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Florida football recruiting: Gators nab Chris McWilliams, Keelen Roberts "commits"

Florida continues to hit South Florida hard.


Apart from whatever that was with Robert Washington, Florida's football recruiting had been in a bit of a lull of late, with no commitments since Chauncey Gardner's second commitment to Florida back in March, despite hosting prospects for its spring game.

This week has been more fruitful: South Florida cornerbacks Chris McWilliams committed to the Gators on Sunday, and Roberts may have done so Monday.

It's hard to tell which of the two is lower-profile. McWilliams is so little-known that he doesn't even have a Scout profile, doesn't have an ESPN grade, and is just a two-star prospect according to both 247Sports and Rivals. Likely to be a safety at the college level despite also playing wide receiver for the moment, McWilliams is listed at 5'11" or 6'0" by all three sites, and around 160 pounds; he's no bruiser.

Or, well, he doesn't seem like one on paper. His highlights tell a different story.

Those first two hits are crushing ones. But then the third and fourth highlights are the same play from different angles, which is really not what I want from a short highlight tape.

McWilliams is currently at Southwest Miami High, though he's apparently spent time at Varela High and Killian High, too. None of those three schools is a major pipeline for Division I talent, so accepting a commitment from McWilliams would seem to be about either Florida co-defensive coordinator/linebackers coach/South Florida godfather Randy Shannon finding a diamond in the rough or some tie that isn't publicly known.

The same may be true for Roberts, who may have tipped his own commitment — which reportedly happened Monday night, per 247Sports's Ryan Bartow, but only became public today, and has been edited out of the linked story (note the URL) since its publication — with this tweet:

Roberts is a cornerback, and a three-star player per Scout, a two-star player according to Rivals, and unrated by both 247Sports and ESPN. ESPN lists him at 5'11", but the other three sites have him at or above 6'0", and all four agree that he's in a range from 165 to 180 pounds.

His highlights show him making good use of that height to high-point interceptions (on, well, terrible throws) and doing fine work in tight coverage.

Roberts's anonymity is such that the major sites can't decide whether he hails from either Opa-locka (247) or Miami Gardens (Rivals), but he attends Carol City High — which has a rather interesting list of famous alumni, ranging from Santana and Sinorice Moss to Rick Ross and Flo Rida to Trayvon Martin.

And that makes taking him a bit more logical on its face: Carol City is plausible as a pipeline of talent, having also produced Kenny Phillips and Allen Hurns more recently than the Moss brothers.

There's a chance, maybe a good one, that May commitments are just early-cycle ones, and will be followed by flips or decommitments. Florida's 2015 recruiting class was an outlier, given the firing of Will Muschamp and Jim McElwain's close, but Florida's 2014 class, 24 players deep, featured just three players (Will Grier, Duke Dawson, and Travaris Dorsey) who committed to Florida before June 2013.

If McWilliams and/or Roberts turn out to have made lasting pledges, however, Florida would seem to be staking quite a lot on Shannon's ties to and evaluations of South Florida talent. We'll see if that happens.