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:
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.