Florida played host to several top targets on Thursday from across the Sunshine State. Inside the Gators caught up with Sharif Denson, Kenton Kirkland, Darren Lawrence, and Brayshon Williams for an in-depth look at how their visits went.
There were four prospects on campus from Lakeland (Fla.) Lake Gibson, including Class of 2024 safety Brayshon Williams.
Though the 6-foot, 170-pounder is currently unranked, he has already accumulated several impressive offers from the likes of Georgia, Miami, Oklahoma, and now Florida.
All Glory to GOD!
Blessed to receive another D1 offer from @GatorsFB @coach_bnapier @Jamar51Chaney @PToney @UF_CoachRaymond@rkbarefield @coachNmoody @adamgorney @Blake_Alderman @chadsimmons_ @andrew_ivins @demetricdwarren @swiltfong247 pic.twitter.com/PSYcBeVCps
— Brayshon Williams (@Brayshon4) March 4, 2022
What exactly did the offer from the Gators mean to him?
"It really meant a lot because my family members are all Florida, FSU and Miami fans and they go at it," said Williams.
He received the offer after spending most of Thursday with two Florida coaches.
"I was hanging around Coach [Corey] Raymond and Coach [Jamar] Chaney and their message to me was to keep working and that they know I’m a dog."
It wasn't just those two that made a big impression on Williams. He said the high point of the visit was catching up with a Florida freshman who also plays in the secondary.
"My highlight of the day was meeting my favorite player ever, and that’s Kamari Wilson if you want me to be honest, he’s better than Travis [Hunter]."
With so much time remaining before he has to make a decision, Williams said that he is taking things slowly.
"It’s a blessing to be in this predicament and I’m not rushing anything right now," said Williams. "I have two more years left of school, but just know that Florida sits high up on my list right now."
Williams will be at Alabama on the 5th and Oklahoma on the 26th. He also will return to Gainesville on the 18th.
Sanford (Fla.) Seminole three-star receiver Darren Lawrence committed to Florida last summer, but then backed off that pledge after the coaching change.
The 6-foot-2, 190-pounder told Inside the Gators two weeks ago that despite his decommitment, he was staying in frequent contact with new Gators receivers' coach Keary Colbert.
On Thursday the two had their first face-to-face meeting.
"I mostly hung around Coach KC," said Williams. "Meeting the staff, that was the highlight. I like this staff better. They're all confident in what they do and love what they do."
Lawrence said that he isn't ready to start formulating a leaderboard.
He will visit Florida State on Saturday.Jacksonville (Fla.) Raines three-star safety Kenton Kirkland had his first opportunity to meet the new Florida staff on Thursday.
GREAT DAY TODAY IN THE SWAMP!!! Appreciate the @GatorsFB staff and @katieturner0087 for the warm welcome🙏🏾 can’t wait to come back🐊 #GoGators @coach_bnapier @UF_CoachRaymond @CoachMPeterson pic.twitter.com/r26bhuaSkJ
— Kenton "KJ” Kirkland ll (@kenton_kirkland) March 4, 2022
"I was around pretty much all of the coaches today," said Kirkland. "I didn't spend that much time with them during practice, but every coach had a long conversation with me and my parents after workouts, including the head coach. They all expressed how impressed they were with me and want me to come back as soon as I could get there."
According to Kirkland, it was his time in the IPF and with the players that stood out the most.
"Being able to watch the guys practice, doing a little bit of conditioning, and I got hang out with other players while being there today."
While the new staff has yet to extend an offer, they are still very much in the picture early on.
"The Gators are moving up on the list, especially after meeting the new staff for the first time," said Kirkland. "I do not have a leaderboard as of right now and I also don’t have a set date to release one."
He said that he will be visiting Florida State on the 26th, and while he is unsure of the day he will return to Florida, he said "We definitely are coming back."The other big visitor from the First Coast was Jacksonville (Fla.) Bartram Trail four-star cornerback Sharif Denson.
The 5-foot-11, 170-pounder, who was a Florida fan growing up, has been a mainstay on campus over the last couple of years. This however was his first chance to spend time around the new staff and they made a big impression on him.
"My highlight was probably Coach [Patrick] Toney putting together a highlight of my film with the stuff he thinks I can do in the UF defense."
Not only did they go over film with him, but Denson said that the Florida staff made him feel at home.
"Coach [Joe] Hamilton, C-Ray [Corey Raymond], and Coach [Patrick] Toney basically just gave me a huge welcome and they showed me how exactly I fit in their scheme. This staff is much more analytical and pays much more attention to the small details that make a football team great."
Not only did the Gators' staff roll out the red carpet, but former high school teammate, current UF safety Tre'Vez Johnson has been talking up the new staff as well.
"He told me to come there and that C-Ray and PT [Patrick Toney] were great coaches and that if I come and just grind with him, we will get paid."
Though he hasn't 'officially' heard the words come from a coach, Denson assumes he has been re-offered since the coaching change – and that, combined with the visit has Florida trending upward.
"I mean they want me to come to the school, so I’m assuming they offered," said Denson.
When asked if he had a leaderboard, Denson replied, "Nah, I don't really, I'm playing it by feel. After this visit, Florida is in a great spot. I loved the staff and everything they had to offer. I love Coach [Patrick] Toney, he's my favorite Defensive Coordinator I met so far, for sure. I would love to play for a mastermind like him."