UNC Football lands commitment from four-star defensive lineman

Mack Brown and the UNC football program have landed four-star defensive lineman Joel Starlings after an official visit to campus.

This weekend’s visit event has paid off for Mack Brown and the UNC football program.

Four-star defensive lineman [autotag]Joel Starlings[/autotag] was on campus for a visit this weekend along with other recruits and it went well enough for him to pledge his verbal commitment to the program. Starlings took to Twitter to announce that he’s committing to UNC, giving the Tar Heels their third commitment in the 2023 class.

The 6-foot-5, 310-pound Starlings hails out of Richmond, Virginia and is rated as a four-star recruit. He’s ranked No. 232 nationally, No. 33 defensive lineman, and the No. 4 player in the state of Virginia per the 247Sports rankings. He’s UNC’s highest-ranked commitment in the 2023 cycle.

Starlings had a total of 17 offers in his recruitment but UNC beat out Michigan, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Virginia, and West Virginia among others in this recruitment.

With other visitors on campus, UNC is hoping that Starlings starts a trend and the program can land some other big recruits in the coming weeks.

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Four-star edge rusher sets official visit to UNC

The UNC football program will receive a visit from this four-star edge rusher in the 2023 class as they battle Ohio State among others.

Mack Brown and the UNC football program are fresh off a big weekend where they hosted several recruits for visits. And now, a day later they received news of another prospect that is set to make a visit.

Four-star edge rusher Desmond Umeozulu has set four official visits for this Summer and one of those visits will be to North Carolina. Per Brian Dohn of 247Sports, Umeozulu will visit North Carolina, South Carolina, Pittsburgh and Ohio State.

Umeozulu will visit UNC on the weekend of June 3-5 before heading to South Carolina on June 10-12, Pitt on June 16-18, and then finally to Ohio State on June 24-26.

In addition, Umeozulu talked about where UNC stands in his recruitment and it’s good news for Tar Heels’ fans:

“(UNC) is one of my top schools,” Umeozulu said recently. “It’s just my relationship with coach (Mack) Brown and his relationship with my parents. He’s definitely a mentor for me. He could teach me a lot, I know that.”

Umeozulu is ranked No. 121 nationally, No. 11 edge rusher and the No. 2 player in the state of Maryland. He’s one of UNC’s biggest recruiting targets in the 2023 class and would be a big get for Brown and his staff.

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Here are the recruits who visited the Swamp this weekend

Recruits are beginning to make visits to school again, and Florida hosted a pair of players over the weekend.

June will be the month that recruiting really picks back up with several prospects planning official and unofficial visits to the Swamp over the summer. But, at least two names were in Gainesville over the weekend, according to 247Sports, four-star running back [autotag]Treyaun Webb[/autotag] and Hutchinson C.C. offensive line transfer [autotag]Jordan Herman[/autotag].

Webb has been high on Florida for months and is no stranger to campus. He’s gone as far as to call the Gators his outright leader ahead of a planned June 30 commitment date. The Gators landed four-star running back [autotag]Trevor Etienne[/autotag] in the 2022 cycle and Webb looks to be the guy this year. Another visit to the Swamp only furthers the narrative, and the crystal balls are coming in on 247Sports for the Gators as well.

Herman, who likely will block for Webb down the line if he commits to Florida, gave his pledge to the Orange and Blue site unseen after picking up an offer. Offensive line coach [autotag]Darnell Stapleton[/autotag] has already deemed him worthy of SEC play, and the agreement came together rather quickly. This was Herman’s first trip to UF and his first look at his home for the next few years.

Arizona State defensive line transfer [autotag]Jermayne Lole[/autotag] was supposed to be the third name on the visitor’s list, but he committed to Louisville on Friday and won’t be making the trip.

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This 4-star EDGE picks up offer from Florida, calls UF his dream school

He’s been watching Florida since he was a kid. Now, four-star EDGE Braylan Shelby has an offer to play for the Orange and Blue.

The Florida Gators only recently got into the race for Texas four-star [autotag]Braylan Shelby[/autotag], but he’s quickly put the Orange and Blue near the top of his list.

Florida coaches were in Friendswood, Texas, to see Shelby in action on Monday, and an offer was on the table by the next day, according to Gators Online. Arkansas, LSU, Miami and Texas Tech have also begun to pursue him, and Texas and USC have been after Shelby for even longer.

The Gators do have something working in their favor that the other programs don’t, though: nostalgia.

“Actually, growing up, Florida was my dream school,” Shelby said. “I always, for some reason, went to turn on the TV, that was the game that was always on. Growing up, I always loved Florida.”

Things are still fresh, but Shelby expects Florida to quickly move up his board. He plans to hit Florida, Florida State and Miami in one summer trip, which should give him a better idea of the program.

“I feel like right now, they’re (Florida) like a top eight to top ten, somewhere around there,” he said. “I know when I take a visit, they’ll probably move up. Just for right now, I say around there.”

The Longhorns and Trojans are the teams to beat right now with Shelby intent on spending two of his five official visits on those two programs. Meeting [autotag]Billy Napier[/autotag] and the coaching staff in person should help UF’s chances of getting him back on campus after defensive personnel analyst Joe Hamilton has done most of the communicating for the Gators.

Shelby is ranked No. 349 on the On3 consensus and is the No. 35 EDGE in the class of 2023 according to the service.

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Gators among this 5-star defensive lineman’s top 4 schools

Five-star defensive lineman Peter Woods plans to take his first visit to Florida on June 9.

It’s nearly impossible to pull top-ranked players from Alabama that Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban covets. However, the Gators and co-defensive coordinator and defensive line coach [autotag]Sean Spencer[/autotag] are still trying to snag five-star defensive lineman [autotag]Peter Woods[/autotag] from Saban. Woods told Gators Online that Florida is one of his top four schools along with the Crimson Tide, Oklahoma and Clemson. Woods is ranked as the 27th overall prospect and the third-best player at his position, according to the 247Sports composite.

It’s a good omen that the Gators sit as one of his top schools even though he has never made a trip to the Swamp. But that will change on June 9 when he will officially visit head coach Billy Napier and Co.

He also surprisingly said that Florida led in his recruitment during this time last year under former head coach [autotag]Dan Mullen[/autotag]. Since then, though, Alabama has overtaken the Gators and has created quite a lead for Woods. He has visited the Crimson Tide a handful of times.

Woods says he likes Florida because of his relationship with Spencer and its emphasis on developing players off the field. He said he wants to have a career in sports media after football.

Looking at official visits, he plans to use one to see the Tigers on June 3 and the Sooners on June 17. Woods may not take an official visit to Alabama because of how familiar he is with the program already.

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This 4-star defensive lineman sets summer official visit to Florida

Four-star defensive lineman Keldric Faulk plans to take an official visit to the Swamp in June.

Four-star edge rusher [autotag]Keldric Faulk[/autotag] told Gators Online that he plans to take an official visit to Florida on June 17. The 247Sports composite ranks 111th overall prospect nationally and the 14th best defensive lineman. Faulk hails from Highland Home, Alabama.

Faulk most recently visited the Gators back on March 19, which helped them land this official visit. On that trip, he said he enjoyed getting to know Florida’s co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach [autotag]Patrick Toney[/autotag] and co-defensive coordinator and defensive line coach [autotag]Sean Spencer[/autotag] as well as its position coaches.

Besides the Orange and Blue, Faulk plans to take official visits next month to Clemson on June 3, Auburn on June 10 and Florida State on June 24.

The Gators’ coaching has been cooking with gas on the recruiting trail as of late. They have over 24 prospects expected to take their official visit to the Swamp in June. Four prospects have also teamed up with Florida while also being a favorite for a handful of others.

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Florida continues to stand out for this 5-star cornerback

Florida and Alabama still sit in the best spot for five-star cornerback Cormani McClain out of Lakeland, Florida.

Five-star cornerback [autotag]Cormani McClain[/autotag] visited Florida for its spring game about a month ago now. Now the Gators are returning the favor. They sent cornerbacks coach [autotag]Corey Raymond[/autotag] to watch his spring game at Lake Gibson in Lakeland, Florida, this week. He told reporters afterward that Florida and Alabama continue to stand out to him.

McClain is ranked as the third overall prospect nationally and the best player at his position, according to the 247Sports composite. He only has three crystal ball picks entered on his profile, but they were all in the favor of Florida.

He’s arguably the Gators’ top target this cycle due to his ranking and his proximity to campus. He hails from a Florida-friendly area in Lakeland. Some current players on the roster that grew up there include tight end [autotag]Keon Zipperer[/autotag], defensive end [autotag]Lloyd Summerall III[/autotag], linebacker [autotag]Ventrell Miller[/autotag], wide receiver [autotag]Fenley Graham Jr[/autotag]. and running back [autotag]Demarkcus Bowman[/autotag].

McClain told Swamp247 that he’s focused on taking only official visits now and has set one to Georgia for June 24. He said he plans on taking one to Florida in early June and Alabama. However, he doesn’t believe he’ll make a decision until after his senior season.

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Gators set to host another IMG Academy recruit on official visit

The Florida Gators have been after 4-star DL WIll Norman for months. He’ll spend an official visit on the Gators in June.

Head coach [autotag]Billy Napier[/autotag] is always recruiting, but there seems to be a special place in his heart for IMG Academy in Bradenton. It’s no secret that Florida’s new head coach wants to create an in-state pipeline from the blue-chip factory to Gainesville, and things seem to be coming along nicely.

Last year, the Gators snagged five-star safety [autotag]Kamari Wilson[/autotag], and they have four-star offensive lineman [autotag]Knijeah Harris[/autotag] already committed for the class of 2023. Now, top 100 defensive lineman [autotag]Will Norman[/autotag], who Florida has steadily courted over the last few months, will head to the Swamp for an official visit.

He’ll arrive on June 10 and reunite with co-defensive coordinator/defensive line coach Sean “Chaos” Spencer. The two have known each other from his time with the New York Giants. Spencer would give Norman pointers that are now translating to the college game.

Florida last hosted Norman in April and the 6-foot-5-inch, 290-pounder left town extremely high on UF. It seems to be a race between the Gators and the Penn State Nittany Lions, who currently hold a 50-50 split of Norman’s crystal ball projections on 247Sports. LSU, Michigan, and Texas A&M round out the top five.

There’s no timeline for a decision, but the summer months before his senior year seem plausible given that he’s now scheduling official visits for June. That’s usually a sign that things are getting serious, and Florida’s been after him for some time now.

Norman is the No. 88 overall recruit on the 247Sports composite and is No. 11 among defensive linemen in the class of 2023.

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Florida earns commitment from this former Arizona State wide receiver

Former Arizona State wide receiver Ricky Pearsall committed to Florida over Oregon on Saturday.

Florida head coach [autotag]Billy Napier[/autotag] said during spring football that the wide receiver room lacked depth. On Saturday, he landed a talented player from the NCAA transfer portal for his unit that will provide some star power and depth. Former Arizona State wide receiver [autotag]Ricky Pearsall[/autotag] announced his commitment to the Gators via Twitter.

Pearsall chose Florida over Oregon. He recently took an official visit to the Swamp from April 29 to May 1, during which he relished his time with Napier and wide receiver coach [autotag]Keary Colbert[/autotag]. Pearsall also told Swamp247 that he was able to spend some time around quarterback [autotag]Anthony Richardson[/autotag].

He was the Sun Devils’ leading receiver last year when he recorded 48 receptions, 580 yards and four touchdowns as a third-year sophomore. Before he entered the portal, the Arizona State coaching staff was expecting a big year from its former three-star wideout.

Pearsall should immediately become one of Florida’s top four receivers along with [autotag]Justin Shorter[/autotag], [autotag]Xzavier Henderson[/autotag] and [autotag]Trent Whittemore[/autotag].

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Report: Gators will host this 4-star UCF EDGE commit

If you can’t beat ’em, take their commits?

It’s not often we see Florida fighting for the same recruits as UCF, but the Knights steady rise into Power Five relevancy has helped put them on the map with some of the state’s best young talent. Four-star EDGE [autotag]Isaiah Nixon[/autotag] is one of those Florida blue-chippers who is looking at both UCF and UF.

There’s just one hitch: he’s already committed to the Knights.

Normally, Florida looks to steal talent from other Southeastern Conference powerhouses, but an in-state talent like Nixon can’t be ignored, esepcaily when he’s planning on going to play for the little brother program that just handed the Gators a loss on the gridiron three years ahead of schedule (UCF travels to Gainesville in 2024).

With that in mind, Nixon recieved a visit from co-defensive coordinator [autotag]Sean Spencer[/autotag] on Thursday, according to Gators Online, and now has an official visit planned to the Swamp. His last trip to Gainesville came on March 5, a month and some 12 days before he committed to Gus Malzahn’s program. He’ll return on June 10 and already has some pretty positive things to say about the Orange and Blue.

“This school right here (Florida) is one of my top priorities and one of my top choices. It’s a great school. I love the football program, love the coaches and love everything.”

Spencer’s relationship with Nixon goes back to his time with the South Carolina Gamecocks, and there’s faith that the new staff at Florida can develop him into an NFL-ready prospect. The Gators see him as an outside linebacker that can pressure the quarterback on third down.

It’s hardly surprising to see the No. 157 overall player in the class of 2023 take another look at his options after committing well before either signing day. Nixon is also the No. 18 EDGE on the On3 Consensus, so Florida isn’t likely to give up too easily on him, especially with tons of Power Five teams interested in him.

If this race can stay between UF and UCF, Florida should have the upper hand. There’s little that stacks up with playing in the SEC when it comes to college football, and [autotag]Billy Napier[/autotag] still has that new car smell that makes recruits feel like they’re a part of something never seen before.

An official visit while committed can be a lot like going on the date just to get dinner, but sometimes it’s much, much more. Only time will tell with Nixon, but Napier hardly does anything without purpose.

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