March 12th, 2014 11:25am

2015 position breakdowns: LB

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This is the eighth in a 10-part series looking at the positional needs and early targets for Florida football in the 2015 recruiting class.

The Gators currently have 19 scholarships available excluding walk-ons. With potential juniors leaving early and inevitable attrition, UF will likely sign 28-30 prospects next year.

Here’s a breakdown of the linebacker position:

Jeff Holland last visited UF for its junior day on Feb. 1. (Photo by Zach Abolverdi/The Gainesville Sun)

Returning players: Alex Anzalone, Jarrad Davis, Daniel McMillian, Antonio Morrison, Jeremi Powell, Matt Rolin
Verbal commits: None
Top targets: Tevon Coney, Jeff Holland, Austin Smith, Roquan Smith, Adonis Thomas
Others offered: Ricky DeBerry, Justin Hilliard, John Houston, Leo Lewis
The skinny: The Gators didn’t sign any linebackers for 2014 after missing on their primary targets and bringing in four players the previous year. They should land at least three at the position in 2015, with Holland being at the top of the board. The Jacksonville Trinity Christian standout lists Auburn and Florida as his co-leaders, but behind closed doors he is believed to be a heavy lean to the Gators and has visited Gainesville numerous times. The 6-foot-2, 226-pounder will have fun with his recruiting process and take visits, but UF is the odds-on favorite for his signature.

Coney (6-1, 215) from Palm Beach Gardens was offered by Florida in late January and sounded like he was ready to commit. If he visits UF this spring as planned and chooses to make an early decision, that should be good news for the Gators. Georgia prospects Austin Smith, Roquan Smith and Adonis Thomas each visited UF in recent months. Austin Smith’s trip on Feb. 22 put Florida in front of Tennessee, LSU and Kentucky. Roquan Smith named the Gators in his Top 12 on Tuesday, while Thomas’ recruitment is currently a battle between UF and UGA.

Previous position breakdowns:
Quarterback
Running back
Wide receiver
Tight end
Offensive line 
Defensive end
Defensive tackle

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Comments

21 Comments

  1. March 12th, 2014 12:02 pm

    Linebacker is the biggest need. If Morrison leaves early and none of the other guys step up, you’ll need guys like Holland who could step in and play immediately. It’s particularly worrisome that the two highest rated guys from a couple of years ago, Rolin and Anzalone, have yet to be healthy. They are missing Spring practice this year as well. McMillan has so far not been what he was projected to be, the Gators used a walk on instead of him last year when players were injured. If the guys from a couple of years ago don’t pan out, the Gators will need to hit it out of the park on linebackers in 2015.

    by snowprint


  2. March 12th, 2014 1:04 pm

    Based upon how he played last year, I don’t see any way Morrison leaves early unless it is to transfer. He looked like the dominant LB of the future in 2012 and then looked like a complete liability in 2013 so who knows.

    by Mark T.


  3. March 12th, 2014 1:15 pm

    Was Neiron Ball a senior cause he wasent on the list of returning players

    by Adam


  4. March 12th, 2014 1:42 pm

    Mark T. I don’t think it matters to some guys what reality is as far as leaving early. Look at Ronald Powell, he was not a great player and he left early. A lot of these athletes think they are much better that thaey really are and have plenty of people around them to bolster that type of thinking. It’ll be interesting to see the number of guys who left early this year and won’t even be drafted.One note on another position, Treon Harris’ father has been hired at Miami. Does Harris now show up in Gainesville this summer or sit out a year to rejoin his father who coached him in high school? Some guys are very happy to get away from their parents but he did flourish at the high school level under his dad.

    by snowprint


  5. March 12th, 2014 1:56 pm

    Adam,
    Yes. Ball and Mike Taylor are seniors.

    by Zach Abolverdi


  6. March 12th, 2014 3:22 pm

    1. Why do so many people (college educated I am assuming) think the word…..cause……somehow means…..”because.”

    2, To Snowprint…..I see you upgraded Ronald Powell to “was not a great player” from yesterday’s……”biggest recruit bust in Florida history,” And Powell will get drafted. Otherwise, he would not have left early. He gets the round projection before deciding to leave school or not. And get off the Treon Harris to Miami starting a rumor thing. He is all Gator and will challenge Grier for the backup QB position at Florida this year. Fits the new Florida offense perfectly, and why he chose Florida over FSU and Miami. Miami hired his dad for the primary purpose of improving recruiting results in South Florida, not to get his son to transfer to Miami.

    by Tampa Gator


  7. March 12th, 2014 5:30 pm

    Bringing up Powell again, Snowprint? At this point you just seem upset. Reeks of bitterness

    by That_UAT_Guy


  8. March 12th, 2014 6:46 pm

    What about Sherrod Pittman?

    by Jacob


  9. March 12th, 2014 7:09 pm

    It’s amazing that someone fits the new offense perfectly since no one has seen this “new offense”. For your information there is a high degree of probability that Roper and all the other coaches will be gone after this year anyway, so is there going to be another “new offense?” What doesn’t make any sense is that many people blame the downfall of the Gators last year on injuries. If that is the case, why change the offense if it was injuries that caused the futility? Maybe its the obvious reason that is so simple that a first grader could see it. It’s the players, not the scheme or injuries. UF has a lousy quarterback, terrible offensive line, no tight end, mediocre receivers, and average running backs. I think that’s the reason and the injury and scheme excuses are used because no one wants to face the truth that the players on offense are not good and coaching and schemes are not going to turn a mediocre player into a good one. I just hope I don’t hear about how Driskel is misused or they are calling the wrong plays, etc. this year. The time for excuses is over.

    by snowprint


  10. March 12th, 2014 9:51 pm

    Jacob,
    Pittman is committed to South Carolina.

    by Zach Abolverdi


  11. March 13th, 2014 12:08 am

    So according to you, Snowprint, at least 4 hears of good to amazing recruiting classes has all been busts? Every single one of them? And they say I have some crazy conspiracy theories. Injuries aren’t the only reason we were bad last year but they did take their toll. Probably an 8-4 team without them. So we were only truthfully 8-4 bad not 4-8 bad. You blame the players, namely Driskel but the facts point towards the coaches, whether you believe it’s scheme or lack of development, it was obviously coaching. You really believe years of highly rated players ALL turned out to be busts and “mediocre”?? You talked about statistics in a previous post, do you know the odds of that? Not very high at all. It’s definitely coaching and with the changes we’ve made I see no reason we can’t be great. You see a hopeless QB in Driskel. I see a 11-3 record with him vs a 3-7 record without him. You see average backs, I see Matt Jones who can be special once he recovers. I see Kelvin Taylor who played great ball last year and will only get better. I see Valdez Showers who was thrown into the fire last year but has the natural talent that now he has a full season, full offseason, and fall practices to learn the position could be a great playmaker for us. You see a terrible offensive line, I see a group of huge guys full of potential that a gut like Mike Summers has just the knack for developing. Especially the big guys from last year’s class now that they’ve had a year to grow and develop. You see mediocre receivers. I see guys that have steadily improved leaps and bounds since Joker joined the staff. Guys like Dunbar who’s ready to be that go to guy. Guys like Debose who’s chomping at the bit to take advantage of his last chance and be a real playmaker for us. Guys like Robinson, Fulwood, Thompson, Hawkins, and Bailey who are in their 2nd year, doing the rights things and learning the offense. All guys with the potential that Joker knows how to develop. You see no tight ends. I see… well the same thing but I also see guys like Deandre Goolsby and Moral Stephens who could change that. The players are there. The pieces are in place. If we aren’t great this year it’s on the coaches.

    by That_UAT_Guy


  12. March 13th, 2014 8:41 am

    Funny how many of us bite on Snowprint’s constant negative assessments. As a Nole, would we expect anything different from him. Weird his inferiority complex and obsession joining a Gator recruiting blog even though they won the NC last year.

    Funny how a review of the 2015 LB recruits turns into a lecture on all that’s wrong with the Gators.

    by 5wideU


  13. March 13th, 2014 8:47 am

    Eh. Seeing many of his posts I don’t think he’s a Nole. I just think he’s a guy whose let one bad season turn him into a real pessimist and therefore doesn’t see any good.

    by That_UAT_Guy


  14. March 13th, 2014 11:07 am

    I suggest you Driskel pumpers look at Bleacher Report list of the biggest busts of the BCS era. Driskel has two more years left and is already nearly tops the list. Anyone who is not a Gator fan, and a lot of Gator fans, can see what Driskel is, maybe the rest of you will wake up.

    by ntcrze


  15. March 13th, 2014 5:55 pm

    Oh yes because bleacher report is the most reliable place in the world! Haha. Look Driskel led us to an 11-2 season being willing to do whatever we needed him to do to win, whether that was get out of the way and let Hilly take it (ie LSU), or if it was him using his legs (ie Vandy), or if it was him passing (ie UT and FSU). Florida is 12-3 with Driskel and 3-7 without him. He’s one of the best runners in the league at the QB position, he’s accurate, and he’s shown flashes of the poise and playmaking ability the great QBs show. He’s had problems reading defenses but with all that upside I just pointed out combined with Roper’s ability to develop QBs into 3000 yard passers and NFL starters (ie Eli Manning), I have full faith in Driskel. I just hope when the season starts if Driskel leads us to victory after victory you people shut the heck up. I’d hate to see tall do to him what we did to Chris Leak. That was a disgrace. Great QB was on his way to delivering us a national championship and all we could do was trash him and tell to put tebow in. Disgusting. Just remember that when you get a little hasty to trash a player

    by That_UAT_Guy


  16. March 13th, 2014 5:58 pm

    Still waiting for anyone to give me 1 little bit of proof, evidence, reasoning, stat, etc as to why Jeff can’t be good. I think that speaks for itself.

    by That_UAT_Guy


  17. March 13th, 2014 6:28 pm

    We’ve seen Driskel play, it doesn’t take much more than that to see he’s been a lousy quarterback. Maybe he’ll get better, but I’ve seen no indication that he has what it takes above the neck to become a good quarterback and that’s the most important thing, not athletic ability. I think you’re wrong and UF will be much better off when the coaches finally figure out that Driskel is a bust. This should be his last chance in a world where offense matters. Since Tebow left, the Gators best finish in total offense has been 82nd. I would point to the lousy quarterbacks, Brantley and Driskel, being the main reason for that, not schemes or coaching. Tell me about how great he is after the fourth game next season when the Gators start playing good teams, maybe I’ll change my mind, but, until then, I’ll keep saying Driskel is an awful quarterback. One last thing, it’s funny that all the “experts’ biggest concern about UF last season was whether there would be any improvement seen from Driskel. Don’t you think that’s strange to wonder about a guy “who led” the team to 11 wins? I think it tells you the opposite, Driskel has never led the team in any aspect.

    by snowprint


  18. March 13th, 2014 8:36 pm

    I also saw those same “experts” put him as a dark horse he is man candidates. I don’t have much time for ESPN “experts as they’re either being unbelievably based or flip flopping around because they were wrong and are trying to make everyone believe they’re right. You still haven’t given me 1 reason Drinker can’t succeed. Just a lot of opinions and speculation. I watched the 2012 season and saw he had it where it counted when we needed it (again go back and watch the UT and FSU tapes). Every one is saying he’s lousy based off a knee jet reaction to a not so bad game that everyone claims was terrible. 300 yards is pretty good for a bad game. I may be wrong and he may not have it upstairs but 1 bad game at Miami does not prove he didn’t improve on the mental side of the game. Everyone has bad games. Peyton did in the Super Bowl. Is he a terrible dumb QB? And again for a bad game 300 yards isn’t bad at all. Seriously someone give me something close to real proof as to how you know Driskel can’t succeed. I don’t think you can.

    by That_UAT_Guy


  19. March 14th, 2014 6:47 am

    No, I can’t convince someone who has drunk the Kool-Aid. You’re not the only one, Pat Dooley thinks he’ll be the best quarterback in the SEC this year. I think both of you will realize the futility of your fantasy when UF travels to Alabama to start the “real season”. You’re right, there’s no reason Driskel can’t be a good quarterback, but there’s also ample evidence that he’ll never be one. I suppose the same thing could be said for Debose, he could be good, but he has been a complete bust at receiver so far, to think he’s suddenly going to become a good receiver is wishful thinking.

    by snowprint


  20. March 14th, 2014 7:14 am

    You say there’s ample evidence yet you give none. I say there’s plenty evidence and actually list the evidence. See previous comments. Give me evidence or you’re just full of hot air. As far as debose, his problem has been attitude and work ethic. Nothing beyond that. I hear he’s buying in and working hard. He’s also hungry to prove himself given this is his last year. That’s plenty for me to get excited about.

    by That_UAT_Guy


  21. March 14th, 2014 11:48 pm

    [...] Quarterback Running back Wide receiver Tight end Offensive line  Defensive end Defensive tackle Linebacker Be Sociable, Share! Tweet Category [...]

    by 2015 position breakdowns: CB | Gator Prospectus Gator Prospectus - Gator Sports - Gainesville, FL - Archive


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