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Gators and Hurricanes come up big on final National Signing Day

Jamil King

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Another National Signing Day has come and gone. And for some state teams, they had a great day, while others had some misfortunes.

The day started with a bang for the Gators, when they surprisingly, were able to flip Alabama verbal commit DE Khris Bogle of Ft. Lauderdale. Dan Mullen has continued his impressive first full year as the head man in Gainesville and was all smiles Wednesday morning:

They were also able to land a top defensive back DB Kaiir Elam of Palm Beach. The Gators are going to end up with the top class in the state and could finish in the top 10 overall.

The Seminoles may have had a solid class, but, as we wrote, still didn’t land a quarterback. They were let down by Lance LeGendre of New Orleans, as he committed to Maryland. This came a day after they failed to reel in John Rhys-Plumblee, who went to Ole Miss. The Noles are still waiting to hear from a top prospect in Nick Cross, and still hold a top 20 class overall, as they look to rebound from a bad 2018.

The Canes have had new life, ever since Manny Diaz has become the head coach. And, they made social media waves with the commitment of the tattooed Australian punter Louis Hedley:

The Canes biggest splash of the day though came with the commitment of DB Christian Williams from Daphne, AL. The Canes were able to get the commitment over the powerhouse Crimson Tide. Miami will end with only a top 30 class, but this doesn’t include the abundance of transfers they were able to bring in and it has to be a victory to salvage some recruits.

The UCF Knights were busy in Hawaii again. Lokahi Pauole, a massive offensive lineman from Kamehameha High, signed to play in Orlando. Overall the Knights will have the top class in the AAC and # 55 overall. They have also added former Notre Dame QB Brandon Wimbush on a transfer. UCF will look strong to win the conference for the third straight year.

Finally, the USF Bulls brought in three corners in this class, as well as an intriguing QB/athlete in Jahquez Evans from Atlanta. Charlie Strong is looking for a bounce-back season and wants to change the culture after dismissing several players and replacing a few coaches.

This includes, Kerwin Bell being brought in to run a new offensive system.

The Bulls have the 75th ranked class and the fifth in the AAC.

Jamil King is a young draft pick working his way up the depth chart on the F.F.I. roster, who enjoys watching and writing about all of Florida’s football teams.

Florida Gators

Gators announced home and home series with Cal Friday

Florida Football Insiders

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Bryan Lynn-USA TODAY Sports

The Florida Gators continued their philosophy of striking “home-and-home” deals with Power 5 opposition, when they announced on Friday that they will be doing so with the Cal-Berkley Bears out of the Pac-12 coming later in this decade.

The Gators made the announcement through their website and social media mid-day Friday that they will play Cal at home first and then travel to Berkeley the following year:

A.D. Scott Stricklin has broken up the long tradition that Florida would only play two home out of conference games in September and usually, against much lesser competition before entering SEC play. Stricklin has been very outspoken that in the age of the College Football Playoff, strength of schedule is emphasized and the selection committee holds schools responsible for not playing top-notch out of conference opponents, at least some of the time.

With that in mind, the Gators opened the 2019 season in Orlando against the Miami Hurricanes and won a sloppy game. And, they already have other Power 5 schools laid out to play home and away.

As we previously wrote, Florida will be playing the Texas Longhorns first in Gainesville in 2030 and then. return the game the following year in Austin.

Florida had previously announced last year that they will also play the Colorado Buffaloes out of the Pac-12, again with the first game in Gainesville in 2028 and then, returning it to Boulder the following season.

It’s interesting with Friday’s announcement that Stricklin and the football program are working backwards with the schedule. And, they will now play Cal before Colorado in September of 2026, and then will be opening on the Berkeley campus the following season.

Florida and Cal have only met two times, having played first in Gainesville in 1974 as the Gators wo 21 – 17 and then, they also met in Tampa to open the 1980 season with a Florida 41-13 blowout victory.

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Florida Gators

Second National Signing Day recap for top state schools

Jamil King

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

National Signing Day 2020 has come and gone, and several in state schools were able to improve their classes heading into spring ball. The University of Florida watched rival Georgia secure the number one overall class, but the Gators were still able to land the best class in the state with the number eight class overall.

The Gators officially signed former five-star receiver Justin Shorter from Penn State, and Florida stayed in the family today as well, Xzavier Henderson officially joined the Gators. He’s the ounger brother of  former DB C.J. Henderson.

Dan Mullen also able to dip into the state of Texas inking four-star DE Princely Umanmielen. It wasn’t all great news for the Gators, as they missed out on a few key guys, including losing out on arguably top state safety Avantae Williams to in state rival Miami. Overall it was a good cycle for the Gators both recruiting and in the transfer portal.

The Miami Hurricanes continued an impressive offseason on National Signing Day. The Canes made arguably the biggest move in the state by landing Williams and keeping him Florida. Williams became the highest rated Hurricane in the class and propelled the U to the number 13 spot.

Miami has the second-best class in the ACC behind Clemson. With an impressive offseason in the books, once again excitement will be in the air in Coral Gables. The question is: will they live up to it in year two for Manny Diaz?

Florida State and new coach Mike Norvell have been working hard to get this class rolling last minute. After a good early National Signing Day Norvell looked to keep the momentum going. The Noles took a big hit Wednesday though, with the loss of Venice four star WR, Malachi Wideman, who flipped to Tennessee.

The Noles came back from that by landing a handful of other recruits. They got the number six Juco running back La’Damian Webb, ass well as, Robert Scott, an offensive lineman and Corey Wren, an athlete/running back.

Replacing Cam Akers will be tough for Norvell and building the offensive line is a top priority. The former Memphis coach came in late like he did, yet he finishes with a decent class sitting at 22 on 24/7.

Now the work begins turning around the former powerhouse.

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