Final projections for the Gators’ 2018 recruiting class

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Twas the night before Signing Day, and now I’m going to deviate from that famous poem because I don’t know how to follow it with anything better than this: Florida has fifteen slots filled in its 2018 recruiting class, which doesn’t count safety Randy Russell. That leaves room for several more of the nation’s most highly sought after players to join them. Who might they be?

5-star OT Nicholas Petit-Frere (uncommitted)

All signs for NPF pointed to Florida just a few days ago, even after his visit to Ohio State and Columbus. But people I’m talking to suddenly aren’t feeling very good about him. Though he’s certainly worth paying attention to when he gets onstage for his announcement, this is looking like one that Florida has let slip away. Prediction: Ohio State (medium confidence)

4-star OT William Barnes (uncommitted)

Barnes appeared set to visit the Gators this past weekend but has since canceled those plans. (A logical factor could be the embarrassment of wealth Florida has on the offensive line.) UNC has long been after and drawn interest from him, and though he, too, seemed likely to be a Gator not too long ago, all signs point him to Chapel Hill. Prediction: North Carolina (very high confidence).

4-star WR Jacob Copeland (uncommitted)

I’ve never taken too kindly to recruits who enjoy trolling their prospective fan bases on twitter, so when Copeland began demonstrating all the signs that I’d normally get excited about (turning on his location in Gainesville, tweeting selfies with Dan Mullen, testing out different Gator jersey combinations, etc.) I ignores it. But this kid’s talent is certainly worth the headache his recruiting process has devolved into, and though I still remain conditioned to believe things he says less than the average recruit, I’m going to sleep with a good feeling about him. Prediction: Florida (medium confidence).

3-star DE Dorian Gerald (uncommitted)

Nothing has really changed with Gerald from my last round of predictions. I’d be utterly stunned if he chose a school other than Florida. Prediction: Florida (very high confidence).

4-star OT Richard Gouraige (Florida- VERBAL)

Same story as Gerald. Nothing has really changed from my last round of predictions with Gouraige. Prediction: Florida (very high confidence).

3-star DE Malcolm Lamar (uncommitted)

Florida looked like had this kid in their grasp, but give credit where it’s due: to Armwood teammate Warren Thompson and FSU head coach Willie Taggart. They were able to sway Lamar, a long time Gator fan to play for the Seminoles. Or at least I believe they were: Lamar has stopped responding to texts from Gators. Typically, that’s never a good sign. Prediction: Florida State (medium confidence).

4-star DE Andrew Chatfield (uncommitted)

Chatfield may be a Gator after all. His decision may be intertwined with that of Nesta Silvera; the two are close and Silvera appears leaning north at the last minute. But Chatfield had a great visit to UF two weekends ago. Relationships are key in the world of recruiting, and Chatfield built a great one with Todd Grantham that weekend. Pencil him in as a Gator. Prediction: Florida (medium confidence)

4-star DT Nesta Silvera (VERBAL- Miami (FL))

Silvera has been a Miami Hurricane commit for almost one year to the day. In other words, Miami jumped out to a comfortable lead in the race for his services and have held it throughout as the finish line becomes visible on the horizon. That doesn’t mean they’re going to win it, though, and his friendship with Chatfield may lead to one of the more frustrating flips Miami winds up on the wrong side of in recent memory. Prediction: Florida (low confidence)

4-star DE Malik Langham (uncommitted)

Langham has been trending Florida as today progressed, but this is going to be a tough battle for Florida to win. He’s had a much longer relationship with the Alabama staff, and though Dan Mullen certainly deserves some credit for even getting on his radar with the limited time frame he had to work with, it feels like too little too late. But by all means, tune into his announcement tomorrow. You may be surprised. Prediction: Alabama (low confidence)

4-star CB Noah Boykin (uncommitted)

Florida appears poised to continue the ridiculous pipeline of cornerbacks from the Washington DC area that features Joe Haden and Jalen Tabor. Boykin backed off his Maryland commitment following a weekend visit to Gainesville, and with no additional visits in his back pocket, he’s a pretty safe bet to sign with Florida. Prediction: Florida (high confidence)

4-star DE Caleb Tannor (uncommitted)

Auburn has been eliminated from Tannor’s list of finalists, leaving the two combatants of the 1996 Fiesta Bowl to square off for his services. This battle will be much closer than that one, but I foresee the same result- if only from a numbers standpoint. Prediction: Nebraska (medium confidence)

4-star DE Caleb Johnson (uncommitted)

Unlike most of the recruits in this prediction list, Johnson keeps a lot of his feelings close to the vest so it’s difficult to tell with him. But Auburn got his last visit, and I get the sinking feeling that he scheduled them last on purpose to confirm that that’s where he wants to be. Prediction: Auburn (low confidence)

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