The initial ESPN300 rankings for the class of 2015 were released Tuesday, and it was a promising list for Florida’s prospects next year.
The Gators are in contention for 10 of the top 50 recruits in the ESPN300, including seven of the first 13. They have already positioned themselves well with a handful of them and even hold an early lead for some.
No. 1 — DE Jashon Cornell, 6-3, 245, Saint Paul, Minn./Cretin-Derham Hall
Cornell has offers from across the country and plans to narrow those down in late September. Notre Dame, Ohio State and Michigan are believed to be the front-runners for him, but he has expressed interest in Florida and visiting Gainesville. Kyle Goblirsch, a 247Sports recruiting analyst who covers Cornell closely for the Minnesota Gophers’ site, predicted on July 14 that he will choose the Gators.
No. 2 — CB Kevin Toliver II, 6-1, 183, Jacksonville, Fla./Trinity Christian
Toliver has been committed to LSU since November of 2012 and remains solid with the Tigers. But he’s still taking visits and will attend Friday Nights Lights on July 26. In the event Toliver does change his mind, he’s expected to stay in-state and go to UF or FSU. One thing working in Florida’s favor is freshman safety Nick Washington, who was teammates with Toliver last season and will be recruiting him hard over the next year and a half.
No. 3 — ATH/WR George Campbell, 6-4, 185, Tarpon Springs, Fla./East Lake
If you watched The Opening, you know this name. He won the fastest man competition — against 2014 prospects — with a 40-yard dash of 4.37. Although Campbell claims to be wide open, he wears Florida gear all the time, grew up a huge fan of the Gators and has openly cheered for them on Twitter. He attended a few games this past fall and will be at Friday Night Lights.
No. 5 — DT Trenton Thompson, 6-3, 263, Albany, Ga./Westover
Thompson also plans to be at Florida’s event later this month. It will be an important visit for UF, as it currently sits outside of his Top 3 (Georgia, Florida State and Tennessee). With the haul in 2013 and the 2014 commits on board, defensive tackle isn’t a huge priority for 2015. But if the Gators want an elite prospect at the position, their best shot might be with Thompson.
No. 6 — OL Martez Ivey, 6-6, 271, Apopka, Fla./Apopka
Ivey, like Campbell, roots for Florida and is attending Friday Night Lights. He camped at UF on June 15 and said he loved the experience. And while Ivey wouldn’t name a leader following that visit, he admitted that being a Gator fan will help Florida’s chances. The UF coaches are pushing for an early commitment from him.
No. 11 — WR Da’Vante Phillips, 6-1, 189, Miami, Fla./Central
Last week, Phillips tweeted that he was going to commit to the Gators. When it actually happens remains to be seen, but it’s clear they have the edge over Miami, his other finalist. He’s coming to FNL with teammate and UF running back pledge Dalvin Cook, who has played a big part in Phillips’ recruitment to Florida.
No. 13 — LB Jeffery Holland, 6-2, 226, Jacksonville, Fla./Trinity Christian
Holland visited nine out-of-state schools last month and is ready to make a decision by the end of this summer. The Gators are the odds-on favorite to land his services. He has taken three trips to Gainesville this year and is set to return for Friday Night Lights, where he will be on commitment watch.
No. 26 — RB Jordan Scarlett, 5-10, 190, Fort Lauderdale, Fla./University School
UF offered in the spring, and with two of his teammates (LB Richard Yeargin III and CB Quincy Wilson) strongly considering Florida, the Gators should get a serious look from Scarlett. Getting him on campus will be key, though, as he has yet to visit. But it should be noted that Orlando Timber Creek running back Jacques Patrick is the UF’s priority at the position. His 231st overall ranking in the ESPN300 comes as a surprise considering the fact that he already has 44 offers.
No. 48 — DE CeCe Jefferson, 6-3, 260, Glen Saint Mary, Fla./Baker County
Jefferson is arguably the No. 1 target on Florida’s recruiting board. He has the Gators at the top of his list, as first reported by The Sun, and camped at UF last month. He wants to take the process slowly, see several schools and wait out his decision. That being said, overcoming Florida’s lead will be a tall task for other programs.
No. 50 — WR Devante Peete, 6-4, 170, Fort Launderdale, Fla./St. Thomas Acquinas
Peete has impressed at camps and combines and earned offers from the likes of Alabama, Florida, Miami and Ohio State. Those schools make up his Top 4 in no specific order. He is teammates with UF defensive tackle commit Anthony Moten.