One of the top prospects on Florida's recruiting board made things official by committing to the Gators on Wednesday, that being West Orange (Fla.) wide receiver Jayden Gibson.
Gibson has been coveted by UF for some time, earning a Gators offer in February while his recruitment was in the midst of blowing up on a national level. Gibson would proceed to take four unofficial visits to Florida over the summer and into the fall before making his decision to join the program.
"I'm going to Florida. I feel like this is the best spot for me," Gibson told Sports Illustrated All-American. "I feel like that's the place I can be the most successful at. All things being said, I just couldn't pass up the opportunity to play for [head] coach [Dan] Mullen and [wide receivers] coach Billy [Gonzales]. They are two great coaches who I like and I feel as if they can help me on and off the field."
Gibson finalized his college choice during his fourth and final visit to Florida, when the Gators hosted Alabama in Week 3 earlier this season. The atmosphere and a feeling of home led Gibson to opt for UF over his three other finalists: Georgia, South Carolina and Miami.
"It came down to where I would be most comfortable at, and that was Florida," Gibson said. "When I went on the visit, when they played Alabama, I just couldn't wait to be in the Swamp. It felt like home to me. Talking to the coaches, getting to know them, seeing how they interact with me and the players that are already there. It kind of put it all together to make the decision."
Gibson is the third 2022 wide receiver to commit to UF, joining speedsters C.J. Smith and Isaiah Bond. Although Gibson's physical profile suggests he'll thrive at outside wide receiver at the next level, UF has sold the prospect on his ability to contribute in numerous ways within the Gators' offense.
Yes, Gibson has a knack for contesting catches and can make highlight-reel grabs unlike most receivers in his class, but he also possesses the athleticism and route-running ability to contribute as a possession receiver and from numerous spots. This combination of skills has led Gibson to 62 receptions for 1,286 yards and 19 touchdowns in his last 17 varsity games.
"They see me fitting in as being able to play an outside receiver position, moving in and doing whatever," Gibson proclaimed. "One thing about it that they've made clear to me, is that they see me the same way I see myself. Not just someone who comes in during certain personnel because I'm tall, but as a complete receiver in their offense.
"That will help me evolve all aspects of my game."
Now that he has pledged to UF, Gibson plans to shut his recruitment down and focus on the remainder of his shortened senior season. Gibson is set to graduate in December and enroll at the University of Florida for the 2022 spring semester.
"The Gator family out there, to the Gator fans, can't wait to get started," Gibson said. "Can't wait to bring us some championships and have fun.
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