As Junior Days come and go around the country, fans are anxiously awaiting who will be the next spring commitment for their favorite school.
Florida has had some very good, early success on the recruiting trail this spring. The Gators currently have five verbals and are at the top of many prospects’ lists. Will Muschamp and his staff have certainly hit the 2012 class hard after a signing 19 in the 2011 class.
With a small class coming into Gainesville, Muschamp has the ability to sign a class of around 25 this time around.
Who will make the final 20 spots? How will this staff make up for some misses at offensive line and linebacker? Will the Gators get another quarterback?
Well, it only makes sense to take a look at the potential numbers and some prospects who could fill some of those spots. While it is very early in the process and there could still be some attrition — or injuries — during spring practice, which begins next week, these numbers could always change.
Today, I’ll focus on the offensive side of the ball.
The Gators signed two quarterbacks in their 2011 class. Jeff Driskel, who is already enrolled, was the guy when Urban Meyer was in charge, but Muschamp and offensive coordinator Charlie Weis swayed Dwyer’s Jacoby Brissett to come to Gainesville as well. That gives Florida four true quarterbacks for 2011 (John Brantley and Tyler Murphy included). Murphy and Driskel will battle for the second spot behind Brantley this spring, and Brissett will be added to the mix over the summer. Murphy already redshirted, so either Driskel or Brissett will face the same fate this fall. Once Brantley graduates, the Gators will have three at the position, but there have been rumblings that Murphy could change positions. To be safe, Florida will want to sign at least one quarterback in this class.
Names to keep an eye on:
Tyler Cameron, 6-foot-3, 210 pounds (Jupiter, Fla.) — He’s interested in Florida, and his father played running back at UF in 1984. He has yet to visit this year but has been to Florida’s camps the past few years. A slew of southeastern schools are after him. He doesn’t have a Florida offer.
Zeke Pike, 6-5, 220 (Edgewood, Kent., Dixie Heights) — He worked out at one of Florida’s camps last summer and showed off one of the most powerful and accurate arms during drills. He’s a typical pro-style quarterback, but he’s quite mobile and would fit Weis’ system. He claims around 30 major offers, and Florida is one of them.
Greyson Lambert, 6-5, 195 (Jesup, Ga., Wayne County) — On film, he shows great arm strength and good accuracy. Florida has been in contact and he visited for one of UF’s Junior Days. It will be interesting to see if he makes it to Gainesville for camp this summer.
Gunner Kiel, 6-4, 200 (Columbus, Ind., East) — He claims an offer from Florida and will be one of the more highly recruited quarterbacks in the Midwest. He’s got the arm and he’s got the accuracy. He claims more than 20 offers and recently visited Oklahoma.
Jameis Winston, 6-4, 190 (Hueytown, Ala.) — Winston isn’t your prototypical pro-style quarterback, but can certainly get it done through the air. He rushed for nearly 600 yards, and though he passed for a little more than 700 yards as a junior, his film has shown that he’s a throw-first guy in the pocket. He’s got a handful of offers, including one from Florida, but Alabama could be the team to watch here.
RUNNING BACK (0)
With verbal commitments from Seffner Armwood’s Matt Jones and Stone Mountain, Ga., Stephenson’s Mike Davis, Florida is done at running back in this class. Two was the number the staff set out for, and it only took a month for Florida to get its guys.
WIDE RECEIVER (3-4)
Florida has already locked up Citra North Marion’s Latroy Pittman and could settle for signing two more. There certainly is depth with 10 receivers currently on campus and Ja’Juan Story coming this summer. Deonte Thompson will graduate after the 2011 season, so Florida isn’t in dire need to sign a ton of receivers.
Names to keep an eye on:
Chris Black, 6-0, 175 (Jacksonville, Fla., First Coast) — He might be the top receiver in the state of the Florida this fall. He visited UF a few times during the fall and grew up a Gators fan. However, Florida State is making a strong push, and word is that his mom really likes the staff in Tallahassee. Alabama has also made a very good impression on Black. This one should be fun to watch.
Dorial Green-Beckham, 6-6, 220, (Springfield, Mo., Hillcrest) — Many have compared him to former Georgia receiver A.J. Green. He’s got great size has great speed as well. He’s a track star at his high school, too. He has visited Florida in the past, so the Gators are definitely on his radar. He will be able to pick and choose wherever he wants to go this year.
Stefon Diggs, 6-1, 189 (Olney, Md., Our Lady of Good Counsel) — He showed that he’ll be one of the top offensive prospects in the country this fall after earning MVP honors at the U.S. Army All-American Junior Combine in January. He’s already got a connection to UF with Jelani Jenkins attending the same high school. Diggs has a slew of offers and could make an immediate impact at most schools after him.
Avery Johnson, 6-2, 185 (Pompano Beach, Fla., Ely) — He’s currently committed to LSU, the school of his brother, Patrick Peterson, but he’s shown interest in visiting other schools. Florida is one of those schools. The Tigers have his verbal, but he’s open to looking at other schools and he will.
Ricardo Louis, 6-2, 200 (Miami Beach Senior) — He’s played a lot of quarterback, but he’s one of those guys who translates better to receiver in college. He currently doesn’t have an offer from Florida, but that could change after the staff checks him out live. Miami appears to be the team to beat.
Alton Howard, 5-9, 170 (Orlando, Fla., Edgewater) — He’s not the biggest receiver out there, but after watching him work out at the Army Combine in January, he will be a playmaker at the next level. He’s got great speed and is surprisingly strong for his size. Ohio State is the overwhelming favorite here, but he’s shown some interest in Florida.
Jody Fuller, 6-0, 200 (Monroe, N.C., Sun Valley) — Fuller was one of the top prospects at the Under Armour Junior Combine in January. He caught 77 passes for 850 yard and 16 touchdowns as a junior. He was impressive at Florida’s camp last summer and has a handful of offers. He’s got interest in Florida, but hasn’t received an offer. The east coast schools are making the biggest push for him right now.
TIGHT END (1)
It’s tough to find a place to begin with this position at Florida. Aaron Hernandez was great at tight end and then the tight end vanished after he left. Jordan Reed figures to return to tight end after his stint at quarterback last season. Early enrollee A.C. Leonard is gifted enough to make an immediate impact there and will battle for time this spring. After that, you have Desmond Parks and Michael McFarland. Injuries have cost Parks two straight seasons, while McFarland redshirted last year. This position is up for grabs, so the coaches might want to invest in another one this year.
Names to keep an eye on:
Kelvin Rainey, 6-3, 210 (Yulee, Fla.) — Rainey visited Florida for last week’s Junior Day and said he had a “great time” on campus. However, Florida is recruiting him as a linebacker, not a tight end. Rainey is up to making the switch, but he’d like to play offense for now. Florida sticks out, but it’s unclear if the staff will continue to recruit him as just a linebacker.
Kent Taylor, 6-5, 220 (Land O’Lakes, Fla.) — Taylor received an offer from Florida’s coaches after visiting for Florida’s first Junior Day. He’s getting a lot of interest from southeast schools and recently received an offer from LSU. He’ll be a hot commodity this year.
Sean Price, 6-4, 210 (Citra, Fla., North Marion) — With Pittman already committed to Florida, Price’s interest in the Gators has risen. He visited a few times last year and holds a Florida offer. Miami recently offered Price, and a lot of schools are starting to get involved with him.
Kurt Freitag, 6-3, 220 (Buford, Ga.) — His name isn’t too prominent right now in the recruiting world, but he’s starting to get some attention from big-time programs. Auburn, Alabama, Florida, Florida State and South Carolina have all offered.
Ricky Parks, 6-3, 210 (Hogansville, Ga., Callaway) — Parks played more quarterback his junior year, but he looks better suited to play tight end in college. Southern schools are lining up to offer him, and he should get even more attention once he participates in camps this summer.
OFFENSIVE LINE (5)
This is an area Florida’s new staff struggled with in the 2011 class. The Gators lost one of its o-line commits and only managed to bring in two guys. There is some depth on the current roster, but this is a top priority for Muschamp and Co. The state of Florida has a plethora of talent, and Florida’s staff should be able to do a much better job in this department.
Names to keep an eye on:
Jessamen Dunker, 6-6, 315 (Boynton Beach, Fla.) — Dunker visited Florida in February for Junior Day and came away very impressed. Florida is a school that is sticking out for him, and while he isn’t ready to commit, Florida’s early moves with him could pay off in the end. He’s planning to take more visits this spring, and Florida should get one of those. Most of the SEC is after Dunker.
John Theus, 6-6, 292 (Jacksonville, Fla., Bolles) —He is considered by most to be the topoffensive tackle prospect in the country. His older brother is atGeorgia, so most think the Bulldogs might have the upper hand at thispoint. He’s planning to visit Florida for the next Junior Day this month andwill probably be in town for a practice. Everyone will be after Theus, and he’ll make his decision at the U.S. Army All-American game next January.
Avery Young, 6-5, 270 (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.) —People have been talking about Young since last year and most think he’ll challenge Theus as the state’s top lineman. He’s got a ton of offers and everyone his trying to gethim on campus this spring. He and his family visited Florida last month to check in on the new coaching staff, and it appears the Gators are still a school he’s quite impressed in.Miami, Georgia and Georgia Tech could get visits this month, as well. Alabama, LSU, Arkansas, Michigan, Okahoma and N.C. State, where his brother went, are all schools he’s been in contact with.
D.J. Humphries, 6-6, 262 (Charlotte, N.C., Mallard Creek) — Humphries has been bombarded with offers from nearly every ACC and SEC team. Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and LSU are the schools he’s saying are at the top of his list right now. Humphries will try to get around to those schools in the near future. North Carolina is a school to look out for here, but LSU has always stuck out for Humphries because of the game day atmosphere.
Evan Goodman, 6-4, 270 (Lakeland, Fla.) — The big three schools in Florida (UF, FSU and UM) are all on his list and he’s gotten attention from each of them. He’s even received verbal offers from Ohio State and Arizona State. Florida’s deep ties to Lakeland could be a factor, but he insists he’s very open at this point. He recently visited Florida State and is trying to get to Gainesville soon.
Patrick Miller, 6-7, 260 (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., Dwyer) — Like most of the instate linemen, Miller is a fan of The Big Three. All three have offered and Miller figures to be one of the rising stars at the offensive tackle position in the state. It’s looking more and more likely that he wants to stay in the state of Florida for school and that he doesn’t want to drag out the recruiting process.
Duaron Williams, 6-4, 294 (Orlando, Fla., Jones) — He doesn’t have a laundry list of offers, but his size will make him pretty appetizing to schools. Williams isn’t favoring just one school, but he really likes The Big Three. His mom wants him to stay close to home, so that could give southeastern schools the early advantage. He’s got offers from Ole Miss, Central Florida and Rutgers, but has heard from more than 40 schools.
Colby Watson, 6-5, 320 (Pensacola, Fla., Pine Forest) — His list of offers isn’t extensive, but with his size, that should change during spring evaluations and summer camps. Right now, the only schools he’s really been in contact with are Florida, FSU and Alabama. Bama and Florida are sticking out, and it doesn’t hurt the Gators that his former teammate, athlete Louchiez Purifoy, will enroll at UF this summer. If Florida offers, the Gators should take the lead for him.