Billy Napier and Co. were busy last weekend for the opening of the college football recruiting contact period. The first junior day of the calendar year was an important one for Florida as the program continues to search for the best prop prospects to fit in the Swamp’s scheme – even when the recruit is in a different class.
One of the emerging student-athletes that paid a visit to Gainesville was 2026 defensive back Jaelen Waters out of Seffner (Florida) Armwood. The 6-foot-2-inch, 170-pound high school sophomore has made the trek up I-75 in the past but his most recent stop gave him a better opportunity to get intimate with the school.
“My time was good,” Waters told Swamp247. “I talked with Coach Will [Harris] and talked to most of the other coaches there actually. I got to sit down with Coach Napier, and have a long conversation with him and Coach Harris.
“They were both just telling me to stay humble though the process,” he added. “They were amazed at the things I did this past year, and me going from having no film to where I am now in a year.”
His relationship with Harris has been a very positive one thanks to the coach’s hard work on the road. The nascent defensive backs coach paid a visit to Waters’ high school the first chance he got and it appears to be paying off after meeting again on campus.
“He gives me like a father figure type of vibe,” Waters noted. “He is going to keep me on track, and he said he’s going to be back by my school again this week coming up. He’s going to keep me on track, and always check in on me.”
But there is more to the relationship than just sports.
“It’s not all about football with him,” he continued. “Outside of football, he wants to be there for me to prepare me as a man. He’s going to take care of me and be that father figure type on top of being a coach. He would be my position coach, so I would need that if I do end up going there.”
The University of Florida also has the edge on the family side as well.
“My dad is like a big Florida fan, so I have been catching up on Florida since I was young. I ain’t going to lie,” Waters admitted.
“Since I just got home from the visit, they are looking like the first school for me. Like they are number one. I am feeling the school, and feeling the coaches. I know I am not going to be someone who commits to a coach. I am someone who is going to commit to a school.”
Water is unrated and unranked by all of the major scouting outlets. On3’s Recruiting Prediction Machine gives the Gators a commanding 67.2% chance of signing him early on, followed by the USF Bulls (5.3%), Jackson State Tigers (4.6%) and Ole Miss Rebels (3.8%).