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Sunday, September 24, 2023

Top defensive line prospect T.J. Spearcy commits to Florida

The No. 20 defensive lineman of the 2023 recruiting class committed to l the Florida football program.

<p>Florida Football Coach Billy Napier arrives with his family at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium for his first day on the job on Sunday, Dec. 5, 2021. </p><p></p>

Florida Football Coach Billy Napier arrives with his family at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium for his first day on the job on Sunday, Dec. 5, 2021.

Top football prospect T.J. Searcy announced his commitment to the University of Florida Monday.

The defensive lineman is ranked as the 20th best player at his position in the 2023 recruiting class, according to 247sports. chose Florida over offers from Clemson, South Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee.

The Gators hosted Searcy three times this year, including his official visit June 10. 

During Florida’s recruitment process, outside linebackers coach Mike Peterson was a pivotal factor to the commits’ recruitment, according to Searcy. Coach Peterson knew of Searcy well before his return to coach at Florida on Jan. 6, recruiting the defenseman on behalf of South Carolina when he was sit outside linebackers coach.

“He was pretty much letting me know I can come into their defense and make an impact right away,” Searcy told Gators Online. “Mike P is a great dude. He knows so much about the game. He’s an actual legend in Gainesville.”

Peterson, who was a member of Florida’s 1996 National Championship team under Steve Spurrier, is expected to work with Searcy on wreaking havoc on the edge instead of using his versatility in the front seven. According to 247sports national recruiting analyst Cooper Petagna, Searcy possesses a long, 6-foot-five-inches frame that brings flashes of athleticism to both sides of the ball. 

“They pretty much want to use me to get sacks,” Searcy said. “They don’t really want to drop me a lot.” 

Gators head coach Billy Napier also had a pivotal role in the four-star recruits decision. Searcy believes in Napier’s plan for on-field development and that he could reach his full potential off the field as well. He gave the coach high praise during his last visit to campus. 

“He’s a great guy for sure. He’s definitely one of the best head coaches I’ve talked to,” Searcy said. “I can come to Florida and be a great football player, but then I'll also get developed after the game and off the field.” 

With Searcy’s commitment, Florida’s football program now has nine commitments from the class of 2023. Searcy is one of two commits for UF hailing from the Peach State. 

Contact Brandon Hernandez at Follow him on Twitter @BranH2001.

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Brandon Hernandez

Brandon Hernandez is currently the enterprise sports writer and sports podcast host for The Independent Alligator. He likes long walks on the sidewalk and watching basketball tape in his off time. You can find most of his work @BranH2001 on X and on The Courtside Podcast on Spotify.

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