Florida’s 2015 class has experienced a lot of moving parts over the last two months, but momentum is on the Gators’ side heading into the fall following their latest commitment.
However, they’ve yet to do one thing in this cycle — land a recruit out of the Tampa area.
Clemson beat out UF for Jake Fruhmorgen, Deon Cain and Ray-Ray McCloud III, and receiver Auden Tate is expected to announce Tuesday for Florida State.
But the Gators are still in great shape for defensive end Byron Cowart (Seffner Armwood) and receivers George Campbell (Tarpon Springs East Lake) and Ryan Davis (St. Petersburg Lakewood), and all of them visited UF together Saturday.
Florida coach Will Muschamp, his assistants and several players from the Tampa area welcomed them to campus, and five-star defensive end CeCe Jefferson joined the group on campus later in the day.
“It was great just being greeted by the coaches and feeling the love in Gainesville,” Davis said. “Coach Muschamp was waiting right there for us when we came in. That felt great.
“Then my cousin Dante Fowler came and showed us lots of love. We also got to hang out with Vernon (Hargreaves), Alvin Bailey and Matt Jones. So all the Tampa players were there and all of us had a good time talking. We just had fun being around each other. It felt like home.”
Davis and Fowler grew up together and played for the same little league football team when they were younger. They have a close bond, Davis said, and Fowler has advised him on the recruiting process while also throwing in some pitches for UF.
“He just tells me to make the best decision for me and go to the place that’s best for me and my family,” Davis said. “Don’t go somewhere because it’s my favorite school. But he also talks Florida up to me.
“He said it’s the place to be, the coaches will take care of me and they fell off last year but it’s not going to happen again. He said I can help Florida get back on top like it used to be and I’m a piece to the puzzle that they need.”
Muschamp offered Davis on June 2 and he visited last month. On Saturday’s trip, he watched film with offensive coordinator Kurt Roper.
“He told me I can come in and get immediate playing time if I prove myself,” Davis said. “They love me as a receiver — my route running, my hands, my quickness and how they can use me in space, in the slot or as a deep threat. They also like that I’m the quarterback for my high school because I could play in a wildcat formation running and throwing the ball.
“Coach Muschamp told me, ‘We need you. We want you here. I know what you can do and I feel like I can get you where you want to go with our offense.’ ”
The 5-foot-10, 161-pounder plans to narrow down his list of more than 30 offers soon and make a decision in October. Davis said the success he’s seen Fowler and Hargreaves have with the Gators will help their chances, and he talks to Campbell and Cowart about teaming up at UF.
“Basically every guy from Tampa that’s gone there has been successful,” Davis said. “That’s a big plus for me. I feel like it’s great to see guys from our area come together and create a bond as friends who want to play with each other.
“We talk about doing it at Florida. We visited a few schools together this summer, and we liked Florida and what they’re doing with the place. We’re enjoying the recruiting process right now, but we’re going to see how everything goes with them. We’re just playing it by ear and weighing our options.”
What would happen if the four recruits who visited UF on Saturday all end up picking the Gators?
“Well,” Davis said, “I feel like we could win a couple national championships if we played there together.”