The Florida Gators picked up their fifth out-of-state commitment on Friday when four-star defensive tackle Fred Hansard ended his recruitment via a Bleacher Report video. Hansard is the 15th senior prospect to commit to Florida in the 2017 cycle and the third defensive lineman pulled in by head coach Jim McElwain, leaving the Gators with the No. 7 class in the SEC and No. 14 in the country according to 247Sports.com.
With information gathered from Sean Miller of the Times of Trenton, Hansard broke down the ins and outs of his commit to Florida, including why he chose this time to announce his decision.
“I just want to enjoy this moment with my team now,” Hansard said. “No recruiting is going to happen now so I can just focus on my school, focus on my teammates and my coaches and make sure we win another MAPL championship.”
Hansard checks in at a hefty 6-foot-3 and 324-pounds as a four-star prospect. He produced an impressive junior season at The Hun School of Princeton in New Jersey. Last year, Hansard played offensive tackle in addition to his defensive tackle duties, and the difficult-to-block lineman fielded 32 tackles, 12 tackles for loss and three sacks.
On the field, Hansard occupies a lot of space on the interior defensive line and specializes in run control. Based on his size and gap discipline, Hansard is a trusted ally in clogging holes along the line, and he is improving as a pass rusher. Hansard has worked on several moves over the offseason, many of which feature improved hand strength and placement.
As for how Florida plans to attack the 2018 class, the Gators are already in good position for one of the top defensive back prospects in the nation. Brendan Radley-Hiles, who stands at 5-foot-10 and 175 pounds, is ranked the No. 5 athlete in the state of California and the No. 7 cornerback in the country. Last season Radley-Hiles gained acclaim for his work at Bishop Gorman, but the versatile, athletic ballhawk took his talents to Calabasas (California) for the 2016 season.
With a nose for the ball and good timing when entering the air, Radley-Hiles could fit several positions at the college level. Radley-Hiles is comfortable securing open-field tackles and can help in run support, but his main strength lies in his coverage ability and exceptional hand placement. These skills would typically belong to a cornerback the most, but Radley-Hiles also played receiver for his Nevada high school team in 2015. Based on his speed and vision alone, Radley-Hiles also appears to fit the bill as a returner for a potential college team.
Radley-Hiles holds offers from over 20 schools, including programs such as Alabama, Florida, Michigan, Notre Dame and UCLA, but the Gators have emerged as an early leader for the talented sophomore prospect according to Scout.com‘s Brandon Huffman. Pulling a top prospect away from the West Coast is always a difficult task, but the Gators are in as good a position as anyone to accomplish the feat.