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Priority LB Target Grayson Howard Includes Florida Gators in Top Five

The Florida Gators secure a spot in the top five of priority linebacker target from Jacksonville Grayson Howard.

Andrew Jackson High School (Jacksonville, Fla.) linebacker prospect Grayson Howard released his top five schools on Sunday.

Howard, a highly touted recruit and priority target for the Gators, included Florida alongside South Carolina, Georgia, Clemson and Texas A&M in his top schools list to move forward in his recruitment.

Cutting his list down from 36 total offers, Howard has proven himself as a talented entity in the middle of the defense at the high school level.

His production — which rivals any defensive player in the 2023 class — backs up the elite-level all-around skillset he presents.

Accounting for 157 tackles (yes, in one season), 14 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, six pass breakups, two interceptions, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery, Howard asserted his dominance on opposing offenses.

Showing he can make plays working downhill against the run, rushing the passer, dropping back in coverage and everything in between, Howard is a coveted prospect in the current cycle.

Operating in an equally dominant capacity as a true off-ball linebacker as well as an edge rusher, Howard fits the mold of versatile defenders defensive coordinator Patrick Toney has targeted in his early stint with UF.

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He projects to align at an inside linebacker spot when he arrives in college, but can be strategic places to wreak havoc on offenses in any way his future defensive coordinator sees fit.

Toney and the Gators hope they will gain that luxury.

Florida’s presence on Howard’s trail to this point has been a frequent and heavy one, with both inside linebackers coach Jay Bateman and outside linebackers coach Mike Peterson after him.

They have even shown face at his spring practices in Jacksonville on multiple occasions.

Landing the talented 6-foot-3, 223-pound man in the second level would be a huge addition to the Gators linebacking corps and could be a stride toward establishing a desire pipeline from Duval County to Gainesville.

Peterson, a former member of the Jacksonville Jaguars, will do everything in his power to make that dream a reality.

That process starts with Howard and extends to fellow area prospects like defensive tackle Jordan Hall, running back Treyaun Webb, cornerback Sharif Denson and others.

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