Rivals.com - Three-Point Stance: Florida supremacy, top 2025s, SEC
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Three-Point Stance: Florida supremacy, top 2025s, SEC

Nathaniel Joseph
Nathaniel Joseph (Nick Lucero/Rivals.com)

Rivals analyst Ryan Wright examines the battle for recruiting supremacy in the Sunshine State, looks ahead to a group of 2025 recruits to know in Florida and checks in on how SEC programs have fared this summer.

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MORE THREE-POINT STANCE: Rankings risers, Penn State, Northeast OL

CLASS OF 2023 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Team | Position | State

CLASS OF 2024 RANKINGS: Rivals250 | Team | Position | State

TRANSFER PORTAL: Stories/coverage | Message board

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SUNSHINE STATE RECRUITING BATTLE HEATING UP

Roderick Kearney
Roderick Kearney (Rivals.com)

In mid-June, recruiting for the 2023 class in the state of Florida was being dominated by Ohio State but Miami has put a halt on the Buckeyes' run, landing four-stars in WR Nathaniel Joseph, DB/WR Robert Stafford, TE Riley Williams, OT Francis Mauigoa and LB Malik Bryant along with five-star DE Jayden Wayne.

Florida is looking to go on a run, as the Gators enter a big recruiting weekend ranked No. 29 in the team rankings. They have 12 commits, but look that number to rise before July closes. Heading into preseason camp, Florida may not challenge Miami for recruiting supremacy in the Sunshine State but the Gators will be more heavily in the mix.

Florida State has quietly added six prospects since June 11 with two being four-star in-state prospects OT Lucas Simmons and OT Roderick Kearney. The Seminoles have the foundation of a strong class with 10 commits, but fans are hoping to see their stock rise above their current No. 44 ranking.

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FIVE 2025 FLORIDA PLAYERS TO WATCH THIS FALL

Winston Watkins Jr.
Winston Watkins Jr. (Nick Lucero/Rivals.com)

Recruiting diehards are always looking for the next big recruit coming down the line, and the state of Florida, per usual, has a stockpile talent waiting for fans to discover. When the Friday night lights turn on this fall, watch out for these “super sophomores”.

WR Winston Watkins Jr. – IMG Academy – Texas A&M commit

Regardless of grade classification, Watkins is one of the best receivers in the country. Watkins is quick with great cuts and route running abilities creating large windows for quarterbacks. His route running is elite and so are his hands. Watkins catches everything cleanly with a catch radius that makes quarterbacks look great. Adding a little more to Watkins’ mystique, he committed to Texas A&M on Dec. 20, going on to receive offers from Tennessee, Georgia, Texas, Ohio State and Alabama, nearing the 20-offer mark.

DB DJ Pickett – Carrollwood Day

DJ Pickett might be the most highly recruited player in his class at the 40-offer milestone. On a loaded Carrollwood Day squad, the Tampa area safety stands out. Pickett already has offers from every Power Five conference with teams such as Miami, LSU, Georgia, Alabama, Texas and Penn State seeking his skills. Pickett has range in the secondary going sideline-to-sideline and can come down the alley to help stop the run.

QB Colin Hurley – Trinity Christian Academy

When the rankings for the 2025 class come out, expect Hurley to be among the top quarterbacks. Working over defenses for Jacksonville’s Trinity Christian Academy, Hurley had an explosive freshman season, bringing home a state championship for the Conquerors. College programs have laid out 24 scholarships thus far for Hurley with the list being filled by bluebloods. Hurley has all the tools and is athletic enough to extend plays and drives with his legs.

OLB Gavin Nix – IMG Academy

Playing at IMG Academy helps showcase a player’s talents and Nix is making the most of those opportunities. Nix already has a collegiate frame with the strength and speed to go with it. Throughout the offseason Nix has laced up his cleats at exposure and college camps ready to compete against anyone who steps on the field. His athleticism and understanding of the game have helped bring in offers from Florida State, Georgia Tech, Auburn, Florida, Penn State, Michigan.

WR Jaime Ffrench – Mandarin

Ffrench gave a preview of things to come last fall getting time against 8A Florida defenses. The spring evaluation period has helped push Ffrench up recruiting boards, nearing 20 offers ahead of his sophomore campaign. Ffrench’s speed, hands and route-running makes him difficult. College teams are already working on getting Ffrench to their campus. The rising receiver visited Georgia, Alabama, Michigan, Ohio State, Florida and Pitt this summer.

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POWERHOUSES FLEX RECRUITING MUSCLES IN JULY

Joenel Aguero
Joenel Aguero (KiddRyno/Rivals.com)

Georgia was ranked outside of the top 10 in the team rankings in mid-June. Since then, the Bulldogs have gone on a tear bringing in five commitments highlighted by four-stars LB Troy Bowles, DT Jamaal Jarrett, DB Joenel Aguero and WR Yazeed Haynes. Those five additions moved Georgia from No. 13 in the team rankings to No. 4.

Over the same period, Alabama attached four more pledges to its class, jumping from No. 19 to No. 8 in the team rankings. The Tide’s haul included top-ranked RB Justice Haynes along with four-stars OL Olaus Alinen and the top-ranked prospect in Georgia DB Caleb Downs.

Tennessee (No. 6) and Arkansas (No. 9) are helping the SEC represent in the top 10. Just on the outside of the top 10 rests LSU at No. 13 and Florida building momentum at 29. Keep an eye on both LSU and Florida.

Texas A&M has yet to make a big move so far in the 2023 class. The Aggies ascension may have to wait until the 2022 season gets underway making the weeks leading up to the Early Signing Period all the more interesting.