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Florida football recruting: Safety Donovan McMillon commits to Gators

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Florida’s defensive backfield keeps looking more formidable.

Florida Gators

On Friday, the Florida Gators lost a commitment from cornerback Clinton Burton Jr., who flipped his pledge from the Gators to Boston College.

On Saturday, Florida may well have made up for that loss with the pickup of safety Donovan McMillon, who gave the Gators his pledge on Twitter Saturday evening with an impressive array of Gators graphics.

Any safety committing to a school while musing philosophically about being the hammer or the nail must, by law, have a highlight reel that supports his choice of the hammer — and, fortunately, McMillon’s does, with plenty of violence set to a decidedly NSFW soundtrack. (I know you’re not “at” work, probably, but this one’s particularly egregious.)

McMillon is only a three-star prospect per the 247Composite, but a very long offer list that indicates interest in the Pennsylvania native from Michigan, Notre Dame, and Virginia Tech, among many others, is a suggestion that his ranking might look a bit more like 247Sports’s own evaluation — which has McMillon solidly within the four-star range at No. 145 overall in the 2021 class — if ESPN (which apparently doesn’t have a profile for McMillon at all) and Rivals (which rates him a three-star prospect) update their rankings down the road.

McMillon also adds to once-embattled safeties coach Ron English’s surprisingly large stockpile of current and future talent at the back end of Florida’s defensive backfield. McMillon is one of three players evaluated at least partially as safeties in Florida’s 2021 recruiting class, joining Floridians Dakota Mitchell and Kamar Wilcoxson, and that trio combined with 2020 enrollees Rashad Torrence and Tre’Vez Johnson has Florida set up nicely to replace its veteran crew of Shawn Davis, Quincy Lenton, Brad Stewart, Donovan Stiner, and Jeawon Taylor when the time comes, even if some of those prospective safeties — Johnson and Wilcoxson, for example — end up at cornerback.

And that’s a major change from where Florida sat entering the 2019 season and 2020 recruiting cycle.

English was part of the staff that hauled in four safety-primary prospects in Dan Mullen’s first recruiting class in the 2018 recruiting cycle, but that quartet has largely not provided help at the position, with Randy Russell (medical reasons) and John Huggins (suspension and transfer) providing nothing and very little, respectively, and Trey Dean (cornerback and slot corner) and Amari Burney (STAR and linebacker) contributing mostly at positions other than free and strong safety. And while Huggins appeared to be a promising contributor before his departure and Davis moving to safety from corner helped shore up depth for Florida during the 2018 season, the Gators taking zero safeties in their 2019 class left them with a lot of question marks at the position as of last summer.

English’s tutelage has helped finally turn some of the players recruited under Jim McElwain into above-average contributors, though, and the safety recruiting under his watch has notably improved from where it was through two cycles. While there’s still certainly room for criticism — Florida seems to be building depth more effectively than it is persuading the bluest of blue-chippers to pick the Gators, clearly — that criticism is also better aimed at the entire Mullen apparatus than at English at present.

So, yeah, English deserves to post swaggy PhotoShops right now.

McMillon’s commitment once again brings Florida’s 2021 class to 20 commitments. It did not budge the Gators from the No. 10 spot in the 247Composite national team rankings.