GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- GatorNation brings you the latest installment of Chomp Confidential, a look inside Florida football recruiting for GatorNation subscribers only. As with anything exclusive, what's reported in the weekly Chomp Confidential must stay here. A few things discussed in this week's update:
• Signing day recap
• How close was Howard to choosing Florida?
• Inside scoop
Check out the weekly Chomp Confidential.
Signing day recap
Including the six players who enrolled early, Florida signed a total of 23 players on Wednesday. Nine of the 23 are in the ESPNU 150. Florida can add to this class on Feb. 10 when four-star wide receiver Stefon Diggs makes his decision.
Florida did miss out on big-time players Nelson Agholor, Leonard Williams, Avery Young, Josh Harvey-Clemons and Tracy Howard. The Gators, however, were able to flip Dante Fowler Jr. from Florida State and add three-star wide receiver Raphael Andrades from Tallahassee (Fla.) Lincoln.
Andrades, was offered on Tuesday, likely when Florida found out Agholor would be selecting USC. Andrades jumped on the offer. This addition could help in the future, as Lincoln has talented 2013 players in linebacker James Hearns and receivers Taj Williams and Reggie Davis.
How close was Howard to choosing Florida?
Howard signed with Miami on Wednesday after having Florida for his leader for several weeks. But just how close were the Gators to landing the talented corner? As of Tuesday evening his mom didn't even know where he was going. Shaiy Howard, Tracy's mom, texted me: "He thought he knew, he was certain -- but now he's not."
Prior to his Miami visit, Howard had Florida as his leader by a significant margin. So much so that his mind was made up that he would be a Gator, and he wasn't planning on taking any additional visits. He was contemplating taking a visit to LSU sometime after the Army Bowl. But with Billy Gonzales, Howard's primary recruiter at LSU, leaving Baton Rouge to take the Illinois offensive coordinator position, Howard eliminated LSU and had one last visit to take. In the end he decided to go ahead and take that Miami visit, and the rest is history.
The Gators have depth in the secondary and added another standout corner in Brian Poole.
Howard is an elite talent, but the Florida coaches are thrilled they landed Poole.
Poole is very physical and some think he has better top-end speed than Howard. Either way, both are excellent prospects and will likely be very successful on the next level.
The inside scoop
The Gators felt confident they would land Harvey-Clemons on Wednesday, the problem is, so did Florida State and Georgia. The truth is his family wanted him at Florida for a few reasons, the big one being distance, but Harvey-Clemons wanted to be at Georgia.
On Thursday morning, he faxed in his letter of intent to Georgia, and ESPN's DawgNation reports that UGA has received it.
The addition of Dante Fowler certainly lessens the blow for the Gators. Fowler was a standout during the Under Armour practices and should see significant playing time as freshman.
Fowler did an incredible job of keeping his decision to switch to Florida a secret. When Fowler told me of his intentions to flip to the Gators on Tuesday, not even his brother or parents knew what he was planning to do. When Fowler pulled out a Florida hat from his backpack, his brother's face lit up with a huge smile. I asked Fowler what his parents thought of his situation, he said, "I'm not sure, I haven't told them yet. They will be fine with it, I'm sure."
Wide receiver board
Florida lost out on wide receiver prospect Nelson Agholor to USC on Wednesday but landed Raphael Andrades. The Gators are also awaiting word on Stefon Diggs on Feb. 10.
The wide receiver board might have been slim in 2012 but there are several top wide receivers in Florida for 2013. The Gators will look to load up on receivers for the 2013 class. They could get a big start to that position in the very near future.