Florida Gators Recruits, Targets In UA All-American Bowl – Sports Illustrated

Photo: Kamari Wilson; Credit: Zach Goodall

The Under Armour All-American bowl will begin its week of practice on Wednesday before the annual event kicks off on Sunday. Top prospects from across the nation in the class of 2022 will compete in Orlando, Fla. to showcase their talents one final time before enrolling at the college of their choice.

The Florida Gators have two class of 2022 signees and another remaining target on the All-American bowl rosters, and AllGators will be in attendance to observe and interview each prospect. You can find out which UF recruits are set to participate below.

Kamari Wilson, safety High school: IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) 

SI All-American rankings: No. 1 safety, No. 29 overall

Status: Signed with Florida

One of Sports Illustrated All-American’s top performers at the Under Armour Future 50 event in June, it comes as no surprise that Wilson will suit up for the UA All-American bowl this week before he makes his way to UF as an early enrollee. 

Wilson, to the surprise of most of the recruiting landscape, signed with Florida during the early signing period over Georgia, FSU, Texas A&M and LSU after an official visit to meet the Gators’ new coaching staff days before making his decision.

Scouting report:

An explosive, physical enforcer who flashes against the run and the pass, Wilson has throwback strong safety traits with the athleticism to challenge for a versatile role. He is among the most comfortable in the class running the alley and finishing with force. The coverage instincts are strong in both reaction time, redirection and breaking downhill on the ball or ball carrier. Wilson may have been the best player on a star-studded IMG Academy defense in 2020, flashing the range and sideline to sideline ability to match his confidence. 

Shemar James, linebackerHigh school: Faith Academy (Mobile, Ala.)

SI All-American rankings: No. 2 linebacker, No. 18 overall

Status: Signed with Florida

James is listed on the official roster for the Under Armour All-American bowl and the bowl game, as of its Wednesday update, anticipates James being in attendance. However, On3Sports’ Corey Bender has since reported that James will not be in Orlando this week and won’t participate in the practices or bowl game. 

James signed with Florida on Dec. 15 over Georgia and Alabama, sold on Napier’s vision as the Gators’ new head coach after previously being committed to UF when Dan Mullen was in charge of the program, although James had backed off of his pledge just under two months before signing day.

Scouting report:

James is one of the best football players in the country. That’s not meant to be generally or in regards to his national ranking. What it means is that James is an elite football player, the kind of rare athlete that could thrive on both sides of the ball and at multiple positions. Where his upside is highest is at linebacker, where he has the tools to be an elite defender at the next level. James is an explosive athlete that can drive downhill just as well as he can open up and run sideline-to-sideline. James shows the box power to dominate the run, the speed to attack the perimeter run and outside screen game and his man coverage skills look more like a safety than a linebacker.

Jacoby Mathews, safety High school: Ponchatoula (Ponchatoula, La.) 

SI All-American rankings: No. 5 safety, No. 66 overall

Status: Has not signed or committed to a program

Mathews has been prioritized by both Florida’s previous and current coaching staff, and the recruit originally reciprocated some interest in UF before committing to LSU for three months. Now, the intrigue between both parties is thought to have spiked, as Mathews is being recruited to Florida currently by new cornerbacks coach Corey Raymond, who previously coached at LSU while Mathews was committed to the Tigers. Mathews is expected to announce his college decision during the All-American bowl.

Scouting report:

A multi-sport standout with basketball experience and effectiveness, Matthews has a combination of size and athleticism to fit the modern safety space. Also an offensive weapon with quarterback work as a dual-threat, his vision, instincts and open field athleticism translates to the back end as well. Filled out and muscular with room to add even more weight, Matthews has strong ball skills and can play the high point to combat bigger targets. The one-time LSU commitment has smooth movement skill and flashes good hips and quickness in breaking on the football. He could build up to become a linebacker in a modern sense, but his speed on that bigger frame is plenty adequate.

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