The Florida Gators’ 2019 recruiting class is nearly complete, and appears set to be a surprisingly impressive assortment of good to very good to elite players.
The Gators’ 2020 recruiting class is much further from completion — but, as with the Monday night commitment of Ocala Vanguard wideout Leonard Manuel, seems to be getting better all the time.
Manuel, thought of as a Florida lean for weeks if not months, made the call for the Gators on Monday night with a tweet.
110% IM A FLORIDA GATOR!!— MoZac™️ (@Begreatliltone2) January 15, 2019
No Interviews (everyone) pic.twitter.com/LjSlO36TI6
And make no mistake: He may be “just” a four-star player, but Manuel is a huge get.
Manuel stands 6’4” and goes about 200 pounds, and his body is the prototypical frame for a tall, physical wideout. So it’s probably a bad thing — for those who would try to defend him, anyway — that he’s also a long strider with deceptive speed and enough elusiveness to slip tacklers in space with the ball.
It’s that frame and that promise that have made Manuel one of the highest-ranked four-stars in the 2020 class: The 247Sports Composite has him at No. 36 among all prospects nationally, and had him as high as No. 6 into March 2018. As it is, Manuel is just two spots removed from five-star status — big-time Florida target Demarkcus Bowman of Lakeland is, at No. 34, the lowest-ranked five-star in the 2020 class per the 247Composite — and could obviously play his way into that tier with a good enough showing on the summer camp circuit or on fields next fall.
And that also makes him the highest-rated commit in Florida’s 2020 class, no small feat given its five other four-star commits. That class is now No. 3 nationally, with so very many pieces left to add.
And it sure seems like Dan Mullen’s staff is capable of adding some other appealing ones.