Breaking Down Top Recruits Set to Visit Florida Gators This Weekend
Will Muschamp and the Florida Gators are well underway with spring camp and expect an impressive list of practice guests this weekend. The team will welcome some of its top recruiting targets to campus, according to Gainesville Sun writer Zach Abolverdi.
Florida is entering a crucial stage of the Muschamp era that demands a quick turnaround in conference standings. This latest crop of prospects could prove pivotal for a program in need of a rebound.
We examined some of the top players set to spend time with the Gators.
Recruit rankings and information courtesy of 247Sports unless otherwise noted.
5-Star RB Damien Harris (Berea, Ky.)
Florida fans should be delighted to see Kentucky playmaker Damien Harris decided to head south. The 5'11", 205-pound running back has enjoyed a busy offseason that commenced with his January decommitment from Michigan.
The Gators extended Harris an offer after a sophomore season that featured 1,778 rushing yards and 35 touchdowns. He took his effort at Madison Southern High School to another level in 2013, gaining 2,621 yards and 42 scores on the ground.
Harris, the country's top-rated rusher in 247Sports' composite rankings, has commanded strong interest from several heavyweight programs. He recently visited Ohio State and Kentucky, while Michigan remains in the mix.
Alabama, Florida State and Arkansas each extended offers in February. His recruitment is really starting to heat up.
"I've talked to some coaches from Alabama, Auburn, Miami, Kentucky, Oklahoma, and USC," Harris told Land-Grant Holy Land reporter Miles Joseph last month. "I'm going to try to visit as many of those as I can. It will be hard because all those schools are so spread out, but I'll do my best to visit all of those schools."
3-Star OT Tyler Jordan (Jacksonville, Fla.)
Offensive tackle Tyler Jordan committed to Florida in February. The Bishop Kenny High School standout pulled the trigger on his pledge during a Gators junior day.
"I felt like I fit in and I felt like UF was my home," Jordan told 247Sports reporter Luke Stampini.
The 6'4", 280-pound prospect picked up offers from Penn State, Stanford, Ohio State and Cal before announcing his collegiate intentions. Jordan is rated No. 77 nationally among offensive tackles in 247Sports' composite rankings.
He projects as a versatile blocker who can play along the interior or line up as a bookend up front. Jordan won't be the most heralded recruit in Will Muschamp's latest class, but he figures to be an immediate asset on the depth chart at Florida.
4-Star ATH Marcus Lewis (Washington, D.C.)
Gonzaga High School star Marcus Lewis is considered a possibility at cornerback or wide receiver. The 6'1", 187-pound playmaker is rated the nation's No. 11 athlete in 247Sports' composite rankings.
A whirlwind March on the recruiting trail has led him to several campuses. Lewis has already visited Miami, Ohio State and Florida State this month. He received offers from Tennessee, Michigan and Penn State in February.
Lewis is capable of playing safety at the next level and warrants consideration as a slot cornerback. He also shows serious ability as a kick returner, adding to his appeal.
“I talk to Florida a lot,” Lewis told GatorCountry.com writer Andrew Spivey. “I talk to Coach (Brian) White, Coach (Travaris) Robinson and Coach (Will) Muschamp the most. They tell me that I had come in and be a good player for them and that I can fit in well there. They tell me that they want me to come down for a visit and I’m going to do that.”
5-Star OT Martez Ivey (Apopka, Fla.)
Florida has never wavered in its dogged pursuit of dominant offensive tackle Martez Ivey. The Gators began recruiting him during his earliest stages of high school success, and he has been on campus several times.
The 6'6", 280-pound Apopka High School star was in attendance for multiple SEC matchups in The Swamp last season. Ivey is extremely familiar with the Florida coaching staff at this stage, especially after he attended a 2013 Gators youth camp.
The 2015 Army All-American Bowl selection is rated No. 2 among national offensive linemen recruits and No. 5 overall in 247Sports' composite rankings. Ivey, who added a Notre Dame offer in January, recently visited Alabama and Auburn.
He doesn't plan on announcing a decision until after completing a series of official visits.
"In my mind I've got it narrowed down, but I'm not really gonna say nothing yet because I still gotta go on my officials," Ivey told Orlando Sentinel reporter Chris Hays. "I'm very open but I talk to Florida on a weekly basis."
That line of communication continues this weekend in Gainesville, Fla.
3-Star ATH Chandler Cox (Apopka, Fla.)
Chandler Cox is teammates with Ivey at Apopka High School. The Gators would love to land a package deal and aim to make inroads toward that goal this weekend.
The duo visited Alabama and Auburn together last month. They also attended a Florida junior day, so this is a rapid return trip.
The 6'0", 220-pound prospect could play a variety of roles at the next level, but expect him to stick with offense. Cox projects well as a possible H-back who can block and catch passes out of the backfield.
He is listed as America's No. 2 fullback prospect in 247Sports' composite rankings and holds an expansive list of offers. Florida State, Miami, Tennessee and Oklahoma are among the programs in pursuit.
The Gators have a clear advantage in proximity and plan to see plenty of Cox this spring.
"I’ll be up to Florida several times for spring practice," he told GatorCountry.com reporter Andrew Spivey. "I’ll probably go up there 5 or 6 times for a practice.
4-Star QB Dwayne Lawson (Tampa, Fla.)
Hillsborough High School quarterback Dwayne Lawson is on the rise among players at his position, evidenced by an increasing level of attention from colleges. The 6'5", 210-pound passer has picked up offers from Michigan State, Miami, Ohio State and West Virginia since February.
Lawson, rated the nation's No. 12 pro-style quarterback in 247Sports' composite rankings, threw for more than 2,200 yards and 22 touchdowns last season. He added 1,068 yards and nine scores as a rusher.
Lawson attended a junior day in Gainesville, Fla. last month so his rapport with Florida continues to grow.
“I like Florida’s history and winning tradition,” Lawson told GatorCountry.com writer Andrew Spivey. “The best part of the visit was the coaches and their attitudes. The coaches are fired up about coaching at Florida and they are excited about having us here.”