It's National Signing Day. Florida Gators Coach Will Muschamp will have plenty to celebrate this afternoon. Entering the big day with a top-five recruiting class, the Gators appear to be on track for a successful 2012 season.
Coach Muschamp is proving that he can recruit with the best of them. Landing some top-notch talent, Muschamp is ready to train a fresh batch of players and produce a better season.
Let's take a look at the five recruits who are going to be key players in 2012.
LaTroy Pittman, WR
LaTroy Pittman, a wide receiver out of Citra, Florida, is on track to see tons of playing time in 2012.
A 4-star recruit, he earned Under Armour All-American honors. He is no question a need for the Gators. Currently, Andre Debose is the only veteran receiver with a fair amount of playing time. Pittman has a skill set that could aid Debose greatly.
He shows a powerful combination of speed and a good set of hands. He is able to go deep, run up the middle, get himself to the ball and keep a connection to it. Very rarely does he drop passes.
Pittman is aggressive about snagging the ball. His aggression and strength allow him to overpower defensive backs, and he's even shown the versatility to play safety and return kicks. He obviously is fearless to step up to defensive lines. In a defense-heavy conference, the Gators can benefit from that.
Muschamp will need to work on Pittman's ability to run a slant. The agility is there but he tends to run straight routes. Tweak that and he will dominate the field.
With the Gators' focus on speed, Pittman makes a great addition to the offense and will be a useful tool in 2012.
Jonathan Bullard, DE
A 5-star Rivals recruit, Jonathan Bullard comes from Shelby, North Carolina, to lend a hand to the Gators' defense.
Bullard's big stature is just what the Gators' defense needs. Although he has some upper-classmen ahead of him, his ability to add depth and the skill set he brings could increase his chances of seeing the field.
Good with the physical game, Bullard is able to use his length, flexibility and large hands to extend his reach. He is able to explode off the ball and move well given his size. His speed allows him to panic the quarterback and shut down the running game. Bullard is already experienced with with the 4-3 defense but brings versatility in the number of schemes he can run.
Muschamp could be grooming him into a potential top defender in NFL.
Matt Jones, RB
The Florida Gators have finally received the physical running back they have waited for. From Seffner, Florida, Jones is ranked the No. 1 player on the Gator Country Top 50 players in the state. A 4-star recruit, Jones ranks 15th in his position according to Rivals.
Muschamp was able to pull in the big back Meyer always wanted. Changing the spread offense to pro-style was assuring to Jones that Florida was the place for him. Jones says he is a Gator for life.
He is a stout back, taller than most top SEC rushers last season. He accelerates quickly for his size and maintains decent speed. With only two vets ahead of him, Jones stands a good chance of gaining playing time in 2012.
Colin Thompson, TE
Colin Thompson from Warminster, Pennsylvania, was unsure of his commitment following Charlie Weis' departure for Kansas. Fortunately with the hiring of Brent Pease, Thompson's level of enthusiasm to commit shot up. Since then, Thompson took to other recruits trying to persuade them to commit to the Gators as well.
Thompson is a threat to both the passing and running game. He is able to use perfect size to block the pass and stop the run. Thompson has a slight mean streak and is a hard worker. Muschamp should work to harvest the mean streak and fuel it into energy on his assignment.
If that can be done, Thompson will be set to join the starting lineup for 2012.
Marcus Maye, S
Marcus Maye has already been a huge help to the Gators without even stepping on the field: He became one avid Florida recruiter. The Melbourne, Florida, native patiently waited to make his commitment known back in July.
His enthusiasm alone should help his abilities on the field. In case that isn't enough, Maye is the No. 7 safety recruit according to Rivals. He has experience playing both sides of the ball and preforming as a ball carrier as well. His tackling style is more technical, as he hits opponents at the mid-section and legs.
Maye is a smart player. He excels in reading the opponent and doing what it takes to bring them down. Maye will have no problem proving he will be a huge asset to the team.