Early jump on class of 2010

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With a limited number of scholarships available for this
year’s recruiting class, Florida
might already be looking to the Class of 2010 to really stock up on talent.

UF’s staff
certainly isn’t downplaying the talent they have in their nine verbal commitments
thus far or the rest of the talent left on the 2009 board, but with a ton of
depth on both sides of the ball, the Gators just don’t have the space to bring
in a big class.

UF is probably looking to sign around 20 prospects.
Now that the Gators are near the halfway point in numbers, it’s going to be
tough to get all the big names still left. So, expect a little more heartbreak
for the Gators as the recruiting season progresses. There’s always a chance
that number will increase because of attrition, but unless there is a mass
exodus of current players, UF should get close to 20 commitments.

The Gators
will graduate 13 seniors this year and could have 16 scholarship seniors back –
though the NFL Draft is expected to claim a few of them.

With such a
deep team coming back next year, UF’s 2009 class should be solid, but 2010
could be spectacular.

The class
of 2010 is loaded.

Players like Rome, Ga., quarterback
Nash Nance and Eagle Lake, Fla., safety Marvin Robinson – who figure to be at
the top of next year’s prospect lists on all the major recruiting sites – are
already high on the Gators and have been on campus throughout the summer. And
for the first time in a while, UF already has two players from next year’s class
verbally committed.

“Priority
No. 1 is finishing up the 2009 class, but Florida has gotten involved early
with a bunch of top 2010 recruits who are in-state players,” said Adam Gorney
of Rivals.com. “Florida already has two junior commitments from the state in
Venice quarterback Trey Burton and Fleming Island offensive lineman Ian
Silberman. Both players have been around the program for a long time and the
staff is very familiar with their skill level.”

UF is also
the only team in the Southeastern Conference with two 2010 commitments. Arkansas
is the only other team with at least one junior commit.

To get an
edge on the younger talent, UF is having its 2010 verbals do a lot of the
recruiting work. Both are constantly in touch with some of the guys they know
personally and each can always be seen schmoozing with other recruits in their
class.

“We want to
have a really good class and we’re going to have the best class, so we’re going
to work really hard on that,” Burton said.

The Miami
game is prime evidence of the work the two baby Gators are putting into next
year’s class. Burton and Silberman spent most of their time with Coconut Grove,
Fla., junior linebacker Gideon Ajagbe – who came away from the night with the
Gators at the top of his list and saying his visit to Gainesville was “perfect”
– and 2010 Royal Palm Beach, Fla., receiver Chris Dunkley

The Swamp’s
south end zone was littered with recruits for the Miami game, but a good deal of them were from
the 2010 class. Of course most of the red-carpet treatment was directed toward
the guys in this year’s class, but a bunch of 2010 guys were talking with Gator
players and coaches before and after the game.

The area of
the country that will be of most concern for UF more than ever is south Florida. UF has already
gotten deeply involved with some of the top players down south. Ajagbe, Dunkley,
Miami, Columbus running back Jakhari Gore, Miami, Southwest cornerback Lamarcus
Joyner and Miami, Northwestern running back Corvin Lamb are some of the headliners
of the class and are already high on the Gators.

“Florida will tap into the south Florida market the more it gets in the
area,” Gorney said. “Fort Lauderdale and Miami kids have Florida and Miami as
their top two schools right now.”

The 2009
class is by no means sub par, and if UF had more room there would be a lot more
big names in this class. But take the numbers out of the equation and the 2010
class is still more well-rounded in terms of talent from top to bottom. Even at
UF’s summer camps, players like Trinity Catholic receiver Kadron Boone and
Apopka cornerback Lo Wood dominated some of the ’09 guys they went against.

It’s no
surprise that UF is getting involved early with next year’s class. The real
question is why UF coach Urban Meyer is just now doing this? Meyer usually
waits until his recruits are seniors because he holds out on the best talent he
can get, which just shows how deep next year’s class is and how special it
could be for UF.

“Getting
involved earlier seems to be a trend in college football and Florida is
definitely taking advantage,” Gorney said. “Take a look at the sidelines for
the Miami game. A lot of the top 2010 kids showed up and many of them were
impressed.

“IF there is a top 2010 kid in the
state of Florida or Georgia, I’m pretty sure the Gators
have expressed interest.”

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