February 21st, 2011 12:30pm

Gators would like to haul in Stephenson 4


Could there be a new carving on the side of Stone Mountain? (Photo Illustration by Rob Mack/Staff)

We could have another Lakeland situation on our hands here in Gainesville.

Remember when those seven guys from Lakeland High all signed with Florida in 2007? I believe some very large and talented twins were a part of that group, along with a small, slow safety who could go down as one of the best Gators to ever play that position.

Well, it seems like Florida’s new staff is trying to pull a similar stunt in Stone Mountain, Ga. Over the weekend, Florida hosted another slew of junior prospects for its second Junior Day of the year. A part of that group were four standouts from Stephenson High — the same high school that delivered Jermaine Cunningham to the Gators.

Coach Will Muschamp and his crew certainly made a strong impression on the foursome of running back Mike Davis, linebacker Raphael Kirby, defensive end Jarontay Jones and defensive tackle Jafar Mann. Davis enjoyed his time in Gainesville so much that he committed to Florida’s staff before leaving campus, becoming the Gators’ fifth verbal of the 2012 class.

As for his buds, they all came away with Florida as their leader.

Jones was so impressed he said it was “really hard” for him to not commit to Florida over the weekend. The only thing that stopped him was that he wants to take more visits to other schools.

“(The visit) went great,” Jones said. “Everything from the coaches, players, facilities, campus (were impressive).

“After the visit, they are definitely first (on his list of schools).”

Jones listed Auburn as his favorite earlier this month, but the loss of defensive line coach Tracy Rocker, who took a job with the Tennessee Titans, removed the Tigers from the top spot.

Mann was also pretty close to committing. Growing up a Gator fan, Mann had Florida as his leader before he made the trip to Gainesville, but cemented the Gators there once he left.

“I really can see myself down there,” Mann said.

Mann, who spent most of his time with defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, said one reason he has Florida as his leader is the depth chart. With no DTs signing in 2011, Mann thinks he’s got a chance to come in and contribute early.

Mann, who stands 6-foot-3, 286 pounds, spent time hanging out with former Georgia prospect Mack Brown, whom he played against in high school.

Finally, there’s Kirby.

The 6-foot-1, 212-pound linebacker has been getting a ton of early interest from schools, but Florida seems to be saying all the right things to him.

“It was great,” Kirby said of Florida’s Junior Day. “I enjoyed the competitive environment. I had a great time talking with all the coaches.”

Kirby was also very excited to see his teammate commit to a school he also considers his leader at this point.

“I’m happy for the young star,” he said. “He’s a great running back, and I’m proud of him.”

Kirby spent most of his time with Quinn and linebackers coach D.J. Durkin.

Davis said he will be actively recruiting his teammates to join him, and all of them will be back to speak with Florida’s coaches and watch spring practice in March.

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  1. February 21st, 2011 1:25 pm

    Would love to get those two linemen more than anything.

    by Gator Todd

  2. February 21st, 2011 1:34 pm

    Living in Atlanta… man would I love this from the Bulldogs’ backyard!

    by Gator in Atl

  3. February 21st, 2011 2:27 pm

    Will is going to the top of the hill! Its gonna be good around here real soon. Go Gators!

    by Dan Dixon

  4. February 21st, 2011 2:53 pm

    Man I cannot believe the passion and intensity that Muschamp is putting into this thing already.

    Looks like he is holding nothing back, Gonna be some good years to be a Gator.

    Just wonder if he can surpass the excellence that Urban and that Tebow guy enjoyed.

    by Jamie Smith

  5. February 21st, 2011 2:57 pm

    Chomp is killing it in recruiting…I thought that he would…I really like what this staff is doing…and all though I haven’t heard Muschomp talk much (because he’s new and the season is over)…I really like his attitude and energy. Keep it up coach…you’re doing an awesome job!

    by Spencer

  6. February 21st, 2011 3:08 pm

    Stone Mountain in Gwinnett County produce some great football players and they play against good competition in Gwinnett. Omar Hunter is from Buford.

    by levelgator

  7. February 21st, 2011 3:57 pm

    We look sexy, go gators

    by Monica

  8. February 21st, 2011 4:13 pm

    6’3″, 286 lbs in his junior year of HS? That Mann kid is a beast! Sounds like he understands just how much we need a huge DT… and it’s really great to hear he grew up a Gator fan!

    by UF Alum

  9. February 21st, 2011 4:38 pm

    Love those Georgia Gators! They’re rare breeds. Come on down boys!

    by ngamtngator

  10. February 21st, 2011 5:43 pm

    Wow, I live about 4 miles from Stone Mountain and I’m glad to hear the staff is going after these guys. It would be a great addition to have them on our squad!

    by BKP

  11. February 21st, 2011 7:19 pm

    This is great to hear, but how interested are we in them? (are they top targets, or someone to have a relationship with in case someone else falls through?) And are they all projected to be talented college players?

    by John S

  12. February 21st, 2011 7:43 pm

    Also living in Atlanta this is awesome my wife is a Gator from Stephenson High School so this is just unreal for me! Let’s take over Georgia, Florida, and Texas. Boom!

    by ATL Gator

  13. February 21st, 2011 7:46 pm

    Stone Mtn is DeKalb county not Gwinnett

    by ATL Gator

  14. February 21st, 2011 8:44 pm

    If you’ll go back to an earlier post when so many were panicking because of our below standards recruiting year for 2011, i told all those that were about to jump to take a chill pill, our coach would see us through. Come on in Ga Boys, the water is just fine. Do it Will, just do it. Go Gators

    by sam

  15. February 21st, 2011 9:03 pm

    good to see. something to get excited about. long time til feb 2012.

    by Gator Buck

  16. February 21st, 2011 10:31 pm

    @LEVELGATOR Stone Mountain is in Dekalb County, not Gwinnett… i love living in Atlanta and singing the praises of the Great university of Florida to all those pitiful UgA supporters… It’s Great 2 Be A FLORIDA GATOR!!!

    by Gator Jonesy

  17. February 22nd, 2011 7:59 am

    I think there’s more to it than we think…yeah we can SEE Chomp’s effort he’s putting into recruiting rather than him getting in front of a camera and yapping with no results. But what we can’t see or hear about right now is really the big surprise…him preparing this team for the 11 season. I believe he’s gonna work miracles with the talent he was left with. Go Gators!

    by Tallahassee Gator

  18. February 22nd, 2011 8:46 am

    GA will be furious if they lose these players to UF. Richt’s already on the hotseat—if he can’t get top players about 50 miles away, big trouble.

    by Deano

  19. February 22nd, 2011 1:18 pm

    The important thing about getting these five commits early is the attention it brings to the program with other recruits. They see these big-namers committing to UF this realy and they stop and take notice, and then start digging deeper into what UF has to offer. It’s all good.

    by Gator Todd

  20. February 22nd, 2011 8:44 pm

    Doesn’t that make 3 RBs with Atwater probably going to be a fourth? I guess these guys aren’t scared of competition.

    by Jared

  21. February 22nd, 2011 8:50 pm

    Jared — UF only has two RB commits in this class (Davis and Jones). The staff is done at RB …

    by Edward Aschoff

  22. February 22nd, 2011 9:29 pm

    Yo Ed,
    I see you said we are done at RB but the son of Steve Atwater is all over the gators. Do you think they would bring him in at another position?

    by Earnell L.

  23. February 23rd, 2011 12:04 pm

    Lets not get carried away. NSD is just over 11 months away. Look at July 2010 – 7 months out, last year. Pagan, Waisome, shazier verbals – gone. Maggit heavy Fla lean – gone. Wilder, heavy Fla lean – gone. Anthony, heavy Fla lean – gone. Benjamen, heavy Fla lean – gone. AJ Johnson, heavy Fla lean – gone. Watkins, thought to be a heavy Fla lean – gone. We still had a decent class after the complete overhaul with the coaching staff, though I think Brisset or Driskel will end up transferring when one of them realizes they are to good of a quarterback to ride the bench.

    by scooterp

  24. February 23rd, 2011 5:57 pm

    We lost a few this year but it is already gettin better for next year Go Gators

    by Hillard Gator

  25. February 24th, 2011 5:17 pm

    Coach Muschamp has the “it” factor and he will appeal to young football players. Additionally, his style of football is contagious and he’ll bring many championships to Florida Football in a style we all can embrace. Go luck and thanks to Coach Meyer for everything he did, but I am glad to get back to some traditional football. I like the downhill running game that I expect we will see with Coach Muschamp but he will need lots of backups because they aren’t going to play the finesse style of play. They will be sore and beaten up after every game and may need two weeks to bounce back so the backups need to be as good as the starters. We need lots of depth.
    Fernandina Gator

    by Tommy Roberts

  26. December 5th, 2011 12:20 am

    [...] was a time when it looked like Florida could land four prospects from Stephenson High in Stone Mountain, [...]

    by Davis decommits from UF – Gator Prospectus - Gator Sports - Gainesville, FL - Archive

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