By our count, over the first week of the spring visit period, Florida played host to 18 prospects who are ranked as either a four or five star on the On3 Consensus.
Today, Inside the Gators takes a closer look at all 18 of those March visitors and ranks them from least to most likely to sign with the Orange & Blue if they had to decide now.
The ranking is based on the assumption that each individual prospect will be highly sought after by the Gators. However, keep in mind that that assumption is nowhere near a given.
18) Francis Mauigoa – Last weekend was his second visit to Florida in the last four months after he visited for the FSU game to end last season. He isn’t ranked last on this list because of anything he has said so much because of Florida’s lack of success pulling five-star offensive linemen, especially from IMG Academy.
17) Hykeem Williams – He told Inside the Gators after he left campus that though Florida made a strong impression on him, the Gators didn’t move into his top eight. That doesn’t exactly scream ‘move him to the top of this list’ anytime soon. UF will need to get him back on campus if they want to be a factor for him.
16) Jordan Hall – Florida offered the linebacker while he was on his Saturday visit. Being from the Mid-Atlantic area (Virginia), he was already familiar with Jay Bateman. He told us that the visit moved UF up in his mind, but he won’t be
15) Samuel M'Pemba – First off, there’s no denying that he enjoyed his Saturday visit to Gainesville, telling Inside the Gators that Florida is ‘high’ on his list, but he still has other trips to take to programs such as Michigan and Notre Dame. He also told us how much he liked UF when he visited last year. We’ll wait to see what he has to say after a couple of more visits before seriously considering moving him up this list.
14) Andy Jean – This is an instance where the hire of a recruiting support staff member significantly helped Florida. Jean spoke with Inside the Gators about hanging out with Benedick Hyppolite and wanted to make it clear that yes he is committed to Miami, but he is still looking around and very much interested in Florida.
13) Cam Lendhart – The only one of the 18 visitors on this list who I have never communicated with one way or the other – so I have no opinion on where he currently stands.
12) Robert Stafford – Even coming off his Florida visit, he seemed to be measured in his responses to questions about the visit and actually seems to be higher on Florida State and Georgia at that time (and has since visited FSU).
11) Grayson Howard – He posted on Twitter that he doesn't want to do interviews for the time being, but when I have spoken with him in the past, he has had good things to say about the Gators, but nothing that would lead you to believe that Florida is the leader.
10) John Walker – I have spoken with him multiple times, and while he has good things to say about Florida, he never comes off as overly impressed with the Gators for whatever reason. Things of course change, but he gives off the vibe that he wants to go out of state.
9) Jordan Hall – Last spring and summer Florida was the team to beat as he visited campus several times. He returned last week to get acclimated to the new staff, and while the Gators may not currently have a lead, UF is without question strongly in the picture. He is definitely getting back on campus, it’s just a matter of whether it will be during the spring or summer or both.
8) Treyaun Webb – Yes, after his most recent visit he told Inside the Gators that he was on the verge of pulling the trigger and pledging to Florida. However, while he certainly enjoyed himself and UF is definitely a major factor, he tends to go overboard in his praise of visits. He told us that his top five will get his five official visits, and he has set two already to Arkansas and South Carolina. We’ll wait to see what happens next. Also keep in mind, while he wants to play running back, he might be better being recruited as an athlete.
7) Zavion Hardy – After his first-ever visit to Florida last weekend he told Inside the Gators that his highlight was getting to watch film with Sean Spencer, and see how he would be used if he were to sign with the Gators. When asked if the visit vaulted UF up his leaderboard, he smirked and said he wasn't ready to release that information. But it sounds like that is the case. Now though the waiting game is on to see how big of a priority home state Georgia will make him.
6) Gavin Hill – Despite his four-star status and proximity, he wasn't a high priority for the previous staff and to this point hasn’t been offered by the new regime. Part of that may be because there are quite a few top-end defensive linemen on the board, and, UF may feel like they can come in on him later since he is a local kid. If UF offers, they should move to the top of his list.
5) Sharif Denson – When his high school coach first spoke to us about him a couple of years ago, he wanted to make it clear that he was a better prospect than then UF commit, teammate Tre’Vez Johnson, and that Denson was a huge Florida fan. He is still high on the Gators, but it doesn’t feel like they have the front seat all to themselves. Some of this may be, UF is in on a ton of top corners this cycle, leaving us to wonder where Denson stands on the board.
4) Payton Kirkland – While this ranking is based on what we believe would happen if the young man had to make his decision in the here and now, Kirkland has stated his intention to actually make his announcement on July 23rd. Over the course of the last 18 months, Florida has gone from a top two or three option to fading, to being completely out of the picture, to now being considered the favorite to land him. Keep in mind though, a lot can happen in four months.
3) Keon Keeley – Speaking with him when he visited Florida for their matchup with Alabama last year, it was clear then that even though he was committed to Notre Dame, he was still very much considering the Gators and was a flip candidate. Now, six months and another visit later, though his high school teammate CJ Hawkins decommitted in favor of Stanford, it sounds like he is another visit or two from making the move.
2) Derrick LeBlanc – Florida has been moving up his list since the new staff took over and started making him a priority. Even before visiting last weekend, speaking with him at UA Next Miami, he was trending toward the Gators a bit. He is one of the trio (along with Kirkland and Malik Bryant) who have scheduled their announcement for July 23rd. I would expect UF to get him back on campus several times between now and then.
1) Eugene Wilson – After a standout performance at UA Next Miami, Florida offered and then he, accompanied by his father, was the first prospect to visit when the on-campus contact period began on March 1st. The Gators are the team to beat at this time, but is he going to plull the trigger anytime soon?