Florida Football Recruiting: Breaking Down the Top 2015 Target at Each Position
Although we’re heading into the month of May and there’s still a lot of time between now and next year’s national signing day, the 2015 recruiting class is shaping up to be a good one for the Florida Gators.
As usual, the Gators are in the running for many of the top players in this year’s class, and they will likely seal the deal on at least a couple of these elite prospects.
While it’s highly unlikely the Gators are going to land every player on their wish list, it’s always good to check the pulse of the top players who could potentially suit up for the blue and orange.
This list will include another talented dual-threat quarterback, a monster of an offensive lineman and a linebacker who would give opponents nightmares.
Here are the top 2015 recruits at each position the Florida Gators are targeting.
Quarterback: Deondre Francois
Truthfully, with all of the QB depth on the current roster, Florida would be fine if it wasn’t able to land a quarterback in this year’s class.
However, if Deondre Francois wants to pick the Gators over the Florida State Seminoles, Florida fans won’t complain.
Francois is listed as a pro-style quarterback because he would rather throw than run the football. With that being said, he is an athlete who would thrive in a spread offense. He can make plays with his legs, but he also throws the ball with tremendous velocity.
Francois isn’t the biggest quarterback at 6’2”, and he is still a bit raw at the position, but the overall skill set and athleticism are there to be a recruiting steal.
Right now, Francois seems torn between the Gators and Seminoles.
Running Back: Ray-Ray McCloud III
There are several running backs the Gators have their eyes on, but the back most likely to commit at this point in the process is Ray-Ray McCloud III.
That shouldn't disappoint anyone, even if it means Damien Harris and Jacques Patrick are off the board.
McCloud is a versatile player who can play running back, wide receiver, defensive back and could contribute on special teams as well.
He is likely going to play on the offensive side of the ball in college.
He doesn’t have elite speed, but his shiftiness in the open field is jaw-dropping. McCloud can make players miss with ease and become one of those playmakers the offense seeks. Add his sure hands into the conversation, and the Gators have themselves a dangerous offensive weapon.
McCloud is high on Clemson, Florida and Florida State.
Wide Receiver: George Campbell
You heard Florida was looking for receivers?
That will no longer be the case if George Campbell commits.
Campbell is widely considered the top receiver in this class—and for good reason. At 6’3”, he has above-average speed for somebody with his frame and can do just about anything on the football field. Campbell may be the most athletic player in this class. With his length, the sky is truly the limit for this young man. He’d be a matchup nightmare for most cornerbacks at the collegiate level.
The downside is that Campbell could still use a little polishing on his ball skills, as he isn’t as sure-handed as a true No. 1 wide receiver should be. Still, players with this much potential don’t come around very often.
Good news for Florida fans is that the Gators seem to be in the driver’s seat for Campbell.
Offensive Lineman: Martez Ivey
Martez Ivey is the ultimate prize for Florida’s recruiting class. He would be the cornerstone of this group if he were to commit.
At 6’6”, 270 pounds, Ivey has the frame that you see in most elite offensive tackles. He plays in mostly a run-first offense, so the verdict is still out on how good he is in pass protection. However, he does get off the ball quickly, displays good athleticism when getting to the second level and shows solid footwork. Ivey also plays the game with a high motor and seems to be just scratching the surface as far as his potential is concerned.
Ivey is likely going to be a big-time player at the collegiate level once he fills out his frame and becomes more comfortable in pass protection.
Right now, it seems like Florida is the team to beat for his services.
Defensive Lineman: CeCe Jefferson
Florida consistently has one of the best defenses in the country because it keeps landing players such as CeCe Jefferson.
There isn’t much Jefferson can’t do defensively, as he’s a versatile player who could fit in either a 3-4 or 4-3 scheme. He seems to be more comfortable playing with his hand in the dirt and getting after the quarterback, but Jefferson has also shown the ability to drop back into coverage and make plays on the ball. He plays with a high motor and is also quite quick for somebody who is a stocky 250 pounds.
Jefferson flies off the football and has the potential to be a terrific pass-rush specialist. Of course, that’s the reason many consider him to be the best defensive end in this year’s class.
The talented defensive lineman has already visited Florida many times and seems to be favoring the Gators at this point in his recruiting process.
Linebacker: Jeffery Holland
Jeffery Holland is my type of football player. He’s a no-nonsense guy who goes out there and will make sure the opposing team knows where he is on the field at all times.
Just watch the first few plays of the video and you’ll see what he’s capable of.
Holland is a physically imposing player at 6’2”, 230 pounds, and his main goal is to knock the ball-carrier into a different zip code. He plays the game at 100 miles per hour and is sure to leave a few scratches on helmets. Besides his physicality, Holland has a great combination of speed and strength and puts a ton of pressure on those trying to block him.
Holland does seem like a one-trick pony, as he hasn’t shown much ability to play the pass. Nevertheless, he’s an extremely talented one-trick pony and is the type of player every great defense needs to have.
While many schools are interested, Florida and Auburn seem to be the two schools at the top.
Defensive Back: Tarvarus McFadden
Tarvarus McFadden plays cornerback in high school, but possibly could make the switch over to safety at the collegiate level. With that being said, McFadden doesn’t seem too interested in the idea, according to a recent Twitter post.
Wherever he ends up, McFadden is one of the best defensive backs in this class. He has great size at 6’3”, covers a ton of ground and is one of those lengthy corners that Florida loves to snatch up.
McFadden isn’t the fastest player, but he has good instincts, solid quickness and simply makes plays on the football. It’s also important to note that he isn’t a finished product, considering he could still add on another 10-15 pounds of solid weight.
Florida has become defensive back university over the years and it would be lovely to add McFadden to that mix. It won’t be easy, however, as Florida State, LSU, Clemson and Auburn are all heavily in the conversation.