It hasn’t been as eventful as June, but since the start of July, the Gators have made strides along the recruiting trail.
UF picked up six oral commitments in June: four-star wide receiver Javares McRoy, three-star fullback Hunter Joyer, three-star offensive lineman Tommy Jordan, four-star linebacker Ryan Shazier, three-star wide receiver Ja’Juan Story and kicker Kyle Christy.
Since July 1, the Gators have landed commitments from three more recruits, held their Friday Night Lights camp, reaffirmed commitments from a couple prospects and put themselves in position to land some of the top talent in the state.
In the hours leading up to the team’s sixth annual Friday Night Lights camp, which is one of the biggest recruiting events in the nation, UF added the 11th and 12th members to its 2011 football recruiting class.
First, the Gators landed a verbal from Dover, Del., four-star offensive lineman Trip Thurman, who joins Jordan as the only two commits on the line so far.
Thurman made his commitment while visiting UF.
“I knew that Florida was where I wanted to be, so I made my decision,” Thurman told the Gainesville Sun.
After that, UF shored up a commitment from Pensacola Pine Forest defensive back Louchiez Purifoy. While he is not rated by Rivals.com, Purifoy garnered offers from Auburn and Alabama before choosing Florida.
Later that day when UF held its Friday Night Lights camp, some of the top talent from the state and other prospects from around the country took the field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium to try to impress the UF coaching staff.
While many recruits were trying to earn attention, the coaches were making sure that they held onto commitments from a handful of recruits that already pledged to come to Florida.
Following their showings at the camp, a few UF commits reaffirmed their intentions to sign with the Gators, including Deland four-star athlete De’Ante “Pop” Saunders.
Four-star tight end A.C. Leonard, who committed to UF in November, also reiterated his plans.
“I’m still solid,” Leonard said.
Asheville, N.C., four-star defensive end Jeoffrey Pagan was thought to be wavering on his verbal to UF after telling the Asheville Citizen-Times in June that he was close to 50 percent on UF. But after Friday Night Lights, Pagan said he remained fully committed to the Gators and would not make visits to other schools once the season began.
In August, UF received a commitment from three-star defensive end Chase Hounshell, who will play offensive tackle in college despite seeing some time at defensive end in high school.
The Gators also vaulted themselves to the top of a few elite recruits’ lists in the wake of Friday Night Lights.
“If they run the ball and win games … I’m here,” four-star running back Mike Blakely said. “As long as the running back gets the ball, (the offense) doesn’t matter.”
Dwyer’s Curt Maggitt, the No. 12 defensive end in the nation, also placed UF atop his list of schools, as did South Lake four-star cornerback Nick Waisome, who plans to announce his decision on Aug. 18.