College Football: 2011 Florida Gators Recruiting Class News And Updates
The Gator Nation was thrilled when Janoris Jenkins announced that he decided to stay for his senior season. With the excitement but uncertainty of having a new head coach, Will Muschamp, the news of Jenkins remaining for another year was not unlike the coaching staff signing a five-star recruit.
The following slide-show will incorporate information from a previous article, and new news and updates to bring everyone up-to-speed with what the Florida Gators are doing on the recruiting trail.
While ESPN has Florida ranked in their top five, other sources such as Rivals.com and Scout.com have the Gators ranked somewhere between 15 and 20. There is still plenty of time for Muschamp and his staff to close the gap on their competition, i.e. Alabama and FSU, but they do have their work cut out for them.
Let's take a look at which high school seniors and junior college transfers Florida has their eyes on.
James Walker is a National and Syndicated Writer for Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter and Facebook. He can also be contacted via Google Talk/Buzz and Yahoo Instant Messenger as BRJamesWalker.
No. 1: Tony Steward, Inside Linebacker
Tony Steward is from St. Augustine, Fla. and played at Pedro Menendez High School. Steward has the athleticism to immediately play at the next level. Purportedly he is a lifelong fan of FSU but is still considering playing for Florida or Clemson.
If the Gators can lure Steward to Gainesville, it would be a huge victory for Will Muschamp. However, the odds are clearly in favor of FSU.
Update as of 1/13/11: Steward is taking a recruiting visit to Clemson the weekend of January 14, 2011. He visited Florida on December 15, 2010, and has a low-level of interest at this time.
No. 2: Stephone Anthony, Outside Linebacker
Stephone Anthony is a defensive player that likes to cause turnovers and possesses the size and athleticism to do the same at the college level. Perhaps even more important to Anthony is getting an education.
In a conversation with ESPN’s Justin Hopkins, he stated “...education is the biggest thing, but playing time, along with team chemistry are some of the key factors.”
Anthony is also considering Virginia Tech, Clemson, North Carolina, North Carolina State and Georgia. USC seems to have dropped out of contention. He is a smart kid; he realized that playing for Lane Kiffin will get him nowhere fast.
Update on 1/13/11: It looks like it is between Clemson and Florida. Anthony visited Florida on 1/6/11, and he is visiting Clemson the weekend of January 15, 2011. Strengths – Athleticism, instincts, and speed. Opportunities – Tackling technique. He currently plays OLB, but could develop into a MLB.
No. 3: Tim Jernigan, Defensive Tackle
Tim Jernigan is an atypical-looking defensive tackle, but he sure doesn’t play like one. He has quick and violent hands and has quickness that will help him fight off blockers and get to the ball carrier fast.
In 2010, he recorded 77 tackles, of which 32 were for a loss, 14 sacks and one interception.
On Jernigan’s list of possible schools are FSU, Alabama, LSU and Michigan along with Florida.
Updates as of 1/13/11: None at this time.
No. 4: Curtis Grant, Inside Linebacker
Curtis Grant has the ability to be a force in the pass and run defense game. He already has the size to play at the next level. His athleticism will be leveraged immediately on special teams while his skills quickly develop.
He hails from Richmond, Virg. and played at Hermitage High School, where he earned District Defensive Player of the Year in 2010.
Along with Florida, Grant is considering North Carolina, Virginia, Ohio State and Michigan as possible homes.
Update as of 1/13/11: Recruiting experts have identified size, speed, and toughness as his strengths, and tackling technique as an area needing improvement. He has the frame to play outside, but the toughness and pad level to play inside if his body continues to fill out. Has “medium” interest in UF, but that’s the same as all other schools that remain on his radar: Alabama, LSU, Miami, NC, OSU, Tennessee, Virginia, and Virginia Tech.
No. 5: Curt Maggitt, Outside Linebacker
Curt Maggitt hails from Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. and played ball at Dwyer High School. Not only is he a very fast and agile athlete, but he is also quite the student (see video).
Maggitt is 6'3" but weighs in at only 194 lbs. at this point in his career. He is going to need to add serious bulk if he is going to succeed at the next level. To what degree it affects his speed on the field is yet to be seen.
Schools that remain on Maggitt's radar are Alabama, LSU, Wisconsin and Miami (Fla.) along with Florida.
Update as of 1/13/11: nothing new to report at this time.
No. 6: Marqise Lee, Athlete
Marqise Lee is relatively new to football, having spent time playing on both offense and defense. When it comes time to play college ball, it will most likely be at safety, but he has the tools and upside to make it at wide receiver.
In 2010, Lee won league defensive MVP.
It's hard to believe that Lee will leave the state of California with USC and Cal pursuing him, but Oregon and Miami (Fla.), along with Florida, are also in pursuit.
Update as of 1/13/11: Purportedly, Lee is leaning towards Miami and is scheduled to visit on January 21, 2011. His strengths are closing speed, instincts, and tackling ability. As with any high school player, he has the opportunity to grow and fill-out his body.
No. 7: Junior Pome'e, Wide Receiver/Tight End
Junior Pome’e is a big and strong receiver who will most likely transform into some form of hybrid H-back or tight end at the next level. He has long arms and strong hands and has deceptive speed as he makes his way downfield.
However, his speed is still limited, and he may struggle to go deep down field against defensive backs at the next level.
Another California kid, he is being looked at by UCLA, USC and Arizona along with the Florida Gators.
Update as of 1/13/11: Reportedly, Florida and UCLA are now in the lead. His strengths – body control, hands and concentration, and a red zone weapon. Competitiveness and speed are areas he needs to work on. He has the ability to play at 240lbs. in college. He could be a fast TE or a big possession WR at the next level especially if he gets to 240lbs.
No. 8: Marcus Roberson, Safety
Marcus Roberson will continue to represent South Florida well, being a product of St. Thomas Aquinas out of Lauderdale Lakes (Ft. Lauderdale), Fla. The 6'0", 170-lb. Roberson will continue to play at safety and could turn out to an incredibly gifted free safety at the next level.
He covers the pass and run well and is a very good tackler. If he has an opportunity for improvement, it is that he lacks man-to-man coverage experience. However, he has the talent and athleticism to quickly gain that knowledge and experience at the next level.
The only question that remains is where? Florida, Auburn, Georgia, USC and Texas Tech are his suitors.
Update as of 1/13/11: Auburn, Georgia, and Texas Tech are now the only programs in serious consideration. Roberson has a low interest in UF, but Mike Blakely, who committed to Florida, is strongly recruiting him.
No. 9: Delvon Simmons, Defensive Tackle
Delvon Simmons hails from McKeesport, Penn. where he played at McKeesport as an offensive and defensive player. However, at his current size of 6'4" and 265 lbs., he will most likely play defensive tackle at his next stop.
On defense he showed great ability to stop the run, but he will have to improve his pass defense ability. He is a great tackler and has good speed for his size, and as he adds bulk that speed will have to improve along with quickness.
The Gators have done well recruiting outside the state of Florida under Urban Meyer, but it remains to be seen how Will Muschamp does. Also attracted to Simmons are Penn State, Iowa, Oregon and Rutgers.
Update as of 1/13/11: Delvon Simmons has been identified to more likely play on the offensive line in college. His strengths – athleticism, backside pursuit, and strength. Areas of improvement include disengaging skills and techniques/moves. He will have to improve on in those areas if he wants to play defense in college.
No. 10: Izauea Lanier, Athlete (JUCO Transfer)
Izaeua Lanier is currently a student of East Mississippi Community College, where he has played on both sides of the ball due to his athleticism. If he ends up on offense, he will most likely find himself as a slot receiver. He would need to improve his catching skills since he is more of a body catcher.
If he finds himself on defense, he could find himself at safety due to his long frame and breaking quickness. He is an all-around athlete with tremendous upside.
Tennessee, Ole Miss, Arkansas and Auburn are fighting for his services with the Gators.
Update as of 1/13/11: no updates at this time.
No. 11: Jay Rome, Tight End
Added as of 1/13/11: Jay Rome was not previously on this list, but now added. The 6’6”, 240 pound Rome runs a 4.68/40, and is considered quite athletic.
Alabama, Clemson, Georgia. Tennessee, Duke, FSU, and Maryland are on Rome's radar, and Florida has pursued him, too. His strengths: blocking ability, a down field threat, and size. The areas of opportunity is strength.
Unfortunately, his interest in Florida is quite low at this time.
No. 12: Nick O'Leary, Tight End
Added 1/13/11: Nick O’Leary of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., is a 6’4”, 230 pound Tight End who runs a 4.65/40. Alabama, FSU, Georgia, LSU, Miami, UNC, Wisconsin, Ohio State, South Carolina, and Tennessee are in the running for O'Leary's talents. As of now O'Leary has low interest in Florida, and has not visited Gainesville.
Alabama, LSU, and Wisconsin seem to be in the lead at this time.
No. 13: Lamar Dawson, Middle Linebacker
Added on 1/13/11: Lamar Dawson of Danville, Kentucky is a 6’2”, 230 pound player from the land of the Bluegrass. He runs a 4.6, and Kentucky, Oregon, Tennessee, UCF, and USC are also on his list of possibilities. The Gators is still on his list with medium interest, the same as the other schools.
Strengths: Aggressiveness, discipline, and size.
Opportunities: Pass coverage skills.
No. 14: Ray Drew, Defensive End
Added on 1/13/11: Out of Thomasville, Georgia comes Ray Drew. The 6’5”, 248 pound Drew runs a 4.74 – 40, and Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, UF, Georgia, LSU, Miami, Michigan, Notre Dame, Tennessee, and UCLA are all in the running with medium interest in all.
Strengths – explosion, size, pass rushing skills.
Opportunities – toughness. Excellent pass rusher and special teams player, but could improve for the run game.
No. 15: Dexter Staley, Outside Linebacker
Added on 1/13/11. Dexter Staley hails from Williston, South Carolina. The 6’2” and 220 pound Staley has high interest in Florida and South Carolina.
Also being recruited with medium interest by East Carolina. Staley finished his senior season with 90 tackles, and also rushed for 1,300 yards and had 980 yards receiving with 35 offensive TDs.
No. 16: Jake Fisher, Offensive Tackle
Added on 1/13/11. Jake Fisher currently has given a soft verbal to Michigan, but visiting Florida nevertheless on January 22, 2011 in the wake of the Brady Hoke hire.
Strengths – Flexibility, nasty streak, and size.
Opportunities – Technique. Fisher played TE in high school, but will transition to OT at the next level. He handles the bull rush very well. He is also visiting Michigan State on January 15, 2011 and Oregon on January 28, 2011.
He may be a surprise pick-up for the Gators.
No. 17: John Jenkins, Defensive Tackle (JUCO Transfer)
Added on 1/13/11. John Jenkins is currently enrolled at Mississippi Gulf Coast Junior College in Meriden, Conn. The 6’4” and 340 pound Jenkins is a mammoth defensive tackle. Jenkins has Nose Guard skills, but has the agility to get in on tackles sideline to sideline and down field.
Auburn, Florida, Georgia, and Miami are in the running with medium interest in all.
He will visit Florida on January 28, 2011.
No. 18: Dominique Terrell, Wide Receiver
Added on 1/13/11. Dominique Terrell is from Manassas, Virginia. The 5’11”, 180 pound Terrell runs a 4.49/40.
Florida is on his list of medium interest schools, but has not received an official offer yet.
Terrell was a QB in high school in primarily a wildcat role, but will transition to a punt returner/slot WR in college. Quicker than fast, he has no problem fighting off tackles.
No. 19: Jeoffrey Pagan, Defensive End
Added on 1/13/11. Jeoffrey Pagan is from Asheville, North Carolina. He is 6’4”, and weighs in at 255 pounds. He runs a 4.65/40.
Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, NC, Oregon, Tennessee and Florida are on his radar and has medium interest in all.
Strengths – athleticism, body control and balance, quickness off the ball.
Opportunities for improvement – disengaging skills, techniques and moves.
He has raw talent and started playing DE in 2009, and has tremendous upside. All the tools are in place for him to be great.
No. 20: Cameron Clear, Offensive Tackle
Added on 1/13/11. Last but not least is Cameron Clear from Memphis, Tenn. The 6’6”, 260 pound Clear runs a 4.95/40.
Alabama, Auburn, Duke, Florida, Ole Miss, and Tennessee are of interest with medium interest in all. He visited Gainesville on 12/10/10.
Strengths – feet, power and strength, and size.
Improvement – technique. Clear spent most of his high school time as a TE. The move to OT will happen in college and he will take time to develop. He is a good project with tremendous upside for an offensive line coach at the next level.
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