Florida coach Dan Mullen steadily is putting together one of the best classes any school has seen out of Hillsborough County in the past decade.
This past weekend, Florida picked up an oral commitment from Gaither three-star cornerback Jordan Young. That makes him the third 2021 recruit from the county to pick the Gators, joining four-star tight end Gage Wilcox (Jefferson) and four-star athlete Charles Montgomery (Armwood).
The trio all rank in the top 30 at their positions nationally and in the top 60 in Florida overall, according to 247Sports’ composite rankings.
The Tampa Bay area consistently produces some of the top high school recruits in the talent-rich Sunshine State. But it’s somewhat rare for the top prospects in the area to team up at the next level in bunches.
Only three Division I-A schools have signed multiple blue-chip recruits from Hillsborough in one class in the past decade.
In 2017, the Gators signed four-star strong side defensive end Zach Carter (Hillsborough High), four-star wide receiver Daquon Green (Tampa Bay Tech) and three-star running back Malik Davis (Jesuit).
UF signed a top-three class in 2013, headlined by Vernon Hargreaves III, the Gators’ most recent All-American. Hargreaves (Wharton), who was drafted 11th overall by the Bucs in 2016, was a five-star and the No. 1 defensive back in the nation. He was joined in that class by four-star wide receiver Alvin Bailey (Armwood) and four-star strong side defensive end Jordan Sherit (Hillsborough High).
The Gators have consistency on their side, but Clemson signed perhaps the best Tampa trio in recent memory in 2015.
The Tigers snagged five-star wide receiver Deon Cain (Tampa Bay Tech), four-star athlete Ray-Ray McCloud (Sickles) and four-star offensive tackle Jake Fruhmorgen (Plant). All three were top-20 recruits in Florida, and Cain and McCloud were both on the national title-winning team in 2016 when Clemson beat Alabama at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.
Florida State signed two classes featuring a pair of blue-chip recruits, but neither was as deep as Clemson’s 2015 class or any of UF’s recent classes. FSU landed four-star wide receiver Warren Thompson and four-star strong side defensive end Malcolm Lamar, both from Seffner, in 2018. In 2011, the Seminoles signed five-star athlete James Wilder Jr. (Plant) and four-star offensive tackle Jordan Prestwood (Plant City).
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The Gators could further strengthen their 2021 class, currently No. 8 nationally, with another Hillsborough product in three-star defensive tackle Desmond Watson (Armwood). 247Sports predicts UF will earn his commitment, but Watson told the Tampa Bay Times that he will wait to take his visits to his top three (UF, LSU, Texas A&M) before he commits.
Contact Kyle Wood at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @Kkylewood.