Put another name on the board for the red-hot Florida Gators, who picked up their fourth commit in as many days on Monday with the commitment of Lakeland cornerback Fenley Graham.
Graham is just a three-star prospect at corner, and given that he’s listed at 5’8”, he’s unlikely to be a significant contributor at the position, where height is increasingly important.
But Graham has significant skills elsewhere on the field — especially as a returner. And his highlights, which start with two kick return touchdowns, showcase those skills, which have gotten him compared to Brandon James, the Gator pictured above, who also stood maybe 5’8” in spikes.
Graham’s height has been thought to be working against him as a recruit, with whatever program ended up with him likely set to use him primarily as a returner and on offense despite his defensive background; thus, Graham might not have as many committable offers as he does offers in general, even if the interest from Miami also appeared to be legitimate. But if he can be a dynamic returner at the collegiate level — even if he only occasionally approaches James, arguably the best return man in Florida history — then he will provide returns on his scholarship.
Graham’s commitment follows those of defensive tackle Lamar Goods, cornerback Tre’Vez Johnson, and linebacker Derek Wingo, a flurry that has bolstered the Gators’ standing significantly entering a dead period of less recruiting contact that begins today and runs for a month. Florida now has 17 commits and the nation’s No. 6 class per 247Sports, and is well-fortifed against the decommitments that will inevitably happen when dealing with teenage boys and for a stretch run of recruiting this fall that may see the Gators adjusting their sights to focus on top-tier talent.
And Graham also continues Florida’s redevelopment of Lakeland as a pipeline school. The Gators, who mined Lakeland extensively during the borderline dynastic Urban Meyer era, signed three Dreadnaughts in their 2019 recruiting class — offensive lineman Deyavie Hammond, pass rusher Lloyd Summerall, and tight end Keon Zipperer — and will certainly be hoping for more than just Graham in their 2020 haul, whether that means a slim-chance flip of Demarckus Bowman’s Clemson commitment or reeling in speedy wideout Arian Smith.