The Florida Gators are among ESPN’s list of the Top 75 college football teams, based on their 2023 recruiting efforts. The Orange and Blue’s incoming class ranked just inside the top 10, coming in at No. 9.
The Gators had been hovering around the top 10 of the recruiting rankings since July when a surge of commitments created a buzz around the Florida program and first-year head coach Billy Napier. This was a stark contrast from the end of June when Napier penned an open letter to the Gator Nation, pleading for patience and trust in the process.
Napier was a fantastic recruiter at Louisiana, having the No. 1 recruiting class in the Sun Belt in all four seasons at the helm. But he didn’t do this alone. The addition of top-tier assistants such as assistant head coach and defense/cornerbacks coach Corey Raymond, co-defensive coordinator/defensive line coach Sean Spencer, and many more, have had a massive impact on the recruiting trail. Raymond is considered one of the best, if not the best, defensive backs developers in the nation.
Here is what ESPN’s Craig Haubert had to say about including the Gators in his list of the top 75 college teams:
Billy Napier has taken advantage of in-state talent with several Sunshine State pickups, assembling a strong secondary from that pool. The Gators have added several ESPN 300 DBs, including CBs Dijon Johnson, Ja'Keem Jackson and CB Sharif Denson, who has good feet and brings a tough, scrappy demeanor. Aaron Gates, who stayed on even after committing to the previous staff, projects to defensive back and can be a versatile player with his quickness and ball skills. Eugene Wilson III, listed as an athlete, projects to WR and is a player who tests very well, which will translate to his play on the field. Adding more potential firepower to their passing attack is Aidan Mizell, a lengthy target with big-play speed. Rashada hails from California but became a big in-state flip from Miami. With a smooth release and good arm strength, the newest Gator is one of the top QBs in the class. Knijeah Harris is a nice addition to the trenches, as he has been a multiyear starter at IMG Academy and should come in ready to compete for playing time. They also flipped ESPN 300 OG Roderick Kearney, a powerful and flexible big man who could work his way into the two-deep quickly, from Florida State. It is hard to win the SEC without being strong along the defensive front, and Collins leads a talented group of defensive linemen.
Notably, Jaden Rashada’s name is mentioned in Haubert’s write-up. Rashada, who signed his national letter of intent to play at the University of Florida back in December, has yet to enroll as a student despite expressing his intention to do so. The Rashada story is still developing and it is unclear if he will be on the roster come fall camp.
The official national signing day is scheduled for Feb. 1, with a portion of the 2023 class deciding to enroll early and participate in spring practices.
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