Florida picks up commitment No. 18 from 4-star Alabama DL

·2 min read

The Florida Gators earned a verbal commitment from four-star defensive lineman Kelby Collins on Saturday.

Collins picked Florida over Alabama and Georgia at a ceremony held at Gardendale High in Alabama. Despite some technical difficulties, Collins delivered the news with an emphatic Gator chomp, signaling that UF had indeed picked up commitment No. 18 in the class.

He joins fellow defensive line commits TJ Searcy, Gavin Hill and Isaiah Nixon in the class with the potential to add four-star lineman Kamran James on Sunday. The 247Sports composite ranks Collins No. 70 overall in the class of 2023 and No. 6 among defensive linemen. Adding him moves Florida ahead of USC into the No. 12 spot on the 247Sports’ team rankings and adding James could move UF into the top 10.

Collins is now Florida’s highest-ranked commitment, per 247Sports’ rankings, and has the Gators on the cusp of bringing in one of the top defensive line classes in the country.

247Sports’ Blake Alderman reported that Collins narrowed things down to Alabama and Florida in the days leading up to the decision and informed Billy Napier‘s staff of his decision beforehand. It’s a big win for Napier, who proved he can go into Alabama as a first-year Power Five coach and land a kid the Tide wanted.

“I just fell in love with the program and the coaches,” Collins said. “They got a real plan. All the players have bought in for such a short period of time and that stuck out. The history all the coaches got and the energy they bring every day is something you want to be around.”

The early panic from Florida fans is now well in the past and Napier’s first real recruiting class is shaping up to be quite a success. Adding a few more blue-chip recruits (Cormani McClain being the most important name on the wishlist) to round out a top-10 class should bring his approval rating to an all-time high.

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