University of Florida

These six players visited the Gators as coach Mullen looks to improve recruiting class

Florida head coach Dan Mullen hopes to continue improving his 2019 recruiting class.
Florida head coach Dan Mullen hopes to continue improving his 2019 recruiting class. AP

The first Wednesday of February is rapidly approaching.

That means the Florida Gators aren’t far from solidifying their 2019 recruiting class come National Signing Day on Feb. 6.

After inking 20 signees during the Early Signing Period, UF has the No. 11 recruiting class in the nation, according to 247Sports, and is primed to add a few more highly touted recruits over the next four weeks.

The Gators hosted their first round of official visitors since the end of the NCAA Dead Period on Jan. 10.

Six athletes — including defensive back Kaiir Elam, defensive lineman Charles Moore, defensive end Smith Vilbert, wide receiver Arjei Henderson, athlete Mark-Antony Richards and offensive lineman Ira Henry — were all on UF’s campus on Jan. 11.

Henderson, a four-star recruit out of Fort Bend Travis High School in Richmond, Texas, surprised many when he committed to Florida on Jan. 3 over Florida State. He is still expected to visit FSU on Jan. 25, but as it stands, he’s the second-highest ranked prospect in the Gators’ 2019 class.

The top-rated player in the class is No. 5 cornerback Chris Steele, who announced his commitment to the Gators at the All-American Bowl on Jan. 5 after decommitting from Southern California on Oct. 18. The four-star prospect, according to 247Sports, became the 11th member of Florida’s list of early enrollees at the beginning of the spring semester.

And Florida has a chance to land another four-star defensive back in Elam, a 6-1, 182-pound prospect out of the Benjamin School in North Palm Beach, Florida.

Elam is the seventh-best corner in the nation, according to the 247Sports composite, and he is expected to choose between Florida and Georgia.

During his visit, Elam posed alongside coach Dan Mullen during his UF photoshoot. The prospect was wearing a Gators jersey with the No. 5 on it, according to a picture posted on his Twitter account.

Antony-Richards, who is 247Sports’ third-best athlete out of high school, wore the No. 6 for his photoshoot and was seen doing the infamous Gator chomp in a video posted to his Twitter.

In addition to Florida, the 6-1, 195-pound Antony-Richards has drawn interest from a number of power-five programs including Miami, Penn State and Auburn.

And with the departure of key defensive playmakers — including safety Chauncey Gardner Johnson, defensive end Jachai Polite and linebacker Vosean Joseph, who all declared for the 2019 NFL draft — the Gators have a chance to bolster a defense that finished 28th in the nation this past season.

Florida’s eight four-star offensive prospects (seven signees) also leave plenty of room to build on an offense that finished 42nd las season.

And building was the center of Mullen’s message when he spoke at Florida’s men’s basketball game against Tennessee on Friday ahead of what was one of Florida’s most important recruiting weekends.

“What we did last year was good enough to have ten wins and be No. 6,” Mullen told the crowd of fired-up Florida fans. “This year we’re gonna raise it to a whole nother level.”

Sports Pass for $30 per year

Get unlimited access to all Miami Herald sports stories and videos for $30