Versatile wide receiver prospect Ermon Lane committed to the Florida Gators in August, adding a 5-star playmaker to the team's 2014 recruiting class. However, on-field struggles and offensive woes in Gainesville may open the door for a longtime rival to enter the fray for his services.
Lane's confidence in his pact with the program is now far from certain. He told 247Sports reporter Josh Newberg that he is "80 percent" committed to the Gators.
So who is vying for the remaining 20 percent?
Lane lists Florida State as his No. 2 option, according to Newberg. The Seminoles have enjoyed a special season, ascending into the BCS National Championship picture and picking up momentum on the recruiting trail.
Meanwhile, Florida has secured just one commitment since the start of the season (3-star tight end DeAndre Goolsby). The Gators' recruiting class currently features 15 players and is ranked 11th nationally by 247Sports.
Lane, a 6'3", 193-pound playmaker from Homestead, Fla., is listed as the country's second-best wide receiver recruit and No. 3 overall prospect in the Sunshine State by 247Sports. He's quick, powerful and has shown substantial improvement each season at the high school level.
His skill set as an elite pass target is exactly what Florida desperately needs these days. The Gators have grand plans of pairing Lane with fellow 5-star prospects Dalvin Cook (running back; Miami, Fla.) and Will Grier (quarterback; Davidson, N.C.) in an effort to revitalize an underwhelming offensive attack.
Florida ranks 107th nationally in points scored, due in large part to an anemic passing game that produces just 190 yards per contest. Offensive woes are reflected by a free-fall in conference standings.
The Gators have lost four consecutive contests. This past Saturday, a 34-17 loss to visiting Vanderbilt dropped Florida to 4-5 and fourth place in the SEC East.
Lane can't be enthused by the statistics Gators receivers have produced this season. Through nine games, no player has reached 500 receiving yards, and only senior Solomon Patton has caught more than one touchdown.
There's a much different scenario playing out at Florida State. The unbeaten Seminoles feature the nation's second-highest scoring attack (52 points per game) and average 325 passing yards per game.
Rashad Greene, Kenny Shaw and Kelvin Benjamin each have more receiving yards than any Gator. The trio has combined for 17 touchdown receptions, while tight end Nick O'Leary has six scores.
If Lane is writing down a list of pros and cons for both Florida and Florida State strictly regarding on-field opportunities, it's reasonable to assume he's seeing more positives in Tallahassee.
Seminoles redshirt freshman quarterback Jameis Winston is already a national superstar and Heisman Trophy front-runner. Lane can take solace in the fact that Winston won't be going anywhere until at least 2015.
Lane has his pick of the litter when it comes to college options. His offer list includes Alabama, Clemson, UCLA, Georgia and Ohio State.
Despite an array of national interest, his recruitment battle ultimately comes down to a pair of bitter foes. Florida started out in control of this fight, but it's fair to say Florida State is swiftly making up ground.
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