20 for 16: Gators in-state defensive recruits

The state of Florida is rich again in talent and as good as it seems on the offensive side of the ball, the defensive side is no slouch. Here is a list of 20 top targets (plus two commitments) for the Gator staff from the state of Florida.

DEFENSIVE END (4) (1 commit)

Like last year, there are some primo-talented defensive ends in the state, but there happen to be more in the 2016 class than in 2015. It is a good year to take advantage of the situation.

Eric Mitchell (6-3, 230) of Miami Central HS is already committed to Florida. The long armed speed rusher continues the string of South Florida prospects that Randy Shannon has been helped land since January.

Shavar Manuel (6-3.5, 253) of Bradenton IMG Academy is the highest rated player in the state of Florida at any position. Manuel is a beast of a defensive end and maybe more of a strong side guy. Currently Florida State is his leader, but he remains open and plans on visiting several places before committing.

5-star Nicholas Bosa (6-3, 230) of Ft. Lauderdale St Thomas Aquinas is another super talented defensive end with more of a high motor and just an overall tenacious prospect. It seems very likely that Bosa will follow his brother to Ohio State, but the Gators are getting a look from him.

4-star Janarius Robinson (6-3, 240) of Panama City Bay HS is currently committed to FSU, but the Gators are on him hard and he is being receptive. Robinson is talented enough to be the best in this state. And Florida is letting him know that.

4-star Jordan Woods (6-3.5, 230) Ocala Trinity Catholic HS has been coming to Gator games for three years as a prospect. Woods had a good freshman year, then wore down as a sophomore before stepping up big as a junior for TC. He’s a tremendous student and person and someone that should seem likely for this class before all is said and done.


There were no four or five star prospects in-state a year ago at the position. So far this year there is one. Maybe we will see another one or two step up but for now, there are two with offers from the Gators.

Cedric Wood is already committed to FSU and due to the proximity of his school to the campus it seems unlikely that he can be pried away. However, Florida has a huge need at the position and he will be pressed as a prospect.

Florida recently offered 2-star Keyshon Camp (6-4, 265) out of Lakeland Lake Gibson who is currently committed to Miami. Lakeland is mostly a Gator town and the Gators will be able to show Camp just how much they need players at the position.

LINEBACKER (3) (1 commit)

The Gators have an URGENT need at linebacker. This should really turn some heads this recruiting season. Linebacker is not particularly deep again in Florida this year, so they will likely have to go out of state for one or two, but they do have one oin the class already and there are a few good ones that can be had.

Vosean Joseph committed to Florida this month and is a hard hitting sideline to sideline guy that they are aiming for. He’s another that Randy Shannon dipped into Miami for and the Gatiors believe they got a great one here.

Shaquille Quarterman absolutely looks the part and is why Miami was on him early and got him to commit. While seemingly solid to the Hurricanes, Quarterman has visited Florida a few times and they again will be able to show that huge need at the position that maybe no other team can show. He’s a large sized middle linebacker with great instincts for the position.

4-star Keith Gavin (6-4, 225) of Wakulla HS is currently committed to FSU and is a very athletic player at the position. He plays both ways including receiver on offense, which shows his athletic ability and versatility. Close to Tallahassee, this one might be hard to get away from there, but the staff will make the effort.

4-star Devin Bush Jr. (6-0, 215) of Pembroke Pines Flanagan HS is another super athlete from south Florida that the Gators want to make a priority this recruiting cycle. He is the only non-committed prospect in the bunch right now.


Chauncey Gardner has great size and enough athletic ability to play corner at the next level. He plays extremely aggressive and in-your-face type defense. Previously committed to Florida, he dropped that commitment but has maintained sincere interest. The Gators are on him hard and have people convinced around him that he needs to be a Gator, he will go through at least some of the process, but this one should swing back around again.

4-star Romeo Finley (6-1, 190) from Niceville HS is a head hunting safety and another primo prospect from in-state. The Gators have a really legitimate shot with this one.

3-star Korey Charles (6-0, 175) of Tallahassee North Florida Christian School is an athletic safety that had an offer from the previous staff.

3-star Jamel Cook (6-4, 185) of Miami Central HS is a super tall athletic safety from a hotbed and school Florida is recruiting hard, but just committed to Florida State.


Saivion Smith is the premiere corner in the nation and from the Tampa area but playing IMG academy. His height mixed with his athletic ability give him a unique skill and tool set. The Gators are in this one good, along with Florida State. Selling time for the replacement for Vernon Hargreaves will be huge here.

4-star Trayvon Mullen (6-2, 180) of Coconut Creek HS is a highly skilled corner and another from south Florida and with the size that Florida is looking for at the position. The Gators will have to do some work because he is looking hard at out-of0state schools.

4-star Craig Watts (6-0, 180) of St. Petersburg Gibbs HS is another with a solid build and the height they like at the position. He is another that is showing a lot of interest in out0of0state schools, but the Gators should be able to make a move here.

Josh Dunn (5-11, 205) Lake Wales (FL) Lake Wales HS is a recent offer and is a big physical corner with decent size and tremendous strength. He told me over the weekend that he definitely has interest in Florida and that he was going to visit FSU soon.

3-star Tyler Byrd (5-11, 160) of Naples HS was previously committed to Florida, but dropped that commitment and eventually committed to Miami. It is hard to say at this time what interest the staff still has in Byrd, or if they totally wanted to head in a different direction.

Henry Miller (6-3, 195) of Kissimmee Gateway HS is one the Gators have showed a good deal of interest in, but not quite the offer yet. His height is intriguing at the position and some would want to make him a safety, but hen definitely has corner skills.

Dontye Carriere-Williams (5-10, 170) of Miami Booker T Washington is another terrific player from a power house football team. He doesn’t have the primo size they are looking for, but he does have the talent. No offer just yet, but could one be coming?

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