National Signing Day is here and recruits are now able to sign their national letter of intent and formally commit to their college of choice. Here are 10 players to watch out for as Jim McElwain attempts to round out his first recruiting class as Florida’s head coach. All information regarding rankings comes from Rivals.com.
Five-star strongside defensive end Byron Cowart (6-foot-3, 252 pounds, Seffner, Florida, Armwood High)
The No. 1 recruit in the country, Byron Cowart will announce at 9:10 a.m. today on ESPNU in a ceremony broadcast from the Armwood High gym. Cowart visited Florida on Jan. 23 and Auburn on Jan. 16 and has received 23 scholarship offers total.
After initially being scheduled to visit Florida State on Friday, Cowart decided against the official visit, and told ESPN.com he had narrowed his decision to UF and Auburn. Cowart’s visit to Florida made waves when he reportedly left the university early after his mother, who attended the visit with him to meet with Coach Jim McElwain and defensive coordinator Geoff Collins, was called into work, ESPN reported. Cowart was initially recruited to Florida by former head coach Will Muschamp and former defensive line coach Brad Lawing, now with Auburn and Florida State, respectively.
Cowart, aside from having tremendous size, possesses a unique blend of speed and power to knock blockers off and disrupt the pass as well as excelling as a run-stopper.
Five-star offensive tackle Martez Ivey (6-foot-5, 271 pounds, Apopka, Fla., Apopka High)
Martez Ivey, the top-ranked offensive tackle in the 2015 recruiting class will be deciding between Florida and Auburn.
He visited both schools last fall — Florida in October and Auburn in November. Ivey is a highly touted prospect, holding offers from 18 Division I schools. He earned a roster spot in the 2015 U.S. Army All-American Bowl, as well as being named to the Class 8A All-State team and the 2015 U.S. Army Player of the Year.
Ivey explodes off the line incredibly well and drives down defenders with ease. He has good footwork as a pass blocker and makes it easy for running backs to follow his blocks around the edge as well. He played a little bit of right tackle throughout his high school career, but will likely find a spot at left tackle if he chooses Florida.
Wherever he ends up, he is talented enough to have a real opportunity to see the field early. Ivey’s announcement is scheduled to take place during a ceremony at Apopka High School.
Five-star strongside defensive end, CeCe Jefferson (6-foot-2, 245 Pounds, Glen St. Mary, Florida, Baker County)
CeCe Jefferson is an explosive defensive end prospect. He may not be Byron Cowart, but Jefferson isn’t far behind in terms of potential as he has his own five-star ranking. The No. 2 ranked strongside defensive end prospect’s game at the high school level was simple: Get after the quarterback. Jefferson uses his speed and has a great burst coming off the edge.
He has a quick first step when getting off on the ball and uses his god-given talent to make plays in the backfield. Jefferson uses his hands well to go along with his good length and has the body frame to put on the necessary weight once he gets into a college weight room.
Jefferson will need to continue his development as an all-around defensive end since he relies on his speed and burst. Adding a consistent go-to move or two, to go along with his speed can make a world of a difference.
Jefferson will be deciding between Alabama, Auburn, Florida and Ole Miss from the comfort of his own home.
Four-star wide receiver Antonio Callaway (6-foot, 185 pounds, Miami, Booker T. Washington)
Antonio Callaway, the No. 36 wide receiver in the 2015 class, would provide Florida a wide receiver with a quick first step.
On film, Callaway showcases great field vision and the capability to line up just about anywhere on the offensive side of the ball.
He knows how to break past defenders and utilizes a shifty cutback move to break free in one-on-one coverage.
Callaway also has potential to give Florida an extra man in punt return duties, which would help relieve the loss of special teams standout Andre Debose.
Callaway is deciding between Florida and Miami
Four-star wide receiver Ryan Davis (5-foot-10, 161 pounds, St. Petersburg, Lakewood High)
Ryan Davis, the No. 8 wide receiver and the No. 64 overall prospect in the country, spent the majority of his time at St. Petersburg’s Lakewood High as the team’s quarterback.
But as he prepares to transition to the collegiate level, Davis is looking to transition to the wide receiver.
Davis possesses great body control — especially when running along the sidelines — and the ability to grab the ball at its highest point.
As a quarterback at Lakewood High, Davis showcased immense athleticism, utilizing his speed and a quick sidestep to fake out defenders when he ran out of the pocket.
Davis’ top schools are Auburn and Florida.
— JORDAN MCPHERSON
Four-star quarterback Deondre Francois (6-foot, 191 pounds, Bradenton, Florida IMG Academy)
Deondre Francois is one of the more curious cases for Florida fans as signing day has finally arrived.
On Thursday, Francois tweeted he was decommitting from rival Florida State. AlligatorSports was able to confirm with one of Francois’ assistant coaches that he had in fact decommitted. Then, after speaking to his head coach, former FSU quarterback Chris Wienke, it was confirmed that Francois was staying garnet and gold.
No one will truly know until the fax comes in to either Tallahassee or Gainesville Wednesday afternoon. Francois is by all accounts the most talented of FSU’s quarterback class. Kai Locksley flipped to Texas Monday night, an anticipated move, leaving the Seminoles class with two committed QBs and a Francois flip would leave the Seminoles with early enrollee De’Andre Johnson as the lone quarterback in the 2015 class.
Francois won’t wow with his speed or mobility but what immediately jumps off the screen is a solid arm as well as very impressive ball placement with this throw.
Four-star outside linebacker, Jeffery Holland (6-foot-1, 225 Pounds, Jacksonville, Florida, Trinity Christian Academy)
Jeffery Holland is an intriguing prospect. At Trinity Christian Academy, he played a number of positions including running back, wide receiver and he even saw time as a wildcat quarterback.
But Holland’s home at the collegiate level will be at outside linebacker.
The first thing that jumps out for the 20th ranked outside linebacker is his athleticism. Holland can effortlessly do a front flip, even though he won’t be asked to do so during a game in college. Holland is great off the edge and uses his speed to get into the backfield and possesses the body type to add weight, without losing his quick twitch.
One of the bigger questions for Holland is his ability to drop back into coverage. Will he be able to matchup one-on-one against a tight end that is isolated on him, or a slot receiver?
Working in his favor is his speed and his length and as long as he adds weight, he should be good in coverage. Holland will be announcing his signing at Trinity Christian Academy and he will be choosing between Auburn, Florida and Ole Miss.
Four-star athlete D’Anfernee McGriff (6-foot-3, 225 pounds, Tallahassee, Leon High)
D’Anfernee McGriff played a little bit of everything in high school: quarterback, running back and wide receiver.
He’ll most likely settle at running back should he commit to UF. McGriff recently took his official visit to Florida on Jan. 23, a week after officially visiting Auburn.
He decommitted from Auburn on Monday night with a cryptic message posted to his Twitter account @DMcgriff1 "This Recruiting Game Is Dirty. You Have To Remain Humble & Be Able To Block Things Out! Only The Strong Survive."
He had been verbally pledged to the Tigers since April 22. McGriff is a stockily built player with tree-trunk legs and a low center of gravity but does have decent speed for his size when catching the ball in the slot or out of the backfield.
— RICHARD JOHNSON
Three-star offensive tackle Nick Buchanan (6-foot-4, 285 pounds, Dunwoody, Georgia, Dunwoody High)
Initially a verbal commitment to California in December, Nick Buchanan took an official visit to Florida on Jan. 30 and de-committed from the Golden Bears on Feb. 2 through his Twitter page.
An offensive tackle by position, Buchanan may switch to guard in college to better suit his build and skill set.
After running the triple-option his first three years in high school, Dunwoody High ran a more "downhill, power, no-huddle offense" he reportedly told Cal after receiving his offer. Buchanan is reportedly choosing between Florida and Georgia, who he visited on Jan. 23. Florida currently has five offensive linemen verbal commitments in the 2015 class.
— GRAHAM HALL
Three-star offensive lineman Michael Horton (6-foot-4, 320 pounds, Atlanta, Lakeside High)
Mike Horton is verbally committed to Florida, but after his visit to Auburn last weekend, he wanted to wait until today to make his final decision.
"I just had a great visit, and I’m going to talk to my mom about it and talk to my coaches and just think about it a little bit," Horton told AL.com Sunday following his visit to Auburn. "I still like Florida a lot. Auburn’s a great school. I’m just going to think about it. I’m still committed to Florida."
Horton committed to Florida last July when now-Auburn defensive coordinator Will Muschamp was still around as Florida’s head coach. He has kept his verbal commitment throughout the coaching change to Jim McElwain, but could be wavering a bit following his visit to Auburn.
Horton is pretty versatile as he can play both right and left guard and has also taken reps at left tackle as well at Lakeside. He’s a talented run blocker on film and is impressively quick off the ball even with his large frame.
— MORGAN MORIARTY
Stay tuned to alligatorSports throughout the day for all of your National Signing Day updates.