On National Signing Day, the Gators were definitely able to add more talent to their defensive roster. Defensive back Brad Stewart and outside linebacker James Houston IV were among the standouts for Jim McElwain and the staff. Both are talented and dynamic players that closed out a strong 2017 recruiting class for the Gators.
Stewart is an incoming freshman from New Orleans, Louisiana. According to 247sports.com, Stewart is a 4 star recruit at 6 foot 1 and 195 lbs. Stewart enters Florida as a defensive back and is ready to be a part of the Gator’s DBU tradition. He adds depth to the dominant Florida secondary with his versatility. Stewart says Gator fans can get excited about his ability to play different positions.
Stewart was recruited heavily by Arkansas, Arizona State, and TCU, but ultimately knew UF was his home. Assistant coach Tim Skipper led the charge to bring Stewart into the Gator Nation. However, Stewart says it was defensive line coach Chris Rumph that recruited his family, which ultimately helped him make his decision. Stewart is ready to get to the Swamp and hit the field but understands his hard work will earn him the right opportunity.
Houston was the fifth and final early enrollee for the Gators. He suffered an ACL injury that prevented him from playing his senior season, but his numbers speak for themselves. In his Junior season, he totaled 37 tackles, a sack, an interception, and a forced fumble. Houston was recruited by defensive coordinator Randy Shannon at Florida. Being from Fort Lauderdale, FL, he felt pressure to choose a school in south Florida, but many elements of the Gator’s offer helped him make his decision independently and easily. Houston plans on being a business major and knew that both the academic and football facilities will give him the best opportunity to be successful. Additionally, Houston loved the ability to early enroll and take advantage of rehabilitation at Florida, while still being close to home.
Houston should be healthy to start Spring practice with the Gators on February 28. He says he is honored to be a part of the tradition of excellence that is the Gator defense. As a player, Houston says his best quality is his focus on the team effort.
Since they didn't get an official signing day at home, we created one for them. Congrats to our 5 midyear enrollees! Glad you're in the fam. pic.twitter.com/4yvTqQxItA
— Jim McElwain (@CoachMcElwain) February 1, 2017
The Gators brought in a strong final haul to finish with a top 10 recruiting class, according to 247Sports.com. Head coach Jim McElwain says he is excited about filling necessary positions on defense with strong players.