The Florida Gators won their season opener in convincing fashion — albeit over a tomato can of a team — on Saturday.
That apparently did enough to convince one of their top remaining targets in the 2019 recruiting class, four-star offensive tackle William Harrod, to take the plunge and make a public pledge to the Gators.
Harrod, who visited Gainesville over the weekend, made his commitment via tweet Monday afternoon, and got the @CoachDanMullenn response shortly after, so there’s no question as to whether the Maryland native’s commitment is genuine.
There’s also little question as to whether the four-star prospect from National Christian Academy is a talented one. Standing 6’5” and weighing in around 300 pounds, Harrod already has a very good build for the offensive tackle position he projects at as a collegian, and it’s no major stretch to see him as an eventual starter at the SEC level based on highlights that showcase his mobility and abilities to get low for leverage’s sake and deliver punch with long arms.
Harrod is 2019’s No. 304 prospect nationally, per the 247Sports Composite, and its No. 31 offensive tackle, but he’s a very good get for Florida not just because of his talents, but because of how barren the Sunshine State is in regards to tackles this cycle. Just two of the top 30 players listed at offensive tackle per that same 247Composite hail from Florida high schools, and both of them — Evan Neal of IMG Academy and Miami commit Michael Tarquin of Belleview — seem unlikely to be Gators; the third highest-ranked in-state OT, meanwhile, is Florida commit Wardrick Wilson.
And while Florida isn’t really in the mix for any five-star tackles from this class, successful offensive line recruiting rewards both landing top-tier talent and fitting needs year after year, something that Florida fans who remember the Gators’ struggles to do the latter early in Will Muschamp’s tenure and have seen the repurcussions of that for years since know very well. Harrod is part of a four-man offensive line class that could yet add a fifth member, which should give Florida offensive line coach John Hevesy — the coach responsible for molding many very good to great Mississippi State and Florida lines over the last 15 years — plenty to work with going forward, and Florida’s immediate stockpiling on the line should at least reduce the chances of struggles due to insufficient depth.
With Harrod’s commitment, Florida’s 14-commit class now ranks No. 21 in the 2019 cycle, per the 247Composite. And there’s still room to move up: Among the 20 teams ahead of Florida, only one — Ohio State — has just 14 commitments, while just five have 17 or fewer pledges to their name.