Florida football coach Billy Napier says UF "can be picky" in spring transfer period

PONTE VEDRA BEACH — Florida football coach Billy Napier is comfortable where UF's roster sits heading into the 2024 season.

But that doesn't mean that the Florida Gators are completely standing pat during the spring transfer portal period.

Florida has received a commitment from one player out of the portal this spring — freshman USC offensive lineman Jason Zandamela. UF is currently at its allotment of 85 scholarships but has flexibility to go over that number until the start of fall camp.

"For the first time we can be picky," Napier said before a Gator Caravan Event in Ponte Vedra Beach. "I think we’ve probably been six or eight in the hole the last two years, so we’ve been pretty aggressive. So, we’ve had to go uncover some players and see if we could find some guys that were capable — and you end up a little bit under 85. I think this year we’ve been playing with a lead a little bit, so I think that’s been healthy."

Zandamela was a four-star recruit out of Clearwater Academy who was rated as one of the top interior offensive lineman in the Class of 2024 coming out of high school. He enrolled at USC early but had a change of heart and wanted to return to Florida, where he played high school football after moving from Mozambique.

Napier can't publicly comment on Zandamela until he officially signs, per NCAA rules.

Colorado DB Cormani McClain, Arizona State WR Elijah Badger visited UF over the weekend

Two more big names in the transfer portal — former Colorado and Lakeland High cornerback Cormani McClain and former Arizona State wide receiver Elijah Badger — visited UF's campus over the weekend, according to multiple reports.

McClain was a five-star cornerback in the Class of 2023 who was recruited heavily by both Florida and Miami. He committed to Miami before flipping before the February signing period and ended up at Colorado. But it was a rocky stay in Boulder for McClain, who was publicly criticized by head coach Deion Sanders. McClain appeared in 13 games as a true freshman, finishing with 13 tackles and 2 pass breakups.

Badger, a junior, finished with 65 catches for 713 yards and 3 TDs at Arizona State last season. At 6-foot-2 and 190 pounds, he could add another playmaker for Florida quarterback Graham Mertz, who is returning for his final year of eligibility.

This article originally appeared on The Gainesville Sun: Florida football remains active but selective in spring portal period