Florida head coach Will Muschamp
It's safe to say that Florida's return to national prominence was a little ahead of schedule. But after its 11-2 final record and dancing around the discussion for the BCS National Championship, head coach Will Muschamp has elevated the expectations of Gator Nation and has the crystal football in his sights.
The class hauled in by Muschamp on national signing day could help the Gators break through that glass ceiling.
Florida's class of 2013 chimed in at the No. 4 spot in the 247Sports.com team composite index, and had it not been for Alabama's class of the ages or Ole Miss' ability to close strong, Florida's class would almost certainly have been the talk of the town.
Several key members of the class of 2013 will be immediate contributors for the Gators, and could impact whether or not Florida plays for the SEC Championship for the first time since 2009.
The lack of a functional passing game was a major problem in 2013, but help is on the way in the form of three, 4-star wide receiver prospects.
Demarcus Robinson is a 6'1", 196-pounder from Fort Valley, Ga., who flipped from Clemson to Florida in early January and enrolled early to get a jump start on the competition. His addition will give Florida only five healthy scholarship wide receivers for spring practice, so not only will he get a chance to learn the playbook, he will get plenty of reps.
He already has the size to be a big-time weapon, and will certainly benefit from the extra time in a college strength and conditioning program.
Ahmad Fullwood won't get the benefit of enrolling early, but Florida's lack of depth should dictate that he sees the field in 2013. At 6'4", 200 pounds, Fullwood can be a weapon in the red zone and certainly will grow into his tall frame.
Alvin Bailey is the polar opposite of Fullwood. The 5'10", 175-pounder is incredibly dangerous in space, and will give offensive coordinator Brent Pease a versatile weapon to be creative with once he arrives on campus later this summer. He has good hands and runs crisp routes, which will benefit the passing game and quarterback Jeff Driskel in particular.
Anzalone is a 6'3", 232-pound 4-star prospect from Reading, PA., who is very versatile and could move around to several spots in the front seven for the Gators. He's fast, instinctive and light on his feet, which will make him a big time asset for first-year defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin.
At 6'2", 220 pounds, McMillian is incredibly fast for a player of his size. Like Anzalone, he's incredibly versatile and will undoubtedly contend for playing time in the rotation or on special teams as a true freshman.
Mike Gillislee capped off his Florida career with a dazzling 2012 campaign that saw the 5'11", 209-pounder rush for 1,152 yards and 10 touchdowns. Now that he's gone, sophomore Matt Jones and redshirt junior Mack Brown are the likely contenders to earn reps as Florida's feature running back.
But don't count out 5-star early enrollee Kelvin Taylor. The 5'10", 216-pounder from Belle Glade, Fla., rushed for 2,423 yards and 41 touchdowns as a senior at Glades Day School, and has the size and speed to withstand the pounding that comes along with being an SEC running back.
And then, of course, there's the star of Florida's 2013 signing class—cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III.
Hargreaves won't report till this summer, but it's hard to imagine a scenario in which the 5'11" 185-pound cornerback from Tampa, Fla., doesn't see the field in 2013. Florida has depth at cornerback, but the nation's No. 3 overall prospect is great in coverage, is incredibly quick and may not only push for playing time, but could win a starting spot as a true freshman.
Muschamp could take the program to the next level in 2013. If he does, expect several key members of the class of 2013 to be integral parts of that process.
All rankings courtesy of 247Sports.com