Florida football recruiting: Gators reel in big fish in 2014 DT Khairi Clark

Bud Elliott (SB Nation Recruiting)

Florida has dipped into South Florida for another big-time 2014 recruit.

Florida is usually the third-ranked in-state team for South Florida players, what with Miami playing the heavy in the area and Florida State playing (and beating) Miami giving the Seminoles better in-roads in "The State of Miami," as Howard Schnellenberger memorably called it. And yet 2014 defensive tackle Khairi Clark committed to Florida on Saturday, giving the Gators maybe the best band of South Florida commits for the Class of 2014 — and giving Miami and Florida State another warning that Will Muschamp's staff will fight them for anyone they want.

Clark is listed at 6'2" and 325 pounds by ESPN, and at No. 147 in the ESPN150. Rivals has Clark at the same height and weight, and at No. 139 nationally. 247Sports has Clark much higher, ranking him at No. 69 nationally, and the 247Sports Composite ranking puts him even higher than that, at No. 67. All three sites have Clark among the top 10 defensive tackles in the 2014 class, and as a four-star prospect.

Watching the film of the (Hollywood) Chaminade Madonna prospect, it's not hard to see why: He's big, strong, and relentless.

Pairing Clark with Anthony Moten, another South Florida defensive tackle committed to Florida, gives the Gators a fantastic framework up front for years to come, and almost fully makes up for the losses of 2014 recruit Travonte Valentine to a decommitment and 2013 JUCO commitment Jarran Reed to the inability to perform a Herculean feat in the classroom. Florida had to do something to shore up its defensive line's interior for years to come in the last class and this one, with Sharrif Floyd and Dominique Easley both potentially jumping to the NFL after the 2012 season, and while only Floyd did, Muschamp and Co. have met needs and then some, with Caleb Brantley, Jaynard Bostwick, and JUCO player Darious "Bear" Cummings coming to campus this year and Moten and Clark slated to join them in 2014.

The obligatory disclaimer is that there's a lot of time between June 2013 and National Signing Day in February 2014, and Miami won't give up on reeling Clark in. But it's certainly better to have a prospect committed than not committed, and the Gators have certainly struck a blow in South Florida with Clark's commitment.

Clark makes 11 commitments in Florida's Class of 2014. For more on Florida's 2014 recruiting efforts, see our Florida Gators Football Recruiting section.

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