When Billy Napier and his staff touched base with five-star offensive tackle [autotag]Samson Okunlola[/autotag] in February, the Gators were prioritizing in-state targets at the position such as [autotag]Payton Kirkland[/autotag] (Oklahoma), [autotag]Francis Mauigoa[/autotag] (Miami) and [autotag]Tommy Kinsler[/autotag] (flipped from Florida to Miami). All three of them landed elsewhere, and now Florida’s best shot at landing a blue-chip tackle might the top-20 recruit from out-of-state.
Okunlola is a big 6-foot-5-inch, 305-pounder out of Thayer Academy in Brockton, Massachusetts. He’s the kind of prep player that’s never truly been on a field of athletes that can match up to his size, and his ability has him ranked in the top 15 by most services. That’s top 15 in the class of 2023, not just at his position.
Of course, a talent like that comes with fierce competition, and the favorite to land him is the same school that’s been dominating the recruiting trail for the past couple of weeks — Miami. The Hurricanes are a 95.3% favorite according to the On3 recruiting prediction machine, and the experts at 247Sports have also cast crystal balls in UM’s favor.
Alabama, Miami and Michigan State are the three schools that have hosted him on official visits so far, and he’s named six other schools to a top nine that he can pick from for his final two visits. Florida is one of those six schools and needs to get the official visit to make a late push.
There’s certainly a need at the position for Florida, and it would be easy to promise early playing time to a player of his caliber. Of the top 15 offensive tackles in the class, Okunlola is the highest rated at 14th overall on the 247Sports composite. [autotag]Zalance Heard[/autotag] and [autotag]Monroe Freeling[/autotag] are around the No. 60 mark and also options for the Gators.