Four-star defensive lineman LJ McCray made a true down to the wire decision but the pick is in. He will be a Florida Gator. In one of the toughest recruitments to get a read on in this cycle, McCray kept everyone guessing. He had been in contact with each of his final schools–Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Miami and Auburn–this week.
McCray took visits this year to all five of his finalists with Florida State getting the most recent visit. That was not enough for the Noles to close the gap with their rival.
This is a huge pickup for coach Billy Napier and his staff as they look to bring Florida back to national prominence.
WHAT IT MEANS
Florida was the team that McCray visited most during his recruitment. The Gators staff had a lot of confidence during the recruitment that their pitch would win out so the Gators closing the deal on the defender is big for them.
The defender is commitment number 22 for the Gators this cycle. McCray joins Gainesville native Kendall Jackson, North Carolina’s Amaris Williams and Georgia native Nasir Johnson as defensive linemen in Florida’s 2024 class. Landing McCray keeps the Gators firmly in the top three of the Rivals recruiting rankings.
It’s unlikely the team will catch Georgia for the top class in the nation but Napier is putting together a lot of building blocks for the future of the program.
WHAT HE BRINGS
McCray (6-6, 270) brings a unique blend of size, power and athleticism to the table. Part of the reason for that is that the defender was originally labeled as a true athlete that could play either side of the ball in college. The problem for opposing offenses is that he just kept growing and filling out.
Now he’s got the speed and flexibility to rush the passer off the edge. But also the size and power to hold up against the run. McCray is a problem across the board for offensive lines and that’s why he was so coveted. He is able to fit in a variety of defensive schemes which makes him a candidate to see the field early in his career.
The Florida native should be very productive in college and continue playing football well beyond his time on campus.
Greg Smith, National Recruiting Analyst