Florida Recruiting: Everything You Need to Know About Friday Night Lights
Friday Night Lights (also known as FNL), the brain child of former head coach Urban Meyer, has become one of the biggest offseason events for the Gators.
While most schools hold camps in order for prospects to get on campus and to work out in front of the coaches, FNL has grown to differentiate itself. Unlike other camps, FNL is a one-day camp held under the bright lights of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Rap music blasts from the stadium speakers while Gator highlights play on the video boards. FNL is one of the last camps that is held before the college season begins and is a great way for the coaching staff to showcase their program.
FNL has hosted the likes of Tim Tebow, Jon Bostic, Dre Kirkpatrick, Ronald Powell and Joe Haden. Haden was so impressed that he committed on the spot that night.
That is the kind of atmosphere that FNL brings to the table. What makes the event different from other camps is what makes it special.
Like every year, FNL will host some of the most talented prospects from around the country. Let's take a look at some of the players who will be in attendance this year and which ones the coaching staff should target as future Gators.
History of Friday Night Lights
Friday Night Lights began in 2005 and quickly became one of the premier summer camps for high school prospects.
The main difference between FNL and most camps is the manner in which the camp is held. While other schools hold week-long camps, FNL is a one-day/night camp held under the lights on Florida's field.
Being one of the last camps of the summer allows for most recruits to be able to attend the event. Another aspect that sets FNL apart from the rest is the atmosphere. Playing in the Swamp, with music blaring, the video board showing great moments in Gator football history and some of the most talented players in the country competing against each other creates an atmosphere that is difficult to duplicate.
Vernon Hargreaves Commits
The Gators got a commitment from one of the top-rated cornerbacks in the nation on Thursday.
Vernon Hargreaves announced today his intentions of joining the Gators. (Via Vernon Hargreaves' Twitter)
I can officially say I am committed to THE University of Florida ! #GoGators CHOMP CHOMP— Vernon Hargreaves (@VHargreaves24) July 26, 2012
Hargreaves is one of the most complete, college-ready players in this class. He is a ball hawk, who will be able to come in on day one and become a playmaker for the Gators as a freshman.
This is the first 5-star for the Gators in the class of 2013 and the fourth defensive back. The Gators already had commitments from Nick Washington, Keanu Neal and Tre Bell. The addition of Hargreaves makes this one of the best secondaries that the Gators have signed in recent years.
All 18 Florida Commits on Campus This Weekend
All 18 Gator commits will be attending FNL this weekend.
With Florida being projected to sign a class of about 22-23 players this year, the class is quickly filling up. The Gators will use this last camp to get one last really close look at the 2013 recruiting class before fall camp starts in a week.
More Commits to Come?
FNL hasn't officially begun and the Gators already have a surprise commitment. Vernon Hargreaves is the type of player that can make a recruiting class.
But are the Gators done?
My inclination is that the Gators are not done this weekend, and they could get one or two more commitments before FNL is done.
Defensive end prospects DeMarcus Walker and Jordan Sherit are two prospects that come to mind. Walker is being heavily recruited by not just the coaching staff but by other 2013 commits.
Walker is part of a group of four players from Jacksonville and the only one not committed to Florida. Fellow Jacksonville products Daniel McMillan, Nick Washington and Ahmad Fulwood have been in Walker's ear trying to talk him into joining them at Florida. While it is believed that Walker likes Nick Saban's 3-4 defense, he also said that his friends will weigh heavily on his decision. Walker has said he will commit on August 3, but this is the kind of atmosphere that could cause Walker to change his plans and join his friends this weekend.
Another player who would be joining a close friend is Jordan Sherit. Sherit is apart of team Tampa and very close with Vernon Hargreaves. Sherit talked earlier in the year about how he liked the prospect of being able to play with Hargreaves at the next level.
The Gator commits had a strong presence in Oregon for the opening, and Sherit said that he enjoyed spending time with Nick Washington and Ahmad Fulwood and was looking forward to seeing them again at FNL.
With so many things coming together this weekend, it could be a recruiting jackpot for Muschamp and the Gators.
Florida Picks Up Another Commitment
The Gators 2013 recruiting class grew to 19 on Friday with the commitment of defensive end prospect Antonio Riles. Riles is rated a four star prospect by ESPN and is the tenth defensive prospect in the class. Riles is not in attendance this weekend, but called Muschamp to give the coach his pledge Friday morning.
Riles who grew up a Georgia fan said that all changed when he made his first trip to Florida.
At 6'4'', 261 pounds, Riles has all the physical tools to play DE in a 4-3 defense and could grow into and play the 5 technique in a 3-4 defense.
The addition of Riles is just another addition to what is already a solid defensive recruiting class.