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Gators Land Commitment From Highly-Coveted DL Kelby Collins

Florida's defensive recruiting class has a new headliner, as lineman Kelby Collins' pledged to the Gators over Alabama and Georgia, among others.

Florida's recruiting hot streak has continued into August, as Gardendale (Ala.) defensive lineman Kelby Collins became the latest Gators' priority target-turned-commitment by announcing his pledge to UF on Saturday afternoon.

Collins, regarded as one of the top defensive linemen in the 2023 class, elected to take his talents to Gainesville to play for head coach Billy Napier and defensive line coach Sean Spencer over the likes of home-state Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina and Oklahoma. 

Collins' pledge comes three days after Florida flipped linebacker Jaden Robinson from South Carolina. He's the tenth prospect to commit to UF since the beginning of July.

When Collins officially visited Florida in early June, the 6-foot-4, 265-pound defensive tackle target got an opportunity to bond with Spencer and learn the role he would assume if he chose to rep Orange and Blue at the next level. Spencer's history of development and energy made Collins feel comfortable about that potential move.

"I learned a lot of new stuff," he said following his June 3-5 stay. "He showed me a couple of moves, showed me a couple of guys he worked with like [former Penn State and current Dallas Cowboys LB] Micah Parsons

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"I feel like that stuck out; that he trained some of the best, recruited some of the best. Got them to the league and developed them in the league as well. So, I feel like he has a plan for me."

Collins will likely serve as a three-technique for Florida at the next level, where he can utilize his rare mixture of explosive athleticism as a pass rusher and size to fill gaps in the middle against the run. As a junior, he accounted for 75 tackles, 20 tackles for loss and 12 sacks.

To this point, Florida has racked up in the skill position market, luring in impressive wide receiver and defensive back classes to headline the staff's first full cycle on the trail heading into the fall. However, the trenches — a crucial aspect of Florida's talent-acquisition strategy — had yet to see similar success when it comes to landing blue-chip talent.

Spencer began to change that fact on Saturday by reeling in Collins, giving the Gators a much-needed cornerpiece to a defensive line in desperate need of depth.

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