Florida Football Recruiting: Top In-State Prospects Gators Can't Let Slip Away
The University of Florida is enjoying another good football recruiting cycle, as 247Sports ranks its class 11th in the country. The Gators have 14 commitments, including three 5-star prospects.
Running back Dalvin Cook, receiver Ermon Lane and quarterback Will Grier lead the Gators' 2014 class. Players such as defensive tackle Khairi Clark and cornerbacks Duke Dawson and Chris Lammons are also in the group.
However, Florida is not done. The Gators reside in a talented state where prospects seem to grow on citrus trees. The only thing is that other programs also know this, so Florida has competition for its top remaining in-state targets.
Looking ahead, an offensive lineman from the Sunshine State may be thinking about another SEC program. a defensive tackle could sign with a rival and one of the Gators' 5-star commitments could slip away from playing in Gainesville, Fla.
Anthony Moten, DT
With Florida playing in the SEC, having depth on the defensive line is crucial for its defensive success.
Adding a player like 4-star defensive tackle Anthony Moten would give Florida another talented defensive lineman to combat SEC offenses.
Moten, who is 6'4" and just about 280 pounds, is from Fort Lauderdale and plays for powerhouse St. Thomas Aquinas. He has good quickness at the snap, but his strength and power are even more impressive.
Moten can anchor the trenches, be stout versus running plays and make a mess in the middle. He has the traits of a solid 3-4 defensive end and would be a great fit the Gators' defensive scheme.
Florida must increase its pursuit of Moten, as Miami and South Carolina are the leading candidates for his services, according to 247Sports.
Tony James, RB
Tony James is a 4-star running back who is not only an in-state recruit for Florida, but is also a hometown recruit. James is from Gainesville, Fla., and his proximity to Florida's campus alone makes him a recruit the Gators can't let slip away.
Even if Florida is satisfied with having just 5-star running back Dalvin Cook, it still would be smart to land James as an insurance policy at least. The 5'10", 170-pound runner has outstanding stop-and-start ability.
James can be a factor as a receiver out of the backfield as well as return punts and kicks. Florida will have to beat out schools such as Auburn, Oregon, Kentucky and Oho State to get him, according to 247Sports.
Travis Rudolph, WR
An attendee of Cardinal Newman in West Palm Beach, Fla., Travis Rudolph is a 4-star receiver who Florida needs to sign. The Gators need as many perimeter playmakers on offense as possible and Rudolph fits the bill.
At 6'1" and 185 pounds, Rudolph has impressive quickness off the line. He can launch upfield, stay balanced and accelerate out of his cuts to separate from cornerbacks. Rudolph does not fight the football, as his hands appear to be natural and strong.
He displays great speed, as evidenced by his ability to threaten safeties immediately and run away from defenders after the catch. He is expected to sign with Florida, per the experts at 247Sports.
David Sharpe, OT
Soon enough, Florida will have to replace incumbent offensive lineman D.J. Humphries. The best way to replace him will be with a player who has similar skills.
David Sharpe, an elite 4-star offensive tackle, is the perfect player to develop under Humphries. Sharpe, who is from Jacksonville, Fla., is 6'6" and nearly 290 pounds.
He is a raw prospect due to spending most of his athletic career playing basketball, but his quick feet, agility, ability to naturally bend at the knees and his balance make him a potential starting left tackle in the SEC.
If Sharpe gets coached up right in Gainesville, he could have an NFL future. He has one of the highest ceilings in the 2014 class. Georgia appears to be Florida's main competition for him, per 247Sports.
Ermon Lane, WR
The Gators have a trio of headliners in their recruiting class. One of them is 5-star receiver Ermon Lane.
Lane is 6'3", 193 pounds and has the potential to make an immediate impact for Florida.
He seems solid with his pledge, but told Amy Campbell of Scout.com last month that he is still getting contacted by Alabama, Miami and Florida State. Lane, who is from Homestead, Fla., is the top receiver in the state, which is why those three powerhouses are still after him.
Florida must monitor Lane and continue to make him feel wanted and needed, or else it could see him slip away to one of its three biggest rivals.
2014 Bleacher Report College Football Recruiting Heat Map
The 2014 Bleacher Report College Football Recruiting Heat Map features many top prospects from Florida and from across the country.
The mobile-ready tool is a fun and interactive way to locate and see where all of the elite talent resides in the 2014 recruiting class. Check it out.