How Brashard Smith Committing to Miami Affects Gators Recruiting
The Florida Gators lost out on what most presumed as one of the more impressive slot receivers in the nation in Miami Palmetto (Miami, Fla.) wide receiver Brashard Smith yesterday, as he announced his intentions to commit to the Miami Hurricanes, almost three months after decommiting from Florida.
While Florida had continued to recruit and would have likely accepted a re-commitment from Smith, the circumstances surrounding their overall recruitment strategy shouldn't be too far disrupted, especially when it comes to the wide receiver position, currently.
Thus far in this year's cycle for the 2021 recruiting class, the Gators have landed four pass-catchers in receiver Marcus Burke (Trinity Christian - Jacksonville, Fla.), Daejon Reynolds (Grayson - Loganville, Ga.), Trevonte Rucker (Vanguard - Ocala, Fla.) and Charles Montgomery (Armwood - Seffner, Fla.).
While Smith would have been a welcomed addition, which would have perhaps affected at least one of the currently committed receivers, his commitment wasn't necessarily a necessity. Florida set out to land various receivers who bring a different element to their group as a whole, and thus far they've done that.
Burke, adds a speed down-the-field threat, Reynolds can play in big-man receiver role capable of high-pointing the football and understanding the nuances of route running, Rucker plays the role Smith would have played, a slot receiver with dependability underneath and Montgomery plays a utility-back/receiver role similar to that of current Gators receiver Kadarius Toney.
Where Smith's non-commitment could impact their recruiting efforts comes in the form of an overall sense of interest in the program itself. While Florida remains one of the top schools in the nation in recruiting, especially in the SEC, several of their targets hail from Miami Palmetto, the "Palmetto 5".
Given the momentum the Hurricanes have recently been afforded, it could impact how the Gators compete in the South Florida market. Along with Smith, Miami recently landed near-consensus top-10 athlete/defender James Williams out of American Heritage (Opa Locka, Fla). Landing a commitment of that caliber is certain to raise eyebrows and could lead to others landing with Miami as well.
Currently, the Gators are in a battle for the services of at least three of the remaining four players from Miami Palmetto, including safety Corey Collier Jr., cornerback Jason Marshall and defensive tackles Leonard Taylor. Another player, defensive tackle Savion Collins is currently committed to the Hurricanes, however, there is a sense he's a potential flip candidate, while Taylor is down to two teams: Florida and Miami.
While Collins, Taylor and Collier appear to be heading in the direction of one Florida school or the other, Marshall has drawn interest from schools outside of his home state in Alabama, which could very well make a serious run at him prior to his commitment.
Their talent is undeniable, which is why both teams are pushing as hard as they are to land them ahead of the 2020 season and in hopes of officially signing them in December or January.
The Gators can absolutely put any concern to rest by landing some more of their remaining targets, whether from South Florida or otherwise, however, they'll have to be cognizant of the looming threat that is the Hurricanes, and how they'll press forward from here in terms of their recruitment of the players they need to land.