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With the dead period now in effect, SEC Country is counting down the top five recruiting targets for Florida in the Class of 2018.

No. 4 is William Barnes, a 4-star offensive lineman from Apopka High School.

Recruiting importance of William Barnes

The Gators need to sign at least two more offensive linemen and Barnes is one of their top targets. Florida has been the favorite for him throughout the 2018 recruiting cycle and his interest in the program didn’t subside after the coaching changes. Barnes is the nation’s No. 5 offensive tackle according to the 247Sports Composite rankings, but has the ability to play multiple spots. Florida needs more linemen with the talent and versatility of Barnes.

Biggest competition for William Barnes

North Carolina. The Gators and Tar Heels have been his co-leaders for several months and he likely will decide between those two teams. UNC is his mother’s alma mater and it was the first school to offer Barnes a scholarship, so the Tar Heels have a legitimate shot at landing one of the best recruits from the Sunshine State. Barnes will officially visit North Carolina on Jan. 12. Auburn is another program in the mix for Barnes, who plans to visit the Tigers on Feb. 2.

Signing day projection for William Barnes

The late trip to Auburn will be worth monitoring, but this seems to be a UF-UNC battle. The Tar Heels have history on their side, while the Gators offer Barnes proximity to home and comfortability. He has been to Florida countless times and is friends with a few players on the team, including former Apopka lineman Martez

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