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Wednesday, December 01, 2021

A look inside the Gators’ new top 10 recruiting class

Sandwiched between last week’s loss to LSU and Saturday’s upcoming SEC Championship game, the Florida Gators secured another top 10 recruiting class

Coach Dan Mullen during the Florida-Georgia game Nov. 2, 2019.
Coach Dan Mullen during the Florida-Georgia game Nov. 2, 2019.

Sandwiched between  last week’s loss to LSU and Saturday’s upcoming SEC Championship game, the Florida Gators secured another top 10 recruiting class Wednesday. The class is headlined by two five-stars, cornerback Jason Marshall and safety Corey Collier Jr.. This is the Gators’ highest rated class since 2013, when they brought in the third-ranked class.

The Headliners

Jason Marshall, Cornerback, Miami Palmetto

Marshall was Florida’s biggest get on the defensive side of the ball. The third-ranked cornerback in the class, he’s an ideal modern-day defensive back, making an impact in both the passing and rushing game. He has the ball skills of a wide receiver and isn’t scared to be left alone on the outside. Marshall is a physical player who isn’t afraid to get some stains on his jersey. With his physical traits and discipline, he’s as close to a sure thing as there is.

Corey Collier Jr., Safety, Miami Palmetto

If Marshall was the No.1 get for the Gators on defense, then Collier is 1B. Collier is the 22nd-ranked prospect and third-ranked safety in the 2021 class. He’s a long defensive back with the ability to play multiple positions in the secondary. Collier has as high of a ceiling as any safety in the class and could develop into a national star during his collegiate career, according to Rob Cassidy of GatorsTerritory. Collier and his high school teammate Marshall may become the staples of the Gators’ secondary.

Jeremiah Williams, Linebacker, Ramsay High School (AL)

Williams is a four-star linebacker from Birmingham, Alabama, and the eighth-ranked outside linebacker in the 2021 class. His offer list included Alabama, Notre Dame, Oklahoma and Georgia, but Williams ultimately decided to take his talents to Gainesville. Williams nearly committed during his February visit because of the combination of athletics and academics UF provides, according to GatorsTerritory. As a player, Williams brings a diverse skill set and versatility to the Gators’ defense. He has the ability to line up on the line of scrimmage as an edge rusher or as an off-ball linebacker. He can fight through blocks as a pass rusher but is still nimble and quick in space.

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Carlos Del Rio, Quarterback, Cartersville High School (GA)

Del Rio is the ninth-ranked pro-style quarterback in this year’s class. The 6-foot-3-inch gunslinger from Georgia received interest from LSU, Florida State and Michigan. On the field, he has a cannon for an arm. The coaches made it easy for him to commit to UF, according to GatorsTerritory. 

“The coaches keep it real with me,” Del Rio told GatorsTerritory. “They have from the beginning, and that is a big reason why I have stayed locked on Florida. They don't guarantee me anything. They tell me I will have to work hard. They keep it real with me, and that means more than anything.”

Tyreak Sapp, Strongside defensive end, St. Thomas Aquinas

No relation to NFL Hall of Famer Warren Sapp, Tyreak Sapp is the 29th-ranked prospect in the class and fifth-ranked strongside defensive end. He had offers from powerhouse programs, such as Alabama, Clemson, LSU and Ohio State, but decided on Florida. Sapp has the upside to be a difference maker in the SEC, Cassidy said. At 6 feet, 3 inches tall and 260 lbs., Sapp’s  combination of size and quickness is rare — even in a conference like the SEC. He’s still raw but could become an anchor of Florida’s defensive unit.

Diwun Black, Safety, Gulf Coast Community College (MS)

The best story to come out of signing day was that of Diwun Black. Black originally committed to Florida as a part of its 2019 recruiting class but didn’t meet academic requirements. He then played at Gulf Coast Community College, where Black established himself as the No.1 JUCO prospect in the country.  Like Williams, Black brings versatility to the Florida defense, with the ability to lineup at safety, linebacker or edge rusher. Listed at 6 feet, 4 inches tall, Black brings a surprising amount of speed with his big frame. He’s a sound tackler who has a nose for the football. Once he settles into the Gators’ program, Black may become a potential star.

All National Signing Day Recruits

Four Stars

Marcus Burke, wide receiver, Trinity Christian Academy

Donovan McMillon, safety, Peters Township (PA)

Daejon Reynolds, wide receiver, Grayson High School (GA)

Desmond Watson, defensive tackle, Armwood High School

Gage Wilcox, tight end, Jefferson High School

Jordan Young, cornerback, Gaither High School

Three Stars

Justus Boone, strongside defensive end, Sumter High School (SC)

Chief Borders, outline linebacker, Heard County High School (GA)

Nick Elknis, tight end, Episcopal School of Jacksonville

Jalen Kitna, quarterback, Burleson High School (TX)

Yousef Mugharbil, offensive tackle, Murphy High School (NC)

Jake Slaughter, center, Trinity Catholic High School

Christopher Thomas Jr., defensive tackle, Dunbar High School

Two Stars

Rocco Underwood, center, Lake Mary High School

*All rankings used are according to Rivals.com.

Contact Michael Hull at mhull@alligator.org and follow him on Twitter @Michael_Hull33

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Michael Hull

Michael Hull is a third-year journalism major with a specialization in sports & media. He has a minor in business and leadership and is a struggling Jacksonville Jaguars fan.


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