5 Recruits Who Will Make or Break Florida's National Signing Day
Going off their 2014 recruiting class alone, you wouldn’t be able to tell that the Florida Gators are coming off a 4-8 season.
As it stands, Florida has 21 commitments, including one 5-star and seven 4-star prospects. The school currently boasts the nation’s No. 9-ranked recruiting class, via 247Sports’ football recruiting team rankings.
But the Gators aren’t finished yet.
Head coach Will Muschamp and his coaching staff still have targets they are pursuing, players who could very well help Florida jump back into the top five.
Join B/R as we take a look at five recruits who will either make or break the Gators’ class of 2014.
WR Isaiah McKenzie
247Sports’ Composite: 4-star (89.17)
Location: Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (American Heritage)
Status: Crystal Ball (25%)
Wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie would go a long way in solving the Gators’ issues at the position.
Earlier in the month, following the decommitment of 5-star running back Dalvin Cook, 5-star wide receiver Ermon Lane quickly followed suit. Not only was it a blow to the overall standing of Florida’s class of 2014, but it also left the team with just two commitments at wide receiver.
Just like quarterback, the Gators could desperately use some help at receiver.
Last season, the team only had three wide receivers total more than 130 yards. Two of those players graduated, and the other, Quinton Dunbar, will be a senior in 2014.
Needless to say, Florida needs help.
McKenzie is an interesting prospect, because although he may be a project at wide receiver, he has the ability to make plays as a returner—so much so that he’s garnered himself the nickname of “joy stick.”
The battle will likely come down to the Gators and Notre Dame. Given the home-state advantage, Florida has the upper hand.
QB/ATH Treon Harris
247Sports’ Composite: 4-star (94.17)
Location: Miami, Fla. (Booker T. Washington)
Status: Committed (Florida State)
Treon Harris has been committed to Florida State since last July. However, that doesn’t mean his decision is 100 percent.
The 4-star dual-threat quarterback/athlete recently made an official visit to Gainesville last weekend.
Although he has stated that he remains firmly committed to the Seminoles, via 247Sports’ Luke Stampini (subscription required), the fact that Harris is still making official visits means he’s open to change. He recently also visited Auburn and is set to visit Miami this upcoming weekend.
The Gators could use all the help they can get on the offensive side of the ball.
Given the departures of Tyler Murphy and Max Staver, that leaves Florida with just Jeff Driskel, 2014 enrollee Will Grier and Skyler Mornhinweg as scholarship quarterbacks.
Getting one more highly touted prospect would be the icing on the cake for head coach Will Muschamp, especially if it means stealing a commitment from an in-state rival.
OT Damian Prince
247Sports’ Composite: 5-star (98.58)
Location: District Heights, Md. (Bishop McNamara)
Status: Crystal Ball (14%)
After bringing in thin offensive line classes in 2011 and 2012, the Gators are looking to rebuild depth at the position. It would go a long way in preventing nightmare situations such as what the team faced in 2013 due to injuries.
With that said, picking up Damian Prince—the No. 2-ranked offensive tackle in the class of 2014—would be a huge get for Florida.
Other than the Gators, Florida State and Maryland are also in play for the 6’5”, 295-pounder. However, only Florida could guarantee that Prince would receive immediate playing time.
Another positive for the school is that Prince’s final official visit will be with the Gators on Friday.
This one looks like it will come right down to the wire.
WDE Lorenzo Carter
247Sports’ Composite: 5-star (99.11)
Location: Norcross, Ga. (Norcross)
Status: Crystal Ball (1%)
Lorenzo Carter has been a longtime target for the Gators.
It was believed that Florida would be the favorite to secure his services. However, that was before the team crashed and burned to a 4-8 record.
Now, Georgia has emerged as a strong candidate to keep Carter close to home.
Still, the Gators are hoping their close relationship with the 6’5”, 232-pounder pays off.
“I’d say Florida,” Carter said, when asked about the coaching staff he had the best connection with, via ESPN’s Derek Tyson. “Florida was one of my favorites early. ... Florida is always here and every time they come they bring like four coaches to see me.”
Florida is already pretty loaded on the defensive line already. But there’s no doubt adding one of the nation’s premier pass-rushers would bolster the unit.
CB Adoree' Jackson
247Sports’ Composite: 5-star (99.59)
Location: Gardena, Calif. (Junipero Serra)
Status: Crystal Ball (17%)
Adoree’ Jackson is just about on every team’s wish list for national signing day on Feb. 5.
Fortunately for the Gators, they happen to be one of the finalists to land the No. 7-ranked overall prospect in the class of 2014. Furthermore, the school looks to be one of three, along with UCLA and USC, in play for Jackson’s coveted final visit before signing day, per 247Sports’ Ryan Bartow (subscription required).
One thing that Florida has going in its favor is that Jackson has interest in competing in the long jump and wants to compete in the Olympics down the road.
It just so happens that the Gators would be a perfect school for him to pursue those dreams, outside of playing football. The school has employed Mike Holloway, who coached the 2012 U.S. track team and produced long-jumper and London bronze medalist Will Claye.
Given the talent on the Florida defense, getting another defensive back isn’t necessarily a need. But when a player like Jackson has any interest, you have to make it a priority to pick him up.
Can you imagine a secondary with both Vernon Hargreaves and Jackson?
All stats and rankings used in this article are courtesy of CFBstats.com unless otherwise noted.