The Florida Gators brought in a talented recruiting class during the 2023 cycle, and now it’s time to see which true freshmen will stand out early for the team. On3 released a preseason true freshman All-American team on Tuesday, and a pair of Gators made the cut — wide receiver Eugene “Tre” Wilson III and cornerback Ja’Keem Jackson.
On3 was the only recruiting service to list Wilson as a five-star talent during his recruitment, and they are backing off that assessment. In fact, the folks at On3 are doubling down
“I think when you’re looking at the receiver position, we highly value coordination, movement skills, and Eugene Wilson has all of that in spades,” On3 Director of Scouting and Rankings Charles Powers said. “… Just a phenomenal overall athlete. … Getting really strong reviews early on in his time at Florida. … So Eugene Wilson, he’s one that we’ve been high on for a long time, and I think he could be set to surprise some folks this year in Gainesville.”
Wilson should be the successor to Ricky Pearsall in the slot at Florida in 2024, but he could find snaps early as a freshman. If On3’s predictions are right, Pearsall could see more time out wide as Wilson establishes himself as a true freshman.
Jackson is another player that Powers thinks could fight his way into a regular role in his first year at Florida. He spent some time at receiver in high school before switching to cornerback but has shown a ton of promise since. His elite speed (sub-11-second 100-meter sprint) makes him stand out, and Florida doesn’t have a ton of depth as his position.
Junior Jason Marshall Jr. appears to be a lock for the No. 1 spot on the depth chart, and both Jalen Kimber and Devin Moore are solid options behind him. But, Jackson could very well be next on the list.
“Although Florida has some established corners returning for this fall … I wouldn’t be surprised to see Ja’Keem Jackson get on the field and impress early on in his career at a Gator,” Powers said. “Jackson’s received some strong reviews since enrolling. He’s one who we were very high on at On3 throughout the process. We really like the upside.”
It’s clear that Florida has some talented young players on its hands heading into the 2023 season, but opportunity can be tough to come by. Napier has shown a willingness to play freshman, though, and Florida’s roster went through a significant amount of turnover during the offseason.