Rivals.com released its latest rankings this week, with the Rivals100 coming out Tuesday and the Rivals250 Wednesday. Mike Farrell, Rivals’ national recruiting analyst, spoke with the Sun about a number of topics concerning Florida’s 2013 class.
Before we get to his thoughts, here’s a look at the UF commits and targets in the Rivals250.
*RR stands for Rivals rating, which is the website’s rating system for recruits (on a scale of 4.9-6.1).
No. 66 Daniel McMillian (No. 2 ILB, 5.9 RR)
No. 69 Ahmad Fulwood (No. 8 WR, 5.9 RR)
No. 92 Kelvin Taylor (No. 11 RB, 5.9 RR)
No. 99 Nick Washington (No. 11 S, 5.9 RR)
No. 109 Caleb Brantley (No. 7 DT, 5.9 RR)
No. 172 James Hearns (No. 7 ILB, 5.8 RR)
No. 225 Quinton Powell (No. 18 OLB, 5.8 RR)
No. 242 Rodney Adams (No. 31 WR, 5.8 RR)
No. 250 Keanu Neal (No. 21 S, 5.8 RR)
Notable Florida targets:
No. 7 Laremy Tunsil (No. 1 OT, 6.1 RR)
No. 9 Vernon Hargreaves III (No. 3 CB, 6.1 RR)
No. 31 Marquez North (No. 3 WR, 6.0 RR)
No. 33 Leon McQuay III (No. 3 S, 6.0 RR)
No. 47 Stacy Coley (No. 6 WR, 6.0 RR)
No. 49 Alex Anzalone (No. 16 OLB, 6.0 RR)
No. 50 Ryan Green (No. 9 RB, 6.0 RR)
No. 54 Marcell Harris (No. 5 S, 6.0 RR)
No. 56 Larenz Bryant (No. 4 ILB, 6.0 RR)
No. 62 Demorea Stringfellow (No. 14 WR, 6.0 RR)
No. 65 Mackensie Alexander (No. 5 CB, 5.9 RR)
No. 88 Isaac Rochell (No. 5 SDE, 5.9 RR)
No. 89 Michael Hill (No. 5 DT, 5.9 RR)
No. 94 Jordan Sherit (No. 6 SDE, 5.9 RR)
No. 98 Troy Williams (No. 4 dual-threat QB, 5.9 RR)
No. 117 Demarcus Robinson (No. 10 WR, 5.9 RR)
No. 120 Demarcus Walker (No. 13 SDE, 5.9 RR)
No. 125 Jaynard Bostwick (No. 8 DT, 5.9 RR)
No. 134 Reggie Davis (No. 16 WR, 5.9 RR)
No. 136 Greg Gilmore (No. 11 SDE, 5.9 RR)
No. 172 Elijah Daniel (No. 12 SDE, 5.8 RR)
No. 189 Taj Williams (No. 22 WR, 5.8 RR)
No. 191 Francis Owusu (No. 37 WR, 5.8 RR)
N0. 216 Alvin Karama (No. 21 all-purpose RB, 5.8 RR)
No. 234 Carlos Burse (No. 3o WR, 5.8 RR)
No. 236 Tyrone Crowder (No. 8 OG, 5.8 RR)
Rivals.com has the Gators No. 5 in its team rankings behind Michigan, Texas, Alabama and Georgia. Florida’s 16 verbal commitments have an average star rating of 3.56, with nine four-star commits (all in the Rivals250) and seven three-stars.
Despite not having any recruits in the top 50, Farrell feels UF coach Will Muschamp has put together a deep 2013 class.
“For Florida, you usually expect to see a ton of five stars,” he said. “This class is very balanced early on. I think they’ll end up getting a five star in this class. But what I like about this class is the depth. The difference between the top guy and the bottom guy isn’t that much. And that’s what makes a great class — depth and balance. And I think they have that.”
New to the Rivals100 is Florida running back commit Kelvin Taylor, who jumped up 19 spots from No. 111. ESPN and 247Sports rank Taylor as the nation’s top tailback, while Scout.com has him No. 9 at the position.
“Obviously everybody has him higher ranked than we do,” Farrell said of Taylor, the son of former Gator Fred Taylor. “What we do every time we re-rank is go back and take a look at some more film to see if we’re missing something. We felt he deserved a little bump up. But we still get criticized because we don’t have him as the No. 1 running back in the country. I think he’s obviously a very productive runner, his numbers are ridiculous. Is he explosive like his dad? I don’t see that. But he’s bigger and stronger at this stage and I think he’s going to be very successful.”
The only Florida commits that moved up in the rankings besides Taylor were linebacker Quinton Powell and safety Keanu Neal, who both made the Rivals250 after being initially left out. They are also members of the ESPN150 and ranked in the top 10 at their positions by ESPN.
Farrell discussed the discrepancy in recruiting rankings and why some websites have prospects ranked higher than others and vice versa.
“Ranking recruits is all opinions,” he said. “It’s like the NFL and college. You’ll see two of the big three (schools) in Florida offer an in-state kid and Miami won’t or Florida State won’t. People just look at different things and evaluate in different ways.”
Florida’s other three Rivals100 commits dropped in the rankings, with linebacker Daniel McMillan down 13 spots, receiver Ahmad Fulwood down 10 and safety Nick Washington down five. Defensive tackle Caleb Brantley, who recently became a soft verbal to UF, fell 27 spots and out of the top 100.
Farrell said Brantley’s drop wasn’t because of his rating going down, but rather a result of other recruits jumping him in the overall rankings.
“He didn’t drop per se as much as others moved ahead of him,” Farrell said. “The reason I say that is because his rating remained the same. He’s still a 5.9, four-star rated recruit. He slipped positionally by one spot, but there were guys at other positions who impressed us that we undervalued the first time we did (the Rivals100). So Florida fans shouldn’t focus on their guys sliding in the rankings. You have to look at the stars and RR (Rivals rating). If that didn’t change, we still like them just as much as we did before.”
Of Florida’s seven three-star commits, Farrell named running back Adam Lane, reciever Marqui Hawkins and offensive lineman Josh Outlaw as prospects that could be impact players for the Gators.
“It’s going to be interesting to see how Adam Lane pans out,” Farrell said. “He’s listed at 5-foot-8, but he’s put together. Could we be dealing with a Ray Rice? We don’t know. Ray Rice wasn’t a heavily recruited guy. He was labeled too short and a step too slow. He turned out to be pretty good. So you don’t know what you have with guys like that. Lane is a bowling ball of a runner, which could give SEC schools absolute fits.
“Then I look at Hawkins — a big, athletic receiver. Obviously they need receivers at Florida, so he’ll be getting an opportunity to play early. He had some really impressive offers and I think he’s a guy that could possibly surprise some people. And the other one to me would be Josh Outlaw. He’s a guy that has a lot of potential and just hasn’t put it together yet. We’d like to see him get a little bit more tougher and physical, but he’s got an impressive list of offers as well. Those are the three that stand out to me.”
Other than landing the nation’s top offensive tackle, Laremy Tunsil, Farrell said the Gators need to grad some defensive lineman if they want to close out the 2013 class strong and meet their needs.
“There’s a few kids they’re going after at defensive end,” Farrell said. “I’m not sure if they lead for any of them but Isaac Rochell, Jordan Sherit, Greg Gilmore and DeMarcus Walker are all guys that they’re trying to land. You have Jaynard Bostwick of course at defensive tackle, and Micheal Hill is another guy they’re going to try and get involved with. They have to land a couple of those guys.”