The following is a breakdown of the 2013 Florida Gator Football recruiting class. I realize signing day isn’t quite here yet and the commitments aren’t binding until they are signed on the dotted line. Until then, we will pretend that the people who are verbally committed will remain that way through signing day. A few players are already on campus for the early enrollment period and many of them are going to be key contributors on next years team. Let’s take a look at the current class. FYI, I will be using the player rankings from Rivals, Scout and ESPN with an emphasis on Rivals.
Alvin Bailey WR, 5-11/170- If you had the privilege of watching Bailey play in the Under Armour All-American Game you know the skill set he will be bringing to the Gators next season. He’s not the fastest WR in the class but he may be the quickest. His lateral movement and change of direction is going to remind people of Chris Rainey. He has great hands and runs very clean routs. He can be utilized on special teams and in the return game and will eventually develop into a very dangerous slot receiver. He has a great chance to see the field quite often next season due to the lack of current talent at the WR position.
Caleb Brantley DT, 6-3/304- Brantley has recently reopened his recruitment and has wavered a bit on his UF commitment. I’m still including him because I believe he will be a Gator when signing day arrives. Brantley is a total monster at DT. His body type and skill set reminds me of Marcus Thomas, which should bring smiles to Gator Nation…..as long as he likes smoking pot and Halloween Horror Nights a little less than Marcus. Brantley is ranked as the #7 DT in the class but I have seen his ranking as high as #3. With the loss of Sharrif Floyd, Brantley will compete for immediate playing time.
Jarrad Davis LB, 6-3/215- Jarrad Davis has the size to eventually become a middle LB and the speed to play outside LB. He runs a 4.6 in the 40 and has excellent sideline to sideline coverage. With a frame that could support a good amount of weight gain, Davis could eventually become a speedy MLB if necessary. When Davis enrolls he will be listed as an OLB and most likely redshirt in order to gain a year of experience. Look for Davis to make his impact in few years.
Cameron Dillard OL, 6-3/285- Dillard is ranked as the #20 OG and plays with vicious intent. He’s explosive off the snap and shows great lower body strength. At 285, Dillard is a bit undersized for an inside lineman but his frame supports weight gain. Dillard is known for his extremely physical play and ability to move well laterally. Next year I expect Dillard to redshirt and work on his strength and weight gain.
Ahmad Fulwood WR, 6-4/200- Fulwood is one of the players I’m most excited about. He has great size and excellent speed (4.4). In his senior year, he gained 10 pounds and will be able to gain another 10-15 when working at the college level. His leaping ability is outstanding and he will be an instant down field threat. The Gators haven’t had a WR like Fulwood in many years. Louis Murphy was similar but, Fulwood is bigger as a high-school player than Murphy was in his final college season. Fulwood needs to polish his route running and get into the strength program when he arrives. Look for Fulwood to make an immediate impact next season.
Vernon Hargreaves lll DB, 5-11/185- Hargreaves is the jewel of the class. He is ranked anywhere from the #1 CB to the #3 CB in the class, depending on the website you use. He is a five-star recruit and was offered a scholarship by every major program in the country. Hargreaves runs a 4.4 and plays the ball as well as any DB in the nation. He is a shutdown corner in man coverage as well as zone coverage and rarely misses a tackle in the open field. He recently won the MVP award in the Under Armour All-American Game with numerous tackles, pass break-ups, and an interception. If you watched the game, you understand what I mean when I say he dominated the defensive side of the ball. Hargreaves will remind Gator fans of Joe Haden and will most likely capture a starting role by mid-season.
Marcell Harris S, 6-1/207- The son of Gator safety Mike “Mud” Harris, Marcell is a player very similar to Matt Elam and Major Wright. Harris possesses the physicality of Major Wright and the tackling skills of Matt Elam (I know, Elam could knock a head off too!). Where he separates himself is in coverage. Harris plays the ball in the air much better than Wright and Elam at this point in their careers. Marcell is fast (4.5) for a safety and can play the run just as well as the pass. Ranking as the #7 safety prospect in the country, look for Harris to make an immediate impact next season due to the departures of Matt Elam, Josh Evans, and Pop Saunders.
Marqui Hawkins WR, 6-2/190- Hawkins is one of the lower rated prospects in the Gators class but, he possesses skills that make him a very coveted player. He is fast in the long routes and will easily pull away from defenders if he gets behind them. He needs to work on his blocking in order to become a more well-rounded WR. He has good hands and great length and will have every opportunity to earn a role next season, considering the dearth of talent at the position.
James Hearns LB, 6-3/230- Hearns could become the next monster MLB for the Gators in coming years. He ranks as the #8 ILB in the class and brings a rare element to the position, a combination of massive strength and speed. Usually, the MLB has one or the other. Spikes had more strength than speed, Bostic had more speed than strength. That’s not to discredit them in the other aspects because they both played with speed and strength. The difference is that Hearns will be equally polished in both. With the college strength program, look for Hearns to eventually weigh around 245lbs and maintain the 4.6 speed he has now. With the losses of Bostic, Jenkins, and McCray, Hearns has the chance to compete for a back-up role behind Morrison, Taylor, and Ball.
Joey Ivie DE/DT, 6-4/270- Ivie is one of the early enrollees and will look to provide some depth at the position. There is a chance he will redshirt and pack on some more weight in order to play predominantly on the inside. With his length, Ivie will be a terror defending the pass. Ivie will greatly benefit from enrolling early and fine tuning his skills.
Octavius Jackson OL, 6-4/285- Jackson is one of the more raw talents in this years class. He has decent size but will need a year in the college strength program in order to gain the needed weight to play OG. He’s rated as a three star prospect and will likely redshirt to gain experience at the college level. I have seen Jackson’s weight listed anywhere from 275 to 304 so he may have gained some much needed mass….
Rodrick Johnson OL, 6-6/315- Johnson is a coveted OT recruit and has the size and strength to play at the college level right away. His body type can support more weight gain so expect to see an absolute monster at tackle in the near future. Johnson plays with a mean streak and is as talented in the run game as he is in the passing game. The Gators have some depth at tackle so there is a chance Johnson will redshirt in order to gain a better grasp of the playbook. Unless injuries occur next season, look for Johnson to make his impact in future seasons.
Adam Lane RB, 5-8/216- Lane is a bowling ball of a runner that possesses massive leg strength and decent speed. He’s listed as the #27 RB in the nation by Rivals but ESPN has him ranked at #15. Lane is quick in the open field and has surprising wiggle for his body type. He runs low to the ground and is very difficult to bring down. Look for Lane to become a Maurice Jones-Drew style RB and break lots of tackles in his Gator career. Lane was a really great recruiter for the Gators after he pledged. He consistently talked up the team to other prospects and had a hand in bringing in more than one of the current players in this years class.
Daniel McMillian LB, 6-3/220- McMillian is big time recruit for the Gators this year. He is one of the 7 early enrollees and has the skill set to make an immediate impact on the LB depth chart. McMillian has great size for a true freshman and will only get bigger with the college strength program. He is listed as the #3 to #5 OLB depending on the analyst. He has the speed to play any of the three LB positions and will be used often in the pass rush. Look for McMillian to provide support on special teams as well as on the defensive side of the ball.
Keanu Neal S, 6-1/203- Neal is a large safety that plays even bigger. He is extremely physical and will lay the lumber is you give him the chance. He plays the ball very well in the air and will not have any problems playing man coverage. His play in the Under Armour All-American Game was solid and showed that there aren’t many WR that can get behind him. Neal is known for his closing speed and form tackling. He will play the run equally well as the pass. Neal is college ready and will contribute to the team immediately due to the lack of players at the S position. Look for Neal and Harris to compete with each other for a ton of playing time next season. Keanu Neal is ranked as the #9 safety prospect.
Antonio Riles DE, 6-4/262- Antonio Riles is a solid four star DE and is ranked #20 at his position. Riles is known for playing every down like its his last and has the strength to compete throughout the game. If you want a measure of just how strong Riles is, take a look at this dudes neck! In time, Riles could grow into more of a DT style player but for now, he remains a huge DE prospect. His technique is a bit raw and will need some fine tuning thus, he may be redshirted to perfect his skills. The depth at DE for the Gators is fairly good so it will take a special off-season for Riles to crack the line-up.
Demarcus Robinson WR 6-2/200- Another one of the early enrollees, Demarcus Robinson has the skill set to make the most immediate impact of any of the WR prospects…..and possibly any of the new recruits. With the lack of talent at WR currently on the roster, Robinson’s balance of strength and speed will be openly welcomed. He has a huge frame that could support even more weight if the coaches deem it necessary. His speed is excellent and his body control while running routs is outstanding. Ranked as the #5 WR in the class, Robinson will most likely compete for a starting position from day one. His early enrollment will only help with the education of the playbook, which may be the only barrier keeping him out of a starting role next season.
Matt Rolin LB, 6-4/209- Rolin projects to be a great OLB at the college level. He has the skills to play in pass coverage and the aggressive nature of a run stopper. He is currently ranked anywhere between #5 and #25 at his position depending on the site (this seems like a large difference…). Rolin was a highly sought after prospect and caused another recruit (Quinton Powell) to decommitt. Look for Rolin to make an immediate impact on the LB depth chart as long as his leg injury is rehabbed correctly.
Jordan Sherit DE, 6-5/234- Sherit has been compared to Miami DE Anthony Chickillo in terms of his motor and aggressive style of play. He will be given the chance to compete for a spot on the depth chart but there’s a lot of competition at DE already on the team and in this recruiting class. Sherit has tremendous strength and runs a 4.7 which is fairly impressive for a DE. Not all of the DE recruits will be redshirted so let the competition begin.
Max Staver QB, 6-5/235- With the transfer of Jacoby Brissett, Max Staver just became one of the most important recruits in this years class. He’s tall and strong and has a cannon for an arm. He whips the ball using his wrist when he throws and gains noticeable velocity from it. He is very accurate and can thrown a pretty good spot pass. His game that was televised on ESPN earlier this year was an impressive display for a high-school player. He eludes the pass rush well and can escape the pocket to throw on the run very efficiently. Look for Staver to play a solid back-up role on the QB depth chart. A redshirt may be held off of him because of the lack of QB depth.
Kelvin Taylor RB, 5-11/216- If Vernon Harhreaves isn’t the crown Jewel of this class, then Taylor is. He is five-star RB and depending on the source you use, ranked as the #1 RB in the nation. He is the son of Gator great Fred Taylor and possesses many of the same characteristics that made his dad such a good RB. He is extremely strong and elusive and can get behind the defense in a hurry. He has better moves and strength than Fred did at this point in his career. Look for Taylor to make an immediate impact in the starting line-up. I would have said he would be the unquestioned starter until we witnessed how well Matt Jones Performed at the end of the season. This two-headed power running attack will be the best the Gator Nation has seen in a while.
Chris Thompson WR, 6-0/170- Thompson is a local recruit out of Gainesville HS and is a bit raw at the moment. He is undersized in terms of bulk and will need a year or two of the Gator strength program. He has great speed and is extremely elusive in the open field. His lanky structure reminds me of an AJ Green or Peter Warrick without the height of either player. Look for Thompson to make his impact in a few seasons.
Nick Washington S, 6-0/183- Washington is a highly recruited safety that will provide much needed depth at the position next season. Expect to him to be in a heated competition with Harris and Neal for immediate playing time. Washington suffered a shoulder injury this season but has since rehabbed it back to health and should be on pace to be healthy for the off-season workouts. He plays the ball in the air very well and has tremendous closing speed (4.4). Washington also plays the corner position very well and can provide some depth there also. He has a really rangy frame and is known for great form tackling. Let the competition at safety/corner begin.
Tyler Moore OL, 6-6/300- Moore started for Nebraska as a freshman and transferred to a community college in the Tampa area. Look for him to fight for a starting position at tackle, in place of the departed Xavier Nixon. Moore has great strength and size but will need to work on his agility to perfect his game.
Darious Cummings DT, 6-3/310- A mountain of a man, Cummings is ready to come in and play right away. He has spent the last year at East Mississippi Community College and gained the much needed experience of the game at the college level. Look for him to help out Leon Orr, Easley, and Jacobs at the DT and nose tackle positions.
Trenton Brown OL, 6-8/350- By far the largest man in the recruiting class, Brown projects to be an excellent offensive tackle in the near future. He is still raw but displays great upper body strength and surprising agility for man of his size. He will provide great depth at the position along with Tyler Moore and the OT currently on the Gator roster.
Expect the Gators to add about 4 more recruits to the class by signing day (ending with about 30 players). Hope you enjoyed the Breakdown. Go Gators!