The Florida Gators have a chance to sign a top 10, or even a top 5 class for the class of 2023. There are a plethora of four and five-star prospects that Florida is in the running for that could help in that regard. To make it a reality, here are five prospects that the Florida Gators should prioritize regardless of position.
5) Four-star OL Payton Kirkland
Championship teams usually have the best offensive linemen in the country. For the Gators to get back to that level, Payton Kirkland is one of the key pieces they need to land. The 6-foot-6 345 pound lineman from Orlando, Florida has the size to get down hill as a run blocker, but also has the athletic ability to provide great pass protection for the quarterback. Billy Napier, Rob Sale and Darnell Stapleton have put the full court press on him and those relationships could pay dividends when he announces his commitment on July 23. Adding him with Bryce Lovett and Knijeah Harris and I think it’s a great start to the offensive line class.
4) Four- star WR Aidan Mizell
Aidan Mizell has made a huge jump in the rankings and is one of the top wide receivers in the country. He’s also a track star, so he has great speed that translates onto the football field. The 6-foot-2 180 pound receiver can make plays all over the field and is a threat to score every time he touches the ball. The Gators already have Tyree Patterson and Creed Whittemore committed, but Mizell would bring a different element to the offense. He lines up outside and in the slot and is a mismatch nightmare for opposing defensive backs. Wide receivers coach Keary Colbert has turned up the heat and adding a playmaker like Mizell would give Florida one of the best players in the 2023 class.
3) Four-star RB Cedric Baxter Jr.
Also hailing from Orlando, Florida, Cedric Baxter is arguably the top running back in the country. The Gators are recruiting both Baxter and Richard Young hard, but Baxter is the more likely option with Young trending to Alabama. Baxter is a game changer with his ability to run between the tackles and also take it the distance with his speed. Leading the charge in his recruitment is running backs coach Jabaar Juluke. The state of Florida is loaded with talented players, and keeping an in-state talent like Cedric Baxter home is always a priority for the Gators.
2) Four-star QB Jaden Rashada
Jaden Rashada is one of the most highly recruited quarterbacks in the country. He recently released a top 7 that included Florida. The Gators have put the full court press on him lately and he is currently in Gainesville on an official visit, the date range for that visit is June 7-9. Napier and Ryan O’Hara are the main coaches recruiting Rashada, and they’ve been relentless in their pursuit of him. There’s a chance that five-star quarterback Arch Manning takes a visit this summer, but it looks like Rashada is their top target. The Pittsburg, California native has set a commitment date for June 18, and the Gators seem to be sitting in a good spot.
1) Five-star CB Cormani McClain
I believe that everybody can agree that the most important recruit in the 2023 class for the Florida Gators is five-star cornerback Cormani McClain. The talented standout from Lakeland, Florida has been a playmaker for the Lake Gibson Braves for the past two seasons. McClain, who stands at 6-foot-2, weighing 175 pounds, is a two way player, at wide receiver and corner, that does just about everything for his high school team. He has a long wingspan, has great ball skills and has the ability to take away one side of the field. Landing a player of his caliber could draw other top recruits to join him if he were to commit and sign with the Gators.
Landing these five players will go along way for Billy Napier and the coaching staff. The 2023 recruiting class has a chance to be the foundation of Florida’s return to being a perennial SEC Championship contender. All five of these players are program changers that will quickly have the Gators in the national championship picture very soon.
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