Florida football coach Jim McElwain has made signing early enrollees a recruiting priority. For the 2017 recruiting class, the Gators already have five prospects enrolled in classes. Rob C. Witzel/Staff photographer
Florida coach Jim McElwain has made signing early enrollees a recruiting priority, and it has had a positive impact on a team that lacked overall depth when he first arrived after the 2014 season.
A year ago, 12 members of the 2016 signing class enrolled for the spring semester and participated in spring drills and the Orange & Blue Debut. Of the 12, six went on to play prominent roles during the 2016 season, with five of them starting games.
For the 2017 recruiting class, the Gators already have five prospects enrolled in classes and participating in the offseason workouts.
All five will have a chance to compete for playing time in the spring.
Here’s a look at the early enrollees and what kind of impact they might have this spring and in the fall:
Kyree Campbell, defensive tackle, 6-foot-4, 320 pounds
The situation: Caleb Brantley’s decision to leave early for the NFL has left the Gators extremely thin at the tackle position. Taven Bryan, Khairi Clark and Luke Ancrum are the only natural tackles on scholarship (excluding Campbell). Cece Jefferson and Jachai Polite likely will continue to see playing time at tackle, but both are natural ends and may lack the size to be every-down players inside.
His chances of contributing: Having spent last season at a prep school, the former four-star recruit is more physically and mentally prepared than most true freshmen. Given the startling lack of numbers at the tackle position, Campbell is being counted on to become part of the playing rotation this spring and next season. A strong spring could put him in position to battle for a starting role in preseason camp.
Kemore Gamble, tight end, 6-4, 216
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