Florida got its second defensive end commitment in three weeks on Thursday, as Jachai Polite of Daytona Beach Mainland committed to the Gators early enough that Jim McElwain's customary #ChompChomp tweet went out at 7:36 a.m..
Luke Stampini of 247Sports was the first reporter to confirm Polite's commitment. Polite is a consensus three-star prospect, and the No. 33 strong-side defensive end in the class of 2016, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings.
But don't let the stars (or, technically, the lack of one or two more) fool you. Polite, at 6'3" and 250 pounds, has a good frame for a high school defensive end, and his highlights show he's capable of being a force at the position.
The first highlight is him chasing down a quarterback from the back side for a sack, but the second, third, and fourth are more about power, as Polite bulls one blocker, fights off another to make a play, and blows up a play in the backfield by helping reposition a lineman. If Antonneous Clayton's speed makes him a tantalizing prospect, Polite's power makes him a fine complement to Clayton.
And at 250 pounds before lifting a weight under Florida strength and conditioning coach Mike Kent, it's not out of the realm of possibility that Polite could grow into a defensive tackle, or a hybrid end/tackle in the Jonathan Bullard vein (albeit without Bullard's top-level talent), capable of lining up in multiple spots.
Polite's commitment also brings Florida to a new plateau for the 2016 recruiting class: It bumped the Gators up two spots in the 247Composite class rankings to No. 10, which I believe is their first appearance in the top 10 under McElwain.
And with the Gators still seemingly in on a slew of four- and five-star prospects, and some attrition by lower-tier recruits still possible — linebacker Vosean Joseph just visited West Virginia and has a Syracuse visit planned, for example — it's more likely that Florida continues to rise thanks to its stellar 2015 season on the field than that the Gators will fall back to the pack.