Can Billy Napier Save the 2022 Offensive Rookie Class?

Florida’s football schedule lost its two biggest offensive commitments in the 2022 class in the aftermath of Dan Mullen’s sacking. 4 star quarterback,Nick Evers fired from Gators recruiting class and signed with the Oklahoma Sooners. If that didn’t hurt enough, Jayden Gibson, a 4-star wide receiver, followed Evers and signed with the Sooners as well. Florida had a 4-star player signed with them on signing day, Tony Livingston who is technically a tight end but will likely be transformed into an offensive lineman.

Nick Evers (left) is the No. 4 double-threat quarterback in the 2022 class, according to Rivals.

Relief came in the 2022 All-America Bowl pre-game, as Billy Napier made a huge commitment from a big name. Trevor Etienne – brother of Travis Etienne of the Jacksonville Jaguars – got involved in Florida football just before the game started live on NBC. Etienne is a 4-star running back and the Gators had yet to receive a commitment from an RB in the 2022 class. Etienne is a player who can potentially make an impact in the Florida backfield as a than a real freshman. So it’s a big signing for Napier, there’s no doubt about it. We still have a few weeks before he makes it official so it could still be okay, hopefully the Gators lock it down.

So with that big signing, it looks like Napier can save things on the offensive side of the ball, right? Unfortunately, that’s a big no. Despite Etienne signing, there isn’t much more that Billy can do to bring top talent to Gainesville in this class. There are very few 4-star players left who haven’t signed yet, the ones who remain have no interest in the Gators at this time.

It’s not Napier’s fault, or his massive new staff, there just isn’t much he can do about the situation. Much of that blame must fall on Dan Mullen. Mullen’s recruiting class, even before his dismissal, was shaping up to be one of the worst alligator classes in recent memory. Yes, he had Evers and Gibson, and yes, they didn’t want to engage with Billy Napier, but that was about all on offense. It’s not like dozens of recruits disappeared after Mullen was fired, he didn’t have so many connections to spare. So what can you really expect from Napier when he starts work less than two weeks before signing day?

It’s now premature to say that Florida’s 2022 offensive football scouting class will be a total dud. You may remember Kyle Trask was a 2 star rookie in high school, of course he became a Heisman finalist in 2020. So there is a possibility of finding some rough diamonds, probably unlikely though.

The new Free Agency Portal appears to be the key to Napier adding firepower to the Gators’ offense. Almost daily, former 4 and 5 star recruits enter the portal looking for new accommodation. The Florida football program currently needs an offensive line assist, as well as a need for wide receivers. The Gators rebuilt their O-line all year, and some games were horribly bad. Florida also lost its number one, Jacob Copeland, which he transferred to Maryland. They desperately need to add at least one more playmaker for their 2022 campaign.

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