Florida Football Recruiting: The good, the bad, and the ugly from Early Signing Day

As with most things surrounding Florida, Early Signing Day had some good news combined with some not so great news
Florida Gators quarterback Graham Mertz (15) and recruit DJ Lagway hug after the game at Steve
Florida Gators quarterback Graham Mertz (15) and recruit DJ Lagway hug after the game at Steve / Jesse Gann / USA TODAY NETWORK

Early Signing Day was far from a home run for Florida football. The Gators had the bulk of their commits sign on Wednesday, but the failure to lock up one of the headliners in their 2024 class will create some anxious moments for Gator fans over the next couple of days.

The following is what went right, what could have gone better, and what wasn't so great from the day.

Florida Football Recruiting: The Good

It took until the end of the afternoon when he had his preplanned ceremony, but DJ Lagway is officially a Gator. Despite some late efforts from Clemson and Southern California, Billy Napier was able to ensure there was zero drama with his five-star QB.

While there was a bit of drama for LJ McCray, he eventually took to Instragram to confirm that he would in fact be a Florida Gator in 2024.

Likewise Florida made sure a handful of other solid prospects put pen to paper and hit send on that fax machine. Myles Graham, Fletcher Westphal, and Aaron Chiles are just some of the commits that will be coming to Florida in 2024, all with potential of early playing time.

The Gators were also able to sign Gregory Smith out of the Tampa area. The athletic safety has been trending up rankings boards and is a solid find for the Gators. Florida was also able to flip Jadan Baugh from Arkansas. The four-star running back was also being pursued by Alabama.

The Bad

Amaris Williams and Adarius Hayes both flipped away from Florida. Neither of the flips came as a surprise, especially from Williams.

Izaiah Williams also flipped. The wide receiver from the Tampa area was a surprise as there had been zero buzz about him flipping.

But with their flips, the Gators only signed 18 players on Wednesday. There is a narrative that all 18 have the potential to be great players and one tenant of Napier is that he doesn't take much filler for his recruiting classes, but 18 as of now is really small and requires almost everyone to show up to Gainesville and be productive.

Likewise, Florida didn't land anyone that was unexpected. Jeremiah Smith didn't flip and stuck with Ohio State, Zay Mincey confirmed he will announced his commitment at the All-America game in January, with Alabama in hot pursuit, and any other pie in the sky flip target fans were hoping for all stayed away.

The Ugly

Florida at one point had the number three recruiting class in the country. The 247 Sports composite has the Gators down all the way to 16th.

Now while the circumstances are vastly different, and if you remove the guys who never actually made it on campus it drops these classes even further down, Dan Mullen never had a class below 14th (depending upon who wants to claim credit for the 2022 class).

Most of the players Florida are bringing in are solid players and in some cases elite, there just aren't enough of them. If a player doesn't pan out, there is zero depth behind them to be the next man up.

And the reality for Napier is that most fans were willing to showcase patience when he had the third ranked class. Now that he doesn't the willingness to stay patient is out the window.