Florida Gators recruiting: 2019 Early Signing Period predictions, schedule, times

By Adam Silverstein
December 18, 2018
Florida Gators recruiting: 2019 Early Signing Period predictions, schedule, times

Image Credit: GatorsFB / Twitter

With the second-ever Early Signing Period on Wednesday, one of the top stories nationally is whether Florida Gators head coach Dan Mullen will be able to close strong after a lackluster start to the Class of 2019.

Florida enters the day ranked 21st nationally in the 247Sports Composite team rankings with 18 verbal commitments, including 10 four-star pledges, eight of whom are ranked among the top 300 players in the nation. That’s not great, especially considering it puts UF 10th in the SEC and nine spots behind rival Florida State.

Still, the Gators have the potential to add some big names to their class and shoot up the rankings, which is exactly what we are here to break down. With the day now here — the Early Signing Period actually extends out through 11:59 p.m. on Friday — all that matters is which prospects Florida is still a candidate to land and whether those players will ultimately pick the Gators.


Five-star RB Trey Sanders (Bradenton, FL): This is the big fish. Ranked No. 5 in the nation as the top running back in the country, Sanders has long been a target of Mullen, and it at one point looked like he would end up committing to Florida. Instead, Alabama took over and led for a large portion of his recruitment. And now, as it nears its end, many believe Sanders will be headed to Georgia as yet another five-star rusher to join the Bulldogs. Talk about a disaster for the Gators. The truth is that, while UGA is believed to be the lean, all three programs apparently feel confident they have a chance to pick up Sanders. This would be a massive win for head coach Dan Mullen, maybe only second to Emory Jones since he took over the program. Sanders’s brother committed last year, and his mother is a huge Gators fan.

Announcement time: 1:20 p.m.
Finalists: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Texas
Prediction: Georgia | Confidence: 50 percent

Four-star TE Keon Zipperer (Lakeland, FL): There are three Lakeland High School teammates choosing between Florida and another in-state school (sound familiar?), and Zipperer is the highest-rated prospect of the bunch at No. 136 overall nationally. A perfect playmaker for Mullen’s system, Zipperer may be able to play as a true freshman as long as he actually chooses UF over Miami. He has long been considered a Florida lean, while one of his teammates (see below) has been a bit more 50-50.

Four-star DE Lloyd Summerall (Lakeland, FL): Most famous now for his father dressing up in a complete Gators uniform during a recent visit, Summerall is rated as the 237th overall player in the nation and is expected to choose between Florida and Miami, which got his last official visit. Everything is trending for UF in this one, but it seems no one is ready to go all-in guaranteeing that Summerall or one of his two teammates (see above) will absolutely go for the Gators. Still, everything that I’ve heard is that Florida should not worry.

Announcement times: 11 a.m.
Finalists: Florida, Miami
Predictions: Florida | Confidence: 75 percent

Four-star OL Deyavie Hammond (Lakeland, FL): Unlike his high school teammates, Hammond (No. 174 overall) is expected to decide between Florida and Florida State. Also unlike his teammates, Hammond has long been believed to be a Gators lock. He only took one official visit, and it was to The Swamp. It would be a shocker if he went elsewhere.

Announcement time: 11 a.m.
Finalists: Florida, Florida State
Prediction: Florida | Confidence: 95 percent

Four-star DT Siaki Ika (Salt Lake City, UT): If it sounds unlikely that Ika (No. 159 overall) would commit to Florida, that’s because he’s likely to go elsewhere. The Gators reportedly impressed Ika when he took his official visit last weekend, but he has long been considered an LSU lean as that team has been his primary outlet to play in the SEC until recently. If Florida pulled this off, it would be a massive coup.

Announcement time: 8 a.m.
Finalists: Florida, LSU, Utah
Prediction: LSU | Confidence: 70 percent

Four-star DE Derrick Hunter (Fort Myers, FL): Currently committed to Florida State, Hunter is expected to flip on Wednesday. The question is whether he makes a move to Texas A&M or Florida. The Aggies are heavy favorites for Hunter with 75 percent of the 247Sports Crystal Ball predictions. He took his official visit to the Gators on Nov. 9 but has been pressed by both TAMU and Miami late in the process.

Announcement time: 1 p.m.
Finalists: Florida, Florida State, Miami, Texas A&M
Prediction: Texas A&M | Confidence: 65 percent

Three-star DE Brandon Dorlus (Deerfield Beach, FL): Though not highly ranked (No. 970 overall), Dorlus is in heavy pursuit from Power Five programs. Fresh off two visits to Florida in November, Dorlus decommitted from Virginia Tech. The only other trip he has taken since was an official visit to Oregon, and it appears Dorlus has many convinced he will go to the Ducks as they have garnered 82 percent of his 247Sports Crystal Ball predictions as of press time. That would be a tough loss for the Gators.

Announcement time: TBA
Finalists: Florida, Oregon
Prediction: Oregon | Confidence: 65 percent

Four-star DB Chris Steele (Bellflower, CA): Though Steele is not scheduled to announce before the end of the period, he’s a key recruit for Florida and worth mentioning in this space considering his ranked No. 40 nationally. Steele has long been believed to favor UF ever since he decommitted from USC back in October. He plans to announce on Jan. 5 in an All-American ceremony. There are a number of prominent schools in the mix for Steele, though it has always appeared as if the Gators will ultimately be his choice. Steele could send his letter this week in a surprise move if he wants to join a team in the spring.

Announcement time: n/a
Finalists: Florida, Oklahoma, Oregon, USC
Prediction: Florida | Confidence: 75 percent


* Expected to sign Wednesday

Chris Steele (42)
Kaiir Elam (48)
Khris Bogle (71)
Tyron Hopper (88)
Keon Zipperer (104)
Moh. Diabate (109)
Arjei Henderson (140)
Diwun Black (151)
Dey. Hammond (242)
Lloyd Summerall (243)
Nay'Quan Wright (261)
Jae. Humphries (264)
Michael Tarquin (277)
Jaydon Hill
William Harrod
Jalon Jones
Wardrick Wilson
Chester Kimbrough
Riley Simonds
Ja'markis Weston
Ethan White
Kingsley Eguakun
Jesiah Pierre
Trent Whittemore
Dionte Marks

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

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