The Florida Gators may not have an official head coach, but that didn’t stop them from picking up another commitment for their 2018 recruiting class last night.
2018 athlete Nigel Bethel, Jr. announced that he had chosen the Gators in a tweet.
The three-star Bethel attends Miami’s Northwestern High School, where he plays receiver, and is teammates with Florida safety commit Divaad Wilson. Bethel is prominent on the track at Northwestern, and part of a track team which won its state title this past season. On the football field, Bethel leads Northwestern in receiving this year.
The 5’11” 160 pound athlete also held offers from Georgia, Miami, Louisville, UCF, Florida Atlantic, and others. He was recruited by interim head coach Randy Shannon and could play on either side of the ball in college, at cornerback or wide receiver. Bethel is one of 13 present in-state Florida commits and the sixth pledge for the Gators from South Florida.
You can find Bethel’s highlight videos here. He’s the lowest rated member of the Gators’ 2018 class, and had been long considered to pick Florida if given the opportunity. I’m not sure which side of the ball the current Gator regime prefers him at, but wouldn’t be surprised if he was being looked at at corner.
It’s interesting to have a recruit commit without a permanent coaching staff in place. Generally, the focus after a coaching change is primarily on keeping the current class in place, not persuading new members to join in. It will also be interesting to see whether Bethel remains a post-Shannon take for Florida under a new administration, given his commitment in the interim era.
Bethel’s commitment gives the Gators 19 commits in their 2018 recruiting class, which remains intact for now in the wake of former head coach Jim McElwain’s departure from the program. According to 247Sports’ class rankings, Florida presently has the No. 7 ranked national class.
It wouldn’t be surprising to start seeing some deflections and turnover in that impressive group though, given the coaching changes to come. But if that class could stay even mostly intact, that would be something pretty special.