April 13th, 2011 10:30am

Notes: Florida building one of nation’s top classes


It hasn’t taken long for UF coach Will Muschamp to flex his considerable recruiting muscles.

Muschamp came to Gainesville with the reputation of one of the nation’s finest collectors of top talent. Some Gator fans may have questioned such a lofty stature after Florida’s Class of 2011 fell short at positions of need like linebacker and the offensive and defensive lines.

Those same fans have to be loving the Gators’ marked and quick turnaround.

JC Shurburtt, national recruiting analyst for 247Sports, wrote on Monday that Florida is putting together one of the top four classes in the country as of now, along with Florida State, Southern Cal and Alabama.

Indeed, Muschamp is displaying an aggressive philosophy he no doubt picked up under the wing of Texas coach Mack Brown — load up on verbal commitments early, hang on to them and finish strong. The Longhorns were famous for filling much of their classes after Junior Day visits, and that’s just what Muschamp here did in February and March.

That he is doing it with a heavy emphasis on covering all bases in his home state and simultaneously raiding neighboring Georgia must tickle Gator fans and tick off those Bulldogs who once called Muschamp one of their own.

Certainly those two traditionally talent-rich states are loaded once again this year, and it will be interesting to see if Muschamp’s momentum will carry into other hotbeds like Texas and California.


It was quite a day for people-watching at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium last Saturday. Here’s a breakdown of some key visitors …

Former Gators: QB Tim Tebow, QB Danny Wuerffel, LB Brandon Spikes, RB Fred Taylor, LB Mike Peterson, DT Gerard Warren, C Maurkice Pouncey, C Mike Pouncey, WR Ricky Nattiel, WR David Nelson, DL Ray McDonald, WR Riley Cooper, TE Cornelius Ingram, LB Keith Kelsey and LB Mike Nattiel.

Class of 2011 true freshmen this fall: CB Marcus Roberson, S Jabari Gorman, QB Jacoby Brissett and OL Trip Thurman.

Class of 2012 Florida verbal commitments: Seffner, Fla., Armwood RB Matt Jones; Largo, Fla., Pinellas Park LB Jeremi Powell; and Tyrone, Ga., Sandy Creek DT Quinteze Williams.

Class of 2012 top prospects: Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., OT Avery Young; The Villages, Fla., OLB Noor Davis; Melbourne, Fla., Holy Trinity S Marcus Maye; Tampa, Fla., Jefferson DE/LB Tyriq McCord; Palm Beach, Fla., Dwyer OT Patrick Miller; Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., St. Thomas Aquinas DE Jelani Hamilton; Tampa, Fla., Berkley Prep, ATH Nelson Agholor; Lakeland, Fla., OG Evan Goodman; and Groveland, Fla., South Lake WR James Brooks.

Class of 2013 top prospects: Belle Glade, Fla., Glades Day RB Kelvin Taylor; and Seffner, Fla., Armwood S Leon McQuay.


The feel-good story of what Gator great Kerwin Bell is doing as the head coach of the Jacksonville Dolphins football program felt even better on April 1 when Bell signed son Kade as a quarterback recruit.

The elder Bell has taken a fledgling program to record-setting heights (especially on offense), so much so that some UF fans advocated for Kerwin to be considered for the Gators’ head-coaching and offensive coordinator vacancies late last year.

Now Kerwin will play the dual role of father and coach to his son, who quarterbacked Fleming Island High School last season with more than 2,000 yards and 20 touchdowns.

“I’m looking forward to playing for my dad at JU,” Kade told The Florida Times-Union. “I know some people will say that if I get into a game it will be because he’s my dad. But he’s already told me that I’ll have to work hard and earn my way into the lineup.”

Said Kerwin to the T-U: “As a father, just watching him develop as a player, I feel he has Division-I ability, but he has a Division I-AA body (6-0, 170) I talked to some other coaches around the country, and while they like his ability, it’s his size that is a concern.

“I tried to stay out of the recruiting process and let our staff handle the recruiting of Kade. We talked to some other schools [Elon, Wofford, Appalachian State]. But in the end, he decided he wanted to attend JU.”


Gainesville High School defensive back Chris Bivins picked up an offer from Florida International on April 5.

“I love the city of Miami and FIU just won their conference and their first-ever bowl game,” Bivins told ESPN.com. “It’s an up-and-coming program and I’m happy they have offered.”

Bivins also has offers from South Florida and Utah and told ESPN that Illinois, Louisville and UCF have shown interest.


Is there room for another postseason high school football all-star showcase? Sure, why not.

The Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl will play its inaugural game in Phoenix on Jan. 3, 2012 and is sponsored by the U.S. Marine Corps. A national television partner should be announced soon.

The game, which will be played at Chase Field, will feature 100 of the top prospects in the nation split into two teams — east and west. And like the U.S. Army and Under-Armour games, there will also be a junior combine for nearly 300 top prospects the day before (on Jan. 2, 2012).

Sounds like a winning formula.

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  1. April 13th, 2011 11:27 am

    Jeff, you mentioned Armwood safety Leon McQuay as a visitor. The University of Tampa had a QB named Leon McQuay back in late ’60′s or early 70′s. Do you know if the two are related?

    by jeff

  2. April 13th, 2011 11:56 am

    What, still no love for David Nelson. He was there signing autographs with Riley Cooper.

    by Goldengator

  3. April 13th, 2011 12:03 pm

    [...] the blue chippers Florida fans have been oggling.  According to one national recruiting analyst, the Gators are putting together one of the four best classes in the nation.Muschamp is having particular success in the states of Florida — naturally — and [...]

    by Recruiting | MrSEC.com

  4. April 13th, 2011 12:03 pm

    Keep up the good work Jeff, you are helping us get over losing Edward quickly. To the Jeff above, I am originally from Tampa and played ball during the 60′s. The Leon McQuay mentioned above played for Tampa Middleton (prior to integration) and played running back for Tampa U and then the Toronto Argonauts of the CFL.

    by ga gator

  5. April 13th, 2011 12:10 pm

    Fixed. Don’t know how I forgot him. Nelson is one of my favorite interviews. @Goldengator > Thanks.

    by Jeff Barlis

  6. April 13th, 2011 12:38 pm

    Still think Kerwin would have been an awesome pick for O.C.

    by Captain Obvious

  7. April 13th, 2011 12:48 pm

    I saw Fred Taylor’s son Kelvin at the 2A district track meet yesterday and he was sporting a nice Florida Gator hat between events.

    by WPBGator

  8. April 13th, 2011 1:09 pm

    Is Ed permanently gone?

    by ATL Gator

  9. April 13th, 2011 1:25 pm

    The ol’ ball coach doesn’t get a mention. Steve was there, right?

    by Kris Mann

  10. April 13th, 2011 1:30 pm

    [...] Notes: Florida building one of nation’s top classes – The Scout Leader – Gator Sports – … JC Shurburtt think we will have a Top4 recruting class. In the mix for the top spot are: Florida Florida State Alabama Southern Cal Still very early, but always nice to be in the conversation. Reply With Quote [...]

    by 2012 Florida Gators Recruiting Thread

  11. April 13th, 2011 1:38 pm

    It is great to get a daily dose of Gator football news everyday! Can’t wait for fall again… Keep working Johnny B….GO GATORS!

    by Davido

  12. April 13th, 2011 1:39 pm

    Jeff, another nice post. Thanks for keeping us up to date!

    by texas Gator

  13. April 13th, 2011 1:41 pm

    @WPBGator It’s no surprise Kelvin is widely regarded as a strong Florida lean. I think he’ll be a big-time prospect commanding major attention next year. He and his father, obviously, speak glowingly about Gainesville and UF.

    by Jeff Barlis

  14. April 13th, 2011 1:42 pm

    @ATL Gator Yes. He is thrilled to be with ESPN … and probably thrilled to not have to chase high school kids around anymore.

    by Jeff Barlis

  15. April 13th, 2011 1:44 pm

    @Kris Mann Spurrier was not in attendance. His video was pre-taped from Columbia, S.C. It would have been major national news if he had skipped the Gamecocks’ spring game to be at Florida’s.

    by Jeff Barlis

  16. April 13th, 2011 2:54 pm

    I don’t remember where I read this, but I thought I saw that Kelvin Taylor was not a Florida lean, and that Fred wasn’t pushing him toward Florida, but letting him make his own decision.

    by Jeremy

  17. April 13th, 2011 2:56 pm

    I see CI was there. What is his status? Is he still playing after his injuries for Phili? He was a GREAT Gator!!!

    by Cathy

  18. April 13th, 2011 3:19 pm

    Great stuff Jeff! We certainly should be loaded at running back for the next few years with next year’s class and potentially getting Taylor.

    by npgator

  19. April 13th, 2011 3:46 pm

    Welcome Jeff! I am sure you will fill Ed’s shoes, nicely! Change is good and it will give us a new set of eyes and ears, with a different play on things! I look forward to your comments and opinions! Just try to give us something on a weekly basis, during the down time, even if it’s an update on the incoming class and how they are reconciling football and college life! We often loose the young guys, once they get in the program, until they start showing up on the roster!

    by John C

  20. April 13th, 2011 3:59 pm

    @atl gator, do you ever watch games with the atlanta gator club at sidebar ? Gotta love the fight song played on the loud speakers after every touchdown and orange and blue shots at halftime !

    by g8trb8

  21. April 13th, 2011 4:49 pm

    thanks jeff, we gators love a constant chomp of articles about our ball club.
    kinda hard this slow time of year, but lets hope we only hear of the good stuff and not the seemingly regular flow of arrests we’ve seen in the past…
    btw, did any body see wilber marshall ? heard he was there too..

    by sir chomps alot

  22. April 13th, 2011 5:22 pm

    The Leon McQuay being recruited is the Grandson of Tampa U’s Leon McQuay. The Leon that went to TU played high school ball at Blake in Tampa.

    by Charlie

  23. April 13th, 2011 6:59 pm

    Welcome Jeff. On the home page your photo looks just like the “old” guy!Are you twins?

    by Florida Cracker

  24. April 14th, 2011 1:31 am

    Mr. Barlis,
    Ronald Darby, Marcus Maye, Brian Poole might be the holy trinity to complete our DB quest. Noor Davis, Tyriq McCord, Raphael Kirby would be a great finish at LB. Do you see any of this as an real chance?
    Kevin Taylor dad made a remark at the O&B game about his son. Do you think it was more in jest or creditable note worthy info?

    by j

  25. April 14th, 2011 6:13 am


    No I haven’t, I try to make all the home games in Gainesville.

    by Atl Gator

  26. April 14th, 2011 6:15 am


    I think your doing a great job, the other ATL Gator isn’t me lol.

    by Atl Gator

  27. April 14th, 2011 8:09 am

    Jeff, thank you for picking up the ball and running with it! Ed did a great job, so we will miss him. But you are off to a great start and I am looking forward to your blogs going forward. Did notice that the recruiting website still has Ed listed as the main contributor, so may want to update that —- http://recruits.gatorsports.com/

    by Gary the Gator

  28. April 14th, 2011 9:23 am

    always probelms with recruiting when you change coaches.Yet I think Muschamp has a better class waiting for him then Spurrier or
    Zook.We’ll certainly see.

    by producewiz

  29. April 14th, 2011 2:29 pm

    Isn’t it amazing the difference that time to develop relationships makes in recruiting and able to present a stable environment with a game plan.

    by Dennis

  30. April 15th, 2011 1:06 pm

    I am glad that they are of to a fast start. I hope Will go after some great recievers we need them. I also hope we get a few o/f linemen we need them to.

    by gatorsrn1

  31. April 15th, 2011 4:24 pm

    I played against Marcus Maye , even though we won it wasnt fun getting hit by him

    by qualand

  32. April 18th, 2011 11:12 am

    We’re still good on receivers. We have a good batch already in house and Latryoy Pittman coming in next year and possibly Chris Black. But we need quality big LB’s and linemen on both side of the ball.

    by GatorsEverywhere

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