Florida Gators recruiting: 2017 National Signing Day predictions, announcement times

By Adam Silverstein
January 31, 2017
Florida Gators recruiting: 2017 National Signing Day predictions, announcement times
Football

Image Credit: ESPNI

With 2017 National Signing Day on Wednesday, one of the top stories nationally is whether Florida Gators head coach Jim McElwain will be able to close strong with a top-15 class or see his program lose a number of key battles on what for many is the final day of the recruiting season.

A week after losing one of its top remaining targets and seeing a four-star recruit decommit, the Gators have locked up four commitments including a pair of four-star prospects. That has vaulted Florida from No. 31 to No. 19 in the 247Sports Composite team rankings, but UF should and does have its sights set much higher than that.

We’ve previously discussed some of the top storylines for the Gators entering National Signing Day — namely the team being short-handed, acting slow and the staff having recruiting issues — but with the day now here all that matters is which prospects Florida is still a candidate to land and whether those players will ultimately pick the Gators.


Top targets

These are the best prospects on Florida’s board that also have a legitimate chance of committing to the program on signing day.

Four-star lineman Tedarrell Slaton (Fort Lauderdale, FL) Slaton is seen as the most likely player to commit to the Gators. Ranked 69th in the nation, he can play on either side of the ball is the top-rated prospect who could potentially commit to Florida. Most expect UF to land him and start him off on defense.

Announcement time: 8 a.m.
Finalists: Florida, Georgia
Prediction: Florida | Confidence: 90 percent

Four-star defensive back Christopher Henderson (Miami, FL): The Gators had long been considered the leader for the nation’s No. 134 player and one-time Hurricanes commitment, but Miami has been trending hot for Henderson as of late. This would be a big loss for Florida, especially considering the decommitment of four-star DB Elijah Blades (Los Angeles, CA), but UF appears to be hanging on with with a late push of its own and has nearly an even chance of landing Henderson.

Announcement time: 12 p.m.
Finalists: Florida, Miami
Prediction: Miami | Confidence: 51 percent

Four-star linebacker Levi Jones (Austin, TX): Jones is the second-highest ranked UF target at No. 92, but he’s the least likely to commit, which is why he’s at the end of this section. McElwain landing Jones would be a massive victory, and the recruit named Florida his leader at one point, but he seems headed to Florida State or USC. Some think he may be a silent commit to the Trojans.

Announcement time: 8 a.m. on ESPNU
Finalists: Florida, Florida State, USC
Prediction: Florida State | Confidence: 65 percent

Secondary targets

Here are some other prospects on the Gators’ recruiting board that are either three-star recruits, have outstanding issues or are only takes if Florida misses on other higher-ranked players.

Three-star running back Adarius Lemons (Clearwater, FL): A two-time Florida commit and former four-star prospect, Lemons had a rough year due to a variety of off-field issues but has made it clear on social media that all he wants to do is play for the Gators. This all depends whether he is cleared academically and otherwise by Florida, which is a question now after the Gators denied four-star wide receiver James Robinson.

Announcement time: 8 a.m.
Prediction: Florida | Confidence: 100 percent (if cleared)

Three-star defensive back Brian Edwards (Hollywood, FL): Most expected Miami to land Edwards, but if the Canes take Henderson from the Gators, it may wind up being a swap with the lower-rated prospect seeing a better chance to play at Florida. A recruiting source told OnlyGators.com that Edwards seemingly changes his mind every hour.

Announcement time: 12 p.m.
Finalists: Florida, Miami
Prediction: Florida | Confidence: 65 percent

Three-star defensive back Eric Stokes (Covington, GA): Florida has not pressed hard on Stokes, but with Blades decommitting, he could be a late add to the class. Stokes is also considering Ole Miss, which he visited after taking a trip to Gainesville.

Announcement time: 8 a.m.
Finalists: Florida, Ole Miss
Prediction: Ole Miss | Confidence: 75 percent

Three-star defensive tackle Malik Young (Marietta, GA): Young is a junior college transfer out of Eastern Arizona who has taken official visits to Florida and Missouri in the last week. Those that have made official predictions have Young heading to the Gators, but word is that he has had a long interest in the Tigers.

Announcement time: None
Finalists: Florida, Missouri
Prediction: Missouri | Confidence: 51 percent

Two-star linebacker Lacedrick Brunson (Miami, FL): This is a Randy Shannon special, a low-ranked South Florida linebacker who can develop into a key special teams player or reserve on defense. Brunson is headed to FIU unless he gets a UF letter to sign, so there are two predictions here. If he does not get the letter, Brunson is on his way to FIU; if he does, one would expect him to pick Florida.

Announcement time: None
Prediction: Florida | Confidence: 75 percent (if accepted)

Longshots

Five-star defensive tackle LaBryan Ray (Madison, AL): There’s not much of a competition here for Ray, the No. 26 player in the nation. As much as the Gators would love to have him, they’re not beating out the Crimson Tide.

Announcement time: 12:40 p.m.
Finalists: Florida, Alabama, Tennessee
Prediction: Alabama | Confidence: 75 percent

Four-star defensive end K’Lavon Chaisson (Houston, TX): Oh so UF wants to pull a kid out of Houston with Texas and LSU also as finalists … and with Tom Herman pressing for the Longhorns? Don’t count on it, despite the Gators getting the last visit for the No. 37 player in the nation.

Announcement time: 11:35 a.m.
Finalists: Florida, LSU, Texas
Prediction: Texas | Confidence: 70 percent

Four-star wide receiver Henry Ruggs III (Montgomery, AL): The Gators and Seminoles both made strong pushes for Ruggs, but like Ray, the Tide should haul him in on signing day.

Announcement time: 12 p.m.
Finalists: Florida, Alabama, Florida State
Prediction: Alabama | Confidence: 85 percent


Commitments

CommitPos.Rating
Tedarrell Slaton (69)
DL
James Robinson (114)
WR
Zachary Carter (127)
DE
Chris Henderson (135)
CB
Brad Stewart (153)
CB
Marco Wilson (198)
DB
Daquon Green (233)
WR
Kadeem Telfort (229)*
OT
T.J. Moore (249)
OL
Elijah Conliffe
DT
Kemore Gamble*
TE
Kyree Campbell*
DT
Kadarius Toney*
ATH
Malik Davis
RB
Shawn Davis
CB
Adarius Lemons
RB
Jake Allen
QB
Ventrell Miller
LB
Brian Edwards
DB
James Houston*
LB
Donovan Stiner
DB
Nick Smith
LB
Lacedrick Brunson
LB
Zech Byrd
TE

* Early enrollee

All rankings referenced in this story are via the 247Sports Composite

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