The early signing period for the 2024 college football recruiting cycle opened on Wednesday and the Florida Gators signed 18 high school prospects and four transfers. After the initial group of signees, according to 247Sports, the Florida Gators class ranks 16th overall (8th in the SEC) with official signing day still looming on February 7th next year.
Here is the full list of signees the Gators secured signed letters of intent from on Wednesday. (All information is via 247Sports).
5-Star QB DJ Lagway
The crown jewel of the Gators 2024 recruiting class is 5-star quarterback signee DJ Lagway. The 6-2, 225 pound quarterback committed to the Gators last December and his bond with Florida Gators head coach Billy Napier is a big reason why Lagway signed on to play in Gainesville.
Lagway is the 4th-best player in the entire country, the number one-ranked player from the state of Texas, and the second-ranked QB in the country. Lagway was awarded the 2023 Max Preps Player of the Year for his performance during his senior season.
Lagway finished his senior season with Willis High School completing 289 of 393 passes for 4,605 yards and threw 59 touchdowns to just eight interceptions whilst also rushing the ball 100 times for 953 yards and 16 touchdowns.
Lagway is the best quarterback prospect the Gators have signed since newly inducted College Football Hall of Fame member Tim Tebow was running over defenders for the Orange and Blue.
Lagway is a program changer, simple as that. Lagway has the ability and potential to lead Florida to championships. And with QB Graham Mertz deciding to return to Florida for one final season, Lagway can sit behind the experienced veteran, learn, and get acclimated to being a college football quarterback. Lagway is the future for the Florida Gators football program and securing his signature is arguably the biggest win of any team in college football this recruiting cycle.
5-star DL LJ McCray
One of the best defensive line prospects in the country, 5-star DL LJ McCray from Mainland High School in Daytona, has signed with the University of Florida, but securing his signature certainly didn’t lack drama for the Gators.
After some time (and some NIL negotiating no doubt) awaiting his signature, the Gators finally got it from McCray at around 6PM EST on Wednesday after originally expecting it at around 10 or 11 AM.
McCray ranks as the sixth-best player in the country, the second-best defensive lineman and the third best player in the state of Florida.
Winning out the battle for McCray’s signature is a huge win for Florida. McCray gives the Gators an elite defensive line prospect that can play both off the edge and inside. He’s an instant game-changer who will play A LOT in 2024.
4-Star LB Myles Graham
The fan favorite of the 2024 recruiting class is legacy signee 4-star LB Myles Graham from local Buchholz High School in Gainesville.
Graham is the son of former Gators RB Earnest Graham and he played both RB and LB for Buchholz after transferring from Woodward Academy in Atlanta for his senior season.
Graham was Florida’s first commit in the 2024 recruiting cycle, announcing his decision last August.
Graham ranks as the 81st player overall, the seventh-best LB, and the 13th overall player in the state of Florida.
Graham stands 6-1, 212 pounds and will provide some much-needed athleticism to the Gators LB room.
4-Star OT Fletcher Westphal
4-star offensive tackle Fletcher Westphal is Florida’s highest-ranked offensive line signee and is someone the Gators needed to sign.
Westphal ranks as the 124th player in the country, there 10th-best OT, and the fourth-best player in Virginia.
Westphal stands 6-8, 335 pounds and will give Florida some young depth at offensive tackle.
4-Star LB Aaron Chiles
To pair with legacy signee Myles Graham, Florida signed 4-star LB Aaron Chiles from Our Lady Good Counsel High School in Olney, Maryland. Chiles was awarded the Max Preps Player of the Year award for the state of Maryland.
Chiles ranks 138th overall, the 13th best LB, and the fourth-best player from the state of Maryland.
Florida best out Michigan and Maryland for his commitment back on June 17th when he committed to the Gators officially.
Chiles stands 6-3, 220 pounds and like Graham, gives the Gators more athleticism in their LB room.
4-Star TE Amir JacksonOne of the most athletically gifted players the Gators signed is 4-star TE Amir Jackson from Portal High school in Portal, Georgia.
Jackson stands 6-4, 223 pounds and was a dual-sport athlete at Portal, playing both football and basketball at Portal.
Jackson ranks as the 139th overall player, the ninth-ranked TE, and the 18th-best player in the state of Georgia.
4-Star RB Kahnen Daniels
One thing the Florida Gators coaching staff can do under head coach Billy Napier is evaluate and sign talented running backs and 4-star RB Kahnen Daniels is exactly that.
Daniels ranks as the 187th overall player, the 13th-best RB, and the sixth-best player from Mississippi.
4-Star WR Jerrae Hawkins
The Gators signed a player from the premier high school football academy in the country, IMG Academy, with 4-star WR Jerrae Hawkins putting pen to paper to play in Gainesville.
Hawkins stands 5-9, 165 pounds and ranks as the 229th best player, the 36th-best receiver, and the 24th-best player from the state of Florida.
Hawkins isn’t the biggest, but he makes up for it vehemently with his speed. Hawkins has an extensive track background which saw him win Gold in West Virginia in both the 100-meter and 100-meter dashes, positing splits of 10.45 and 21.48, respectively.
Hawkins gives the Gators a true speed threat in the slot who could potentially play a role in the return game on special teams as well.
4-Star WR Tawaski “TJ” Abrams
Along with Hawkins, Florida signed another fast 4-star WR with Tawaski Abrams from Dunbar High School in Fort Myers, Florida.
Abrams stands 5-11, 175 pounds and ranks as the 39th-best receiver in the country and 29th-best player in the state of Florida.
Both Abrams and Hawkins give the Gators’ offense two more receivers with game-changing speed.
3-Star RB Jadan Baugh
The Florida Gators added another RB to their class that wasn’t previously committed on early national signing day by beating out Alabama for 3-star RB Jadan Baugh.
Baugh was previously committed to Arkansas but de-committed in the days leading up to early national signing day and Florida and Alabama battled each other for the signature of the Decatur, Georgia, product with the Gators coming out on top.
Baugh measures at 6-0.5, 214 pounds and joins Kahnen Daniels in the class, making for a really solid pairing of prospects the Gators will add to their running back room.
3-Star S Josiah Davis
The Gators secured the signature from 3-star safety Josiah Davis from Berrien High School in Nashville, Georgia. Shortly after former defensive backs coach Corey Raymond was let go by Florida, Davis announced that his recruitment was open, and then not long after that, was locked back in with the Gators. .
Davis stands 6-1, 185 pounds and gives the Gators some depth to a talented safety room.
Davis ranks as the 40th best safety overall and the 43rd best player in the state of Georgia.
3-Star S Gregory Smith
Florida secured another safety on early national signing day, with 3-star Gregory Smith putting pen to paper for the Gators. Smith hails from Sumner High School in Riverview, Florida, and gives the Gators a heavy hitter in the defensive backfield with size, as Smith stands 6-4, 200 pounds.
3-Star OT Mike Williams
One thing that the Gators coaching staff loves about offensive linemen is size and 3-star OT Mike Williams, like Fletcher Westphal, has it.
Williams stands 6-7, 310 pounds and ranks as the 34th-best offensive tackle and the 15th best player from the state of Maryland.
3-Star DL Brien Taylor
The Gators dipped into the junior college ranks to secure the signature of defensive lineman Brien Taylor from Blind College in Houston, Texas.
Taylor stands 6-6, 270 pounds and primarily plays off the edge.
Taylor ranks as the 20th best JUCO prospect, the 8th-best defensive line JUCO prospect and the second-best JUCO prospect from the state of Texas.
3-Star CB Teddy Foster
The Gators lone cornerback signee from high school the Gators secured on early signing day is 3-star Teddy Foster.
Foster ranks as the 60th-best cornerback in the country and the 91st player in the state of Florida.
Foster gives the Gators length at the cornerback position, standing 6-2 170.
3-Star DL Michai Boireau
The Gators secured, then lost, then re-secured the commitment of 3-star DL Michai Boireau after he originally committed to the Gators, flipped to the Georgia Bulldogs, and then flipped back to Florida.
Boireau stands 6-5, 390 pounds and gives the Gators another strong option at defensive tackle.
Boireau ranks at the 110th defensive lineman and the 110th player from the state of Georgia.
3-Star OT Marcus Mascoll
The Gators secured the signature of another offensive tackle, with 3-star Marcus Mascoll putting pen to paper.
Macula stands 6-4.5, 292 pounds and ranks as the 79th OT in the country and the 113th player from the state of Georgia.
3-Star OL Noel Portnjagin
The Gators took their recruiting efforts abroad for the 2024 recruiting cycle, securing the signature of 3-star OL Noel Portnjagin from Germany.
Portnjagin stands 6-5, 334 pounds and gives the Gators another depth piece along the interior of their offensive line.
Transfer Portal Signees
The Gators signed three transfers on early national signing day, all of which being at positions of need.
CB Trikweze Bridges
Florida secured the signature of Oregon transfer defensive back Trikweze Bridges. Bridges has 91 total tackles, eight pass break ups, two forced fumbles and four interceptions across four seasons with the Ducks.
DT Joey Slackman
Florida bolstered their interior defensive line by adding Penn graduate transfer Joey Slackman. Slackman won the 2023 Ivy League Player of the Year and was first-team All-Ivy, recording 12 tackles for loss and four sacks.
OT Brandon Crenshaw-Dickson
The Gators secured the signature from 6-6, 310 offensive tackle Brandon Crenshaw-Dickson from San Diego State. Crenshaw-Dickson started in 36 games for the Aztecs over the past three seasons, giving the Gators much-needed experience at offensive tackle and along their offensive line as a whole.
WR Chimere Dike
The Gators added Wisconsin transfer WR Chimere Dike to their roster. Dike is former teammates with Florida QB Graham Mertz (who transferred from Wisconsin ahead of the 2023 season), so they already have a shared connection. In Mertz’s last season as the Wisconsin starting QB, Dike recorded 47 receptions for 689 yards and a six touchdowns.
Gators suffer Significant Losses on Early Signing Day
Former Florida 5-star safety commit Xavier Filsaime flipped his commitment and signed with the Texas Longhorns. Longtime 4-star LB commit from Largo, Florida, Adarius Hayes flipped his commitment Florida and signed with Miami. 4-Star defensive lineman commit Amaris Williams flipped from Florida and signed with Auburn. WR Izaiah Williams flipped his commitment from Florida to Texas A&M.
Overall Thoughts on Gators Recruiting Class
Florida signing Lagway was the biggest recruiting win the Gators could have possibly had in the 2024 recruiting cycle and is one of the biggest wins in the entire country. USC and Texas A&M pushed hard to flip the talented QB, but he stuck with his commitment in the end. Florida hanging on to get McCray was vital, especially after losing four commitments prior to that.
Graham and Chiles are excellent additions to a LB room that needs athleticism and both should be day-one contributors on defense. Hawkins and Abrams give the Gators more speed on offense at wide receiver and the abundance of offensive line prospects will add depth to a room that needs it, regardless of experience. Daniels and Baugh give the Gators two more running backs that they can count on behind Johnson and Webb. Davis and Smith give the backend of Florida’s defense some versatility. Amir Jackson gives the Gators speed and incredible athletic ability at tight end.
The four transfer additions signed thus far with Bridges, Slackman, Crenshaw-Dickson and Dike give the Gators veteran experience at their respective positions.
The Gators 2024 recruiting class was ranked in the top-five across multiple recruiting services ahead of early national signing day and now it sits at 16th overall, which includes McCray.
The Gators have time to add more transfers ahead of the prep for the 2024 season, but the finish on early signing day was simply not good enough if Florida wants to truly contend with Alabama, Texas, Georgia, and now even Auburn amongst many others.
All that being said, the significance of securing the QB of the future in DJ Lagway cannot be understated. His commitment and subsequent signature ensures a bright future for Florida.