Entering the 2020 season, the Gators will find themselves in quite the predicament. The majority of their safeties are set to graduate following the season, namely, Donovan Stiner (Sr.), Brad Stewert Jr. (Sr.) Shawn Davis (Sr.) and Quincy Lenton (R-Sr.). While there remains a chance for Trey Dean III (Jr.) to return to the safety position, that much has not been made clear due to the cancellation of spring football.
Incoming freshmen safeties Rashad Torrence II (four stars), who could see himself in line for early playing time, Mordecai McDaniel (four stars) and Tre’Vez Johnson (three stars) are the only other safeties currently set to be on the roster whenever the 2020 season kicks off this fall. Johnson is also believed to be in position to compete at STAR nickel corner, so he may not end up a true safety either.
While typically this would be fine, the fact that the Gators will be losing four key veterans at the position, and still have a question mark in Dean leads to the belief that more help is necessary.
Florida made that clear with their aggressive pursuit of four-star 2020 safety Avantae Williams who was ranked as the No. 2 rated safety in the nation, according to 247Sports. Williams, however, would flip to the Miami Hurricanes in a shocking turn of events for the Gators, leaving Florida with a void at the position.
It should now be a priority for the Gators to sign at least one, perhaps two safeties in the 2021 class in order to remain solid at the position beyond this season.
Currently, the Gators have yet to land a true safety commit in this recruiting cycle, and the only defensive back currently committed to the team remains four-star cornerback Clinton Burton Jr. out of Baltimore (MD.). Not all is lost, however. There is still plenty of time for the Gators to land a couple of the top recruits at the position.
As things stand, at least three top-tier safeties have the Gators rated highly on their final schools list, including four-star safeties Corey Collier and Amari Harvey, and three-star safety Donovan McMillon. Another four-star safety, Terrion Arnold has yet to release a list, however, he is being courted by nearly every major school near Florida, including Florida State, LSU, and Alabama.
All four safeties would add much-needed depth at the safety position for Florida, and at least three could theoretically be ready to start for the orange and blue within one season, if not sooner based on their current development and trajectory as high school athletes.
Collier, 6-foot-2, 170-pounds, is currently rated as the third-best safety in the 2021 recruiting class and the No. 83 player in the country, according to 247Sports Composite. The Miami Palmetto product recently released his top-six schools which included Florida, Clemson, Georgia, LSU, Miami, and Florida State. The Gators have targeted Collier heavily and would be elated to land him.
Harvey, 5-foot-10.5, 171-pounds, is listed as the eighth-best safety in the nation in his class, and No. 185 overall, according to 247Sports Composite. The Gators were recently listed in Harvey's top-seven schools he is currently "focusing" on, along with Georgia, Penn State, Auburn, LSU, Texas A&M, and Florida State.
The Florida State Univ. School (Tallahassee, FL.), is, however, has often trended towards his local school in Florida State. It would be surprising to see him end up elsewhere.
Arnold, 6-foot-2, 187-pounds, is currently listed as the ninth-best safety in his class, according to 247Sports Composite, however, is listed as the second-best safety in his class by 247Sports' own rankings. Regardless, Arnold is one of the more sought-after recruits in the country, landing offers from multiple big-time schools, including Alabama where he is currently predicted to land. The John Paul II Catholic product also resides in Tallahassee (Fla.) and also has an offer to join the Gators in basketball under head coach Mike White, currently.
McMillon, 6-foot-2, 193-pounds, is listed as a three-star recruit by 247Sports Composite, but a four-star recruit by 247Sports' own rankings, has quickly risen up boards in the eyes of the recruiting website. As their own seventh-best safety recruit in the nation, McMillon listed the Gators in his most-recent top-10, along with Georgia, Texas A&M, Virginia Tech, Arizona State, Michigan, Oklahoma, Oregon, LSU, and Penn State.
A Canonsburg (Pa.) native, McMillon would be traveling a long way from home compared to his fellow offered recruits, however, McMillon recently told AllGators that while he has not been to Florida, he would be excited to play in the SEC and be close to some of his family members that do live in the state.
The Gators will need to work quickly and diligently to land at least one of these four top-tier recruits as the cycle nears its end during the fall and entering winter.