The Gators will welcome four transfer student-athletes who began classes this spring to the 2021 football roster. The bulk of this spring's transfer additions will be seen on the defensive side of the ball, as the Gators added three defensive linemen and one running back.
- Demarkcus Bowman – RB
- Dylan Meeks – DL
- Daquan Newkirk – DL
- Antonio Shelton – DL
The Gators added 21 players Wednesday during the Early Signing Period, with Winter Park (Fla.) defensive back Dakota Mitchell the final player signed, sealed and delivered.
Mitchell is a 5-foot-11, 185-pound versatile threat in the secondary. He played safety and nickel cornerback in high school and helped the Wildcats advance to the Class 8A playoffs as a senior.
Wilson also played receiver and running back in high school and originally committed to LSU. When he reopened his recruitment, the Gators became the front runner, culminating in Wednesday's announcement.
For a closer look at Mitchell in action, check out the video:
Mitchell chose the Gators over LSU, Alabama, Arkansas and Auburn, among others, in the SEC.
Here is the introductory video for Mitchell from the UF football team's Twitter account:
The Gators have signed their second quarterback of the day, Carlos Del Rio-Wilson out of Cartersville (Ga.) High.
Del Rio-Wilson is a 6-foot-2, 215-pound four-star prospect according to the 247Sports Composite rankings, which has him as the 16th-rated quarterback in the country.
Del Rio-Wilson committed to Florida in July 2019 at the program's Friday Night Lights summer camp. He drew plenty of interest on the recruiting trail with offers from Florida State, Kentucky, Michigan, Ole Miss and Tennessee, among others.
A glance at Del Rio-Wilson in action at a quarterback camp:
Del Rio-Wilson joins Jalen Kitna as the two quarterbacks in this signing class.
Here is the Gators' welcome to him on Twitter:
Florida has signed another player to beef up its defensive line.
Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas defensive end Tyreak Sapp, who originally planned to sign in February, instead signed with the Gators on Wednesday during the early signing period.
The Gators are glad he did.
Sapp recorded 21.5 sacks in his high school career and is selected to play in the All-American Bowl in San Antonio in January as one of the nation's top recruits.
Sapp committed to Florida two years ago and while he entertained offers from other schools, remained committed. A 6-foot-3, 260-pound product one of the state's best high school programs, Sapp garnered attention from No. 1-ranked Alabama as well, Florida's opponent Saturday in the SEC Championship Game.
Here is Florida's welcome to Sapp on Twitter:
Diwun Black is a player Gators fans have known about for a long time.
The wait to finally see him play for the Gators appears almost over.
Black officially signed with Florida on Wednesday, more than two years after he committed to the Gators coming out of high school.
A talented athlete who starred at linebacker this season at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, Black is rated the top junior-college prospect in the 2021 class according to the 247Sports Composite.
Black originally committed to play for Gators head coach Dan Mullen when Mullen was at Mississippi State. However, when Mullen took over Florida after the 2017 season, Black's plans changed. He later failed to qualify academically and enrolled in junior college.
Still, he remained committed to the Gators and remained connected to the program through social media as if already on the team.
Black made that commitment official Wednesday.
Jordan Young of Tampa's Gaither High has officially signed this afternoon with Florida.
Young is a 6-0, 185-pound defensive back who helped Gaither have one of the best seasons in school history in 2020. Gaither finished 11-1 and at one point, Young recorded an interception in three consecutive games.
Young had offers from programs such as Alabama, Georgia and Florida State. He decided to remain close to home and sign with the Gators, less than a two-hour drive from Gaither's campus.
Florida is glad he did. Young is ranked as the 32nd-best cornerback prospect in the country by at least one scouting service and proved a lock-down corner at the prep level.
A closer look at Young via YouTube:
As for the Florida football program's welcome video, check it out:
The Gators have added another player with experience at linebacker in Heard County (Ga.) athlete Chief Borders.
Borders starred at the same high school that produced Gators quarterback Emory Jones.
Jones chose the Gators over Auburn, Arkansas, Stanford and Michigan State, among others.
He is a versatile defender who has the ability to play on the edge or defend against the run. He is listed at 6-4, 230 pounds.
A closer look at what Borders can do on the field:
Check out the Gators' welcome video below:
The Gators have added another playmaker from the Miami Palmetto High secondary.
His name is Corey Collier Jr., a prep teammate of UF signee defensive back Jason Marshall Jr.
He signed this morning in a ceremony that also included Marshall Jr. and two teammates.
let's work 🐊. pic.twitter.com/aX82P62CON— Corey Collier Jr. (@_ccollierjr2) December 16, 2020
At 6-foot-2, 170-pounds, Collier Jr. is ranked as the fifth-best safety in his class and adds more depth to a position Florida will seek to rebuild in 2021.
Collier Jr. committed to Florida a few months ago.
Here is the Florida's welcome video for Collier Jr.:
Linebacker Jeremiah "Scooby" Williams starred at Ramsay High in Birmingham, Ala., aka the land of Bear Bryant and Nick Saban.
He is very good at football and making college commitment videos.
Williams had offers from some of the top programs around the country -- check out the video if you don't believe me -- and made it official on Wednesday, signing with the Gators.
Williams is a player the Gators were able to pull out of Auburn and Alabama territory and is a big addition to the defense.
Here he is (far right) at a recent All-Star game in Alabama:
The Alabama All-Star captains for today pic.twitter.com/erR5yGtaWB— AHSAA (@AHSAAUpdates) December 12, 2020
The Gators welcomed Williams to the program on Wednesday.
Needless to say, we haven't heard the last Scooby reference when it comes to this newest Gator:
They call him the Palmetto Playmaker.
Defensive back Jason Marshall Jr., the highest-rated member among the group of players the Gators will sign during today's early signing period, earned the nickname.
Here is a look at what Marshall Jr., who played at Miami Palmetto High, can do on the field:
Marshall Jr., rated a five-star prospect by 247Sports Composite, is considered the nation's No. 2-ranked cornerback. He chose the Gators over Alabama, Georgia, Ohio State, Miami and others.
Marshall Jr. is built to come in and compete for playing time immediately as you can tell by this photo from his signing.
Here is his introduction video from the Gators' official Twitter account:
Quarterback Jalen Kitna grew up around the game and played for his father, former NFL quarterback Jon Kitna, in high school.
He signed with the Gators on Wednesday. The 6-foot-4, 205-pound prospect continues to develop and adds depth to a position group that includes Emory Jones and Anthony Richardson coming back next season.
"I'm a late bloomer, kind of," Kitna says in video below. His father also talks about his son's development:
Kitna originally committed to Boston College, but a coaching change led him to reconsider and he opted to choose to sign with Florida because head coach Dan Mullen has an impressive track record in developing quarterbacks.
Here is Florida's official welcome to Kitna:
The Gators have added another defensive lineman during the early signing period.
And he is a good one.
Justus Boone, a 6-foot-4, 250-pound prospect out of Sumter, S.C., is rated as the state's second best overall prospect according to the 247 Sports Composite rankings.
Boone totaled 12 sacks in 18 high school games, a late bloomer who focused on basketball for much of his prep career.
He committed to Florida in February as others such as Georgia, Arkansas, South Carolina, Tennessee, Penn State and Oklahoma vied for his services.
A closer look at Boone officially signing with Florida a little while ago:
Meanwhile, here is the Gators' official introduction to Boone on the team's Twitter account:
The Gators have added another receiver in Marcus Burke, a 6-foot-3, 180-pound prospect out of Trinity Christian Academy in Jacksonville.
Burke's official National Letter of Intent arrived soon after that of receiver Daejon Reynolds of Georgia. The two young receivers provide depth among a position group that will seek to replace Kadarius Toney and Trevon Grimes next season.
Burke committed to the Gators in July, which was big news at the time:
Committed 🐊🐊 pic.twitter.com/ftEItGNkoQ— Marcus burke (@CERTIFIED_MB4) July 20,
Here is Florida's official welcome video with a soundbite from Burke:
Daejon Reynolds said he is going to bring a lot of energy to the Gators.
The Gators will take that and some catches from the talented 6-foot-2 receiver out of Grayson High in Loganville, Ga. A native of Illinois, Reynolds played at Central Gwinnett (Ga.) High and then transferred to Grayson, where he caught 88 passes and 14 touchdowns as a junior.
Reynolds had offers from Georgia, South Carolina, Florida State and Texas A&M before but opted to sign with the Gators.
Here is Reynolds talking about the recruiting process and his choice of Florida:
In addition, here is his Gators welcome video:
The Gators have officially inked another talented defensive lineman in Chris Thomas Jr. from Dunbar High in Fort Myers, Fla.
Thomas is listed at 6-foot-5, 300 pounds and is expected to enroll early. Thomas Jr. played at Dunbar High and was a disruptive force up front to help Dunbar advance to the Class 6A regional finals.
He is a physical force as one of his high school teammates found out on the first day of practice this year:
First game tmr I been waiting on this💯 pic.twitter.com/9mCFdkWEAn— Christopher “T-town” Thomas (@christhomas_850) September 18, 2020
He finished his senior season with nine sacks and played in the annual Rotary South All-Star Classic last week, which features the top seniors in the Fort Myers area.
Ranked among the top 25 defensive tackles in the 2021 signing class, Thomas Jr. had offers from in-state schools Miami and Florida State as well.
Here is more on Thomas Jr.:
The Gators have a space eater on the roster.
Defensive tackle Desmond Watson is a 6-foot-5, 385-pound man-child out of Armwood High in Tampa that the Gators have officially signed this morning.
Watson's interior presence is a force to be dealt with for opposing running backs and his athleticism helps him rush the passer. He registered 10 sacks as a junior, often manhandling those in his way to the quarterback.
Check out the giant in this video:
Watson committed to the Gators in July and is listed as a three-star prospect with tremendous room to grow as he develops at the college level. Texas A&M, LSU and Alabama -- three programs known for great defensive tackles -- all recruited Watson.
He signed with the Gators to add an intriguing player to keep an eye on in the future.
For more, here is an introductory Watson video:
Right after officially signing tight end Gabe Wilcox out of Jefferson High in Tampa, Florida received Jacksonville Episcopal tight end Nick Elksnis' National Letter of Intent.
Wilcox and Elksnis are an impressive combination.
Elksnis is listed at 6-foot-6 and 240 pounds and played in an offense devised by former Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Mark Brunell in high school. And like Wilcox, Elksnis garnered attention from top programs such as Michigan, Ohio State and Miami.
Elksnis originally committed to Penn State in the summer of 2019 but changed his pledge to UF in March.
For more on Elksnis, here is an introductory video:
The tight end is critical in Florida coach Dan Mullen's offense and has been a strength of the team this season with Kyle Pitts, Kemore Gamble and Keon Zipperer playing key roles.
One day, Gage Wilcox could be the guy.
The Gators signed Wilcox this morning out of Jefferson High in Tampa. A 6-foot-4, 225-pound tight end, Wilcox is blessed with the size, speed and athleticism that Mullen covets at the position.
Wilcox had offers from some of the top programs in the country, including Alabama and Ohio State. He continues Florida's recent uptick in landing players from the Tampa Bay area. Running back Malik Davis, offensive linemen Richard Gouraige and Ethan White, and defensive lineman Zachary Carter are some of the Tampa-area products who have contributed for the Gators on their way to Saturday's SEC Championship Game.
For more on Wilcox, here is an introductory video produced by Florida's football recruiting staff:
Florida has inked its second 300-pound offensive lineman of the morning.
Yousef Mugharbil, a 6-foot-4, 300-pound lineman out of Murphy (N.C.) High School, joins Jake Slaughter in the 300-pound club in Florida's 2021 class.
Mugharbil committed to the Gators in November after drawing interest from schools such as Penn State, Arkansas and North Carolina on the recruiting trail.
Mugharbil was ranked a four-star prospect by 247Sports.com, narrowed his list of schools to seven in July: Florida, N.C. State, North Carolina, Louisville, Virginia Tech, Penn State and Tennessee.
The Gators gladly introduced him Wednesday morning:
Rocco Underwood is a cousin of former UF punters Tommy and Johnny Townsend.
Rated the No. 1 long snapper in the country, other programs recruited him.
They could have saved their time. Underwood officially signed with the Gators on Wednesday morning, the third player the Gators have validated this morning on the December early national signing period.
A 6-foot-4, 215-pound player out of Lake Mary (Fla.) High, it's no surprise Underwood is an excellent athlete. His cousins not only could kick, but they are fine athletes as well.
Underwood proved a valuable receiver at Lake Mary, hauling in five touchdown catches.
Check out more in Underwood's introduction video:
The Gators have had some success of late dipping into the Keystone State for talent.
Linebacker Alex Anzalone has developed into a solid NFL player and tight end Kyle Pitts is projected as a first-round pick in next spring's NFL Draft should he opt to take that route.
Florida added safety Donovon McMillon from McMurray, Pa., which is outside Pittsburgh. Pitts is from the Philadelphia area.
McMillon was a versatile safety in high school who also wrestled. He garnered offers from Georgia, LSU, Michigan, Oklahoma and other top-tier programs. He committed to the Gators in July and adds a player at a position the Gators will need to fill in 2021 with the departure of veterans such as Shawn Davis, Donovan Stiner and Brad Stewart Jr.
Here is an introduction video with McMillon:
Offensive lineman Jake Slaughter of Trinity Catholic High in Ocala is the first player to officially sign with the Gators this morning.
Slaughter played at a high school with familiar ties. His coach is former Gators quarterback John Brantley III, whose son John Brantley IV is the quarterback who took over after the departure of Tim Tebow in 2010.
The 6-foot-4, 300-pound Slaughter's job is to protect the quarterback and open running holes, traits he did well enough in high school to receive offers from Florida, Florida State and other Power 5 programs.
A hat tip to Florida's recruiting office for the videos they are producing of this year's signees. They include an interview and some background on why the player chose Florida.
Check out what Slaughter had to say:
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Three years ago when college football debuted its December early signing period, Florida head coach Dan Mullen had been on the job barely three weeks.
It was a unique moment in the program's history. The Gators survived and soon afterward, they began to flourish under Mullen. That leads us to 2020.
The early signing period has quickly established itself as the de facto National Signing Day, though that annual event remains on the college football calendar in February. This year's event is like so many other things in 2020: unlike any other.
As with most things during the coronavirus pandemic, the recruiting landscape has been altered greatly, essentially becoming a virtual experience for players and coaches.
In addition, Florida is preparing for its first appearance in the Southeastern Conference Championship Game under Mullen this week. The 11th-ranked Gators (8-2) face No. 1 Alabama (10-0) on Saturday night in Atlanta with an opportunity to win the program's first conference title in 12 years.
As always, we'll keep you posted here on FloridaGators.com throughout the morning and early afternoon on the official events of Florida's early signing day.
Instead of being in the office as usual, I'm plugged in remotely in 2020. Not so much due to the coronavirus pandemic, but because I'm waiting to have a root canal done. Yes, folks, that's 2020 for you.
The good news is that the Gators are expected to have a much better day.
And since I'm not on site this morning, a trip down memory lane. The tweet I sent on Mullen's first early signing period in 2017. Kyle Trask was already at Florida, but you could say his status has grown: