Florida target Brian Burns committed to Florida State on National Signing Day 2016, in an announcement at his high school, American Heritage, in Plantation, Florida.
Burns, a 247Sports Composite four-star defensive end rated the No. 51 prospect by that composite ranking, was down to Florida, Florida State, and Georgia, but had been trending toward the Seminoles in recent weeks. An official visit to Florida for the weekend of January 22 went well by all accounts, but the Gators have had high four-star commit Antonneous Clayton at defensive end in the fold since 2015. And both players are similar enough — speedy edge rushers who need to add weight to compete at the collegiate level, with Burns having a better wingspan and Clayton more power — that either or both could have seen the other as competition.
Burns also ended up making that official visit after high school teammate and fellow Florida target Nick Eubanks failed to make the trip with Burns and his family, with reports surfacing shortly afterward holding that Eubanks was sick. Whether that was true or not is up for debate — especially because Eubanks committed to Michigan, in a bit of a surprise, last week, and squashed any hopes of Florida having the American Heritage duo in Gainesville, ones that led some to think more highly of the Gators' chances of hauling in Burns.
Without Burns, Florida is likely done at defensive end, a position of depth for the 2016 roster. After signing five-star defensive end Cece Jefferson in 2015 and seeing him have a strong freshman year, the Gators would seem to be very well-stocked at the position opposite the edge rusher role Burns would have played, and in Clayton and other candidates on campus, Florida likely already has the successor to Alex McCalister at what Florida has dubbed the RUSH position under Geoff Collins.