After adding 13 players to it’s roster on Dec. 20 during the first ever early signing period, Florida football coach Dan Mullen tacked on six more recruits to his 2018 signing class on Wednesday.

National Signing Day saw the Gators finish with the 14th best recruiting class in the nation and fourth best in the SEC, according to 247Sports.

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“I’m excited about the athleticism that we’ve brought in today and the flexibility those guys have,” Mullen said. “I’m really pleased with how well today went.”
With Florida’s final recruiting efforts coming to close, Mullen knows which freshmen will be coming to Gainesville in the fall.

National Signing Day

For four-star wide receiver Jacob Copeland, Wednesday was probably one of the more emotional days of his recruitment. Surrounded by family wearing either Alabama or Tennessee gear, he placed a Florida hat on his head, an act that caused his mother to walk away from the live signing visibly upset.

They hugged a few moments later and the Pensacola, Florida, native became the last Gator recruit to sign his letter of intent on Wednesday.

Copeland, the 69th best player in the country, according to 247sports, initially committed to Florida in August before decommitting after Mullen was hired.

While Copeland was UF’s highest-ranked player, the Gators grabbed two more players within the top 100 in four-star receiver Justin Watkins and four-star offensive tackle Richard Gouraige.

Watkins and Gouraige could be key pieces in Florida’s offense next season and had already verbally committed to the team in recent months.

UF also added two defensive linemen in Andrew Chatfield and Malik Langham.

Chatfield, the 13th best weakside defensive end in the country, was originally an Ohio State commit, while Langham, the 14th best strongside defensive end, was choosing between Florida, Auburn and Alabama.

Three-star center Griffin McDowell, the 21st best center in the country, rounds out the 2018 class. He had committed to Florida on Jan. 20.

Early Signing Period

With four-star quarterback Emory Jones announcing his decommitment from Ohio State, both Florida and Florida State entered the running to snag the dual-threat quarterback. But on Dec. 20, he put on his Gator snapback hat and enrolled at UF a few days later.

Jones, the fifth best dual-threat quarterback in the country, according to 247Sports, comes to Gainesville attempting to win the starting job over Feleipe Franks.

“We couldn’t be happier to have Emory come in and be our quarterback for the future,” Mullen said.

Four-star safeties Amari Burney, the 14th best safety in the nation, Trey Dean, the 17th best safety, will join Jones at Florida. Burney committed to Florida on June 1, while Dean was originally a Tennessee commit.

The Gators also added two offensive four-star recruits in tight end Kyle Pitts and running back Dameon Pierce. Pitts, the nation’s fifth-best tight end, will look to replace DeAndre Goolsby, while Pierce, the nation’s eighth best running back, will join Malik Davis, Lamical Perine, Jordan Scarlett and Adarius Lemons in the Gators’ running back corps.

Rounding out Florida’s class is four-star linebacker David Reese, four-star athlete Iverson Clement, three-star offensive tackles Noah Banks and Chris Bleich, three-star safeties John Huggins and Randy Russell, three-star tight end Dante Long and three-star kicker Evan McPherson.

Russell has been ruled ineligible to play, however, due to a cardiac “abnormality” that was discovered by UF’s medical staff during a pre-participation physical.

Follow Jake Dreilinger on Twitter @DreilingerJake and contact him at jdreilinger@alligator.org.

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