Top defensive targets for Florida Gators recruiting in 2018

Florida Gators recruiting target DB Tyreke Johnson- GatorCountry photo taken by Nick de la Torre

The 2017 Florida Gators recruiting class is in the books, which means it’s time to move on to the class of 2018 class.

On Tuesday the Florida Gators coaching staff returned back to Gainesville and this Saturday they will host a junior day.

Before we get to junior day, Gator Country is going to break down some top prospects at each position for the 2018 class.

We started with the offensive side of the ball and will now finish on the defensive side of the ball in this article.

Defensive end

Number needed: Two-three is likely the number after Florida only signed one defensive end in 2017. The Gators need to add some pass rushers big time in 2018.

Top prospects:

K.J. Henry (6-5, 225, Clemmons, N.C. West Forsyth) – Henry is one of the top guys at defensive end this year and plays at the same school as former Gators defensive end Alex McCalister did. Clemson, Florida, Alabama and a host of others are all interested in the standout defensive end.

Stacy Kirby (6-3, 248, Orlando, FL. Jones)- Kirby is set to visit Florida this coming weekend for the third time since last summer. The Gators, Florida State, and Miami have all done a good job of getting Kirby interested in them and on their campus.

Malcolm Lamar (6-5, 250, Seffner, FL. Armwood) – Lamar was a frequent visitor to Florida last fall with his teammate Warren Thompson and the Gators offered last fall. Miami, Georgia, and Alabama have also joined the party for Lamar but the Gators are in good shape early on.

Kayode Oladele (6-3, 236, Miami, FL. Edison)- Florida was one of the first offers to the defensive end when Oladele visited Florida for Friday Night Lights last summer. Randy Shannon has been working him hard and now a lot of big offers are coming in for the Miami defensive end.

Defensive tackle

Number needed: One to two should be the number in 2018 after the Gators signed three in the 2017 class.

Top prospects:

Rick Sandidge (6-5, 273, Concord, NC. High)- Sandidge is one of the best defensive linemen in the country for 2018 and Florida has been recruiting hard. However, South Carolina, Clemson, and North Carolina look to be the leaders for him but Florida is trying to get him down on a visit.

Keondre Coburn (6-1, 326, Houston, TX. Westfield) – Coburn is good friends with current Gators receiver Tyrie Cleveland and he just picked up an offer this week from Florida. Coburn likes Florida, Texas, Texas A&M and Oklahoma a lot right now but the Gators need to get him on campus for a visit.

D’Andre Litaker (6-3, 290, Murfreeboro, TN. Riverdale) – Litaker spoke this week and he says he wants to visit the Gators this spring after they’ve turned up the heat on him. Right now, Florida, Tennessee, and Georgia are all in the mix for this big-time defensive tackle.

Timaje Porter (6-3, 320, Theodore, AL. High) – Porter is former teammates with Florida running back Lamical Perine and the Gators were his first offer. Auburn and LSU have also offered him and joined the mix but the Gators have a legit shot at landing the Alabama native.

Linebacker

Number needed: One to two is the number for Florida after the Gators signed four in the 2017 class. This is a young position so this isn’t a big need this year.

Top prospects:

Teradja Mitchell (6-2, 232, Virginia Beach, VA. Bishop Sullivan Catholic)- Mitchell is considered one of the best at his position for next year and Florida visited him several times during the evaluation period this year. However, Florida State has signed a few of his teammates in the past and they’re the early favorite here with Clemson.

J.J. Peterson (6-2, 210, Moultrie, GA. Colquitt County) – Peterson has also visited Florida several times in the past and the Gators were his top school last year and still remain a top school in his book. Tennessee, Auburn, and Georgia are also in the mix for this big time linebacker.

Quay Walker (6-3, 215, Cordele, GA. Crisp County)- Auburn just hired his coach and his defensive end teammate Markaviest Bryant just signed with the Tigers so they’re the favorite here early on. Florida has gotten him on campus a few times in the past, though.

K’Vaughan Pope (6-2, 210, Dinwiddie, VA. County)- Florida offered Pope during the summer last year and he called it his dream offer and he has visited since then as well. Ohio State and Clemson are also making him a priority so it will be key to get Pope back on campus this spring or summer.

Defensive back

Number needed: Three to four will be the focus this year and the Gators will need to add some elite safeties in this class. The Gators will lose two seniors at safety after the 2017 class.

Top prospects:

Florida commit Divaad Wilson (6-0, 185, Miami, FL. Northwestern)- Wilson committed to Florida last week after picking up a Gators offer. Wilson is one of the top defensive backs in the state for this year and many believe he will be a big-time player at the next level.

Sevyn Banks (6-1, 185, Orlando, FL. Jones)- Banks is the younger brother of current Gators safety Marcell Harris and he picked up an offer from Florida in January. Banks, of course, has visited Florida several times in the past and is expected to visit again this spring. Florida is in good shape early on.

Amari Burney (6-1, 205, Clearwater, Fl. Calvary Christian)- Florida has been all in on Burney since his sophomore year but the biggest question is does he play defensive back or receiver in college. Florida has the early edge because both he and his parents like the Gators and he’s set to commit in June on his grandfather’s birthday.

Gurvan Hall (6-1, 185, West Palm Beach, FL. Palm Beach Lakes)– Hall visited Florida in January and all reports are that he had a good visit after staying on campus for two days. Miami is also squarely in the mix here so this could be another UM/UF battle down the stretch. The biggest thing for Florida to do is to get mom to sign off on him going to Gainesville.

Trey Dean (6-2, 180, Hampton, GA. Dutchtown)- Dean is related to former Gators safety Ahmad Black and the defensive back has visited Florida several times in the past. Alabama and Georgia are also recruiting Dean hard but the safety is planning to visit Florida this weekend.

Tyreke Johnson (6-1, 177, Jacksonville, FL. Trinity Christian Academy)- Johnson had just an ok junior year and that has caused some teams to question him as a take at this time but the defensive back has a ton of big offers already. Johnson at one time was looking at going out the state to UCLA, USC or even Ohio State but now he’s open to staying in state.

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