2022 Signing Class Superlatives

Feb 3, 2022 | 0 comments

Inside the Gators takes a closer look at Florida's No. 19 rated signing class by handing out the Class Superlatives. 

Immediate Impact Offensive Player

Unlike in previous years, before the transfer portal became such an integral part of the recruiting process, this is easy enough this year. It isn't often that Florida welcomes in a signee who isn't only guaranteed to start, but is a reigning All-American. The Gators will insert O'Cyrus Torrence at right guard, where he will automatically upgrade the entire offensive line.

Immediate Impact Defensive Player

When you are talking about a signee making an immediate impact, he almost certainly has to be one who is enrolled early in order to go through spring football. Three Class of 2022 defensive players meet that criteria – Chris McClellan, Devin Moore, and Kamari Wilson. It's not realistic to expect a defensive lineman to make a dent in the rotation as a true freshman, much less be an impact player. That leaves the two defensive backs. It's tempting to go with Moore, but until we get an updated look at him in the spring, coming in he looked like he could use a year in the weight room. That doesn't give the nod to Wilson here by fault. Florida needs to beef up their play at safety and he is physical enough to step in and be a force against the run early on while receiving on-the-job training on dropping into coverage.

Best All-Around Athlete

This is a little harder because looking over the highlight tape and numbers, one thing that jumps out to me is that this isn't an overly athletic or fast class of signees. Who is considered a plus-athlete at their position? Maybe Andrew Savaiinaea and Shemar James. We were told that in the very first workout of the offseason, both Jack Miller and Kamari Wilson stood out for being athletic. However, the one that really sticks out is the way Kamryn Waites moves for someone his size. He actually looks light of foot at 350-plus pounds. With his length, he could play outside, but with his quickness for that size, he could project as a pulling guard, who is athletic enough to get to the second level.

Most Underrated Player

I think Florida fans will be pleasantly surprised with the career of Jack Pyburn. He is a composite high three-star already, but I wouldn't be shocked if he outplayed that ranking. No, not as an outside linebacker or Buck, but instead, if he puts on 20 pounds and plays strongside end or even more and moved inside. He has the body type and motor to be a hellacious lineman. Add in the fact that he is a wrestler, so he knows about leverage, and I could see him doing some damage down the road.

Having said that, the obvious case to be made here is for O'Cyrus Torrence. He is listed as a four-star with a .9200 rating. That is akin to listing him just outside the Top 200 on their high school rankings. He is a three-year starter who is an All-American. How many prospects ranked in the 200 range do they expect to earn those sorts of accolades?

Most Overrated Player

No one ever wants to read this one. To many in the Gator Nation, the recruiting services hate Florida and every single UF signee is underrated. However, while I could see perhaps assigning him a low four-star while projecting him to develop into an athletic offensive tackle – having seen Tony Livingston in a camp setting, he doesn't look like a four-star tight end. In the end, that type of ranking makes it easy for fans to make unrealistic expectations for him that he is all but certain not to achieve. 

Most Surprising

Florida pulled Jalen Kimber out of thin air. Who really knew he and the Gators were involved with each other until it actually happened? No one or at least not many. So, yes he qualifies as a big surprise, but his production, or lack of it, while at Georgia diminishes the significance of signing him to a degree. I am going to have to go with the new staff being able to sign Jalen Farmer. This isn't just a matter of them holding on to an already committed prospect. I haven't had him in the ITG Mock Class for several months and I honestly don’t believe he would have stuck had the previous staff stayed in place. With all of the upheaval, to hold on to him when Alabama came calling after the Tide hired Kentucky’s offensive line coach, it is understated how big a victory that is for the Florida coaching staff.

Most Disappointing

When the goal is to stack talent on top of talent, anytime you lose out on a kid you recruited, that is disappointing. Pegging one loss though as the most disappointing is difficult in this cycle because of how condensed everything was down the stretch. I really didn't find any of the 'losses' on National Signing Day (Trevonte Citizen, Jacoby Mathews, and Harold Perkins) all that disappointing, because as I posted in my Fearless Forecast on Sunday, I didn't project any of them to sign with the Gators. To me, the most disappointing aspect of the signing period was how Florida was shut out instate. Yes, the new staff was behind the eight ball coming in so late, but after Napier on Wednesday basically talked about how Hayden Hansen and Max Brown are projects who just moved to their positions, why not take a shot at projects closer to home?

Most Exciting Guy To Watch Play

This goes back to the answer at the top for the best all-around athlete. This class as a whole doesn't look particularly athletic, Max Brown has some interesting tape, but it is hard to not take into consideration the competition level he was playing against. I’ll go with Caleb Douglas here.

Most Personable

A couple of kids stand out here, and all three are defensive linemen. Chris McClellan always has a smile on his face and is willing to share his thoughts. Yes, you have to work around his part-time job (I feel him on that one), but Jamari Lyons is not only easy to talk to, but over the summer he left campus but came back to do an interview session with the recruiting media when I asked him. Not many do that. Though I have only interacted with him a couple of times, the same for Jack Pyburn. The thing that sets him apart though is he all but oozes Orange & Blue. You can feel the excitement for Florida coming off of him. We'll call it a three-way tie.

Biggest Moment for Florida this Cycle

Florida getting back in it and not only making a late-minute run at him, but being successful in signing then five-star, and current Top 50, safety Kamari Wilson. The way his mother described the process of Billy Napier recruiting her son gives a glimpse into the future and should help put Florida fans at ease. Not only that, but nabbing Wilson also gave the Gators their first-ever recruiting win at IMG Academy.

Low Point For Florida Recruiting this Cycle

For many, it may be coming up short over and over again on National Signing Day, but I felt it when pledge after pledge fell off the commitment list when Billy Napier was hired. It isn't just that they would no longer be Gators, it's that the way it was handled caused some bad feelings. 

Commitment Recruiting Award

If he would have stuck, this easily would have been Nick Evers. Without him though, the fallback goes to Kamari Wilson. He talked to a lot of kids for Florida, but like the staff, he came up short in a lot of instances. That doesn't diminish the effort though.

Team That Hurt Florida The Most

Georgia took top Florida targets such as Oscar Delp, Jahiem Singletary, Mikel Williams, CJ Smith, Julian Humphrey, Jacory Thomas, and others.

Team Florida Hurt The Most

I am in no way suggesting that this is crippling. The truth of the matter is, during this cycle, Georgia won more battles against Florida than the Gators won against the Bulldogs and UGA pulled further away from UF. That isn't in dispute. However, Florida did take both Kamari Wilson and Shemar James from Georgia.

Tags: Sport

Never miss the latest news from Inside the Gators!

Join our free email list