What the heck is going on in Gainesville?
Florida hired new head coach Billy Napier to replace Dan Mullen on November 28. Since then, Napier has been tasked with building a coaching staff along with preparing for the upcoming Early Signing Period. Like most of the coaches in the country, he has been on the recruiting trail visiting prospects throughout the week.
Napier met with quarterback commitment Nick Evers on Tuesday night. Shortly after their meeting, Evers chose to back off of his pledge to Florida. He still plans on signing with a school during the Early Signing Period. Evers was the second Gators' commitment to reopen his recruitment yesterday.
Wide receiver Chandler Smith flirted with decommitting whenever Mullen was let go in November. He made that decision official on Tuesday with a note on social media.
The attrition continued into Wednesday as one of the top wide receivers in the country decommitted from Florida. Jayden Gibson reopened his recruitment and is looking for a new home within the next week. It's possible that Florida State gets involved after finishing among the runner-ups before his original decision. We'll see if the Seminoles can get Gibson on campus this weekend.
Following his decommitment, Florida's 2022 recruiting class dropped from No. 40 to No. 69. Then came another.
Defensive lineman Francois Nolton committed to the Gators nearly 10 months ago in February 2021. On Wednesday evening, he became the fourth player to defect from UF's class in roughly 24 hours.
In total, Florida has lost five commitments since Napier was officially hired; Evers, Smith, Gibson, Nolton, and Terrance Gibbs. Running back Terrance Gibbs decommitted from the Gators on November 30.
Napier had some interesting comments on recruiting during his introductory press conference on Monday.
"I think our approach here, we’re going to be very patient,” Napier said. “I think I know everybody wants to pedal to the metal here and go a hundred miles an hour, but I think this the most important thing that we do — the people we get into the building, the staff, the players. So we’re going to evaluate the situation a little bit this week over the next 10 days or so. But you can expect us to be very conservative, very patient, trying to position ourselves for post-signing day to evaluate all the players that are left over, all the players in the transfer portal."
“And then, when we do have our entire staff and organization put together, position ourselves for some really strong weekends in January, and then try to close strong in February," Napier continued. "But the reality is you’re getting in the game and there’s like 3 minutes left in the fourth quarter. And I think the last thing we need to do here is make some mistakes. So we’ll probably — I wouldn’t be surprised if we don’t sign many at all [in December], to be honest with you. But there may be a few out there that are willing to jump in here in the last minute."
The Florida Gators' 2022 class has dropped to No. 76 in the country according to 247Sports. That's in the same territory as Arkansas State, Central Michigan, and Northern Illinois.
There are still seven commitments remaining but based on recent history, that number will dwindle down in the near future.
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