Wide receiver Tristan Payton picked his spot well on Monday, decommitting from Florida during the part of the afternoon I spent getting my car's oil changed:
I've decided to decommit from the university of Florida thanks for all the love— Tristan Payton (@tristanpayton6) July 21, 2014
Payton, who attends Jacksonville's First Coast High, originally committed to Florida in February. He was Florida's fourth commitment for the class of 2015 when he made his pledge, but was mostly unknown in recruiting circles at that point.
Now, he's the fourth player to decommit from Florida's 2015 class, the second 2015 player to decommit over a three-day stretch in the wake of Deontai Williams's decommitment on Saturday — and the third wide receiver in the class of 2015, following Da'Vante Phillips and Deondre Farrier, to commit to Florida and later drop the Gators.
If you're looking for me to tell you that this trend is worrisome: I'm sorry. It's not.
Florida's receiver depth is at a new high-water mark under Will Muschamp, thanks to a stellar 2013 recruiting class that looks to have produced hits in Demarcus Robinson, Ahmad Fulwood, and could yield more in Alvin Bailey and Chris Thompson. The Gators don't need instant playmakers in the 2015 class like they might in 2016, when Robinson — should his head remain screwed on straight — could be on his way to the NFL.
And yet there are still playmakers the Gators might lock up in the 2015 class. Florida's only current receiver commit for 2015, Derrick Dillon, is an excellent prospect, if raw. He shares those characteristics with George Campbell, a lanky five-star athlete (with three-star hands, perhaps) who has been considered a Florida lean throughout his recruitment, despite once committing to Michigan and recently giving more than the time of day to LSU.
Besides, what Florida's lost isn't, frankly, irreplaceable. Phillips is a fine prospect and could be very good at Florida State, where he will commit as soon as he gets tired of pretending that he's going to go somewhere other than where his former Miami Central teammate Dalvin Cook went, but he's not a game-changing recruit. Farrier and Payton were both seen as somewhat puzzling takes earlier this year, though they've each earned esteem through the camp season. I like Dillon best of the four players, and would like Campbell, who is a rare athlete for his size, best of all.
Finally, just like we noted of Williams's decommitment on Saturday, Payton's decommitment actually helps Florida's mostly meaningless "average" — the Gators' average prospect rating as calculated by 247Sports rose from 90.08 to 90.27 with Payton's decommitment — while hurting Florida's ranking. The Gators are now "just" 34th nationally in 247's estimation, but Florida is the only program in the top 35 to have fewer than 10 commits, and the Gators' "average" now ranks fifth in the country.
For now, for the Gators, quality trumps quantity. But with a star-studded Friday Night Lights camp looming at week's end, both may be in store in the near future.