Jim McElwain's second recruiting class at Florida received mixed reviews from fans. While the Gators added 12 very important early enrollees, this staff didn't exactly close as well as it would have liked. One thing's for sure, though, this staff hit the offensive side of the ball very hard.
Florida’s position of strength: Florida headed into this recruiting cycle in desperate need of finding adequate offensive playmaking help, and the staff certainly delivered at wide receiver. Sure, there were some guys who got away, but the Gators are bringing in five quality receiver prospects in 2016. Even better is that three of them -- Josh Hammond, Dre Massey and Freddie Swain -- are already on campus. Hammond and Swain were both ESPN 300 members, while Massey was the No. 6 juco receiver. The biggest get was former Houston commit Tyrie Cleveland, who was the nation's No. 4 receiver and flipped to the Gators on national signing day. Florida does return a handful of receivers, but the Gators need playmakers to help Antonio Callaway, and all of these guys could earn immediate playing time.
Florida’s biggest need heading in to NSD: With the loss of All-American Vernon Hargreaves III and the impending probable loss of Jalen Tabor in about a year, the Gators needed to close on a couple of cornerback prospects. Heading into signing day, Florida had commitments from ESPN 300 athlete Aaron Robinson, who will play cornerback in college, and three-star Christopher McWilliams. ESPN 300 stud -- and early enrollee -- Chauncey Gardner is versatile enough to play some corner, but he'll likely play safety and maybe some nickel in Gainesville. Having only two corners committed meant that this staff, which was also dealing with the loss of its defensive backs coach, needed a strong finish here to prepare for an upcoming lack in depth.
How Florida did on NSD to address the need: The Gators were really hurt here on signing day. Robinson, who had been committed to Florida for almost a year, flipped to Alabama on NSD. The Gators also lost out on the sweepstakes for elite cornerback Kristian Fulton, who signed with LSU. The Louisiana prospect was rated the No. 3 corner in the nation and was Florida's main target at the position. That one really stung, considering he's the type of player who could have come in and helped out from the jump. So losing those two left quite the hole in the Gators' secondary. Florida made up some ground by getting unranked juco corner Joseph Putu to flip from Arkansas on signing day, but it's tough to get a read on exactly how high his ceiling is at this point.
Biggest remaining question mark: While Florida signed two quarterbacks and got the services of a graduate transfer, we really don't know what's going to happen here. ESPN 300 member Feleipe' Franks, who was the No. 5 pocket-passer, is the star of the group and will be molded into the future at the position. However, Franks, who has an absolute cannon for a right arm, is still pretty raw and will need time to develop. Fellow 2016 signee Kyle Trask barely received much attention at all before the Gators offered him, and he's seen as more of a project right now. Then, there's Austin Appleby, who left Purdue for Gainesville. In three seasons with the Boilermakers, Appleby threw 19 touchdowns and 19 interceptions. Walk-on and former Oregon State transfer Luke Del Rio is eligible to play this season and could be the early favorite to start.