The Florida Gators were dealing with all manner of negative headlines and a flurry of decommits from their highly-touted but practically primordial 2021 recruiting class entering the past weekend, when they hosted a slew of prospects for a late-spring event Dan Mullen and staff are calling the Gator Grill Out.
And all it took was one weekend with some “relationship ribs” on plates and plenty of good vibes in Gainesville for the Gators to help themselves.
Florida landed two commitments over the weekend, with 2020 tight end Jason Odom of Tampa committing to the Gators on Saturday evening...
...and 2020 defensive back Joel Williams of Louisiana making the call for the Gators on Sunday evening.
Both players are good pickups, though each will be popularly considered a candidate to switch positions for the remainder of his recruitment.
In Odom’s case, bloodlines are mostly to thank for that: He’s the son of Florida great Jason Odom, one of the foundational blocks of the Steve Spurrier era, and so will be considered a possible candidate to play tackle like his dad did so well during his All-American career.
The son appears to have fallen from the tree one spot further from the center than his pops did, however, and while he has tackle size — 247Sports lists him at 6’5” and 250 pounds — he also shows off soft hands throughout his highlights.
One imagines that Odom could arrive at Florida and end up at a different position after some practices, especially given the Gators’ growing depth at tight end, but for now he seems like a tight end who will be a better blocker than most at his position.
Williams, meanwhile, has the size (6’1”) and build (a solid 190ish pounds, though he personally claimed to weigh 194 pounds this weekend) to play either cornerback or safety, and so will have his ultimate spot endlessly and pointlessly debated by many before his arrival and/or ascension to Florida’s depth chart.
Williams is also listed variously as an athlete because he plays both wide receiver and defensive back for Baton Rouge’s Madison Preparatory Academy, and you can see ball skills, elusiveness, and agility in his highlights.
Odom, a three-star prospect per the 247Sports Composite, and Williams, a four-star by the same metric, became the 11th and 12th current commitments in the Gators’ 2020 class, and once more buoyed it to top-five stats, as Florida leapt past Florida State to No. 5 in the 247Composite team rankings as of Monday.
If nothing else, landing two commits over two days following an event is a clear sign that the Grill Out’s good food provided by pitmaster Shannon Snell and Florida’s coaches maybe not being entirely awful at their jobs worked to stem any bad tides on the recruiting trail.