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Dan Mullen’s first full recruiting cycle is finally in the books, and it’s safe to say the Florida Gators did well as National Signing Day came and went on Wednesday.

In fact, Florida’s recruiting class finished inside 247sports’ top-10 rankings for the first time since 2014 — a class that included names like Will Grier, Teez Tabor, Quincy Wilson, Duke Dawson and Taven Bryan.

The Gators also jumped, yes, the national champion Clemson Tigers to end at No. 9 despite having zero five-star signees. The only team with more four-star signees was Alabama, which had three five-stars and 23 four-stars.

By far the biggest surprise and best news of the day came out of Fort Lauderdale’s Cardinal Gibbons High School. Four-star defensive end Khris Bogle — ranked the 71st-best prospect in the country — flipped from Alabama to Florida, joining fellow four-star DL signees Lloyd Summerall and Jaelin Humphries.

Florida also won a battle against Georgia for cornerback Kaiir Elam, the 48th-ranked player in the country out of North Palm Beach’s The Benjamin School. Many expected Elam to sign with UF all along because of family ties to the school. His uncle, Matt Elam, was a star safety for the Gators from 2010-12 before becoming a first-round NFL Draft pick.

Related: LOOK: The Florida Gators’ Next Elite Recruit is Actually This Kid’s Dad

The notable names Florida missed out on were DL Charles Moore (Louisville, MS) and RB Mark-Antony Richards (West Palm Beach, FL), who both committed to Auburn. Moore was ranked the 69th-best prospect while Richards the 90th. Mullen even paid Richards a visit last week via helicopter, though clearly his stunt didn’t make too great of an impression.

UF did, however, receive National Letters of Intent from a couple expected commits. That included four-star wide receiver Arjei Henderson and four-star linebacker Diwun Black.

To make UF’s day even sweeter, the Gators were able to secure Elam even after Georgia hired away Florida’s defensive backs coach — Charlton Warren — and Bogle despite the Crimson Tide stealing defensive line coach Sal Sunseri from the Gators as well.

Still, the Gators’ recruiting class slides in at fifth among Southeastern Conference schools behind Alabama (1), Georgia (2), Texas A&M (4) and LSU (5).

If Florida wants to move into that upper echelon, it’s gonna take five-star recruits — a commodity not seen in Gainesville since UF nabbed CeCe Jefferson and Martez Ivey in 2015.

Even Will Muschamp, despite his coaching downfalls, recruited at least one five-star prospect every year at Florida.

Though Mullen put together a good class, deep down Gator fans know winning stems from recruiting and holding Florida football to a championship-level standard.

Read more University of Florida coverage here.

Patrick has spent parts of the last four years covering University of Florida athletics and spent two seasons with Major League Baseball. He's a baseball junkie who spends his days defending Derek Jeter and the Miami Marlins. A recent Gator grad, Patrick currently resides in Gainesville, Florida.
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