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.