With nine days until National Signing Day, the anxiety in Gainesville is almost overwhelming.
New coach Will Muschamp hasn’t exactly delivered the most exciting month of recruiting for Florida, but he’s shown that he and his staff will be relentless. It’s always hard for a first-year coach to immediately succeed in the recruiting world, but the lack of enthusiasm around Florida’s 2011 class has fans upset with how things have gone thus far.
Internet message boards are on fire with talk of poor recruiting tactics by Muschamp, and some Gators fans are already considering this class to be a dud. However, no letters of intent have been signed and Florida’s coaches haven’t stopped talking with prospects (committed and uncommitted). There is still some time for Florida to makes moves and there are still prospects to be had in this class.
Here’s a look at 10 major prospects fans will need to keep an eye on between now and signing day.
6-foot-2, 275 pounds (Lake City Columbia)
Schools in the mix: Florida State, LSU, Tennessee
411: Jernigan recently sat down with Mushcamp, defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and defensive line coach Bryant Young. His high school coach, Craig Howard, said everyone at Columbia was impressed with Florida’s new coaches and Jernigan came away very high on the Gators. He’ll visit this week, but it might only be unofficially. FSU got him in for an official over the weekend and the Seminoles appear to have a slight lead. He’s penciled in for a Tennessee visit this weekend.
UF stock: Rising. Jernigan grew up a Gators fan, but the coaching changes nearly threw Florida out of it. He’s starting to like what this new staff has to offer and he promised he’d make it to Gainesville this week, which is a huge win for Muschamp.
6-3, 222 (Richmond, Va., Hermitage)
Schools in the mix: Ohio State, Virginia, North Carolina
411: Grant once had Florida as his outright leader, but now it appears Ohio State has pulled even. Virginia is on his list because it’s so close to home, and UNC has always impressed him. He will visit UNC this weekend, but most think it’s down to OSU and UF. Florida is in need of a top linebacker and he is the one the Gators have targeted since day one.
UF Stock: Stable. Things are pretty even between OSU and UF, but the Gators have always been near the top.
6-7, 270 (Traverse City, Mich., West)
Schools in the mix: Michigan, Michigan State, Oregon
411: He was once committed to Michigan, but backed off when Rich Rodriguez was fired. Now, he’s opened things up and Florida is near the top of his list. Florida’s interest was generated by seeing tape of him sent by his high school coach. He’s fresh off his visit to Gainesville and had a good time. He’ll still visit Oregon this weekend, but word is that Florida, Michigan and Michigan State are the favorites.
UF stock: Rising. His official went well and the Gators are in need of an offensive tackle, especially with the decommitment of Chase Hounshell.
6-3, 215 (Palm Beach Gardens Dwyer)
Schools in the mix: Wisconsin, Washington, Miami, FSU, LSU
411: Brissett was first offered a grayshirt by former coach Urban Meyer and immediately declined. Enter new offensive coordinator Charlie Weis and there is serious interest from the Gators. Muschamp even offered him a real scholarship. However, he won’t officially visit Florida and will head to Miami this weekend. Washington is very much in the mix, and there are many who feel Wisconsin could be the favorite. Too little, too late for Florida?
UF stock: Falling. He was very pleased to get a Florida offer and even unofficially visited Florida after first meeting with Weis, but the fact that he won’t officially visit doesn’t help.
6-3, 215 (Palm Beach Gardens Dwyer)
Schools in the mix: FSU, Wisconsin, LSU, Tennessee
411: Maggitt has always had Florida near the top of his list, and the closer he gets to his decision the more the feeling is that Florida is the team to beat. The Gators get his last visit, but Tennessee and Wisconsin are pushing very hard for him. His decision could actually affect Brissett’s, so if he were to pick the Gators, things could get interesting for his teammate.
UF stock: Rising. He hasn’t committed, but the Gators are in great position here.
6-1, 170 (Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas)
Schools in the mix: Texas Tech commit, Auburn, USC
411: Roberson went quiet after officially visiting Florida this past weekend, which could be a good sign for Florida. He committed to Texas Tech after his uncle, Otis Mounds, was promoted to cornerbacks coach, but said he’d keep recruiting open. Auburn is still in the picture and could get an unofficial visit this weekend. This one isn’t over.
UF stock: Rising. Texas Tech might have his commitment, but it doesn’t help the Red Raiders that Florida has always been near the top of his list.
6-3, 227 (Shreveport, La., Evangel Christian)
Schools in the mix: LSU, FSU, Texas, Arkansas
411: Rasco had zero interest in Florida until Muschamp showed up. Now, he’ll officially visit and has the Gators as one of his finalists. He just got back from LSU and reportedly had a great time. It will be tough for any school to pry him away from the Tigers, but Florida will be all over him from the moment he gets in town Friday.
UF stock: Stable. Florida is still very much in the picture here and will have the final shot at him. LSU was always near the top, so his good trip there was no shocker.
6-3, 220 (Wadesboro, N.C., Anson)
Schools in the mix: Clemson, Virgina Tech, North Carolina, North Carolina State
411: Anthony used to list Florida as his top school, but now the schools closer to his home are beginning to get all of his attention. He visited Florida earlier in the month and liked what he saw, but his visit to Clemson a week later blew him away. Helping Clemson’s chances is the fact that close friend and one-time Gator commit, Jeoffrey Pagan, recently committed to the Tigers. However, Florida’s coaches haven’t stopped communication with Anthony.
UF stock: Falling. The former leaders might be near the rear of the pack now. Most feel he’s going to stay close to home, and Clemson appears to be the favorite at this point.
6-3, 340 (Perkinston, Miss., Gulf Coast C.C.)
Schools in the mix: Georgia, Auburn, Miami, Oklahoma State
411: JuCos haven’t really worked out for Florida recently, but Jenkins is a major prospect at a position of need for the Gators. He looks physically ready to play right away. He had a great time on his visit to Georgia over the weekend, but will be in Gainesville Friday. Some think Georgia is the team to beat now, but Jenkins has made it clear that he won’t seriously think things over until after his visit to Florida.
UF stock: Stable. Jenkins might have really enjoyed his visit to Georgia, but he didn’t commit and will still be in Gainesville this weekend.
6-2, 275 (Miami Booker T. Washington)
Schools in the mix: Miami, South Florida, Louisville
411: Watson left his official visit to Florida with the Gators the presumed leader, but things changed this weekend. After visiting Miami — and picking up a ‘Canes offer — Watson has all of his schools even. Watson didn’t show a lot of interest in Miami before his visit and now there’s a decent chance new coach Al Golden could pull him by the end of the week.
UF stock: Falling. Florida didn’t do anything to hurt its chances, but Miami did enough to knock the Gators down a peg or two. The ‘Canes might be able to sneak in and snatch him.