As the recruiting front stays hot, Florida grows cold.
On Sunday afternoon, highly regarded linebacker prospect Shawn Muprhy announced his intentions to continue his career with the Alabama Crimson Tide at the collegiate level.
Choosing Alabama over Florida, LSU, Ohio State and Penn State, the Manassas (Va.) product wraps up what has been a hectic recruitment process to give 'Bama their 12th commit of the cycle.
In mid-June at the Future 50 event, Murphy spoke on his brief time in Gainesville, glowing about what the Gators presented to him.
“It was a very great experience. It was really nice to connect with coach Rob for the first time in a long time in person. It’s just a good community, honestly. Everything was pretty, the surroundings, the facilities, the environment, the community, everything was just beautiful. Everything was perfect."
Giving insight into what would ultimately be his deciding factor, Murphy detailed the importance of coaching and development into his final choice of school, something Alabama has proved to be the best at since Nick Saban's reign of dominance began in 2007.
“How a coach is coaching me, if a coach is real or not, if the coach can coach in a way that I can respond to and collect all the information I need. All [those] factors go into it.”
As a result, despite their positive impressions, UF failed to close on the versatile off-ball linebacker who presents a seamless ability to dominate in the box or lockdown wideouts in coverage.
Recently adding Shemar James to the Gators linebacker room in the 2022 cycle, coach Christian Robinson hoped to pair Muprhy alongside him to create arguably the most athletic second-level in football in the future.
Going forward, the Gators staff will turn their attention away from Murphy to players like Cypress (Texas) native Harold Perkins and Fitzgerald (Ga.) product EJ Lightsey
Perkins, a blue-chip prospect who is currently viewed to be far-fetched for the Gators despite their fervent efforts to secure the top-rated linebacker prospect, has recently expressed his appreciation for Florida's efforts. Namely, the relentless pursuit by head coach Dan Mullen.
With the summer quickly coming to a close, Perkins will likely wait to make a decision until well into his senior season, benefitting Florida as he will visit on September 17. However, Texas A&M is currently set as the resounding leader in his clubhouse.
Meanwhile, Lightsey sits as the much more reasonable option of the two to pair alongside James. Recently dubbing the Gators as his leader prior to including them in his top six schools.
Lightsey is set to travel to Gainesville for Friday Night Lights this Friday, getting another opportunity to analyze what the program offers and how he fits as he draws closer to a decision.
All in all, the loss of Murphy at the top of the board will go down as an unfortunate miss for Florida, but options still stand for the Gators as the cycle rolls on.