Florida Gators recruits and targets to watch through 2015 National Signing Day

By Adam Silverstein
February 2, 2015

Now *16 members strong (but likely to lose one of two four-star commitments), the Florida Gators’ 2015 recruiting class has a long way to go with very little time to make up ground. New head coach Jim McElwain has tried desperately to make up for lost time over the last few weeks by convincing recruits turned off by Florida’s recent losing history that the Gators are poised for a turnaround.

With National Signing Day set for Wednesday, Feb. 4, Florida is a contender – and was once the far and away leader for – some of the best players in the country. Whether the Gators will be able to lock up any of those prospects remains to be seen, but UF is absolutely in the hunt for at least 15 players that will be making their decisions this week.

Be sure to visit OnlyGators.com’s live coverage of National Signing Day, which will kick off Wednesday morning at 8 a.m. It will feature a live blog that will be constantly updated throughout the day and a checklist to keep track of every signed National Letter of Intent (NLI) and new commitment.

For now, OnlyGators.com breaks down which players the Gators are still waiting to hear from and when they may learn of their respective decisions. This is everything you need to know ahead of the biggest day of the offseason for Florida.


* Updated on Tuesday at 12:00 p.m.
^ Updated on Wednesday at 12:45 a.m.

Offensive tackle Martez Ivey (Apopka, FL)
247Sports Composite: No. 2 overall, No. 1 offensive tackle
Leaders: Florida, Auburn
Skinny: Like a handful of other prospects this cycle, Ivey is down to the Gators and Tigers. While Florida’s struggles and leadership change have seemingly affected a number of other players, the retention of offensive line coach Mike Summers and offensive upside with McElwain at the wheel seem to have Ivey feeling confident about the direction of the program. It does not hurt the Gators that they are incredibly short on scholarship offensive linemen, giving Ivey a legitimate opportunity to start – or at least play a significant amount of snaps – as a true freshman.
Announcement: National Signing Day – 11:35 a.m. on ESPNU
Prediction: Florida | Confidence: 70%

Defensive end Byron Cowart (Seffner, FL)
247Sports Composite: No. 3 overall, No. 1 defensive end
Leaders: Florida, Auburn
Skinny: Once seemingly a sure bet to commit to the Gators, Cowart’s interest waned as Florida continued to struggle under Will Muschamp, and it dissipated further when the coach was fired from the program. Cowart was already interested in Auburn, and Muschamp latching on there has helped the Tigers pick up an incredible amount of ground in a short period of time. UF did get Cowart’s last official visit, and he has a close relationship with Dante Fowler Jr. (so much so that he carries around a Chucky doll and even brought it to his AU official visit). Only he truly knows where he will wind up.
Announcement: National Signing Day – 9:00 a.m. on ESPNU
Prediction: Auburn | Confidence: 60% 51%*

Defensive end CeCe Jefferson (Glen Saint Mary, FL)
247Sports Composite: No. 7 overall, No. 2 defensive end
Leaders: Florida, Ole Miss
Contender: Alabama, Auburn
Skinny: Perhaps even more so than Ivey or even Cowart, Jefferson going to the Gators seemed like a foregone conclusion just a few months ago. That is no longer the case. In fact, the momentum is going so strong toward the Rebels that it would probably be a surprise at this point if he went anywhere else. Florida’s last staff salivated over the idea of having Cowart and Jefferson as bookend defensive linemen, and its current staff probably did too, so the Gators potentially winding up with neither would indeed be devastating. Even worse is that both are local area products that other SEC teams may come into the state and poach right from under UF’s nose.
Announcement: National Signing Day – 2:05 p.m. on ESPN & ESPNU
Prediction: Ole Miss Florida* | Confidence: 65% 55%*

Quarterback Deondre Francois (Orlando, FL)
247Sports Composite: No. 64 overall, No. 3 quarterback (pro-style)
Leader: Florida State
Contender: Florida
Skinny: A Seminoles commitment since July, Francois has recently said – on two separate occasions – that he is 100 percent sure of his decision. Nevertheless, he took an official visit to see the Gators two weekends ago and many believe that Florida made some legitimate headway. Is it enough for UF to flip a FSU quarterback pledge for the second-straight year? Let’s just say that many in the recruiting business do not completely believe that Francois was “hacked” earlier this week when a message went out on his Twitter account noting that he had decommitted.
Announcement: None scheduled
Prediction: Florida State | Confidence: 65%

Linebacker Jeffery Holland (Jacksonville, FL)
247Sports Composite: No. 116 overall, No. 8 linebacker (outside)
Leader: Auburn
Contenders: Florida, Ole Miss
Skinny: Holland’s recruitment flipped late in the season when the long-time Gators lean started paying greater attention to the Tigers, and his interest in Auburn only solidified when Muschamp was hired. It seems rather unlikely that he picks Florida, but despite his interest in AU, he has yet to remove UF from his list of finalists.
Announcement: National Signing Day – 10:00 a.m. on ESPNU
Prediction: Auburn | Confidence: 85% 70%

Wide receiver Ryan Davis (Saint Petersburg, FL)
247Sports Composite: No. 187 overall, No. 24 wide receiver
Leaders: Florida, Auburn
Skinny: The Tigers have made a late surge for Davis, who appeared to be leaning heavily towards the Gators. Davis did give Florida his last official visit two weekends ago and most believe he will still wind up in Gainesville when the time comes. A loss to Auburn here would certainly hurt as UF is desperately in need of young playmakers to learn and grow under McElwain.
Announcement: National Signing Day – 10:00 a.m. on Bright House Sports Network
Prediction: Florida | Confidence: 65% 55%

Running back Jordan Cronkrite (Jacksonville, FL)
247Sports Composite: No. 268 overall, No. 16 athlete
Leader: Florida
Contenders: Miami, West Virginia
Skinny: A one-time Canes commitment, Cronkite looked to be headed to play for the Mountaineers…until the Gators entered the picture. Since McElwain took over, running back-needy Florida has become the easy favorite to land Cronkrite.
Announcement: Unknown
Prediction: Florida | Confidence: 80%

Athlete D’Anfernee McGriff (Tallahassee, FL)
247Sports Composite: No. 273 overall, No. 21 running back
Leaders: Florida, Miami
Skinny: An Auburn commitment since April 22, McGriff decommitted on Monday, 11 days after taking an official visit to UF. Grades are believed to be an issue with McGriff, with one recruiting reporter telling OnlyGators.com that he believed AU dropped McGriff, but Florida has room in its class to take a chance on his talent. Should McGriff not qualify, he would likely play for a junior college with the Gators hoping to bring him back to the program in two seasons. It’s a no-lose situation for UF no matter what he decides on Wednesday.
Announcement: National Signing Day – 2:15 p.m.
Prediction: Florida | Confidence: 70%

Offensive tackle Tyree St. Louis (Bradenton, FL)
247Sports Composite: No. 293 overall, No. 31 offensive tackle
Leader: Miami
Contenders: Florida
Skinny: The Gators got St. Louis to Gainesville for an official visit but that was only a small gain considering the prospect’s long-standing commitment to the Hurricanes (since late July). Whether Florida is able to flip him certainly remains to be seen with interest peaking so close to the deadline.
Announcement: National Signing Day
Prediction: Miami | Confidence: 85%

Wide receiver Antonio Callaway (Miami, FL)
247Sports Composite: No. 47 wide receiver
Leaders: Florida, Miami
Contender: West Virginia
Skinny: It has been a neck-and-neck battle for the South Florida product with the Gators and Hurricanes each seemingly leading for Callaway at some point over the last year. With so much unrest at Florida, Miami appeared to take a commanding lead for Callaway’s services, but McElwain ensured that he got the prospect to visit in the final weekend before decision day. Having a former teammate in QB Treon Harris certainly won’t hurt UF’s chances in landing the playmaker.
Announcement: National Signing Day – 9:00 a.m.
Prediction: Miami | Confidence: 51%

Athlete Javarius Davis (Jacksonville, FL)
247Sports Composite: No. 33 running back
Leaders: Florida, Auburn
Contenders: Louisville, North Carolina
Skinny: The Gators have long been thought to be a favorite for Davis considering their desire to have him play offense, but the Tigers and Cardinals have also pressed for his services. Auburn offered him on Jan. 5 shortly after Muschamp joined the program and have visited with him twice since; Louisville had Davis on campus for an official visit on Jan. 24. The good news for Florida is that it got him to travel to Gainesville for the final weekend of the recruiting cycle.
Announcement: National Signing Day
Prediction: Florida | Confidence: 70%

Quarterback Lamar Jackson (Boynton Beach, FL)
247Sports Composite: No. 13 quarterback (dual threat)
Leader: Louisville
Contender: Florida
Skinny: Currently committed to the Cardinals, Jackson has a tough decision to make over the next few days. The Gators have shown consistent interest in the signal caller since offering him in October, two months after he committed, and McElwain ensured Jackson that he was one of his primary targets shortly after taking the gig. Jackson took an official visit to Florida over the weekend; whether that’s enough to sway him so close to signing day remains to be seen.
Announcement: National Signing Day – 11:30 a.m.
Prediction: Florida Louisville* | Confidence: 51%

Defensive end Keivonnis Davis (Miami, FL)
247Sports Composite: No. 59 defensive end
Leaders: Florida, Oregon State
Skinny: Davis is currently committed to the Beavers, a decision he made on Jan. 21 when he flipped from his pledge to Syracuse. Now the Gators are pushing for his services and may wind up landing the in-state product, perhaps due to the track record of new defensive line coach Terrell Williams.
Announcement: National Signing Day
Prediction: Florida | Confidence: 65%

Offensive tackle Nick Buchanan (Atlanta, GA)
247Sports Composite: No. 153 offensive tackle
Leaders: Florida, Georgia
Skinny: Buchanan, a long-time commitment to Cal, decommitted on Monday and immediately narrowed his list to UF and UGA after visiting the schools over the last two weekends. A friend of Williamson, who committed to the Gators on Monday, Buchanan looks to be headed to UF.
Announcement: National Signing Day
Prediction: Florida | Confidence: 60%

Running back Jordan Scarlett (Fort Lauderdale, FL)
247Sports Composite: No. 118 overall, No. 12 running back
Leaders: Florida, Florida State
Contender: Miami
Skinny: A Hurricanes commitment up until Saturday, Scarlett decommitted while visiting the Seminoles and immediately scheduled a commitment ceremony for Monday night. Those sudden actions obviously lead many to believe that Scarlett will be making a pledge for Florida State, and that may wind up being the case, but the Gators have used playing time as a pitch to get Scarlett to consider playing for them. Florida also accepted a commitment from his teammate and long-time blocker, three-star lineman Richerd Desir-Jones, on Saturday…and Scarlett’s girlfriend is going to UF.
Announcement: Monday – 7:00 p.m. on FoxSportsFlorida.com
Prediction: Florida | Confidence: 55%
Decision: Committed to the Gators on Monday.

Athlete Chris Williamson (Gainesville, GA)
247Sports Composite: No. 44 cornerback
Leader: Florida
Contender: Michigan
Skinny: The Gators need athletic, versatile players and Williamson fits that bill. His recruitment has not been one with many twists and turns; in fact, it has been more like still water with him making very few waves. Some with the Wolverines feel confident that he will head up to play for Michigan, but Florida is believed by most to be the favorite here.
Announcement: Monday at 10:00 p.m. – Fox Sports South
Prediction: Florida | Confidence: 75%
Decision: Williamson committed the Gators on Monday.

Defensive end G.G. Robinson (Lilburn, GA)
247Sports Composite: No. 34 tight end
Leader: Louisville
Contenders: Florida, Auburn
Skinny: Committed to the Cardinals, Robinson – who plays both defensive end and tight end – has both the Gators and Tigers calling on him with Florida the more likely of the two if he plans to flip.
Announcement: Monday at 9:00 p.m. on Twitter
Prediction: Louisville | Confidence: 70%
Decision: Robinson reaffirmed his commitment to the Cardinals on Monday.

There is every indication that Florida will lose a current four-star commitment, wide receiver Derrick Dillon (Franklinton, LA), who has been leaning heavily towards LSU for the last few weeks and even canceled a scheduled unofficial visit to Gainesville last weekend.

20 Comments

  1. sjkoepp says:

    I feel like it can’t be stated enough how badly it hurt us having Muschamp join Auburn. This really sucks.

    Thanks for the write up, Adam. From the chatter on twitter I agree with you on the predictions.

  2. Brandon says:

    Muschamp really screwed us. Not only did he lose crucial games last season at UF but he’s swaying away all of our recruits now, to add injury to insult. Absolutely demoralizing! And we really need Cowart. He’s a program changer! Also I don’t understand these Florida kids would want to go to Auburn over UF. Auburn is not that good! Its a greater chance to have success in the SEC East than the stacked West. And Muschamp isn’t that good of a coach and is very overrated for his defensive coordinator ability. Did anybody see how UF got gashed on 3rd downs all last season ? Just saying..

    • Dave Massey says:

      Gotta agree with you here.

      What’s amazing to me is that these recruits are turned off by Florida’s recent losing history, which didn’t exist until WM was coach, and he is 100% responsible for those losing years because of horrible coaching during games. The defense, which clearly was very talented, continually blew assignments all year long, which WM oversaw, i.e.-Alabama hung a record number of yards against us in the entire history of the program, LSU makes a 3rd and forever, which would have probably clinched the game, to a receiver that had no defensive player around him, etc., etc. The guy has an uncontrollable temper and continually throws the players under the bus blaming them and not accepting responsibility for poor coaching. He has continually lost recruiting battles to all of our rivals while he was here. His defenses were awful his last couple of years at Texas. And these guys wouldn’t commit to Florida because of all these issues but now they want to go to Auburn because of Muschamp? I could understand Alabama, Florida State, Mississippi, Georgia, etc, but 8-5 Auburn because of Muschamp? What the hell have they been looking at for the last four years? Bet those Auburn alums are really going to love that Georgia alum coming in and stinking the joint up like we did. He clearly sucks as a sideline coach. Same with TRob, he may be a good recruiter but as a DB coach it was his secondary that continually got torched late in games on critical plays.

      We may not have a great recruiting year this year, because of Muschump, but there is enough talent with good coaching to overcome this, have long term relationships established and move forward in future years. Enjoy your buyout, nobody will be dumb enough to hire this guy as head coach at a major program.

      • G2 says:

        Guess Foley was the only bonehead willing to take that chance aside from Texas? Now we are paying him handsomely (buyout) to steal our top prospects! Is this a great country or what!

  3. SW FL Joe says:

    Just like UF is selling early playing time on offense, Auburn is selling early playing time on defense. I have to wonder how Cowart and Jefferson would have played out if we kept Lawing.

  4. gaprimo22 says:

    This recruiting class bein so poor can hurt for years to come. Especially when you factor in the players we are losing are going directly to our competitors. UGA, UA, BAMA, FSU, LSU are all killing us recruiting and we are going to miss out on guys that should have been locks!

  5. Michael Jones says:

    You folks need to watch some video on Jordan Scarlett. He looks eerily like a baby Beast Mode. Uncanny resemblance to Marshawn Lynch in virtually every way.

    I normally don’t get excited about HS highlight reels but his is pretty impressive.

  6. Ks Gator says:

    This is what ive been waiting for… thanks adam.

    i agree with the predictions, except i think we get jefferson. i also dont get all the hype around ivey…. i know he is good but in tapes from the all american game he wasn’t THAT amazing

  7. Ks Gator says:

    Is the Scarlett commit supposed to be video or just an article? Don’t see much on the posted website

  8. Ks Gator says:

    Cliff hanger…

    GG @GGRobinson85 · now 4 seconds ago
    I know in doing this I will hurt many people and make many people happy as well.

  9. SaraGator says:

    You were 3 for 3 yesterday, Adam. 🙂

  10. Buster says:

    Has a leaving coach ever screwed over his school in recruiting as much as Muschamp has with Florida this year.

    Another reason he should have been fired last year.

    I find it funny that most of you hate Meyer, but like Muschamp.
    One left us on top of the world and with the #1 recruiting class. Muschamp has taken this program to new depths and then on top of that is stealing our recruits.
    He’s a scumbag.

  11. Colin says:

    I understand the Muschamp hatred. He wasn’t successful as Florida’s head coach, due in large part to his stubbornness. As a fan, it was infuriating to watch the same predicable, inept offense for four years. Maybe he should’ve been fired a year earlier, but who knows what coaches would have been available or interested. Who knows how recruiting would’ve played out this year with *insert new coach here.* In the end, though, it’s all water under the bridge at this point.

    What I do know, however, is that the hatred of Muschamp for recruiting Florida’s targets is just silly. Why? 1. Because that’s his job. Yes, it’s a bit of salt in our wound, but we wanted him gone, he’s gone, and now he’s attempting to perform his new job to the best of his abilities. This includes recruiting star prospects to Auburn. Florida fans knew this was a possibility when Muschamp was fired. 2. Probably most importantly, recruits committing to Auburn over Florida (which hasn’t happened en masse yet) is the best outcome Florida fans could ask for, second only to those players coming to UF, of course. Florida isn’t scheduled to play Auburn for at least five years, unless they both end up in the SECCG or a CFB playoff game. That means that Florida wouldn’t have to face these star recruits in the next four-five years unless both teams are highly successful. I’ll take that. It’s better than these kids going to FSU, Georgia, LSU, or Tennessee. And before you tell me that they were locks to Florida before Muschamp left, nothing in recruiting is a lock and would you rather have these kids commit and Muschamp still be the coach? Probably not. He had some good-to-great classes and still was a mediocre coach, at best.

    And who knows, all this could be academic, and the recruits could commit in droves tomorrow. Let’s wait and see. I, for one, welcome the direction the McEl-train is heading.

    Go Gators!

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