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National signing day live updates: Florida Gators sign two, USF adds its top recruit

Miami has added a four-star running back, while the Gators are up to five signees
Florida Gators coach Billy Napier will try to add some prized recruits on the traditional national signing day.
Florida Gators coach Billy Napier will try to add some prized recruits on the traditional national signing day. [ LUIS SANTANA | Times ]
Published Feb. 2|Updated Feb. 2

4:15 update: Florida Gators coach Billy Napier just finished his news conference here in Gainesville. I’ll have more from it later, but one thing stood out: He said UF only signing only five players from the state is a product of the circumstances (meaning his late hire) rather than a deemphasis on Florida.

That’s all for now, unless some major news develops. Check back later for a more detailed analysis.

3:15 update: While I was driving to Gainesville, Miami missed out on five-star defensive lineman Shemar Stewart of Opa-Locka. He instead committed to Jimbo Fisher’s Aggies, who have one of the best classes of the modern recruiting era.

The Gators’ recent additions include Andrew Savaiinaea, a three-star defensive lineman from Washington, Tulsa, Okla. quarterback Max Brown (a three-star prospect), and Caleb Douglas, a three-star Texas receiver who made a late visit to LSU.

Miami has the state’s top recruiting class (14th in recruiting, 15th including transfers). The Gators are next (19th in recruiting, 17th overall), then Florida State (20th,18th).

12:25 update: The Miami Hurricanes landed a key oral commitment when four-star running back TreVonte’ Citizen committed to The U on ESPN2. He chose Miami over Florida, Auburn and LSU. He’s the nation’s No. 107 overall prospect and a Louisiana native.

Miami and Florida A&M were among the finalists for four-star defensive lineman Christen Miller, but the Peach State prospect orally committed to Georgia on ESPN2.

The Florida Gators are up to five signees today after adding Hayden Hansen, a three-star tight end from Texas.

11:45 update: The Florida Gators have signed four-star running back Trevor Etienne, who committed to UF last month. He’s a top-200 national recruit from Louisiana and the younger brother of Travis Etienne, the former Clemson star running back who’s now with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

10:30 update: If you’re looking for signs of optimism that Florida Gators coach Billy Napier can recruit at a high level, here’s one: offensive lineman Jalen Farmer has signed with UF.

Farmer is only a three-star recruit, and he isn’t among the nation’s top 600 prospects. But Alabama was one of the schools pushing hard for him late. Auburn was also in the mix.

If the Gators are going to beat Alabama (and Georgia) on the field, they’ll have to beat them on the recruiting trail. Getting Farmer, a Georgia native, is one step in that direction.

UF did, however, just miss out on Caden Story, a four-star defensive lineman from Alabama. He announced that he’s heading to Clemson.

10 update: National signing day isn’t only about high school recruits. Just ask UCF.

The Knights have officially added Maryland transfer Terrence Lewis. He was a five-star linebacker and the nation’s No. 21 overall recruit in the 2021 cycle out of Miami Central. That, obviously, gives the Knights a jolt of high-end talent for this season.

UCF has also added several other transfers, including former Gators tight end Kemore Gamble and Mississippi quarterback John Rhys Plumlee.

9:15 update: USF announced the addition of Michael Williams, a three-star linebacker from Michigan. He’s the nation’s No. 394 overall recruit, according to the 247Sports composite rankings, and the top prospect in the Bulls’ class.

The Gators have added safety Miguel Mitchell, a three-star safety from Alabama. UF kept him despite a late push from Tennessee.

One of the Tampa Bay area’s three-star prospects has also finalized his decision, with Gaither linebacker Kobe McCloud signing with Clemson. His older brother, Ray-Ray, won a national title with the Tigers.

8 update: The first few signatures of the traditional signing day have arrived. The Florida Gators added three-star edge rusher Jack Pyburn from Jacksonville Bolles. He announced his commitment Tuesday, choosing UF over Auburn and Miami.

Our original post is below.

The traditional national signing day has arrived, and you can expect some last-minute drama (and maybe a big get or two for Florida schools).

The day has lost much of its importance thanks to the early signing period in December and the growth of the transfer portal. Most 2022 recruiting classes are finished, or nearly finished, which is why it’s not outlandish that Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh is reportedly going to interview with the Vikings today.

Related: National signing day: Can the transfer portal save Florida recruiting?

We’ll update this post as the day progresses, but here are a few things to follow:

The Gators are reportedly in the mix for former Texas A&M commit Harold Perkins. The Texas linebacker is a top-10 overall recruit and the kind of game-breaking talent Florida needs to add to start competing for championships again. UF made a late push for Perkins; we’ll find out this afternoon whether it pays off with a major recruiting coup for first-year coach Billy Napier. The Gators are also contending to land safety Jacoby Mathews, a top-50 prospect from Louisiana.

The other major recruit to monitor is Shemar Stewart, a five-star defensive lineman from Opa-Locka’s Monsignor Pace. He’s expected to choose between Miami, Georgia and Jimbo Fisher’s Aggies. If coach Mario Cristobal is going to turn Miami around, he’ll do it through big-time local prospects like Stewart. Can he add one this cycle?

Related: What does it take to recruit like Alabama and Georgia? ‘Total commitment.’

I’m not expecting much news from Florida State or USF, but recruiting is unpredictable.

If you have any local commitments or announcements to share, send them to me at mbaker@tampabay.com.

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