Updated on Thursday at 11:45 a.m.
Four-stars cornerback Chauncey Gardner (Coca, FL) and wide receiver Freddie Swain (Citra, FL), the highest- and third-highest rated Florida Gators commitments for 2016, made their bonds with the program even stronger by signing written offers of admissions” with the school, UF announced Tuesday.
Updates: Florida also announced the additions of wide receivers four-star Joshua Hammond (Hallandale, FL), three-star Isaiah Johnson (Palm Beach Gardens, FL) and three-star offensive tackle Stone Forsythe (Winter Garden, FL) on Wednesday. The three players signed written offers of admissions, per the school.
Ranked No. 71 overall in the 247Sports Composite, Gardner is an important commitment for the Gators, which will lose junior CB Vernon Hargreaves III and one or two other members of its defensive backfield to the NFL this season. Swain, the No. 121 overall player, is a big get for Florida as well. The Gators have long needed to upgrade their receiving corps, and Swain will certainly help them do just that.
Hammond (No. 280 overall) and Johnson are talented receivers in their own right. Both will help a unit that will likely see redshirt senior Valdez Showers, senior Latroy Pittman Jr. and possibly junior Demarcus Robinson all leave this team this offseason. Forsythe at 6-foot-8, 325 pounds is a massive offensive line prospect for UF.
What these players have not yet signed is National Letters of Intent with Florida. However, they plan to enroll in classes ahead of the spring semester and sign their NLIs with the Gators in February along with the rest of the recruiting class.
Corrections: The original version of this story noted that Gardner and Swain had signed grant-in-aid agreements, but the Gators are saying that is not the case. The content below has been edited but was part of the original story. It still applies to players that sign grant-in-aid agreements.
By signing their grant-in-aid agreements, players guarantee themselves scholarships with teams and can have unlimited contact with the team’s coaching staff. The move also allows the coaching staff to use their names publicly and in recruiting other prospects.
The decision to accept grant-in-aid signees comes at a potential cost for schools. Should a player that signs one for some unforeseen reason back away from their commitment to the the school and enroll somewhere else in January (or even February), the school could be dinged by the NCAA for violations for what could potentially amount to improper contact with a recruit.
Such was the case with LSU just last season when one of its grant-in-aid signees decided to enroll elsewhere. The Tigers were actually hit hard by the NCAA with a penalty of 10 evaluation days and two years of being unable to sign grant-in-aid players or enroll a class in January.