Florida Gators recruiting: National Signing Day 2019 predictions, times for Class of 2020

By Adam Silverstein
December 17, 2019
Florida Gators recruiting: National Signing Day 2019 predictions, times for Class of 2020

Image Credit: GatorsFB / Twitter

With National Signing Day set for Wednesday, one of the top stories nationally is whether head coach Dan Mullen will be able to pave the way toward establishing the Florida Gators’ highest-rated class since 2013. Florida added a pair of key commitments over the last week to give it a boost entering the early signing period, but it will be incumbent upon the Gators to add a few more Wednesday to set the course for a highly-ranked class once the the traditional National Signing Day takes place in February 2020.

Florida will enter the day No. 7 nationally, per the 247Sports Composite team rankings, and has been as high as sixth over the last couple of weeks. The Gators have 24 total commitments, including 16 four-star pledges, seven three-stars and an Australian punter whose National Letter of Intent has already been delivered to the program. UF is ranked behind SEC rivals Alabama (No. 2), LSU (No. 3), Texas A&M (No. 5) and Georgia (No. 6).

There are a handful of uncommitted prospects that Florida has its collective eyes on entering the day. Let’s take a look at those targets, when they are committing and the Gators’ chances of landing their National Letters of Intent.


All times Eastern

Four-star RB EJ Smith (Dallas, TX): The son of former Gators star tailback Emmitt Smith, it was long believed that Florida was the team to beat for EJ Smith. That may no longer be the case. He has the grades to get into Stanford, home state Texas A&M is in pursuit and Georgia wants in, too. Though the younger Smith has said he has no specific allegiance to the Gators, it would be hard to believe him picking the Bulldogs, which makes me think this is a three-team battle. Despite the Florida connection, it is tough to turn down Stanford and its recent success developing the position. OnlyGators.com has learned that Smith was not sent an NLI from UF.

Announcement time: 10:45 a.m. on ESPN2
Finalists: Florida, Georgia, Stanford, Texas A&M
Prediction: Stanford | Confidence: 75 percent

Four-star DE Donell Harris (Miami, FL): A current Texas A&M commit, the No. 54 player in the nation has received consistent interest from Florida after being offered just over a month ago. He committed to TAMU two days after being offered by UF (Nov. 9) but took his official visit to the Gators one month later. Harris has also seen plenty of the Aggies over the last few weeks. It’s impossible to know what he is ultimately going to decide, but one would think the late push from an in-state school is happening for a reason. The coaching staff is confident, and Harris is actually one of two TAMU commits with a Florida NLI.

Announcement time: 4 p.m. on CBS Sports HQ
Finalists: Florida, Texas A&M
Prediction: Florida | Confidence: 55 percent

Four-star DT Timothy Smith (Sebastian, FL): Also on “flip watch” for the Gators is Smith, a current Alabama pledge who has been committed to the Crimson Tide since mid-July. That has not stopped Smith from seeing plenty of Florida. He has visited campus five times since then, taking his final official to the campus over the weekend. Alabama has been in hot pursuit to retain Smith, The 85th-ranked player in the Class of 2020 would be a massive get for Florida, but pulling anyone away from Alabama — even an in-state product — is a huge task. Though the confidence did not change, our prediction below shifted at 11:45 p.m. on Tuesday.

Announcement time: 2:15 p.m.
Finalists: Florida, Alabama
Prediction: Florida | Confidence: 50 percent

Four-star JUCO WR Malik Heath (Jackson, MS): After being flooded with pass-catching talent in 2019, Florida could certainly lose the injection of a veteran next season. That could come from heath, a current Mississippi State commitment who is ranked 11th nationally among all junior college players. The 6-foot-3, 210-pound wideout has been all over the SEC trying to decide where to continue his career. He officially visited Mississippi State on Dec. 6 after seeing Florida one week earlier.

Announcement time: TBA
Finalists: Florida, Mississippi State
Prediction: Florida | Confidence: 55 percent

Three-star WR Sam Brown (Bloomingdale, GA): A bit of an unheralded prospect, Brown does not have a stacked offer list but decommitted from UCF last week, one day before taking his final official visit to Florida. There’s not a lot out there about his decision-making process, but one would think with him seeing UF just days before signing day, that it is his leader and likely destination. Brown claims that Georgia and Ole Miss also have offers for his services.

Announcement time: 1:45 p.m.
Finalists: Florida, Georgia, Ole Miss
Prediction: Florida | Confidence: 75 percent

Three-star DT Clyde Pinder Jr. (Seffner, FL): The Gators made a play for Pinder and hosted him for an official visit over the weekend. However, he has long been a North Carolina commitment despite UF being his dream school. Many expect him to remain with the Tar Heels, and there is no indication that he will be having any formal announcement on Wednesday. Still, OnlyGators.com has learned that an NLI was sent to Pinder, and it can always slide in. Florida believes it will snag him.

Announcement time: TBA
Finalists: Florida, North Carolina
Prediction: North Carolina | Confidence: 50 percent

Other names to know

There are some top-tier prospects that have Florida among their finalists, but none are expected to be seriously considering the Gators. Here are their names along with their expected destinations. None of these three received NLI from Florida.

  • Four-star LB Phillip Webb (Buford, GA) — LSU (11 a.m. on ESPN2)
  • Four-star OT Marcus Dumervil (Fort Lauderdale, FL) — LSU (10 a.m. on ESPN2)
  • Four-star DE Morven Joseph (Lakeland, FL) — Tennessee / Florida State (4 p.m.)

Florida inquired about a pair of three-star wide receivers. Elijah Canion (Hollywood, FL) has long been an Auburn commitment and just visited the Tigers last weekend. Kentron Poitier (Miami, FL) is likely a player who UF would have taken if Brown was not planning to commit. There’s not much smoke either way about him, but it appears to be between Florida State and Syracuse for his services.

One other key name to know for this portion of the recruiting cycle. Four-star WR Xzavier Henderson (Miami, FL), the brother of Gators star cornerback CJ Henderson, will be committing in over 17 days during All-America Game week. Florida is hot after Henderson for obvious reasons, but the No. 59 player in the nation is widely expected to commit to Clemson, which could wind up locking in the No. 1 class in the nation for the Tigers. There are other prospects that the Gators will be after for the traditional National Signing Day in February, of course, but many of those recruitments are still wide open.

Gervon Dexter (12)
Derek Wingo (63)
Xz. Henderson (66)
Jahari Rogers (86)
Jaq. Fraziars (154)
Issiah Walker (156)
Ethan Pouncey (174)
Antwaun Powell (182)
Ant. Richardson (201)
Johnnie Brown (226)
Marc Britt (267)
Joshua Braun (269)
Rashad Torrence
Avery Helm
Mordecai McDaniel
Lamar Goods
Jalen Lee
Leonard Manuel
Fenley Graham
Tre'Vez Johnson
Gerald Mincey
Jonathan Odom
Richard Leonard
Jeremy Crawshaw
Aus. P*

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

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