Napier with AD Scott Stricklin. Photo courtesy of

Building the Napier Army

With the college football season coming to a close, Florida head coach Billy Napier has hit the recruiting trail. Hard.

A New Era

Dan Mullen is gone. Fans wanted a more reliable head coach, and with that, one who could recruit. Over his four year tenure, Mullen continued to let his recruiting classes slip. Most heinous, he refused to make a relationship with in-state powerhouse IMG Academy, which produced more 5-Star talent than most high schools in the country.

Late December, however, Napier broke that streak with the force of a 40 Megaton bomb. Safety Kamari Wilson, who had previously been predicted to sign with the reigning national champions at UGA, ended up signing at Florida. Safe to say, Napier made a name for himself. Wilson was an ideal first recruit at IMG, as he has been extremely vocal, and has begun to talk his teammates into joining him in Gainesville.

Many notable signees and commits have joined Wilson in Gainesville, and the number looks to be going up.

Napier’s Big Week

January is usually reserved for a regroup, and time to consider recruits before signing day. Napier believes differently. This weekend alone, the Gators will host 12 potential recruits.

Most notable on the list is LB Harold Perkins, a monster 5-Star, and Texas A&M commit. If the staff is able to sway Perkins, it would be a monumental flip. Jimbo Fisher has the Aggies at the number one recruiting class of all time. Taking a 5-Star away from that would make Florida a legitimate recruitment contender, for the first time since the McElwain era.

The Gators have also been heavily pursuing Jacoby Matthews. While he has seen multiple changes in his commitments, he began his journey as a Florida lock. He eventually went to explore other options, but the new staff has attracted him back to the Swamp. Mathews is a versatile safety, and would add needed depth to our backfield.

Local names aren’t the only ones targeted by the Florida staff. Napier plans to make Florida a cross-country recruiter, much like Saban’s Alabama. The first step in this is WR Arlis Boardingham, a 4-Star from California. Boardingham seemingly looked exclusively to the PAC-12, but Napier seems to have persuaded him to take a look farther East. Napier’s game plan seems to rely heavily on a heavy run game that can open up the air, and Boardingham fits in perfectly to this system.

Visits This Weekend

Harold Perkins/LB/5-Star

Shemar James/LB/4-Star

Jamari Lyons/DL/4-Star

Trevor Etienne/RB/4-Star

Jacoby Mathews/S/4-Star

Arlis Boardingham/WR/3-Star

Miguel Mitchell/ATH/3-Star

Jalen Farmer/IOL/3-Star

Caleb Douglas/WR/3-Star

Emar’rion Wilson/Edge/3-Star

The Gators plan this weekend is simple: show off. UF is a landmark university, and holds benefits not many other schools could claim. By showing off new facilities and staff to recruits, Florida shows that it can be more than a football program, it’s a home.

About Christopher Cappiali

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