Florida head coach Dan Mullen, center, celebrate with fans in the stands after the Gators defeated Georgia in an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

Alderman expects Gators to remain quiet on National Signing Day

Blake Alderman, the recruiting analyst for Swamp247, joined Sportscene with Steve Russell to discuss National Signing Day. Alderman says there should not be many surprises for the Gators when Feb. 6 rolls around.

FILE – In this Sept. 1, 2018, file photo, Florida head coach Dan Mullen runs onto the field with his players before an NCAA college football game against Charleston Southern, in Gainesville, Fla.  (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack, File)

Alderman Expects Quiet Day

Traditionally, National Signing Day is a time where high schoolers decide where they will spend the next three to five years of their college playing careers. As times change, especially regarding the impact of COVID-19, less and less players actually decide on this special day. Alderman says this is only amplified in Gainesville.

“Florida only has about one or two spots to give,” Alderman said regarding Florida’s scholarship potential. Before Florida fans lose their heads over the thought of Florida not being up to par with the rest of the SEC, there is a reason for Florida’s low numbers. Dan Mullen’s 2021 class is already near full.

The Gators have 27 players currently in their recruiting class right now. The bad news: this class ranks 12th in the nation and fifth in the SEC, according to 247Sports. The good news: this class is already gaining experience in Gainesville.

The prominence and rise of early enrollment has led to 12 members of the 2021 class getting reps with coaches. Alderman says a handful of Florida’s recruits visited Gainesville on their own, but now are finally getting to know the team and the coaching staff. He expects this trend to continue down the road.

In terms of the actual signing day, there will not be too many surprises. One of the few players Florida is actively pursuing is Terrion Arnold, a safety out of Tallahassee who ranks No. 104 overall in the 247 Rankings.

Other than that, Alderman expects there is a real chance Florida uses their two expected scholarship spots on possibilities in the transfer portal.

Using the Transfer Portal

When the NCAA granted an additional year of eligibility for football players, the transfer portal’s impact and importance sky rocketed.

Florida lost players to the portal, such as James Houston IV and Jacob Finn, but made up for it with some recent acquisitions. Currently, coach Mullen and his staff welcomed four players, including some ready to make an instant impact.

Florida tight end Kyle Pitts (84) celebrates after scoring a touchdown on a 15-yard pass reception during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Vanderbilt, Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019, in Gainesville, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

The staff is not stopping there, either. With the extra eligibility, plenty of players are seeking playing time and importance elsewhere. Among them is a possible candidate to fill the void left by consensus All-American Kyle Pitts.

Arik Gilbert, a former five-star recruit for LSU, opted into the transfer portal earlier this month. Alderman says Gilbert is a player that Tim Brewster, tight ends coach at UF, has been eyeing up as a complement to an already deep tight end room.

For this reason, expect Florida to remain active in the transfer portal as spring rolls and the the Gators’ roster fills out.

National Signing Day runs throughout Feb. 6, but expect Florida to be active throughout the spring.

About Kyle Fansler

Originally from Seminole in the Tampa Bay area, Kyle is a contributor for ESPN Gainesville as well as local NPR and PBS affiliate WUFT. Kyle wants to get into sports with a lofty dream of being a sports broadcaster. He was raised playing soccer and baseball while watching hockey and football, so the knowledge about various sports is fairly extensive.

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