Florida continues to add to its 2016 recruiting class, with the latest pickup coming on Wednesday in the form of Alabama safety Jeawon Taylor.
Jim McElwain tweeted out the #ChompChomp signal:
Gators defensive backs coach Kirk Callahan followed with this tweet:
Bang Bang #334 #ChompChomp— Kirk Callahan (@CoachKCal) August 5, 2015
The 334 area code covers Montgomery, Auburn-Opelika, and Dothan in Alabama — and Taylor, from Park Crossing High in Montgomery, is the only serious Florida target who corresponds to the area code in question. Scout's Bob Redman was first to connect the dots (via a Taylor retweet), and 247Sports' Luke Stampini was first to confirm the commitment.
Taylor subsequently put out the news himself, too.
Taylor is rated as a three-star prospect by the 247Sports Composite, but as a four-star player by 247Sports, and he holds offers from Alabama, Auburn, and Mississippi, among others. At 6'2" and around 190 pounds, he has very good size for the safety position, though he could probably afford to bulk up a bit.
Florida's loading up on players to plug into its defensive backfield in the 2016 class, and preparing for a future in which senior Brian Poole and junior (and 2016 top-10 NFL Draft pick) Vernon Hargreaves III are assuredly not going to be a part of the puzzle, with juniors Marcus Maye and Keanu Neal possibly following those players to the NFL if the 2015 season goes well for them. And while the Gators will still have talented and experienced players to man secondary positions if all of those players depart — Duke Dawson, Marcell Harris, Jalen Tabor, and Quincy Wilson form a stronger core than many programs could boast — having just eight defensive backs on scholarship would leave Florida thin in the secondary.
That's part of why Taylor is just the latest of six defensive backs to commit to Florida for the 2016 cycle, with athlete Tyrek Tisdale also having experience as a high school safety. And while it's not set in stone that all of those backs will back up verbal pledges with signed Letters of Intent — Taylor himself said "Ever since I was little, I wanted to be an Auburn Tiger" after getting his Auburn offer this March — the Gators are clearly preparing for massive turnover.