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No. 1 safety Avantae Williams spurns Gators, signs with Hurricanes

‘Not that big a deal,’ Gators coach says after DeLand defensive back flips on Florida

The Miami Hurricanes and head coach Manny Diaz wait to be introduced before the game against the Central Michigan Chippewas at Hard Rock Stadium, Sept. 21, 2019, in Miami Gardens, Florida.
The Miami Hurricanes and head coach Manny Diaz wait to be introduced before the game against the Central Michigan Chippewas at Hard Rock Stadium, Sept. 21, 2019, in Miami Gardens, Florida. (2019 Getty Images)

CORAL GABLES, Fla. – The Miami Hurricanes have added the No. 1 safety in the country to their 2020 recruiting class.

Avantae Williams, ranked No. 1 in the country at his position by ESPN, spurned rival Florida on Wednesday, instead signing with Miami.

The 5-foot-11, 170-pound defensive back from DeLand had been committed to the Gators before making the surprise switch to Miami on National Signing Day.

Florida head coach Dan Mullen was asked during his Wednesday news conference about missing out on Williams.

“I like him,” Mullen said. “I thought this was a very good place for him to be.”

But, Mullen pointed out, the Gators have one of the top defensive back units in this year’s signing class, adding that it’s ultimately “not that big a deal.”

The Hurricanes finished with a losing record for the first time since 2014 under Manny Diaz, who is entering his second season in Coral Gables.

Meanwhile, the Gators are coming off back-to-back 10-or-more-win seasons in as many years under Mullen.

Williams’ about-face comes days after Diaz announced that Hall of Fame safety Ed Reed was returning to Miami to serve as the football program’s new chief of staff.