The future has officially arrived for the Florida Gators football team.
After welcoming 14 members of its 2018 recruiting class to campus over the Spring and Summer A semesters, the final 10 pieces of UF’s prospect haul have finally arrived in Gainesville. And when Fall camp opens in August, they should be ready to inject some talent to a roster that finished 4-7 in 2017.
Ranked 14th nationally by 247sports, Florida’s recruiting class features 13 four-star recruits. Three of them enrolled in Summer B, and each will be hoping to make their presence felt at positions weakened by graduation.
Position: Wide receiver
Weight: 186 pounds
The crown jewel of UF’s 2018 class, Copeland was the 12th-ranked wide receiver in the nation out of Pensacola’s Escambia High School. And with good reason: The incoming freshman was an offensive threat all over the field.
Hauling in 29 receptions for 613 yards and five touchdowns, the wideout accounted for over 63 percent of the Gators’ receiving yardage. He also rushed for 125 yards, third-most on his team, and averaged a team-leading 11.4 yards per attempt.
Copeland’s successes earned him a spot in the 2018 Under Armour All-America Game. He may only be a rookie, but on a Florida squad that returns a single receiver that put up more than 400 yards, he could steal some playing time on new head coach Dan Mullen’s offense.
Weight: 172 pounds
Another top-20 pickup, Watkins put up similar receiving numbers to Copeland while playing for the 7-4 East Ridge Knights: He recorded 552 yards and seven touchdowns over 11 games played.
What’s surprising, though, are his contributions on the ground.
Watkins out-ran his receiving totals, pounding away for 615 yards in East Ridge’s run-heavy offense. Per Maxpreps, he also recorded 1,332 all-purpose yards over his senior season, good for an average of 121.1 per game.
His talent is evident. However, there may be concerns over his character: This past May, the Tampa Bay Times reported that Watkins was arrested on a trespassing charge after breaking a female’s phone and kicking her car following an argument on Marion County high school’s campus.
UF Commit. Check out HIGHLIGHTS by Justin Watkins on @hudl https://t.co/A82fNXBj0M #hudl
— jdh5484 (@jdh5484) January 21, 2018
Position: Defensive end
Weight: 269 pounds
Not many defensive linemen were more imposing than Langham last season. As a senior at Lee High School, the native of Hunstville, Alabama, bullied his way to 104 tackles, 11 sacks and a number-nine ranking on 247sports’ 2018 strongside defensive end rankings.
Florida will be hoping that the 2017 Alabama Sports Writers Association 5A All-State First Teamer lives up to his potential.
No Gator lineman recorded more than 4.5 sacks during the 2017 campaign. Two of UF’s five top sack producers — first-round pick Taven Bryan and senior Jordan Sherit — left the program, leaving a gap of 60 tackles, 11 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks that needs to be filled.
Langham already boasts a college-ready frame. On a relatively unproven defensive line, he may get a shot to put it to good use.