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National Signing Day 2019: Florida Gators live open thread

Live updates on Florida commits and targets, with occasional looks at the rest of the nation.

NCAA Football: Peach Bowl-Florida vs Michigan Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

The 2019 recruiting season finally comes to a close with today’s National Signing Day. Things should be relatively quiet for the Florida Gators, who signed 21 prospects during December’s Early Signing Period.

Florida opens the day with the No. 11 ranked signing class in 247Sports’ Composite Rankings. Will Dan Mullen’s second group of recruits manage to crack the top 10?

Current commitments

The Gators are waiting on just two commits to sign on the dotted line today: Four-star linebacker Diwun Black and four-star wide receiver Arjei Henderson. The rest of Florida’s committed class signed during the Early Signing Period.

Black didn’t sign in December due to academic issues, but is reportedly making the necessary strides and should be signing with Florida today. Henderson, who committed to UF during the Under Armour All-America Game, seems solid in his commitment to the Gators: He visited Gainesville after making his pledge, and cancelled his other planned visits, including one to Florida State.

Prospects to watch

As far as new commitments go, there are only a few recruits to watch today for the Gators but there are notable names among them, particularly four-star defensive back Kaiir Elam. The secondary standout is the nephew of former Florida star Matt Elam and is the most coveted recruit for many in Gator Nation. Elam is expected to choose between the Gators and Georgia this afternoon.

Other names to note include four-star defensive end Khris Bogle, an Alabama commit who has shown interest in Miami and Florida of late, and athlete Mark-Antony Richards, the recipient of a recent helicopter visit from Dan Mullen. Richards has been a top target of the Gators’ new staff, but is widely expected to sign with Auburn following a long relationship with the Tigers.

Commitment schedule

Below you’ll find the (admittedly short) commitment schedule for National Signing Day 2019’s potential Florida signees.

National Signing Day 2019: Florida Gators Prospects

Player Position Commitment Time (Approximate) Schools Considering Crystal Ball Prediction / Commitment Signing
Player Position Commitment Time (Approximate) Schools Considering Crystal Ball Prediction / Commitment Signing
Khris Bogle DE 8:15 a.m. Alabama, Florida, Miami Favoring Miami Florida
Diwun Black LB 9:00 a.m. Florida, Mississippi State, Ole Miss Favoring Florida Florida
Arjei Henderson WR 9:00 a.m. Florida, Florida State, Oklahoma Florida State Florida
Mark-Antony Richards ATH 12:15 p.m. Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Miami, Penn State Auburn Auburn
Kaiir Elam DB 1:30 p.m. Colorado, Florida, Georgia Florida Florida

Keep refreshing and checking this live open thread throughout the day, as we will be updating it with details and linking to our other postings as National Signing Day unfolds.

Live updates

9:25 a.m.: So far, so great for the Gators.

Florida’s National Signing Day got off to a strong start with Diwun Black’s signing being announced, and the announcement of Arjei Henderson’s signing would follow in the same hour, giving the Gators the best news they could get from that duo today.

But the more surprising and arguably more important news of this Wednesday so far is Florida successfully swaying Khris Bogle to flip his Alabama commitment — something the Gators and Miami were each trying very hard to do in recent weeks. Bogle’s flip gives Florida another blue-chip player, but also a substantial victory over one of the best teams in college football and a Miami program working hard to brand itself as a hot location for recruits despite Mark Richt’s resignation following a 2-5 close to the 2018 season and the Hurricanes’ hiring of a Manny Diaz, who retained several of the coaches on staff for that swoon.

Florida and Miami fans are set to spar on social media all spring and summer in the run-up to their teams’ 2019 season opener in Orlando, and Bogle picking the Gators over Miami will give Florida fans some weighted gloves to work with in those rhetorical skirmishes.

9:33 a.m.: There are rational reactions to recruiting, and then there’s writing fan fiction.

If you are going to pen the latter, at least make it funny?

9:40 a.m.: Khris Bogle is now signed, which means Florida can send out its cool video of a Gator making a play and Mick Hubert pretending it was Bogle.

I really like this style of future highlight — and Bogle’s has one very meme-ready fan going absolutely nuts, which is great — but the one tweak I would make is splicing some high school or all-star game highlights in to give an actual sense of what the player can do.

But that’s me nitpicking videos that I would give a solid B+ to, really.

10:05 a.m.: For some perspective on Florida State’s “major” offensive line commitment of the day thus far: Darius Washington, a three-star offensive lineman, is ranked No. 504 nationally by the 247Sports Composite, which is lower than four of the seven offensive linemen Florida has signed in this cycle.

Tell a Florida State fan you have some old-school 4-7 “humor” for them, if you want!

10:14 a.m.: It appears that Florida deleted a video announcing Khris Bogle’s signing and replaced it with another one purely to change his listed position from MLB to OLB.

Caring about getting that right is a small thing. But it’s also an important thing.

12:36 p.m.: As expected (and predicted above), Wellington Prep athlete Mark-Antony Richards committed to Auburn over Florida and Miami in an early-afternoon ceremony.

It’s still funny to hear players say “for the next three to four years” — a construction I believe was originated by Ermon Lane and Quincy Wilson in their infamous joint commitment to Florida several years ago. Richards is heading to a program where he might have to play for multiple coaches if he is going to stay that long, given the tenuous nature of Gus Malzahn’s continued employment, but Malzahn selling him on playing running back purportedly was part of why the Tigers won out over Florida, which supposedly was pitching Richards on a role more like that of Percy Harvin.

With Richards off the board, Florida’s last major target for the day is Kaiir Elam.

12:50 p.m.: Meanwhile, Florida State just missed on the fantastically-named four-star QB Lance Legendre, who opted to commit to Maryland. Between this miss and the defection of four-star QB Sam Howell to North Carolina after the departure of offensive coordinator Walt Bell, the Seminoles are seemingly not going to sign a high school quarterback in their 2019 class — following a failure to do that in 2018.

And with former Seminoles J.J. Cosentino and Bailey Hockman long gone after transfers and incumbent starter Deondre Francois still dismissed from the team and currently in the NCAA transfer portal after a messy social media saga in which someone purporting to be his girlfriend posted video meant to paint Francois as a verbal and physical abuser before walking that back, FSU currently has one scholarship quarterback, sophomore James Blackman, on its roster.

On the bright side, that’s one heck of an opportunity for walk-on Jake Rizzo in the spring game. Maybe he will be the QB Willie Taggart promised FSU would get excited about?