Florida Gators Football Recruiting: Updates on 2014 Commits and Targets
Trying to put the ugly stench of 2013 behind them, the Florida Gators march toward national signing day (Feb. 5) with a talented, offense-heavy class of recruits.
Will Muschamp's team ranks No. 9 on the 247Sports team rankings, and with a number of 4- and 5-star guys still considering Gainesville as a destination, that number might stand to go up. If Florida State keeps poaching recruits, however, as it did with 5-star running back Dalvin Cook, it might also stand to go down.
At time of publication (Jan. 15), the Gators have just seven defensive players committed, though two are 5-star prospects. By contrast, the class has 15 committed offensive players, but none received 5 stars on the 247Sports composite.
Here's everything you need to know.
Note: Unless otherwise noted, all rankings and grades via the 247Sports composite.
Update – National Signing Day
Florida missed on its big fish during National Signing Day, as Damien Prince committed to Maryland and Adoree Jackson committed to USC.
Still, the Gators did poach a couple of former Seminoles in Treon Harris and C.J. Worton, so they day was not a total loss—merely a letdown.
Here's a full look at the signees, per 247Sports.
Jan. 20 – Afternoon
Three-star athlete Deiondre Porter flipped from South Florida to Florida, as many predicted. He's expected to try his hand at quarterback.
Jan. 15 – 12:45 p.m. ET
Huge news through the wire on Wednesday, as 4-star defensive tackle Thomas Holley flipped from Penn State to Florida. According to Derek Tyson of ESPN, he does not plan on taking any more visits and is sold on playing in Gainesville.
On 247Sports' subjective rankings, Holley is actually a 5-star recruit.
|Will Grier||****||98.06||6'3''||187 lbs|
|Treon Harris (ATH)||****||94.08||5'11''||180 lbs|
|Deiondre Porter (ATH)||***||82.44||6'1''||180 lbs|
Will Grier headlines the class and becomes the next in a long line of potential saviors at quarterback. Ranked No. 41 overall and No. 2 among pro-style quarterbacks, he has an impressive blend of size, arm and mobility.
Other can't-miss QBs like Jeff Driskel, however, haven't quite panned out in Gainesville, so the Gators plan on throwing some extra darts at the board. Backup Tyler Murphy transferred to Boston College, leaving some depth holes on the roster, which explains why UF is trying to flip dual-threat players like Treon Harris (Florida State) and Deiondre Porter (South Florida) into commitments.
|Bo Scarbrough (ATH)||*****||98.95||6'2''||225 lbs|
|Brandon Powell (ATH)||***||87.95||5'9''||175 lbs|
The loss of Dalvin Cook leaves a giant hole at the running back position. Brandon Powell is a shifty, intriguing deep prospect, but he shouldn't be the headline of a positional group at Florida.
Bo Scarbrough is a long shot. Even if he decommits from Alabama, other schools like Notre Dame and Ole Miss have a better shot at landing him. But Minnesota commit Jeff Jones, who won MVP of Team Nitro at the Under Armour All-American Bowl, is a realistic (albeit not-favored) candidate to flip to UF.
If that doesn't work out, Derrell Scott would be a decent consolation prize at the position. Florida offered him a desperation scholarship on Jan. 2, and Scott, the No. 2 all-purpose back in the country, will come to visit Gainesville on Jan. 17.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
|J.C. Jackson||****||93.84||5'10''||180 lbs|
|Moral Stephens (TE)||***||87.67||6'4''||200 lbs|
|Ryan Sousa||***||86.87||6'0''||177 lbs|
|C.J. Worton||***||86.56||6'1''||175 lbs|
|DeAndre Goolsby (TE)||***||86.56||6'3''||225 lbs|
|C'yontai Lewis (TE)||***||84.58||6'5''||215 lbs|
Ermon Lane took Dalvin Cook's lead and decommited from Florida, costing the Gators their best remaining offensive prospect. It would be a minor shock if he ended up anywhere but Florida State, and somehow stealing C.J. Worton from the Seminoles would feel like cheap restitution.
That holds doubly true if Florida State can also poach J.C. Jackson, the highest-rated receiver left in the Gators' class. Only a soft commitment, Jackson will visit Tallahassee on Jan. 31, though new Georgia coordinator Jeremy Pruitt is one of the men who had been recruiting him. That should help.
Eric Lauderdale could be a nice consolation prize for Lane, checking in as the No. 20 overall JUCO player in the country. The Gators are favored to land him, but Tennessee looms large in the mix with Arizona State and Oregon, both of whom Lauderdale will visit during January.
|David Sharpe (OT)||****||94.71||6'6''||318 lbs|
|Nolan Kelleher (OG)||***||88.44||6'6''||305 lbs|
|Andrew Mike (OT)||***||88.42||6'7''||270 lbs|
|Taven Bryan (OT)||***||86.57||6'5''||250 lbs|
|Travaris Dorsey (OG)||***||86.00||6'2''||315 lbs|
|Kavaris Harkless (OT)||***||84.91||6'5''||273 lbs|
|Drew Sarvary (OT - JUCO)||***||82.92||6'6''||310 lbs|
Florida did not joke around along the trenches this cycle, landing seven offensive linemen and targeting four more. Of the non-committed players, 5-star tackle Damian Prince—a friend of recent CB commit Jalen Tabor—is the obvious whale. He'll visit Gainesville on Jan. 31.
David Sharpe isn't far behind Prince as a prospect, especially in terms of physical frame. He certainly looks the part of a future SEC tackle, already checking in at 6'6'' and 318 pounds. This class is big, deep, strong and talented up front.
|Lorenzo Carter (WDE)||*****||99.13||6'5''||232 lbs||2%|
|Gerald Willis (DT)||*****||98.70||6'3''||275 lbs||5.20|
|Thomas Holley (DT)||****||96.20||6'4''||285 lbs||5.19|
|Khairi Clark (DT)||****||92.52||6'2''||325 lbs||5.46|
|Justus Reed (SDE)||***||84.76||6'3''||216 lbs||n/a|
Florida is set up the middle, landing two top-three defensive tackles in Gerald Willis and Thomas Holley, along with a top-20 guy in Khairi Clark. Willis and Holley are fast-rising technicians and Clark, at 325 pounds, is a potential beast against the run, so they complement each other well.
The real questions lie on the outside. Florida has recruited and developed great talent on the edges, so this is far from a position of need, but a class with just one 3-star defensive end would be lacking.
Malik McDowell is a long shot, but blue-chipper Lorenzo Carter has a soft spot for UF and might still be willing to commit in spite of 2013's disastrous campaign.
Florida won't bring in any linebackers this cycle, which seemed like a far smaller deal before Ronald Powell declared for the NFL draft. Still, it's not as bad as it seems.
The last two classes yielded seven linebackers for the Gators—six on the outside and Antonio Morrison up the middle. Six of those seven players were 4-star recruits, including three of four in 2013, so there is enough depth to survive this goose egg.
Linebacker, however, will become an area of need in 2015. According to 247Sports, the Gators are already targeting six players at the position, including three 5-star prospects.
|Jalen Tabor (CB)||*****||99.12||6'1''||182 lbs||4.64|
|Duke Dawson (CB)||****||91.90||5'11''||197 lbs||4.65|
|Quincy Wilson (S)||***||88.46||6'1''||196 lbs||4.60|
Jalen Tabor flipped from Arizona to Florida soon after committing, which could be dangerous for the rest of the SEC. The thought of Tabor and Vernon Hargreaves III playing opposite one another—not just in 2014, but also in 2015—is terrifying.
It's even scarier with the thought of Adoree' Jackson in the slot. A rare athlete and the No. 8 prospect in the class, Jackson is choosing (primarily) between UF and USC, though LSU, Oklahoma, Tennessee and UCLA are also in the mix.
No special teamers of note for the Gators this cycle. They brought in a punter, Johnny Townsend, in 2013 and have a solid sophomore kicker in Austin Hardin.