Re-Evaluating Florida's Recruiting Class After 2014 The Opening

Randy ChambersAnalyst IJuly 16, 2014

Jerome Baker
Jerome BakerCredit: 247Sports

The Florida Gators' 2015 recruiting process has gone a little slower than usual. Florida doesn't have a ton of commitments from top-tier prospects and, well, doesn't have many commitments period, as the program currently sits with 10 names who have given their verbals. 

With 2014's The Opening in the books, we did find out a bit about who could help change Florida's fortune and if anybody is seriously considering the university. There are also a couple of current commits who continue to test the waters with national signing day still several months away.

Florida isn't getting many recruits to spill the beans on their recruiting status, but it is making progress with some of the top young men in this year's class.

Here's what the Gators' 2015 class looks like after the few days of practices at The Opening. 


Top Targets

During the event, running back Ray-Ray McCloud III announced that he was going to make his decision on July 28, and he already knew where he was going. Now, McCloud tells Luke Stampini of 247Sports (subscription required) that he plans on attending Florida’s Friday Night Lights next week, just days before making his announcement.

McCloud has visited Florida more than any other school, and yet another trip seems have created the writing on the wall as to where he’s going. Nothing is guaranteed in the recruiting world, but if you can’t read that neon sign, well, I’m not sure what to tell you.

While most still believe it’s a pretty good bet that George Campbell is going to become a Gator, the highly ranked receiver admitted to 247Sports (subscription required) that he still hasn’t even spoken to new receivers coach Chris Leak.

"I haven't been worried about the recruiting process, so I haven't talked to any coaches," he said. "I'm just laid-back. I'm mainly focused on my high school team."

Leak has held the position for more than a month since Joker Phillips decided to step down unexpectedly. If that wasn’t enough to worry Florida fans, Campbell and a few other top recruits are expected to visit Florida State next weekend, according to Josh Newberg of 247Sports (subscription required). This could be a case of somebody exploring their options or someone who isn’t completely sold on the Gators. Whatever the case, Florida's coaching staff has to be a little more worried than before.

Defensive lineman Byron Cowart announced that Oregon and Florida are his top two schools, according to 247Sports. He admitted that those two schools are going to be tough to beat, and there is a possibility of him being a package deal along with other recruits such as CeCe Jefferson and Martez Ivey, according to the report. However, nothing is concrete when it comes to those intriguing talks. 

Speaking of Ivey, Luke Stampini reports (subscription required) that the massive offensive lineman might have already committed if Florida's record had been better last season:

While Apopka (Fla.) five-star offensive tackle Martez Ivey would not go on record with 247Sports confirming the following, there was talk that Ivey admitted at the Opening that had the Gators’ record been better in 2013, he would already be a member of Florida’s class. The good news about that is you have to feel great about UF’s chances for the 6-foot-6, 270-pound prospect if they put together a good season in 2014.

That may be the best recruiting news Florida has received all year. 


Florida's Commits

It’s pretty much the same song and dance it’s been with Florida’s recruiting class for months. The team makes all this progress with recruits, but very few are willing to give their commitments. It’s almost like kids are waiting to see how the team improves this upcoming season before jumping on the ship. Florida has 10 commitments, and only four of them have come in the month of May or later. Again, it’s been a ghost town so far for Florida’s commits.

Probably the most exciting thing that’s happened so far for Florida’s recruiting class was the surprising commitment of Jerome Baker, who announced his decision late last week. Many expected Baker to stay in Ohio and become a Buckeye, but he shocked everybody by picking Urban Meyer’s former team.

Baker is a versatile player who can play on either side of the ball, but he’s expected to add to Florida’s linebacker depth, a position that needs to improve heading into next season.

Cornerback Marcus Lewis committed in April, but that’s not stopping him from taking other visits and exploring his options. Lewis has three other schools in mind, according to 247Sports.

"Right now, I'm committed to Florida, but I'm still going to take visits," he said. "That's kind of where I'm at with everything. Right now the three visits I know for sure that I'm going to is Michigan, Oregon and Miami for officials."

Florida fans shouldn't worry much, as this is typical with kids during the recruiting process. Those official visits are there for a reason, and you might as well take them.

Other than that, it's really quiet with Florida's recruiting class, and things probably won't heat up until the product on the field improves.

Football season can't get here fast enough.