Scouting Report: 2021 Florida Gators Commit TE Gage Wilcox
With another day comes another early commitment for the Gators 2021 recruiting class. As they continue their hot streak of talent to commit to continuing their football careers in Gainesville, Florida adds another talented prospect to the list with four-star tight end Gage Wilcox.
Wilcox made the early choice to commit to the Gators over the likes of Alabama and Georgia. While many believed he would make his commitment when he attended the Gators Junior Day on March 7th, Wilcox decided to go public with his decision a bit sooner than expected.
Standing at 6-4, 228 pounds, Wilcox fits the mold of new era tight ends that are starting to take over the position in today’s game.
With the similarities to Kyle Pitts in his build along with one of the better tight end coaches in the business in Tim Brewster, Wilcox saw an opportunity to excel when the uber-talented Pitts moves on to the NFL, probably as soon as Wilcox steps on campus.
In his junior year at Jefferson High School in Tampa, Florida, Wilcox recorded 20 receptions for 249 yards and seven touchdowns as a primarily red zone target for the Dragons.
As a rather unique receiving tight end, let’s take a look at what made Wilcox such a priority for Dan Mullen, Brewster, and company to reel in.
In this play, Wilcox shows off his physicality and nasty streak to push through the defense for extra yardage.
In a play that seemed to be over after making the catch in the flats, Wilcox wills himself away from the first would-be tackler before laying waste to another just a few yards further downfield. In doing so, he turns what would have been a one-yard gain into a big play down the sideline before he is forced down.
With multiple plays throughout his tape showing off his willingness to lower the shoulder and initiate contact, his aggressive nature makes him a player that will translate well in the SEC.
Showing he can use his impressive size to his advantage, Wilcox flashes the talent that can make him a successful player when he arrives in Gainesville.
As a junior, Wilcox showed great length and ability to come down with the 50/50 balls.
In this play, Wilcox shows off his red zone prowess that made him so successful for Jefferson in 2019. Going up and snagging the slightly underthrown ball over the smaller defensive back, he shows off strong hands and excellent body control while in the air.
A play like this makes Wilcox an exciting piece for any tight end coach that has him in his unit. Being a commit straight from Brewster's area of recruiting in Tampa, Wilcox was handpicked by his future position coach.
Similar to the last play, Wilcox once again goes up over the defender and brings the ball down for a touchdown, showing great ability to highpoint the ball and keep his feet in bounds in the process.
Being the biggest thing that pops off about him in his film, the Gators are getting a legitimate redzone target in Wilcox. He turned seven of his 20 receptions in 2019 into touchdowns.
Embracing the role as a new era receiving tight end, Wilcox’s long but slim frame allows him to make plays similar to this one with ease and consistency. Expect him to see plenty of snaps in the "big slot" tight end position at Florida, and perhaps flexed out as a wide receiver.
Outside of combining his soft hands with physicality, Wilcox also uses quality athleticism for his size to make opposing players miss in the open field.
Wilcox owns a rare mix of swift feet with a large frame, and uses it to his advantage. Burning his man on the seam route up the middle before making another whiff as he takes the ball up the field, Wilcox proves he can be more than just a bulldozing tight end. Ending the play trotting in for a touchdown, Wilcox also shows that he can do more than snag jump balls in the back of the end zone.
Most recently, Wilcox ran the 40 yard dash at 4.8 seconds, a great time for a high school prospect of his frame. He also recorded a 34.6" vertical jump.
And Wilcox posted those results as a sophomore in February of 2019 at The Opening Regional, so he should only continue to get faster. Remember, Pitts ran a 4.7 coming out of high school when he was listed at 6-5 1/2, 235 lbs.
With a solid amount of burst for a player so big, Wilcox adds another dimension that allows him to separate from his man in the open field. A dimension that will translate rather nicely when he makes his way to Florida after his senior year.
Despite the majority of his usage coming as a receiving option, Wilcox still uses his blocking skills from time to time and does a good job.
In the first clip, Wilcox aggressively gets downfield and into the chest of his cornerback in order to open up the right side of the field on an end-around run by the receiver. Whereas on the second, Wilcox plays in-line and seals off the edge to open a gap.
Having the ability to engage the defender and drive him back with relative ease, Wilcox shows he is more than a reliable receiver and that he can be a solid blocking option as well.
Wilcox's technique isn't perfect, but he's willing and aggressive in his blocks. That's something you love to see out of high school prospects, especially at tight end and even more-so from your typical receiving tight end. With a slight improvement in hand placement and body control through his blocks during his senior and when he arrives first at Florida, Wilcox could see time in both running and passing situations throughout his career in the orange and blue.
Owning great physical attributes and a unique skill set for someone his size, Wilcox seems to fit very well for the type of tight end Florida looks for after the success of Kyle Pitts.
With the time he has left in high school to continue developing not just with his play on the field, but in his frame as well, Wilcox can be an impact player at Florida when his time comes.
As a player that was recruited by some of the most prominent schools in the country, this verbal commitment put Florida in a good spot for the 2021 class and the future of the tight end position. If Wilcox can keep his foot on the gas in his senior year, expect to hear his name called in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on Saturday’s more than once or twice throughout his time being a Gator.