When the clock strikes midnight, a hectic season of recruiting for both prospects and coaches is set to begin as NCAA recruiting dead period comes to its inevitable end.
In order to preview what is sure to be a busy recruiting news cycle, AllGators releases the Florida Gators 2022 recruiting predictive big board for each position of need.
After reviewing the second level of the defense with linebackers, we now reach the end of our eight-part outlook series, capping off the positional big board outlooks with defensive backs.
Following the 2020 season, the Florida Gators secondary underwent drastic reconstruction from a personnel and coaching standpoint.
Sending Torrian Gray and Ron English out the door in favor of Jules Montinar and Wesley “Crime Dog” McGriff, philosophies of playstyle and traits in defensive back prospects changed.
As a result, the 2022 recruiting class is the first opportunity for the new secondary staff to proclaim their attributes of importance to Gator Nation.
Sticking to the length that the previous staff prioritized and had success with, Montinar and McGriff have went even further in their search pool, looking for fast and versatile ball hawks to place within the Gators third level.
Already seeing the first domino fall with Julian Humphrey committing under a week ago, Florida looks to continue making big additions in the secondary heading into the busy summer.
Looking to the state of Texas when targeting defensive back prospects throughout the past few recruiting cycles, 2022 is no different in that regard.
Having already pulled Humphrey from the grips of home-state schools, Brooks is the next talented cornerback the Gators will look to land.
Running track for John Paul II in Plano, Brooks provides the preferred speed Florida’s recruiting staff has coveted throughout the year.
At just 5-foot-11, 190-pounds, Brooks is likely to see time occupying the STAR spot in the UF defense if they are able to secure him over Alabama, Oregon, Texas and Texas A&M.
Slated to visit Gainesville on June 11 with fellow Texas native and Gators commit Humphrey in tow, the Florida coaching staff will make a concerted effort for Brooks to continue their success plucking talent from the Lone Star State.
Despite being ranked as a three-star prospect, Pollard plays in a way that asserts his dominance on his opponents.
Showing superb skills to close cushion between himself and his assignment when the ball is in the air from both the outside and the slot corner positions, Pollard arguably fits the Gators qualifications better than any cornerback in this class.
Meanwhile, his physicality pops off the film when making tackles in the open field, another valuable aspect of his skillset that makes Pollard a high priority for the Gators.
Spreading out his interest to a multitude of locations and power five conferences, Pollard has scheduled official visits with Auburn, Michigan and Oklahoma.
Meanwhile, Florida seems to be one of the two destinations Pollard looks to venture to before his recruitment ends, with the visit likely to come during the regular season.
Earl Little Jr.
As son to former NFL defensive back, Little has football running through his veins.
Playing with a high football IQ and incredible fluidity in mirroring opposing wideouts, Little sits as one of the most talented man-to-man coverage prospects on the board.
Accounting for 35 tackles in 2020, Little showed a heightened prowess making tackles downhill and rushing the passer when called upon, presenting a perfect fit in Todd Grantham’s scheme.
Having Florida’s recruiting ace in Tim Brewster on the prowl for the American Heritage prospect, the Gators are attempting to keep his intrigue high before getting him on campus September 17 for their SEC Championship rematch with Alabama.
As stated in previous recruiting positional outlooks, IMG Academy has not been friendly to Dan Mullen and company throughout his tenure as Florida Gators head coach.
However, that hasn’t stopped them from trying.
Viewed as the best safety the 2022 class has to offer, Wilson has shown significant interest in the University of Florida throughout the longevity of his recruitment.
As a physical safety prospect who presents a near college-ready frame, Wilson shows tendencies of a natural coverage man and can work down towards the line of scrimmage to stop ball carriers in their tracks.
Despite the belief that he is head north of Gainesville to their rival Georgia Bulldogs — a school that has had success landing IMG Academy products in recent years — Montinar and secondary recruiter Greg Knox continue pushing for him to ger his talents to rep the orange and blue.
Unfortunately for the Gators, Wilson will be in Athens on the first weekend of June and has yet to schedule his official visit with UF at this time.
While confining Thomas to just one spot in the secondary would be malpractice for the uber-versatile playmaker, Thomas’ skills project him to see an abundance of time roaming freely from the safety position at the next level.
Playing great instincts and length for Niceville (Fla.) High School, Thomas is able to consistently make plays on the ball in the air to create turnovers.
Standing at 6-foot-2, 180 pounds, Thomas’ film showcases him taking control of the game from a number of different positions, offensive and defensive.
As a result, t could look to use Thomas in a gadget role offensively from time to time, giving them another weapon to strike fear in opposing defenses.
While his versatility and track speed will provide room for creativity for the Gators defense, finding a spot to groom him at would be a reason he doesn’t see meaningful defensive snaps early on.
However — given his wide range of coverage and playmaking skills — expect Thomas to see time as a special teams ace early on in his collegiate career, no matter the school he chooses to continue his playing career at.
Thomas will head to Gainesville to test the waters on June 4, part of a star-studded lineup heading into town that first weekend of the open recruiting period.
Lowly rated, highly talented.
Showcasing incredible range and length from the safety position, Moore has shown a knack for forcing turnovers in his high school career, culminating in an impressive junior campaign.
Recording 24 tackles, five interceptions and one touchdown in 2020, Moore has hauled in big-time offers from Alabama and Stanford in 2021, creating more competition for Florida.
With both defensive back coaches pursuing Moore, Florida looks to be making him a priority within their recruiting efforts to sure up a backend that saw a significant decrease in production over the past few seasons.
Set to unofficially visit Florida on June 1 according to an announcement of Twitter, the Naples (Fla.) High School safety prospect will get his first look at one of three home state schools vying for his services.
However, given the proximity to Gainesville, June 1 is far from the last time the Florida staff will get to interact with the talented three-star face-to-face on campus.
Other players that currently look to have a strong relationship with the University of Florida to keep an eye on are in-state prospects Markeith Williams from Orlando (Fla.) and Tre Donaldson from Tallahassee (Fla.) as well as Emory Floyd from Powder Springs (Ga.).
With each possessing the necessary length and ball…