The Gators are reportedly expected to hire LSU’s Corey Raymond as assistant head coach of the defense and cornerbacks coach, pairing him in the secondary with co-coordinator and safeties coach Patrick Toney.
Raymond is widely regarded as one of the top recruiters in college football.
Among the players he has been credited as a primary or secondary recruiter for with the Tigers are eight five-star prospects, including cornerbacks Derek Stingley, Kevin Toliver II, Eli Ricks and Kristian Fulton, as well as safeties Jacoby Stevens, Sage Ryan and Jamal Adams. He also helped land five-star receiver Kayshon Boutte.
Of note, Ricks entered the NCAA transfer portal on Nov. 23 and has not yet chosen a new program.
The former 5-star recruit played in six games this season before he underwent season-ending surgery, a procedure that LSU coach Ed Orgeron publicly indicated was elective in nature. Ricks is rated as the No. 2 overall prospect currently in the NCAA transfer portal by 247Sports.
The injury that ended Ricks’ 2021 campaign was described in October by then-LSU coach Ed Orgeron as “nagging” in nature, rather than a serious one.
“It’s a sustained injury that kept on coming back and coming back,” Orgeron said. “He and his family decided to get it operated on and get it fixed. I think he gets it fixed pretty soon. It was a nagging injury, and he kept on playing with it and playing with it. And it kept re-occurring, so they decided to get it operated on.”
Whether or not Ricks ends up picking Florida as his new destination, Raymond should immediately add some serious firepower for Florida on the recruiting trail. He finished as a Top 10 recruiter in the SEC in both the 2018 and 2019 seasons.
Raymond has not been officially announced as an addition to Napier’s staff yet. The Gators have announced two on-field hires already: Toney and running backs coach Jabbar Juluke, both from Louisiana.
Napier is expected to continue rounding out his staff over the next couple weeks, with an emphasis on getting a cohesive group together following the Early Signing Period, which begins on Dec. 15. Florida is not expected to ink many prospects to National Letters of Intent in the Early Signing Period, with Napier cautioning that numbers will be low.
“You guys are probably going to get frustrated with me,” Napier said at his introductory press conference on Sunday. “We’re going to be very patient and calculated about everything that we do. And eventually we’ll have the full group together and we’ll go to work.”
After four key players decommitted from the class in recent days, Florida’s 2022 recruiting class has slipped to No. 76 nationally.
Suffice it to say Raymond’s addition should go a long way to calming the nerves in the Gator Nation after a trying few days.
247Sports’ Robbie Weinstein contributed to this report.