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Gators ‘will definitely be’ in top 5 for this 2026 5-star safety

Florida football’s recruiting focus in recent weeks has primarily been on the 2025 cycle but Billy Napier and Co. are also working hard on the following class as well.

Five-star safety Zelus Hicks out of Carrollton (Georgia) in the 2026 cycle wrapped up his second trip to the Swamp on Tuesday to get another look at what the Orange and Blue have to offer. The 6-foot-1.5-inch, 180-pound defensive back had previously visited for the Vanderbilt game in 2023 when he received his scholarship offer from the University of Florida.

“It was great getting to see and talk with the coaches again,” Hicks told Swamp247. “We had some good talks, and I got to see the facilities they have there with my family this time.”

Acclimating with a new coach

This time around, there was a coaching change for him to adjust to after secondary coach Will Harris took over for Corey Raymond during the offseason.

“I thought it really smooth talking with (Harris),” Hicks begins. “We talked about defense a little bit. He was telling me some of the ways he would want to use me if I were to go there. He saw me fitting in the same way a lot of coaches have said they want to use me. He saw that I am really versatile in the secondary. He said he really likes how I can tackle, how I cover a lot of ground, and how I am a ballhawk. He wants to use me all over the field basically.”

Hicks’ overall thoughts on Florida

“I just like the environment at Florida,” he noted. “It’s great there, and my family likes it. The coaching staff is great, and I can tell they all have good wisdom on the game. They have some coaches who have experience with the NFL, like their strength coaches and Coach Harris. That is all appealing to me.”

Hicks also offered that he thinks the Gators “will definitely be in my top five.”

Recruiting summary

Hicks is rated at five stars and ranked No. 12 overall and No. 2 at his position nationally according to the 247Sports composite while the On3 industry ranking rates him at four stars and has him at Nos. 17 and 2, respectively.

On3’s Recruiting Prediction Machine has the Auburn Tigers on top of his recruitment with an 81.8% chance of signing him, followed by the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (4.7%), Georgia Bulldogs (3.0%) and Florida (1.7%).

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Story originally appeared on Gators Wire