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What Does Priority LB Target Raylen Wilson’s Decommitment Mean for Florida?

Gators linebacker target Raylen Wilson backed off his pledge to Michigan on Tuesday, officially re-opening the door for Florida for one of its top 2023 targets.

Lincoln (Tallahassee, Fla.) linebacker prospect and Florida Gators target Raylen Wilson decommitted from the Michigan Wolverines on Tuesday evening.

Backing off his six-month pledge to the 2021 Big Ten Champions, Wilson’s decision to fully re-open his recruitment comes as good news for the Gators as they continue to search for a linebacker of the future. His widely-considered status as the top backer on their board provides reason to believe Florida will likely up the ante in its recruitment efforts for him.

His presence in the class would be the desired victory for a group that has experienced its fair share of mountains and valleys in June.

Stopping into Gainesville on an official visit from June 10 through 12, Wilson proclaimed the Gators as a top-three team in his recruitment moving forward. His connection with the staff and the genuineness they exhibited as they attempt to rebuild at Florida left a lasting impression on the Tallahassee native.

“Everything around here is family-oriented it feels like,” he said on June 12. “That's a big thing. I'm a big fan.”

Pairing UF alongside Georgia and Michigan, the Florida staff’s hope for the high-caliber prospect’s return to the open market began to show glimpses of being a plausible reality.

Just 17 days later, Wilson has officially distanced himself from Jim Harbaugh and Co. in Ann Arbor, re-equipping the Gators' board with a priority LB target to heavily pursue in order to reconcile the losses that have come in abundance at the position in the 2023 class.

The Gators have lost out on a bevy of top recruits at the linebacker spot thus far. A once plentiful and talented group of second-level playmakers has quickly become a dry watering hole with the likes of Jordan Hall (Michigan State), Grayson Howard (South Carolina) and Justin Jefferson (Alabama) electing to continue their football careers elsewhere.

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The board began to look limited before Wilson’s change in availability, with the likes of Troy Bowles (Tampa, Fla.), Raul Aguirre (Fayetteville, Ga.) and Malik Bryant (Orlando, Fla.) remaining as top-tier targets.

However, that’s no longer the case.

Wilson has the potential to be a staple of the Florida recruiting class this cycle — due to his elite-level talent working in space — if linebackers coach Jay Bateman is able to find a way to fend off two college football playoff teams from a season ago for his services.

While the Wolverines are presumed to be less of a threat now that he has officially decommitted, contending with the reigning national champion, recruiting powerhouse and linebacker production hotbed in Athens will be a daunting task for the Gators' staff entering a critical period on the trail.

However, with the focus solely resting on Wilson as the top linebacker prospect in the coming weeks and months — depending on how long he elects to wait before another commitment decision is announced — Florida will have an ample window to lure the talented in-state prospect to campus permanently.

If he’s on the same timeline he shared with AllGators in June, he will shut it back down prior to his senior season.

Landing Wilson will take a significant push, but if his glowing representation of the program and staff is any indication, Wilson will at least be open to listening to Florida’s pitch.

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