Gators head coach Dan Mullen wrapped up his National Signing Day press conference about an hour ago.
At the time, he was not permitted to discuss Manor (Texas) defensive lineman Princely Umanmielen because his NLI had not arrived. That has changed.
Umanmielen became the third newcomer to officially sign with the Gators today. A 6-foot-4, 282-pound athlete who originally committed to Texas but re-opened his recruitment as others began to show interest, Umanmielen chose Florida over Baylor and Auburn.
As a senior at Manor High, Umanmielen finished with 90 tackles, 27 tackles for loss and 10 sacks and earned a No. 9 national ranking at his position by 247Sports.com.
For more on Mullen's reaction on NSD, check back with FloridaGators.com later for an in-depth story.
As the Gators targeted players to pursue heavily on the recruiting trail in building the 2020 signing class, receiver Xzavier Henderson was always on the radar.
The younger brother of ex-Florida cornerback CJ Henderson, Xzavier would be a big get for the Gators for multiple reasons. First, he is a talented 6-foot-4, 192-pound playmaker at a position of need considering Florida was losing four senior receivers in Josh Hammond, Freddie Swain, Van Jefferson and Tyrie Cleveland.
Second, if the Gators could land Henderson over early favorites Clemson, Alabama and Georgia, it would serve as another sign of a program on the rise. When you start to swing players with inside connections to the program such as in Henderson's case, the message is clear to other recruits: the success people see on the outside is rooted in a quality system on the inside.
UF head coach Dan Mullen announced Henderson's signing earlier this morning on National Signing Day, joining transfer receiver Justin Shorter as the newest Gators.
Henderson comes from a championship program at Columbus High in Miami, playing on state championships teams his junior and senior seasons. In 22 games, Henderson averaged 15.8 yards per catch and caught seven touchdowns.
And like his older brother, Xzavier has wheels.
Henderson won the Class 4A state title in the 400 meters and finished second in the 200. He had plenty of enticing offers from some of top programs in the country and is a player who could contribute in his first season on campus.
For more on Henderson's background, here is a good story from subscription site TheAthletic.com by UF beat writer Will Sammon.
Dan Mullen has shown a knack of using the transfer portal as a valuable tool in recruiting.
Mullen tweeted about the latest Gators' transfer a little while ago, welcoming the arrival of receiver Justin Shorter from Penn State on National Signing Day.
If you need a reminder, in Mullen's two seasons at Florida, the Gators have added productive offensive talent in receivers Van Jefferson and Trevon Grimes through the transfer portal.
Shorter has the potential to keep that streak intact. The 6-foot-4, 220-pound wideout from Monmouth Junction, N.J., impressed Florida's recruiting staff with his presence and maturity during his recent official visit.
Shorter's career at Penn State never took off the way most imagined after he was ranked the top prep receiver in the 2018 recruiting class by ESPN. Shorter caught 15 passes for 157 yards with the Nittany Lions in 10 games last season
Once Shorter announced his intentions to transfer and Florida showed interest, a quick connection was made and UF became the favorite to land him.
He committed Jan. 26 and as a five-star recruit coming out of high school, is one of Mullen's biggest gets from the transfer portal. If he can duplicate what Jefferson and Grimes have done with the Gators, Shorter's career is about to take off.
Officially Committed🐊🐊‼️ pic.twitter.com/LmExRIf4GW— Justin Shorter (@JustinShorter15) January 26, 2020
On the latest installment of the Gator Tales Podcast Adam is joined by FloridaGators.com senior writers Scott Carter and Chris Harry to discuss the highlights of the early signing class, an Australian addition on special teams, and a budding local star added to the quarterback mix.
Gators head coach Dan Mullen spoke earlier with SEC Network analyst and former Gators receiver Chris Doering about his program's performance Wednesday on the first day of the Early Signing Period.
Mullen discusses the emphasis on beefing up along the offensive and defensive lines and more in video below:
Anthony Richardson attended his first Florida football game when he was in middle school and his coach brought him to a game.
Richardson was hooked.
"I was amazed hearing how loud everything was,'' he said.
Richardson's next game at the Swamp will be unlike any other. A Gainesville Eastside product, Richardson signed with the Gators on Wednesday.
Richardson is a longtime Florida commit who, following his high school graduation last week, began to practice with the team to get a head start as an early enrollee.
At 6-foot-4, 233 pounds, Richardson has already impressed his teammates at practice with his natural ability.
Congratulations to Anthony Richardson signing with the University of Florida to play football. The signing ceremony will be this afternoon at 3:30pm in the EHS Auditorium. 🐏 —> 🐊 @EHSRamsFootball @GatorsFB @ThePrepZone @SunPreps @mycbs4 @WCJB20 @ESPNGainesville @GVOaant pic.twitter.com/Dnt2stfcjY— Eastside Athletics (@RowdyEHSRams) December 18, 2019
He joins a quarterback room that includes starter Kyle Trask and backup Emory Jones. Richardson continues to adjust to the transition from high school and has simple goals his first spring with the Gators.
"I would say just getting in there and learning the playbook quick and learn as much as I can more Emory and Kyle. They are like big brothers to me,'' Richardson said. "Observing those guys and just bettering myself and bettering my game."
Asked to identify one quality he has that could help the team immediately, Richardson said "my athletic ability. I've always played quarterback but I did play other positions. Maybe in 10th grade is when I realized I could go to college and play quarterback."
Check out FloridaGators.com this week for a more in-depth profile on Richardson and the road he traveled from his early days in Miami, then a relocation to Gainesville, and now a move across town to UF.
The official count is up to 21 for Florida on the first day of the Early Signing Period.
Florida has added Texas transfer receiver Jordan Pouncey and Lakeland High product Fenley Graham in the last hour.
First, Pouncey's brother is Ethan Pouncey, one of the first players to send in his NLI this morning. While Ethan is a defensive back, Jordan is a 6-foot-1, 205-pound receiver who appeared in 12 games for the Longhorns after departing Winter Park High. He will join the Gators as a graduate transfer and listed as a redshirt junior.
As a prep senior, Jordan rushed for 768 yards and 12 scores and caught 31 passes as a versatile threat who spent most of his career at Texas playing special teams.
The 5-foot-8, 162-pound Graham is a playmaker who excelled on special teams in his high school career. He accumulated more than 1,600 combined yards on kickoff and punt returns and picked off six passes as a defensive back in three seasons on the Lakeland varsity.
Listed as an athlete, Graham played defensive back in high school and recorded 40 tackles and three interceptions his senior season. Two of his former Lakeland teammates are current Gators Lloyd Summerall III and Keon Zipperer.
The Gators are losing four key seniors on the defensive line, so adding help up front was imperative in this class.
In steps Jalen Lee.
225✈️352 pic.twitter.com/r1YcbxnT6F— Jalen🖤 (@jalenlee__) December 16, 2019
Lee is the latest UF signee this morning. At 6-foot-3 and 306 pounds, he is the biggest of the four defensive line Florida has signed so far in the 2020 class. Lee arrives from Live Oak High in Watson, La.
A former LSU commit, Lee chose the Gators over SEC heavyweights Alabama and Georgia to bulk up what is shaping up as a formidable group of newcomers along the defensive front.
Lee joins Johnnie Brown, Gervon Dexter and Lamar Goods as the defensive linemen among the 19 players have inked thus far.
Florida head coach Dan Mullen extended an official welcome to Lee on his Twitter account:
The Gators have loaded up on defensive backs during the Early Signing Period, inking their sixth player in the secondary from the 18 players officially signed since punter Jeremy Crawshaw signed late Tuesday afternoon from his home in Australia.
The latest addition is Rashad Torrence, a 6-foot, 202-pound prospect out of Marietta (Ga.) High School. Torrence made his mark in high school, helping Marietta win the Class 7A state championship as a senior. He finished with 111 tackles, an interception and two forced fumbles.
Torrence was a hot commodity on the recruiting trail, receiving more than 25 offers from Division I programs. He started his prep career at Carrollton (Ga.) High before transferring to Marietta as a sophomore.
The Gators are losing cornerback CJ Henderson to the NFL next season and senior safety Jeawon Taylor is set to play his final game in the Orange Bowl, coupled with unexpected departures over the past year, the secondary was a prime area of concentration for the Gators in this recruiting cycle.
Torrence joins Avery Helm, Mordecai McDaniel, Tre'Vez Johnson, Jahari Rogers and Ethan Pouncey as the newest members of Florida's secondary during the Early Signing Period.
Florida head coach Dan Mullen's Twitter account has been very active this morning.
The Gators have signed 17 players so far during the Early Signing Period and expect more on the way as the day progresses.
Let's check out the last five to sign:
First, quarterback Anthony Richardson is well-known to locals and to those of you checking in from around the state or country or world thanks to the internet. Richardson starred at Gainesville Eastside High and is the first scholarship quarterback from Gainesville to sign with Florida since Doug Johnson in 1996. Hawthorne's Cornelius Ingram, who signed as a quarterback in 2004 but played primarily at tight end, is another Alachua County quarterback to stay home and play for the Gators since the turn of the century.
Richardson has already graduated and has been participating in on-campus bowl practices to get a head start on his college career. Here is a look at Mullen's welcome tweet:
Defensive lineman Johnnie Brown is from Sebring High and fills a need up front. Brown played at Middleton High in Tampa his first three seasons prior to moving to Sebring, where at 6-foot-3, 273 pounds, he also plays basketball.
As a senior, Brown registered 53 tackles and seven sacks. He forced four fumbles and chose Florida over the likes of Florida State, Georgia, LSU and Tennessee. He played for Sebring High coach LaVaar Scott, who is the brother of Gators assistant coach Larry Scott.
The Gators found another defensive lineman north of the border in 6-foot-3, 303-pound Lamar Goods, who hails from Fort McMurray in Alberta, Canada originally. Goods was a member of Canada's Under-18 national team as a 16-year-old and spent his final season at St. Thomas Moore School in Connecticut.
Goods committed to Kentucky early but flipped to the Gators when they showed interest. Bennie Goods, Lamar's father, spent 10 seasons in the Canadian Football League and was a three-time All-Star in the 1990s.
The Gators are high on the potential of former prep quarterback-turned-defensive back Jahari Rogers. A New Orleans native, Rogers moved to Arlington, Texas, his senior year of high school. He also made a big switch on the field, moving from quarterback to defensive back.
Rogers didn't disappoint, earning a spot in the Under Armour All-American game after helping Arlington reach the regional finals of the state playoffs. Rogers (6-0, 170) is a superb athlete who passed for 2,670 yards and 31 touchdowns as a junior.
The latest player to sign is Dunnellon High receiver Ja'Quavion Fraziers, who at 6-foot-4, 212 pounds provides a big target.
Fraziers entertained offers from Auburn, Georgia, Miami and Penn State before choosing Florida. He is a two-sport standout at Dunnellon, where he hit .475 with 37 RBI and 49 stolen bases as a junior. Fraziers has shown an interest in perhaps being a dual-sport athlete with the Gators.
With Florida's receiving corps taking a hard hit from graduation, Fraziers' addition comes at a position of need. He caught 12 touchdowns on 31 receptions as a junior and also played safety on defense.
If you have been following along, it has been a busy first 90 minutes for the Gators during the Early Signing Period.
Three more players are officially part of the program: Tampa Jesuit tight end Jonathan Odom, defensive back Avery Helm of Missouri City, Texas, and defensive back Mordecai McDaniel of Fort Washington, Md.
Let's start with Odom, who has a deep connection to Florida. His father, former UF offensive lineman Jason Odom, was a four-year UF letterwinner from 1992-95 and played on three SEC championship teams. Jonathan, at 6-foot-5, 245 pounds, has his dad's height but is more athletic based on his prospect film. He caught eight of Jesuit's 17 touchdowns his junior season in 2018 and was coveted by the best of the best, including Alabama, LSU and Ohio State.
Helm is another player the Gators got over a host of SEC powers. He is a standout at Fort Bend (Texas) Thurgood Marshall High and is set to play in the state championship on Saturday.
At 6-1, 170 pounds, Helm is a fluid athlete who has seven interceptions and 16 passes defended in 24 varsity games. He is part of a deep haul of defensive backs for the Gators this cycle.
McDaniel (6-1, 195) is another member of the Gators' deep incoming class of defensive backs. He originally committed to Tennessee but Florida flipped him in the final days leading up to Wednesday's Early Signing Period.
McDaniel was a two-way player at St. John's College (Md.) High who also played receiver. He entertained offers from more than 15 top Division I programs and has speed to burn as a two-time state champion in the 55- and 300-meters.
The Gators have added talented linebacker Antwaun Powell from Indian River High in Portsmouth, Va. Powell is listed at 6-foot-3, 244 pounds, adding a physical player to the roster who had offers from top programs such as Michigan, Notre Dame, Penn State and Oklahoma.
Powell lost most of his senior season to a shoulder injury but is committed to play in the Under Armour All-American Game.
Florida head coach Dan Mullen welcomed Powell aboard via Twitter:
Offensive lineman Joshua Braun is one of the more impressive all-around players in Florida's 2020 class. Braun joined the team for bowl workouts last weekend after completing his course work at Suwannee High.
Braun comes from an accomplished family. His parents both attended Army and played sports at the service academy in the late 1980s and his two older brothers played the offensive line in college at Georgia Tech and Texas.
Defensive back Ethan Pouncey of Winter Park High and offensive lineman Gerald Mincey of Cardinal Gibbons High are the latest players to officially sign with the Gators.
Of course, if you follow recruiting year-round, you know Pouncey is the cousin of former Gators Mike and Maurkice Pouncey. If not, now you know. He is part of a large group of incoming defensive backs expected for the Gators when their 2020 class is finalized.
Meanwhile, Mincey is listed at 6-foot-5, 328 pounds, adds depth and significant beef up front. One of the primary focal points for the Gators in this class is adding depth up front on both the offensive and defensive lines.
Mincey is touted for his above-average footwork and played on a Cardinal Gibbons team that won a Class 5A state championship.
Head coach Dan Mullen welcomed both players on his Twitter account:
The action has been fast and furious for the Gators early this morning during the Early Signing Period.
Soon after Tre'Vez Johnson signed, offensive lineman Richie Leonard, linebacker Derek Wingo and defensive lineman Gervon Dexter sent in their NLIs.
Here is a glance at Florida head coach Dan Mullen welcoming the newcomers via his Twitter account:
Defensive back Tre'Vez Johnson from Bartram Trail High in Jacksonville is the first player to get his NLI into Florida's compliance office this morning.
The Gators really see a high ceiling for Johnson, arguably the fastest player they will sign today.
Johnson runs a legit 4.4 in the 40-yard dash and has worked hard to revamp his body in high school. He's not just speed and finesse. Florida's recruiting staff is impressed by his physicality and considers his film some of the best of any prospect to sign with the Gators in recent years.
UF head coach Dan Mullen confirmed Johnson's signing on his Twitter account a few minutes ago:
THE SWAMP -- A tradition unlike any other. Jim Nantz made that phrase famous at the Masters.
Of course, you could say the same about National Signing Day, or for the next three days, what they call the Early Signing Period.
As you can see, we're up early here at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium this morning as the Gators prepare to welcome another group of newcomers in the 2020 recruiting class.
The first National Letters of Intent should start to roll of the fax machine soon (I can smell it heating up) and they will continue throughout the morning and into the afternoon. We will keep you updated when recruits officially become Gators and will offer insight throughout the day as Florida head coach Dan Mullen inks his third class since taking over the program in late 2017.
Hope you come back often. When the first NLI is confirmed we will let you know.
Otherwise, as always, grab another cup of coffee like me and have some fun as Florida seeks to continue the momentum it has heading into the Dec. 30 Orange Bowl matchup against Virginia.
Punter Jeremy Crawshaw owns a pair of new school records before his first game: longest fax and earliest signee in UF football history.
Crawshaw officially joined the program Wednesday shortly after 7 a.m. when his National Letter of Intent arrived in Florida's compliance office. Wait, what? It's only Tuesday. Not in Emu Plains, New South Wales in Australia, where Crawshaw calls home.
The Australian used the clock to his advantage during the Early Signing Period. A suburb located about 35 miles west of Sydney, Emu Plains is 16 hours ahead of what the clocks that hang around the Swamp say today.