National signing day: Live updates on Gators, Florida State, USF and more

Biggest news so far: former Miami quarterback Jarren Williams announced he is transferring to USF.
Armwood High defensive tackle Desmond Watson is one of three Hillsborough County prospects to sign with the Gators today.
Armwood High defensive tackle Desmond Watson is one of three Hillsborough County prospects to sign with the Gators today. [ LUIS SANTANA | TIMES | Tampa Bay Times ]
Published Dec. 16, 2020|Updated Dec. 17, 2020

7:20 update: The day’s final surprise (I think) is over. Miami landed Jake Garcia, a four-star quarterback from Georgia. Garcia is an enormous addition for the Hurricanes; the one-time USC commit is the nation’s No. 46 overall prospect. Florida State was also thought to be in the running for him at one point.

Garcia pushed Miami’s class to No. 10 nationally.

Barring anything else, we’re probably done for the day. Here’s our roundup with what happened at Florida, Florida State, USF and Miami.

And here’s why I think there could be a lot more volatility with this recruiting class than usual.

4:40 update: Three-star Winter Park safety Dakota Mitchell announced on Instagram that he was sticking with his oral commitment by signing with the Gators. Alabama and Texas A&M were among his other options. UF hasn’t yet announced his signing, but he’d be the 21st recruit to join UF today.

3:30 update: The most recent addition is Florida quarterback Carlos Del Rio-Wilson, a four-star prospect from Georgia. That brings the Gators up to 20 signees today as part of the nation’s No. 8 class.

Florida State coach Mike Norvell met with reporters a few minutes ago via Zoom. He spoke highly of the defensive linemen he signed, which he called “one of the true bright spots” of the class. FSU has 16 signees, including UCF transfer quarterback McKenzie Milton. The Seminoles’ class sits 31st nationally.

2:35 update: We’ve reached the afternoon lull in signing day. Florida has added top-100 recruit Tyreak Sapp, a defensive end from Fort Lauderdale powerhouse St. Thomas Aquinas.

The Miami Hurricanes have signed five-star recruit James Williams, the nation’s top safety.

1:50 update: The Florida Gators have added their third Hillsborough County signee of the day. It’s Jordan Young, a three-star defensive back from Gaither High. He joins Armwood High’s Desmond Watson and Jefferson High’s Gage Wilcox.

UF has also signed the best name of the day: Chief Borders, a four-star linebacker from Georgia.

UF did, however, miss out on five-star IMG Academy linebacker Xavian Sorey. He announced his college commitment to Georgia on ESPN2.

Related: National signing day is Wednesday. Here are 5 things to know

1:30 update: Two more blue-chip players have signed. Florida has added four-star safety Corey Collier from Palmetto. He’s the teammate of UF’s only five-star signee so far, Jason Marshall.

A third Palmetto prospect, Leonard Taylor, has officially joined Miami. The 6-foot-4, 265-pound five-star recruit is the nation’s No. 1 defensive tackle.

12:45 update: The signings are starting to slow, but they haven’t yet stopped. The latest for Florida is four-star linebacker Diwun Black. The name might sound familiar; he signed with the Gators as part of the 2019 class but made a detour to junior college.

In the latest rankings, the Gators have the nation’s No. 8 recruiting class, one spot lower than where they started the day. Miami remains 11th, with Florida State 31st and USF 67th (fifth in the AAC).

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12:10 update: The Florida Gators have signed their top commitment, five-star defensive back Jason Marshall. The Palmetto prospect is the nation’s No. 27 overall recruit.

UF has also announced the addition of three-star Texas quarterback Jalen Kitna, the son of former NFL quarterback Jon Kitna.

Florida State has signed 14 prospects today (not including UCF transfer McKenzie Milton). That takes care of the expected decisions. We’ll see if the Seminoles add or flip anyone else.

11:45 update: USF made a splash by signing three-star receiver Jimmy Horn from Sanford. Horn was a late bloomer who earned offers from Georgia and Tennessee this month.

11:15 update: Three-star defensive end George Wilson announced on Instagram that he is signing with Florida State. It’s a nice pickup for the Seminoles. Wilson was committed to South Carolina but backed out after the Gamecocks fired Will Muschamp last month.

10:45 update: The biggest news of the morning doesn’t involve a high school recruit at all. Former Miami quarterback Jarren Williams has transferred to USF.

Williams had some success with the Hurricanes. The former four-star recruit earned the starting job at the beginning of 2019, surprising himself in the process. He broke a school record with six passing touchdowns last year against Louisville and started 10 games that year.

But he and the rest of the offense struggled down the stretch. Williams, a 6-foot-2 Georgia native, transferred to a Garden City (Kan.) Community College after D’Eriq King joined Miami.

USF has added three other transfers today, starting with former four-star cornerback Christian Williams. The 6-foot-1, 195-pound Alabama native appeared in 14 games during his Hurricanes career.

The other two are safety Matthew Hill, a former four-star Auburn athlete, and safety Will Jones, a former three-star player at Kansas State.

10:10 update: Let’s take a step back to look at the classes as a whole for some of the state’s schools.

The Florida Gators are up to 10 signees, including five blue-chip prospects. Two of the signees are from Hillsborough County: Jefferson High tight end Gage Wilcox and Armwood High defensive lineman Desmond Watson. UF has the nation’s No. 7 class.

Florida State has 11 signees, not including UCF grad transfer quarterback McKenzie Milton. Five of them are blue-chip recruits; the most recent one is Omarion Cooper, a four-star cornerback from Lehigh Acres.

USF has already signed 15 players this morning, including Clearwater High’s three-star receiver, Cardrece Mobley.

And the Miami Hurricanes have announced 11 players to their No. 11 class. Eight of them are blue-chip recruits. One of the other names is equally notable; three-star kicker Andres Borregales is the younger brother of Miami’s current kicker, Jose Borregales.

9:35 update: USF’s latest signee is one of its Tampa Bay area prospects: three-star offensive lineman Andrew Kilfoyl. He’s one of four local commitments to the Bulls in this class.

The Florida Gators have added a pair of four-star receivers in Illinois’ Daejon Reynolds and Jacksonville’s Marcus Burke.

9:20 update: At least one school is apparently done for the day. Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald said on Twitter that his class has already been wrapped up, before 8 a.m. his time.

The last part of his tweet is noteworthy. Northwestern, Florida and others are signing recruits while they prepare for conference title games this weekend. It’s a weird scheduling quirk because of this crazy 2020 season.

8:50 update: The Florida Gators have signed another local prospect, Armwood High defensive tackle Desmond Watson.

Florida State has also added a key player, three-star defensive end Byron Turner.

8:00 update: The Florida Gators are up to six signees already, including Gage Wilcox, a four-star tight end from Tampa’s Jefferson High. Two other blue-chip prospects have signed with UF: four-star safety Donovan McMillon from Pennsylvania and four-star offensive lineman Yousef Mugharbil.

Florida State’s latest addition is Koby Gross, a top junior college tight end.

The Miami Hurricanes have added three players so far. That includes four-star receiver Jacolby George from Plantation High.

USF’s early signees include three-star tight end Gunnar Greenwald and three-star Auburndale defensive back Jaelen Stokes.

One of the Tampa Bay area’s top high school prospects is off the board, too. four-star Plant City receiver Mario Williams affirmed his commitment to Oklahoma by signing with the Sooners.

Related: Coronavirus makes no exception for national signing day recruits

7:20 update: Signatures have already started to arrive. The Florida Gators have their first signee for the class of 2021: Jake Slaughter, a three-star center from Ocala.

Florida State has already added Shyheim Brown, a three-star defensive back from Lake City, Kevin Knowles, a four-star defensive back from Hollywood and Patrick Payton, a four-star defensive end from Miami Northwestern. That doesn’t include the huge addition of McKenzie Milton, the grad transfer quarterback from UCF.

The original story is below:

College football’s national signing day has arrived.

Today marks the beginning of the three-day early signing period, which is going on under unique circumstances. The coronavirus pandemic cut down on the amount of time college coaches could evaluate recruits and prevented prospects and their families from taking official visits during their senior year.

Beyond that, signing day isn’t the only thing going on in the sport this week, as I wrote about in today’s Tampa Bay Times. The Gators are trying to sign the bulk of their top-10 class while preparing to play No. 1 Alabama in Saturday’s SEC championship. Florida State is trying to boost its recruiting class (ranked 34th as of Tuesday afternoon) while getting ready to visit Wake Forest. Auburn and Illinois are signing players without a head coach in place.

I’ll update this post throughout the day as signatures arrive. Until then, here are some quick snapshots of Florida, FSU, USF and Miami, using 247Sports composite rankings as of Tuesday afternoon:

Florida Gators

Class rank: Seventh (fourth in the SEC)

Commits: 26 (one five-star prospect, 14 four-star prospects)

Notable: Coach Dan Mullen is on track for his second consecutive top-10 class. A seventh-place finish would be UF’s best since signing the No. 3 class in 2013.

FSU Seminoles

Class rank: 34th (eighth in ACC)

Commits: 15 (five four-star prospects)

Notable: FSU has many spots available, which means there’s a lot of room for upward growth if FSU gets some flips or late commitments. Otherwise this will be the Seminoles’ third consecutive class ranked outside the top 15.

USF Bulls

Class rank: 68th (fifth in AAC)

Commits: 20 (all three-star prospects)

Notable: A quarter of the commitments are from the Tampa Bay area: Carrollwood Day defensive lineman Desmond Mamudi, Clearwater Academy International receiver Nickolas Tshivuadi, Clearwater High receiver Cardrece Mobley, Lennard High defensive lineman Jhalin Hobbs and Gaither High offensive lineman Andrew Kilfoyl.

Miami Hurricanes

Class rank: 11th (second in ACC)

Commits: 20 (two five-star prospects, 10 four-star prospects)

Notable: Miami has a shot at its third top-10 class since 2012.