Is Florida Football the favorite for 5-star DT Walter Nolen?

St. Benedict at Auburndale junior Walter Nolen, 16, on Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020, at the school in Cordova.091520 Walternolen 07 Msg
St. Benedict at Auburndale junior Walter Nolen, 16, on Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020, at the school in Cordova.091520 Walternolen 07 Msg /

Following a visit to the Florida football program over the weekend, the top-ranked DT in 2022, Walter Nolen is shutting down his recruitment. 

Sometimes in recruiting, a single visit can change everything and it sure seems that Florida football was able to make an impact when five-star defensive tackle Walter Nolen paid a visit to Gainesville over the weekend.

Nolen is the No. 2 player in the 2022 recruiting class according to the 247 sports composite rankings and he’s the top-ranked defensive tackle.

The 6-foot-4, 300-pound recruit out of Cordova, Tennessee is one of the hottest prospects in the entire 2022 class. A recruiting battle featuring SEC powers, as well as others such as Michigan and Ohio State was taking shape.

Most analysts expected Nolen to take his visits and possibly even visit on game day during the fall before making a decision. Yet, the five-star recruit put a wrench in that thinking Sunday when he tweeted that he was nearing a decision and shutting things down.

Nolen didn’t say exactly when he would be making a decision, but it sounds sooner than expected and that seems like a very good thing for Florida football.

Are Gators now the team to beat?

While Nolen took a visit to Florida over the weekend, he was also at a camp with Michigan in Memphis and spent some extensive time with Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh last week.

Nolen also has family ties to Detroit and has taken an unofficial visit to Ann Arbor, just as he did to Alabama back in April. Michigan was supposed to be his next visit on June 18, but now you have to wonder if he takes that trip.

From the beginning, Nolen was going to be a tough pull for Big Ten teams and always felt destined for the SEC. Tennessee hasn’t been a huge factor and while it’s always hard to look past Alabama, Florida has the feel of the favorite.

Michigan is right there and I would say the Wolverines are probably right there in the top three with the Gators and Bama. That’s why the schedule of Nolen will be telling.

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If he takes a visit to Ann Arbor or heads to Alabama before making this decision, then maybe it means he’s having second thoughts. But when he sent that tweet out, Florida football fans everywhere had to feel that the No. 2 recruit in 2022 was going to be a Gator.