Mullen reaps re­wards on Early Sign­ing Day

Orlando Sentinel - - SPORTS FRIDAY - Egth­omp­[email protected] or­lan­dosen­tinel.com

end of this re­cruit­ing class or new Ga­tors, if you will, com­ing in here for us. I still think there’s go­ing to be some more com­ing.”

For now, UF ad­dressed sev­eral key ar­eas, sign­ing six de­fen­sive backs, four de­fen­sive line­men, three of­fen­sive line­men, two lineback­ers, a punter and a quar­ter­back.

“This is the sec­ond year we’ve ad­dressed the fu­ture with the of­fen­sive line, which I’m happy with how we’re build­ing it for the fu­ture,” Mullen said. “De­fen­sive line, ob­vi­ously the last cou­ple of years, it hasn’t been great. We’ve made some changes on our re­cruit­ing and our coach­ing staff [hir­ing David Turner] to ad­dress that. And I think you see that with the suc­cess we have with some of the D-line that we’ve re­cruited this year.

“You want to be a great team, you want to com­pete for cham­pi­onships, [then] you’ve got to be able to con­trol the line of scrim­mage.”

But the Ga­tors also signed just one wide re­ceiver, Ja’Quavion Fraziars, a four-star re­cruit from Dun­nel­lon, and did not land a run­ning back when EJ Smith, son of UF leg­end Em­mitt Smith, chose Stan10. ford over UF, Ge­or­gia and Texas A&M.

Mullen said UF is seek­ing an el­i­gi­bil­ity waiver for Texas trans­fer re­ceiver Jordan Pouncey, older brother of Win­ter Park’s Ethan Pouncey, a four-star cor­ner­back who signed Wed­nes­day. Re­ceiver Leonard Manuel com­mit­ted to UF but was un­able to sign Wed­nes­day. Manuel trans­ferred from Ocala Van­guard to Fort Laud­erdale Strana­han mid­sea­son and quickly made an im­pact in South Florida.

Mullen said UF has nine schol­ar­ship re­ceivers, one shy of the ideal num­ber of

“You’re al­ways try­ing to bal­ance it, but we have set num­bers we like to be at every po­si­tion,” Mullen said. “Then there’s al­ways fluc­tu­a­tion with that. Like quar­ter­back, you like to be at four, looks like we’ll prob­a­bly be at three. But you just — there’s al­ways some fluc­tu­at­ing num­bers in there.”

The Ga­tors’ one quar­ter­back in the class, Gainesvill­e’s An­thony Richard­son, en­rolled early and joined the team this past week­end for bowl prac­tices. Mas­sive 6-foot-6, 356-pound of­fen­sive tackle Josh Braun and guard Richie Leonard IV also en­rolled early and are work­ing with the team.

Punter Jeremy Craw­shaw, de­fen­sive tackle La­mar Goods, de­fen­sive end Ant­waun Pow­ell, cor­ner­back Ja­hari Rogers, safety Rashad Tor­rence III, of­fen­sive tackle Is­siah Walker Jr. and Ethan Pouncey are ex­pected to ar­rive on cam­pus in Jan­uary and en­roll for spring classes.

Pouncey, rated the state’s No. 20 prospect in the 2020 class, is one of 10 UF signees ranked among the top 50 play­ers in the state of Florida, more than any school in the na­tion, ac­cord­ing to 247Sports.

Mullen said it should be that way every year for the Ga­tors, who ended Wed­nes­day ranked ahead of in-state ri­vals Mi­ami (No. 18) and Florida State (No. 21).

“I’d be dis­ap­pointed if we didn’t,” Mullen said of UF’s Sun­shine State suc­cess. “We are the Univer­sity of Florida. And, I mean, this is where guys — I hope most kids in the state of Florida grow up want­ing to be Ga­tors and want the op­por­tu­nity to go play in the Swamp and go do that.

“I know re­cruit­ing has be­come more na­tional and in­ter­na­tional even now, but a lot of your foun­da­tion is go­ing to come from, you know, within a five-, six­hour ra­dius of school and es­pe­cially within your home state.”

STREETER LECKA/GETTY

UF head coach Dan Mullen said the Ga­tors are seek­ing an el­i­gi­bil­ity waiver for re­ceiver Jordan Pouncey, a Texas trans­fer and older brother of Win­ter Park’s Ethan Pouncey.

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