The Florida Gators' recruiting efforts had run dry since early June when last picking up commitments from cornerback Aaron Robinson and wide receiver Josh Hammond. All of that changed over the weekend during Florida’s Friday Night Lights when first-year head coach Jim McElwain and staff landed four recruits — OL Brett Heggie, SS Quincy Lenton, LB Jeremiah Moon, and QB Kyle Trask.
Of the four who verbally committed only Heggie is an in-state product. The Mount Dora High School product was widely recruited, choosing the Gators over 18 other reported offers. Among the heavy hitters that offered included the likes of West Virginia, Iowa State, Louisville, South Carolina, Mississippi State, NC State, Cincinnati and in-state brethren Miami and UCF.
Landing Moon was a big recruiting win for Florida. The 6-foot-4, 205-pound outside linebacker is a product of Alabama's Hoover High School, one of the top prep programs in the Keystone State. The Gators went up against Auburn, Ole Miss, Vanderbilt, Wisconsin, South Carolina, Kentucky, Louisville, and Mississippi State among others to get Moon.
Lenton was another victory for McElwain and staff as the Gators are re-establishing their recruiting status within the SEC. A one-time Mississippi State commit, Lenton (6-0, 190) changed his mind in mid-May before switching over to Florida. Other SEC teams to offer Lenton included Auburn, Georgia, Arkansas, Vanderbilt and Ole Miss.
Trask, a tall Texan, is a relative unknown on the recruiting traill. Before Florida offered only Houston Baptist, Lamar and McNeese State went after the quarterback, who stands nearly 6-6. McElwain was not able to secure a signal-caller in his first recruiting class, making the need for one in 2016 a priority.
The other oddity about Trask is the fact that he was not a starter for Manvel (Texas) High School last year and more than likely will not be in 2015. That honor belongs to D’Eriq King, a TCU commit. King is a dual-threat option while Trask is a pocket passer. King passed for 3,193 yards with 47 touchdowns and ran for another 780 with 12 more scores leading the Mavericks. Trask completed 48 of 68 pass attempts for 786 yards with six touchdowns and no picks.
Florida’s 2016 Class now has 18 verbal commitments. The Gators’ class while solid has not impressed recruiting services. 247Sports only has three of Florida’s commits ranked as 4-star prospects- Moon, CB Chauncey Gardner and RB Mark Thompson.
Florida Gators 2016 Verbal Commitment List
OG Branton Autry, 6’5”, 320 lbs, Coffeyville C.C., Coffeyville, KS
DE JaQuan Bailey, 6’3.5”, 230 lbs, Raines HS, Jacksonville, FL
OT Stone Forsythe, 6’7.5”, 325 lbs, West Orange HS, Winter Garden, FL
CB Chauncey Gardner, 6’0”, 194 lbs, Cocoa HS, Cocoa, FL
WR Joshua Hammond, 6’0”, 180 lbs, Hallandale HS, Hallandale, FL
OC Brett Heggie, 6’4.5”, 300 lbs, Mt. Dora HS, Mount Dora, FL
WR Isaiah Johnson, 6’3”, 198 lbs, Dwyer HS, Palm Beach Gardens, FL
LB Vosean Joseph, 6’2”, 210 lbs, Norland HS, Miami, FL
SS Quincy Lenton, 6’0”, 190 lbs, Meridian HS, Meridian, MS
CB Christopher McWilliams, 5’11”, 161 lbs, Southwest Miami HS, Miami, FL
DE Eric Mitchell, 6’1”, 220 lbs, Miami Central HS, Miami, FL
LB Jeremiah Moon, 6’4”, 205 lbs, Hoover HS, Birmingham, AL
RB Lamical Perine, 5’11”, 210 lbs, Theodore HS, Theodore, AL
CB Aaron Robinson, 6’1”, 185 lbs, Deerfield Beach HS, Deerfield Beach, FL
RB Mark Thompson, 6’2”, 230 lbs, Dodge City C.C., Dodge City, KS
RB Tyrek Tisdale, 6’1”, 199 lbs, Oak Ridge HS, Orlando, FL
QB Kyle Trask, 6’5.5”, 210 lbs, Manvel HS, Manvel, TX
WR Rick Wells, 6’0”, 185 lbs, Raines HS, Jacksonville, FL
— Written by Ryan Wright, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and an established media professional with more than two decades' worth of experience. Over the years, Wright has written for numerous sites and publications and he recently started his own recruiting site, www.recruitingnewsguru.com. Follow him on Twitter @HogManinLA.