February 14th, 2013 12:14am

Early look at recruiting needs, targets for 2014

by

Florida’s 2013 class is in the books and the Gators have already hit the ground running for 2014.

The UF coaches are offering prospects nearly every day as they look to get an early start in this recruiting cycle, much like they did last year.

Florida is currently three scholarships under the NCAA limit of 85 (excluding walk-ons) and has 11 seniors on the roster this fall, giving the Gators 14 open spots for 2014 at this time. But as we saw this past season, attrition will inevitably take place between now and next February.

In April of 2012, Muschamp was telling recruits he expected to have 22 signees in the 2013 class. He ended up signing 30 and had room for three more.

With that in mind, here’s an early look at the recruiting needs and targets for this year.

QUARTERBACK

Departing seniors: None.

Returning scholarship players: Jeff Driskel, Skyler Mornhinweg, Tyler Murphy and Max Staver.

Projected needs: Florida’s only experienced quarterbacks — Driskel and Murphy — will be entering their senior seasons in 2014. That makes this position a top priority for the Gators, but they’ve already met that need with one of the nation’s best QB prospects.

Top targets: Will Grier (UF commit).

TAILBACK

Departing seniors: None.

Returning scholarship players: Mack Brown, Matt Jones, Adam Lane and Kelvin Taylor.

Projected needs: The Gators could get by with just one running back in this class because of their depth and youth in the backfield. But with all the 2014 talent in the southeast, they’ll take two if they can.

Top targets: Jalen Hurd, Sony Michel, Leonard Fournette and Bo Scarbrough (Alabama commit).

FULLBACK

Departing seniors: Trey Burton

Returning scholarship players: Hunter Joyer.

Projected needs: Things didn’t work out with Kennard Swanson and now the Gators must sign a fullback for 2014. Who they plan to pursue isn’t clear right now.

Top targets: Unknown.

TIGHT END

Departing seniors: None.

Returning scholarship players: Clay Burton, Kent Taylor, Colin Thompson and Tevin Westbrook.

Projected needs: This is another position Florida came up short at and has to fill. The UF coaches have offered two tight ends from California and will continue to chase others.

Top targets: Bryce Dixon and Tyler Luata.

WIDE RECEIVER

Departing seniors: Andre Debose and Solomon Patton.

Returning scholarship players: Raphael Andrades, Alvin Bailey, Quinton Dunbar, Ahmad Fulwood, Marqui Hawkins, Latroy Pittman, Demarus Robinson and Chris Thompson.

Projected needs: The Gators have their numbers back up at receiver thanks to the 2013 haul. They won’t sign five again this year, but they need to replace the two graduates at the very least.

Top targets: Ryeshene Bronson (UF commit), Drake Harris (Michigan State commit), Ermon Lane and Artavis Scott.

OFFENSIVE LINE

Departing seniors: Jon Halapio, Jonotthan Harrison and Kyle Koehne.

Returning scholarship players: Trenton Brown, Cameron Dillard, Jessamen Dunker, Max Garcia, Chaz Green, D.J. Humphries, Octavius Jackson, Roderick Johnson, Tyler Moore, Ian Silberman, Trip Thurman and Trevon Young.

Projected needs: Muschamp would like to have 15-17 linemen on the roster, so he will try to get another handful for 2014 with an emphasis on interior prospects.

Top targets: Alex Bars, Andy Bauer, Garrett Brumfield, Reilly Gibbons and K.C. McDermott.  

DEFENSIVE END

Departing seniors: None.

Returning scholarship players: Jonathan Bullard, Bryan Cox Jr., Dante Fowler, Joey Ivie, Alex McCalister, Ronald Powell, Antonio Riles, Jordan Sherit and Quinteze Williams.

Projected needs: Pass rushers are Florida’s No. 1 priority after missing on its late targets. Ivie and Riles, like Williams, will play both inside and outside, so it’s important to sign a couple of athletic defensive ends this year.

Top targets: Lorenzo Carter, Da’Shawn Hand, Jalyn Holmes, Justin Thorton and Andrew Williams.

DEFENSIVE TACKLE

Departing seniors: Dominique Easley and Damien Jacobs.

Returning scholarship players: Jay-nard Bostwick, Caleb Brantley, Darious Cummings, Leon Orr and Jarran Reed.

Projected needs: Despite signing a solid group last Wednesday, this position is still an area of concern because Cummings and Orr are seniors in 2014. The versatility of the three aforementioned ends will help with depth, but the Gators need some big bodies at tackle.

Top targets: Andrew Brown, Khairi Clark, Malik McDowell, Travonte Valentine (soft UF commit) and Gerald Willis III.

LINEBACKER

Departing seniors: Darrin Kitchens.

Returning scholarship players: Gideon Ajagbe, Alex Anzalone, Neiron Ball, Jarrad Davis, Daniel McMillian, Jeremi Powell, Antonio Morrison, Matt Rolin and Michael Taylor.

Projected needs: This isn’t a pressing need for the Gators. They have experience in Ball and Taylor, promise in Morrison and Powell, and tons of potential in early enrollees Anzalone, McMillian and Rolin.

Top targets: Dillion Bates, Kain Daub, Raekwon McMillian and Christian Miller.

CORNERBACK

Departing seniors: Jeremy Brown and Jaylen Watkins.

Returning scholarship players: Vernon Hargreavess III, Brian Poole, Loucheiz Purifoy, Cody Riggs and Marcus Roberson.

Projected needs: With the possibility of Purifoy playing receiver and Roberson going pro, UF has to land a few corners in this class. Fortunately for Florida, there’s a lot of options on the board.

Top targets: Duke Dawson (UF commit), Wesley Green, D.J. Smith, Jalen Tabor and Quincy Wilson.

SAFETY

Departing seniors: None.

Returning scholarship players: Jabari Gorman, Marcell Harris, Rhaheim Ledbetter, Marcus Maye, Keanu Neal, Valdez Showers and Nick Washington.

Projected needs: Five of Florida’s seven returning safeties will be underclassmen entering the 2014 season with only one senior (Gorman). The coaches could land one prospect at this position and call it a day.

Top targets: T.J. Harrell, Trey Marshall and Edward Paris.

SPECIALISTS

Departing seniors: None.

Returning scholarship players: Kicker Austin Hardin and punters Kyle Christy and Johnny Townsend.

Projected needs: With a Ray Guy Award finalist and two All-American specialists on the roster, UF won’t be handing out any offers in this department.

Top targets: None.

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Comments

18 Comments

  1. February 14th, 2013 6:20 am

    yes!!!

    by J


  2. February 14th, 2013 6:29 am

    Program underway.

    by Dennis


  3. February 14th, 2013 7:15 am

    Game, blouses.

    by Chuck Lora


  4. February 14th, 2013 7:22 am

    As usual, Zach is miles ahead of the competition. Nice.

    by V02max


  5. February 14th, 2013 8:14 am

    Zach – Does the Hand kid show much interest in UF? Who do you think his early leader is or has he not hinted at any leaders? If UF has a good year; like, winning the SEC and playing in the NC game, I believe we will really start pulling in top recruits. It will be even more apparent, to recruits, that Muschamp is building a program that will compete for NC’s most years and we will start pulling in more top recruits.

    by GIGator


  6. February 14th, 2013 8:58 am

    GIGator,
    The Gators have a better shot at Hand than they did with the last three top-ranked defensive ends (Nkemdiche, Edwards, Clowney). Hand named UF in his Top 5 on Feb. 4 and he has a great relationship with the new D-line coach, Brad Lawing.

    by Zach Abolverdi


  7. February 14th, 2013 8:59 am

    Hand has a top 5 florida, bama, Michigan, North Carolina, and v tech I think

    by Real gator


  8. February 14th, 2013 10:24 am

    Zach-

    Everything I have read has Leonard Fournette in a LSU/Bama battle. Do you know which coach is his recruiter at UF?

    Thanks for the great info

    by John


  9. February 14th, 2013 11:03 am

    Do we know which JUCO Kennard Swanson is headed to?

    by Conky 3000


  10. February 14th, 2013 12:31 pm

    mack brown will be a departing senior

    by John


  11. February 14th, 2013 4:02 pm

    Houston, we have lift off! Roger that, continue projected orbit !

    by sir chomps alot


  12. February 14th, 2013 4:12 pm

    Yo zach great article as always, do you really believe powell will stay for his senior season cause i see him having a break out year and dipping out following such, your thoughts ? oh and thanks for the better prescription worked better then the lodine your dad prescribed tell him my dad said he should stop by the ihop, he’ll know who youre talking about.

    by Razz


  13. February 14th, 2013 4:37 pm

    John,
    Mack Brown is entering his redshirt junior season.

    by Zach Abolverdi


  14. February 15th, 2013 11:48 am

    Is Florida having a Junior Day tomorrow?

    by B


  15. February 15th, 2013 2:16 pm

    In two years this will be the most talented and best coached team in the country. Not saying we can’t win the whole thing before then, but I see us supplanting Bama as the dynasty in a couple of years.

    by lizardgrad89


  16. February 15th, 2013 4:52 pm

    Razz I hope Powell has a breakout year. For the supposed number one recruit in the country at the time he’s been a dud. No motor, no passion.

    by Phillyrocks


  17. February 15th, 2013 6:36 pm

    hey lizardgrad89: that all depends if Bamas 1st team gets out on parole in time for the season! Hey, maybe they can all transfer and play at TOSU and

    for Urban! His kind of guys! lol

    by ron


  18. February 20th, 2013 2:58 pm

    @ Conky 3000, Swanson went with USF.

    by TigerCatZeroZero


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