Stephenson defensive tackle Jafar Mann on Friday became the second player from his school to commit to the Florida Gators. And if he has anything to do with it he won’t be the last.
The 6-foot-4, 285-pound rising senior joined running back teammate Mike Davis in pledging Florida. The Gators are also in hot pursuit of Stephenson defensive end Jarontay Jones and linebacker Raphael Kirby. All four players have in excess of a dozen scholarship offers apiece so far.
Mann said there is a chance all four players will play together at Florida. “I’d say it’s a strong possibility,” he said.
These things can definitely seem subject to momentum. Mann admitted that Davis, who was the first to commit to the Gators on Feb. 19, definitely helped sway him toward UF. And they, in turn, plan to work on their teammates.
“He was an influence, yeah,” Mann said of Davis. “He’s our running back and we’ve been playing together a long time. It was a factor.”
Mann, who starts on both lines for the Jagaurs, will play defensive tackle for the Gators. He held offers from both Georgia and Georgia Tech. But, in the end, neither were strong candidates for his services.
“Georgia, I feel like Georgia waited too late,” said Mann, who had 20 offers in all. “They offered me two weeks after Florida, so I didn’t feel like they were as interested. Tech actually offered me before Florida, but I wanted to get out of Georgia. They’re both good teams but I really wanted to go out of state.”
More than anything, Mann is glad about putting the recruiting process behind him.
“It feels really nice,” he said. “I think I had my mind made up for a while. I just needed to sit back a while and think about it and make sure it was the right decision. I definitely think it’s the best place for me.”
There were a couple of reasons for Mann making the decision on Friday. One, he wanted to be done with the recruiting process so he could concentrate on academics and preparing for his senior season. And two, March 25th happens to be the birthday of Mateo Mann. Committing on Friday, Mann said, was a way to honor his father on the occasion of turning 53.
“He was really happy about that,” Mann said.
You can bet new Florida coach Will Muschamp is, too. The Georgia native now has two Peach-staters committed a year after getting shut out by his home state in recruiting. The Gators now have seven overal commitments for 2012.
By Chip Towers, The College Recruiting Blog
NOTE: The “AJC RECRUITING MAILBAG” has been moved to Monday morning. See you then!