Florida Football Recruiting: Friday Night Lights A Success

Florida's Friday Night Lights camp. (Via @JeffBarlisESPN)

It's safe to say Friday Night Lights was a huge success, resulting in three commitments (Vernon Hargreaves III, Antonio Riles and Jordan Sherit) for the Gators in a three-day span. Yes, VHIII technically committed on Thursday and didn't attend FNL, but it's easier to just throw him in there anyway, especially since his commitment helped convince Sherit to decide over the weekend.

VHIII is obviously the headliner of the three commits; a consensus five-star corner recognized as the best at his position. But Riles and Sherit are quality players, too. Here's what ESPN's Corey Long had to say about Sherit via the Tampa Bay Times:

"He's not a kid that you worry about," said Long, adding he wouldn't be shocked if UF's class eventually goes to No. 1. "He's a dedicated student-athlete. I think he's a smart kid, I think he's a natural leader, probably the most popular kid among the (high-profile) Tampa kids. He's going to be one of those guys that you can count on to be the face of the program. ... I'm a big fan."

Sherit is rated higher than Riles, but both are great pickups for Will Muschamp as he tries to build quality depth on the defensive line. Florida now has four defensive linemen committed with Riles, Sherit, Joey Ivie and Caleb Brantley.

Defensive end DeMarcus Walker remains one of UF's top remaining targets. He'll announce between Alabama, Clemson and Florida on Aug. 24. The coaches were all over Walker from the time he arrived on campus, and he and Muschamp had a one-on-one conversation with their arms around each other. Make of it what you will.

I said in my preview that I thought the wide receivers would be one of the more interesting parts of the camp. Chris Thompson was the best 2013 receiver there. Nadir Barnwell played some receiver and corner, but was better on defense. But Armwood's Alvin Bailey was a no-show. After a week or so of thinking he may have an opportunity to have a committable offer, he doesn't even show up to compete. Depending on why he was absent, Florida could just completely move on from Bailey.

Gerry Hamilton of 247Sports put together a nice list of FNL's top performers. His No. 1? A 2015 wide receiver, George Campbell out of Tarpon Springs, Fla.

The 6-3, 180-pound pass catcher could be one of the top prospects in the Sunshine State for the 2015 cycle and certainly looked the part, showing off advanced route running skills, and ability to get off the press and play physical. He reported a 37-inch vertical and the game seemed to move very slow for him on a night where prospects were tight and trying to impress. Look for Campbell and teammate, 2014 Artavis Scott, to be one of the top wide receiver duos in the Sunshine State this coming season. South Florida, Central Florida and Vanderbilt have issued early offers.

Hamilton's second-best performer was Notre Dame commit Alex Anzalone, who made a surprise trip to Gainesville to participate in FNL. Anzalone picked Notre Dame over Penn St. and Florida on July 8, so it's interesting he made an appearance at UF. However, I don't think there's anything to it, and I expect him to remain committed to Notre Dame. Here's what he told GatorNation's Derek Tyson about the visit:

"I've seen Florida enough," Anzalone said. "It's not like it's my second visit there or something like that. I know it. The coaches even say I could probably give a better tour than them around campus. I had a fun time competing with the Florida kids though."

FNL was also an opportunity for Florida to get a better foothold with uncommitted prospects and solidify the commitments of current verbals.

Marcell Harris didn't participate in drills, but was in attendance. At the bottom of Gerry Hamilton's top performers story, he has this to say about Harris:

Top247 safety Marcell Harris (Orlando, Fla./Dr. Phillips) spent a lot of time with Sherit and Florida linebacker commit James Hearns and other Gators commits. Harris is a UF legacy and there's a school of thought that it will take a lot for him not to be a Gator when all is said and done. That being said, we heard today that Texas and/or Florida State could also emerge as likely destinations.

When Marqui Hawkins committed to Florida, it was a head-scratcher considering he had never even been on campus. And when he started saying he would still take his visits, I started to question whether he'd be in Florida's class on Signing Day. But his visit for FNL seems to have him sold on being a Gator. Here's what he said in an interview with CBSSports' Bryan Fischer:

"When I go back tomorrow, I'm going to tell them this is the place, this is where you want to be at," Columbus (Ga.) wide receiver and Gators commit Marqui Hawkins said. "Florida is where it's at."

So, all in all, a successful Friday Night Lights. Florida netted three commitments over the course of the weekend, and positioned themselves nicely for prospects committing later. And with the 2013 class nearly full, I'm sure the UF coaches were able to start forming relationships with the 2014 and 2015 prospects.

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