When Billy Napier was hired as the Gators’ head coach, he preached the importance of recruiting at a high level. After his first full season in charge of the Orange and Blue, Napier seems to be a man of his word.
In ESPN’s final ranking of the top 300 players in the 2023 class, the Gators signed 14 players who made the list. With 20 players in the 2023 class, the Gators have a blue-chip ratio of 75%. A blue-chip prospect is one considered to be a four-or-five star player. Needless to say, Napier is pleased with the quality of recruits he has brought in.
Of those 14 players, the standouts have to be defensive tackle Kelby Collins (No. 53), cornerback Ja’Keem Jackson (No. 70), cornerback Dijon Johnson (No. 91), wide receiver Aiden Mizell (No. 92), and offensive guard Roderick Kearney (No. 96), all of which landed in the top 100.
The Gators would have had one more player in the top 100 if five-star quarterback Jaden Rashada remained a part of Florida’s 2023 class. Rashada, No. 31 in the ESPN 300 and the highest-rated unsigned prospect, signed his national letter of intent in December. He requested and was granted a release from that letter of intent last week after a name, image and likeness deal worth a reported $13 million fell through.
If Napier’s first full recruiting class is a sign of things to come, then the future is bright for the Orange and Blue. With time, the Gators could have one of the best blue-chip ratios in the nation and compete with Georgia and Ohio State on the recruiting trail.
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