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Gators’ recruiting class takes a hit as Evers and others de-commit

In his first press conference, head coach Billy Napier said he wouldn’t be surprised if Florida did not sign anyone during the Early Signing Period and emphasized patience as he puts together his first recruiting class. Now, Florida fans will have to exercise as much patience as possible following three major de-commitments, including Nick Evers, in the 2022 class over the last 24 hours.

Late Tuesday night, four-star wide receiver CJ Smith announced his de-commitment from the Gators. Following Smith, four-star quarterback Evers backed off of his pledge early Wednesday morning. Finally, four-star wide receiver Jayden Gibson de-committed Wednesday afternoon.

CJ Smith

A four-star wide receiver originally from Bishop Moore High School in Orlando and now at Mt. Dora High School, Smith originally committed to Florida on June 20, 2021.

According to 247 Sports’ Composite Rankings, Smith is the No. 34 wide receiver in the country and No. 26 ranked player in the state of Florida. Nationally, 247 Sports Composite ranked him at No. 226 overall.

Smith began his high school career at Orlando’s Bishop Moore Catholic High School, where in addition to football, he starred on the Hornets’ track teams, winning state titles in the 100-meter and 200-meter dashes as a junior.

On the gridiron, Smith has battled injuries, forcing him to miss time in his junior and senior seasons. Due to a meniscus injury, he opted out of his senior season after a few games and transferred to Mt. Dora High School.

Smith took a visit to Tennessee on Dec. 3 and is trending toward the ‘Vols following his de-commitment.

Nick Evers

The face of the 2022 class, Evers committed to Florida on March 9, 2021. Evers is the No. 10 quarterback in the 247 Sports Composite rankings and the No. 156 overall player in the country. Evers seemed to be a lock for the Gators, even after Dan Mullen’s firing and Napier’s hiring.

Napier and offensive analyst Ryan O’Hara visited Evers and his family at Flower Mound High School in Texas on Tuesday, and Evers had tweeted his excitement about Napier’s hiring in the past.

With Evers’ de-commitment, there are zero quarterback commits in the 2022 class.

In his senior season at Flower Mound High School, Evers threw for 2,367 yards and 19 touchdowns and added 648 yards and 14 touchdowns on the ground.

Jayden Gibson

The No. 25 wide receiver in 247 Sports Composite rankings and No. 7 wide receiver in Rivals’ rankings, Gibson was the shortest commitment of the three. Gibson originally committed to Florida on Oct. 13, 2021, after being offered in February.

Florida State head coach Mike Norvell visited Gibson on Tuesday, leading many Gator fans to wonder if Gibson would stay committed. He answered their concerns, but it wasn’t the answer Gator fans wanted. With his decision, Gibson is slowly trending towards FSU.

In his senior season at West Orange High School (Winter Garden, Fla.), Gibson caught 56 passes for 857 yards and 13 touchdowns.

Recruiting Class

With Smith’s, Evers’ and Gibson’s de-commitments, Florida drops to the No. 69 recruiting class in the 247Sports’ 2022 rankings and the Rivals’ 2022 rankings, which are both last in the SEC. Overall, Florida has eight total commitments, with four-star defensive lineman Chris McClellan headlining the group.

Early Signing Period begins Dec. 15 and ends Dec. 17. After that, recruits will not be able to sign with programs until National Signing Day on Wednesday, Feb. 2.

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