Photo: Harold Perkins; Credit: Conner Clarke
One of the top players on the Florida Gators' recruitment board is no longer on the open market, but that doesn’t mean they’re out of the race.
The Florida football program has undergone seismic changes in the past couple of months, shifting from one coaching regime to another.
In an effort to both retool a barren roster and save what’s left of the 2022 recruiting class, the Gators continue to make concerted pushes for the nation’s top talent remaining available. In doing so, they have received unforeseen interest from players that were previously considered long shots when the last staff was in charge.
Their diligence has proved beneficial before, acquiring the previously unexpected signatures of defensive back Devin Moore, linebacker Shemar James and safety Kamari Wilson on Early Signing Day.
Florida hopes to continue on the path of program restoration by building upon its hot streak of landing high-tier prospects on short notice heading into National Signing Day in February.
Cypress (Texas) linebacker prospect Harold Perkins has quickly placed himself atop the Gators prospect board where both talent and mutual interest are concerned.
Playing in the Under Armor All-American Game this past Sunday, Perkins followed through on his decision to announce his commitment during the contest as many have notably done before him. Locking in a pledge to Jimbo Fisher and Texas A&M, Perkins bolsters an already historical class the Aggies have pieced together in 2022.
Usually, a decision of that magnitude on a stage like ESPN would mean the recruitment for the high-caliber player would be shut down. It would be a proclamation that carries weight until he steps on the field in that team’s uniform when his time comes.
That isn’t the case for Perkins.
“I’m committing on the 2nd [of January],” Perkins told AllGators Wednesday. “I mean, anything can happen between January and February.”
Serving as a green light for other schools to remain in contact with the uber-talented linebacker prospect, the comment left the door open for a potential flip come time for Perkins to sign the dotted line.
More importantly, Perkins is working to schedule an official visit with Florida after his commitment, indicating that Gators head coach Billy Napier and company are one of the programs that will remain in contention until the very end.
“I’ve always wanted to go there [to Florida], so, who knows?” Perkins recently told Rivals.
Slated to take his visit to Gainesville on either the Jan. 14 or Jan. 28 weekend, Perkins will give Florida one last shot to “apply pressure” for his services.
“I know they building something, they got a new coaching staff, they got Billy Napier,” Perkins said about the state of UF. “I just want to go have a good time. Enjoy the visit, man. I want them to apply pressure.”
Florida will host 11 other athletes on the first weekend and just one — Auburn commit Caden Story — on the other.
If he chooses the earlier of the two dates, Perkins would enter the fold alongside safety Jacoby Mathews, where the duo will experience top priority treatment as landing just one changes the outlook on Napier’s transition class.
James, the Gators linebacker signee, recently marked the calendar to take his official visit for the busy Jan. 14 slate, presenting another recruiter to sell what UF has to offer to prospects, especially Perkins for a potential flip if he heads to Gainesville then.
Perkins, who ranks SI All-American pits as the No. 37 overall player and No. 3 linebacker in the class of 2022, will serve as an off-ball linebacker at the next level. There, he can utilize this impressive athleticism, speed in coverage and play diagnostic skills to consistently make plays while working downhill.
While his commitment to Texas A&M shows that the Aggies have the upper hand in his recruitment as of now, he’ll be on flip watch until he puts pen to paper on National Signing Day.
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