Top 2022 CB Considers Florida Gators Coach Torrian Gray as Family

Zach Goodall

Lake Gibson (Lakeland, Fla.) cornerback Sam McCall has been on the Florida Gators radar for some time, receiving an offer in April, 2019. 

The 2022 prospect is a versatile threat who plays on both sides of the ball, starting at cornerback in Lake Gibson's press-heavy defensive scheme along with playing wide receiver, and this year, Wildcat quarterback. Florida has been targeting McCall primarily as a cornerback, being recruited primarily by cornerbacks coach Torrian Gray.

"We talk a lot," McCall told Sports Illustrated-AllGators on Tuesday. "We talk, Facetime, cause he's from down here where I'm from, so he's basically like part of my family. Because I know his brother, and his brother is like a part of our family. It's like a family thing when we talk."

Knowing McCall for a good bit now - he's visited campus multiple times since his offer, most recently in March - Florida has been complimentary of his physical skill-set in their pitch to join their historically-talented secondary.

"They've known me for a while," said McCall. "So it's like, their pitch towards me is 'We want you, you can come up here, you can do what you gotta do. We love the way you play corner, you can't pass up on a 6-2, 6-3 corner, you can't pass on that.'"

While McCall will join the secondary of whichever team earns his pledge, the possibility of playing offense at Florida as well appears legitimate as he has also spoken with wide receivers coach Billy Gonzales, along with head coach Dan Mullen and assistant director of player personnel Keiwan Ratliff.

Lake Gibson athlete Sam McCall (right) and quarterback Logan Hackett (left) practice receiving snaps. Credit: Zach Goodall, Sports Illustrated media

McCall possesses the mold of an elite boundary cornerback, however, standing at 6-2, 185 lbs. and claiming to have improved his 40-yard dash time from a 4.5 to a 4.4 this offseason.

"I'm a good cover, I come down and hit when I need to, but I love to cover you," said McCall. "If we turn back on tape, I probably only had two catches on me the whole season, only two. So, I love to cover somebody, it's hard to come out with a 6-2, 185 corner out here, how to be physical with him if he's that big and that size, so I get physical with anybody."

McCall originally called Florida and Alabama his top two teams early this past April, only to expand the list to three to include Oklahoma later in the month, following an offer. Florida State was added to the list, becoming a top four, on July 24th.

Those four teams all remain in the hunt, but Florida and Alabama have an edge right now for McCall's services. 

"[Alabama], it's the same as Florida, but it's more love with them," said McCall. "It's more of a 'We want you right here, we can play you out here', it's an open spot for me, so I'm looking at their depth chart, they've got a lot of seniors and a lot of juniors getting ready to leave, so it's like that."

After a long offseason of training, McCall feels more comfortable with his tasks mentally on both sides of the ball, developing more patience as a defensive back with his hands and movements. McCall not only plays football, but also small forward in basketball, baseball, and runs the 100 and 200-meter dashes and the 4x1 relay in track and field, so he took advantage of the quarantine this offseason to refresh.

"When the coronavirus came, I had time to relax my muscles, get back to where I need to be, learn more stuff and get smarter on the field," McCall said. 

"On the field, in high school what they're doing with me now, just getting me the ball because I know what to do with the ball in my hands, I know how to make big plays," he continued. "Not just like five yards and go down, I know how to get more than five, more than 20 yards, so it's like, get the ball in my hands... [At] corner, we basically have me guarding the best receiver on their team."