Florida Football Recruiting 2012: Top 5 Must-Have Recruits for the Gators
Will Muschamp’s first year as head coach of the Florida Gators didn’t go too well as the team squeaked into the Taxslayer.com Gator Bowl with a 6-6 record.
But things are certainly looking up in Gainesville as the team will likely bring in one of the best recruiting classes in the country. One of the top defensive ends in the country, Jonathan Bullard, just committed which makes the class a consensus top-five in the country.
And it can still get better if they can land these five top recruits.
Darius Hamilton, Defensive End
The consensus top player in New Jersey still says that home-town Rutgers is still the team to beat but Florida is certainly in the race. He likes the state so much that he added Miami to his list of schools along with Cal.
There may be a conflict in how to use Hamilton now that Bullard has signed on along with 295 pound Quinteze Williams whom Rivals.com lists as a defensive end—current end Sharrif Floyd is also 295—but we should know more about that after this weekend when he returns to Gainesville for an unofficial visit. The more playmakers Muschamp can get on defense, the higher the ceiling is for the Gators.
Stefon Diggs, Athlete/Wide Receiver
One of the most glaring needs for Florida is at the wide receiver position where only Latroy Pittman has signed on to play. Stefon Diggs would be the ideal guy to fill another spot.
After Charlie Weis left to take the head coaching job at Kansas, he wasn’t sure about the Gators but he has since said he is “on track” and will likely take an official visit to Gainesville in the near future. With Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps gone, the offense is in dire need of playmakers and Diggs would likely start as a true freshman.
Nelson Agholor, Wide Receiver
If Diggs doesn’t come on board, Agholor would be another great candidate at wide receiver. If he and Diggs came on board, they could quickly become the best wide receiver tandem in the country outside of USC.
He has continued to play his recruiting coy and no one seems to know who his favorites are out of Florida, Florida State, Notre Dame, Oklahoma and USC. He says that the loss of Charlie Weis didn’t hurt as much as people think and that one of the biggest deciding factors will be playing with guys he knows and is comfortable with. Latroy Pittman and Marcus Maye are already friends with him which is a great sign for Gators fans.
Tracy Howard, Cornerback
Florida already has four defensive backs lined up for this recruiting class but none of them have better coverage skills than Howard. He is down to Florida and LSU but will make a trip to USC to see what the Trojans have to offer.
He is also a Florida native which may or may not help out the Gators in their recruitment process. If Muschamp can land a true lockdown corner, he will be more free to apply more pressure to the quarterback. He would have to beat out fellow underclassmen in order to land the starting role but that would likely be easier than rising up the depth chart at LSU.
Josh Harvey-Clemons, Linebacker
Clemons is listed as an athlete by recruiting sites but his two final suitors, Florida and Georgia, are both recruiting him as an outside linebacker. Should he sign with the Gators, he would be looking at some quality playing time within his first couple of years.
He needs to improve when he goes into pass coverage but is a stout defender overall against the run. It will take a redshirt year to get him up to weight—he’s currently 207 pounds—but under the guidance of Muschamp, he should prosper into one of the better linebackers in the SEC based on his athletic ability.
If by some miracle Florida lands all of these prospects, the Gators could be national title bound by 2014.