football Edit

Florida's best available: Sunshine State's top unsigned prospects

Nick Petit-Frere
Nick Lucero/Rivals.com

The Early Signing Period has further expedited the recruiting process, rendering a number of major prospects signed and off the proverbial board. It’s changed the dash to February’s National Signing Day in a number of ways, none more obvious than the shallow player pool it has created. Today, we have a look at what’s left in the fertile recruiting ground of Florida. Below is a look at the top available Sunshine State-based player available at each potion and where his recruitment currently stands.

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Schools in the mix: LSU, Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, Florida State

Breakdown: Surtain doesn’t say much about his recruitment, but he’s had no problem naming LSU as his leader in the past. Recently, he’s tried to ease away from that claim, but the Tigers still have to be viewed as the frontrunner. Alabama, which is fresh off a national championship, is certainly in play here, while FSU and Ohio State seem like the dark horses. Surtain will announce on National Signing Day.

Schools in the mix: Florida, Notre Dame, Alabama, Ohio State

Breakdown: Florida was the heavy favorite before the program went through its coaching change, though the Gators are still very much in play. These days, however, Notre Dame seems to have closed the gap a bit. Ohio State will get a late official visit, so don’t count out the Buckeyes, either. Petit-Frere’s recruitment is difficult to project, which should create some late intrigue.

Schools in the mix: Florida State, Oregon, Tennessee, North Carolina, South Carolina

Breakdown: A one-time Oregon commit, Thompson chose the Ducks over fellow finalist Florida State. That all fell apart when the winds of change blew through Eugene and moved head coach Willie Taggart to Tallahassee, leaving FSU in the driver’s seat of the four-star’s recruitment. Thompson has visits to Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina slated for the month ahead. The Seminoles will be tough to beat here, but official visits sometimes have a way of changing things.

Schools in the mix: Florida State, TCU, USC, Oregon

Breakdown: Corbin was once committed to Florida State but backed off that pledge when the Seminoles lost Jimbo Fisher to Texas A&M. Corbin intends to tour the campuses of Oregon, USC and TCU before deciding on a landing place. Most assume he’ll ultimately reenter the Seminoles’ fold, but a visit to USC this weekend could have an effect. Oregon will receive his final visit.

Schools in the mix: Miami, Florida, Oklahoma, Florida State

Breakdown: A one-time Ohio State commit, Chatfield backed off of that pledge in early August. These days, a number of schools feel they’re in the mix to land the four-star linebacker but it seems as if Miami and Florida have best positioned themselves to land his commitment. He is incredibly familiar with both campuses having visited multiple times. Miami likely has the slight edge but, either way, Chatfield seems like a safe bet to stay in-state.

Schools in the mix: Miami, Florida State, South Carolina

Breakdown: Briggs has long said that he would prefer to stay in Florida for college and the Hurricanes and Seminoles give him a chance to do so. That said, a Jan. 19 visit to South Carolina shouldn’t be overlooked. Things may change when Briggs gets on campus in Columbia, but UM and FSU are the teams to beat as things stand now. Miami may hold a slight edge as things stand now, but Florida State will get Briggs’ final visit, which is certainly worth something.

Schools in the mix: Florida, Alabama, LSU … who knows?

Breakdown: Welcome to the funhouse. Watkins has been committed to Florida State, LSU and Texas. He was slated to announce his fourth commitment at this year’s Under Armour All-America Game, but that was nixed at the 11th hour. And now, well, nobody’s really sure what to think. Florida sort of seems like the favorite here, but Watkins doesn’t say much about anything these days. Watkins will visit UF on Jan. 19 and his decision will likely take shape at that time.

Schools in the mix: Rice, Western Kentucky, Boise State

Breakdown: Smith doesn’t have a long list of Power Five offers, but he does have a 6-foot-5 frame and a winning pedigree at the high school level. There’s a reason a number of Group of Five schools are in pursuit, after all. He spent some of his high school career splitting time with Auburn commit Joey Gatewood and got some looks from major programs. Smith intends to visit Rice and Western Kentucky in the coming month, but a relatively new offer from Boise State is also an important development.