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Gators led busy early National Signing Day

Jamil King

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Wednesday was an early Christmas for college football fans. The early National Signing Day provided some fans with something new to look at aside from this past season. Today is a look into the future, and for teams around the State, the mood coming into the day was different for all the prominent state schools.

For Miami, they wanted to forget a disappointing season and see what coach Manny Diaz could do on the recruiting trail to look forward to his second season. Florida State fans were looking to see how new coach Mike Norvell saved a class that had been hurt by the firing of Willie Taggart. And, for the Gators, they were excited to see how Dan Mullen reloaded a team he has led to a 20 – 5 record, so far, in his first two seasons.

The Gators ended the day with the best class in the State. Already, clearly the best team in Florida, the Gators continued the potential future dominance. With the 8th ranked class in the nation right now, the Gators reloaded their defense with ten four-star players signing on that side of the ball. They landed three early enrollees, including the number five ranked dual-threat QB Anthony Richardson.

The Gators are not done yet, either. They are still trying to land the number 2 ranked safety, Avantae Williams, who is also considering the Miami Hurricanes. The Gators also have two verbal commits unsigned and will have to wait for February, but overall though, a very solid day for the program.

The Miami Hurricanes had a disappointing season finishing 6-6 before the bowl. They were able to win on NSD, however. The Canes have a top 20 class the second-best in the ACC and the State. The Canes will have no issue at running back, landing two top 10 backs. Don Chaney Jr. and Jaylan Knighton will look to make an impact early and help relive the passing game. Diaz, now having a whole season under his belt, delivered a pretty solid class and will look to build on that already having the number 5 ranked class for next season.

Florida State came into the day looking to salvage the class with a new coach and make a little noise. They were able to accomplish that. The Noles landed corner Demorie Tate to headline their class on the defensive end. On offense, the Noles were able to flip Louisville commit quarterback Chubba Purdy, the sixth-ranked dual-threat QB in the country. FSU currently has the 21st ranked class, a position they are not used to. New coach Mike Norvell did a good job to save this class, but all eyes will be on him this season both on the field and the recruiting trail.

USF and new Coach Jeff Scott only landed 12 recruits on the early signing day. They were able to get a few power five transfers, though. QB Cade Fortin will come from North Carolina. Running back Darrian Felix makes his way to Tampa all the way from Oregon. And, fellow running back Lavonte Valentine from South Carolina. Scott, who joined late in the game, will now focus on gaining a few more commits before the last signing day in February.

In Orlando rival, UCF landed 19 commits and a power five transfer of their own, offensive tackle Marcus Tatum comes in from Tennessee. The Knights also reloaded at the skill positions, including getting speedy WR/ATH Johnny Richardson from Lake Wales, as coach Josh Heupel has settled in with having to find his own talent for year three.

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.