the Gators' chance of eventually landing them.

No. 8 Cyrus Moss‍‍  

Reason for the Ranking: Like many other positions, when you look at where Florida’s board stood early on to where it currently sits, and there’s cause for concern (if not a couple of stiff drinks). With Justus Boone and Tyreak Sapp being built more along the lines of a strongside end Scooby Williams projected as a drop back linebacker, which leaves Chief Borders as the only four-star Buck signee in these last two classes combined. Simply put, in a LOS league, UF has to do better recruiting elite linemen.

Competition: Alabama, Arizona State, Notre Dame, Oregon

The Skinny: If there is a single remaining target on the board where Todd Gratham’s departure is going to have an impact, it is with Moss, who has consistently credited him with being the Gators’ main staff member in his recruiting process. Moss, who has never been on campus, was originally scheduled to visit Florida for the Alabama game, but UF moved that date to the Vanderbilt weekend, which Moss then canceled. He isn’t scheduled to make a commitment until January, thus giving Florida a bit of a window for someone other than Grantham to get back in on him, but the prospects aren’t promising.  

No. 7 Austin Ausberry‍‍ ‍ 

Reason for the Ranking: The need here has diminished somewhat since we released our previous Most Wanted back in late summer. Jordan Young (in camp), Jason Marshall, and Jadarrius Perkins have all looked like they are capable of being upper-end SEC starters. However, with Jamarrien Burt currently the only committed cornerback, the Gators need to still add at least one other top target.

Competition:  Alabama, Auburn, LSU, Michigan

The Skinny: The best thing to happen to Florida is Ed Orgeron getting canned by LSU. While I would still put my money on the hometown Tigers, the uncertainty surrounding their head coaching position at least gives other programs more of a fighting chance. He has been on campus already and will return in December for an official visit. 

No. 6  Matthew McCoy‍ ‍  

Reason for the Ranking: One of the most glaring weaknesses of the Dan Mullen era has been the Gators' inability to consistently land top-tier talent along the offensive line. If you are wondering how a three-star made what should be a star-studded ranking, just look no further than the current list of committed offensive linemen. At this point, McCoy likely would have the most upside of a very average group.

Competition: Florida State, Louisville, Maryland, Ole Miss

The Skinny: There are a couple of more highly ranked offensive linemen on the board in Julian Armella and Malik Agbo, but this isn't just a ‘dream’ class listing. Part of this ranking is based on the Gators' chances of actually landing the target, and McCoy is much more likely at this time.

No. 5 Azareyeh Thomas‍ ‍ ‍ ‍ ‍

Reason for the Ranking: Yes, he is listed as a cornerback, who I think has the size to play safety, but watching his tape this season, he is a pure athlete – the type that Florida needs to start stockpiling during the recruiting season and then figure out where he fits once he gets on campus.

Competition: Georgia Tech, LSU, Oklahoma

The Skinny:  Can you imagine Florida going back and forth with LSU for a prized target throughout the spring and summer, only to see the Tigers kick their coach to the curb in the fall – seemingly giving the Gators the win by default if nothing else, only to have Oklahoma come in out of nowhere to steal him away at the last moment. Well, I can. There are several prospects this cycle who help define Florida’s recruiting difficulties along the recruiting trail, but perhaps none more so than Thomas. UF has got to get him back on campus for the Florida State game. They've got to. 

No. 4  Jaheim Singletary‍  

Reason for the Ranking: He might be the most impressive turnaround I've seen from last year to this one. After a standout sophomore season that saw him earn All-American type of accolades, he took a bit of a step backward as a junior. Those around him say it was because he thought he had 'arrived’ when he was ranked as a five-star and slacked off some. That certainly isn't the case this season, where he once again looks like he is appropriately ranked as a five-star. It is going to sound like a broken record, but regardless of the need at the position, Florida can not allow SEC East rival Georgia to waltz right in and take away a First Coast top target, especially one who is coached by a former Florida player (OJ Small).

Competition: Georgia and Miami

The Skinny: When he decommitted from Ohio State he immediately had Georgia and Miami as his top two, but after talking with him face to face a couple of weeks ago, while the Bulldogs are still the team to beat, it felt like the Gators had moved into the No. 2 spot. He told Inside the Gators that night that he will officially visit Gainesville in December. Perhaps UF will have some idea as to what their defensive staff will look like by then.

No. 3 Trevor Etienne‍ ‍ 

Reason for the Ranking: Florida will be losing two of their three-headed running back by committee members after the season with the graduation of Malik Davis and Dameon Pierce and then Nay’Quan Wright and Lorenzo Lingard will be upperclassmen. That leaves former five-star Demarkcus Bowman as the only underclassmen back. UF has a commitment from Terrance Gibbs‍ – but he is coming off of a major knee injury.

Competition: AlabamaClemson, Georgia, LSU

The Skinny: Unfortunately for Florida, and the Jacksonville Jaguars, Trevor's older brother Travis Etienne was injured in the preseason and forced to miss the entire season. Had he played, you likely would have seen the Etienne family on campus a couple of times already this fall. As it is, that didn't happen, but he will make his first appearance on campus since June when he visits later in the month. You still have to like Clemson, but proximity to Jacksonville, thus being close to his brother, gives the Gators a chance.

No. 2 Evan Stewart‍ ‍ ‍ 

Reason for the Ranking: For the first time in the Mullen era, Florida is poised to sign a top-end receiver class in 2022. What is really being brought in though is what is needed most, if you look up and down Florida's receiving corps, while they have size, outside of perhaps Marcus Burke, there isn't a lot of speed and very little 'shiftiness’ at all. Isaiah Bond and CJ Smith bring the pure speed needed to stretch defenses, while Stewart would bring a unique skill set to the team, a player who has homerun ability from anywhere on the field.

Competition: Texas, Texas A&M

The Skinny: As I posted in our Mock Class a couple of weeks ago, we were told that Texas A&M was making a move upward for Stewart. Inside the Gators was told that it was 50-50 between the Aggies and Gators. While Stewart wants to go to the same school as Nick Evers, he also really wants to stay close to home to be nearer to his father.  He wasn't able to make it in for his scheduled visit for the Alabama game, we'll see if he makes it in for the Florida State game. If he does, UF still stands a chance. If he doesn't, a very good receiver class will come up just shy of being a great one.

No. 1 @Chris Mc">Chris McClellan‍  ‍ 

Reason for the Ranking: After having high hopes before the season, what we've seen is that building a line on a foundation of transfers isn't the key to success in the SEC. None of the four transfers along the defensive line – including Brenton Cox – have consistently proved to be difference makers. Hell, in some games, even adequate SEC starters. While we are still learning of the pluses and minuses of the transfer portal, it's becoming evident that the two positions where you need to recruit well and develop the players over the years for the long haul are along both lines.

Competition: Oklahoma, Oregon

The Skinny: As is posted on the front page, he was originally planning on making his announcement yesterday, but delayed it until next week. Florida was the team to beat, but has the firing of Grantham, thus throwing the status of David Turner up in the air caused him to rethink his choice?""

This was a list of Florida's top eight uncommitted recruiting targets. It is solely the opinion of the staff of Inside the Gators and does not represent the opinion of the University of Florida or anyone associated with the Gators’ football program. The criteria used to select the players: Need, national ranking, chances of signing with the Gators, and the interest level the Gators have shown in the prospect (offer).

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