For those of you wondering if Florida was going to fill up its 2010 class before the ’09 class was even done, this weekend could change all that.
If you weren’t in attendance for Florida’s shellacking of LSU Saturday, you probably didn’t notice the 75 or so high school prospects patrolling the sidelines and sitting in the South End Zone. The Miami game put the wheels in motion to get kids excited about the Gators, but LSU might have opened the flood gates.
First off, what wasn’t to like about Florida’s drubbing of then No. 4 LSU for these young, very impressionable high school studs? The Gator offense looked as dominant as ever. The defense shut down the team leading the SEC in total offense. Oh yeah, and it was a night game on CBS in The Swamp with 90,684 cheering their hearts out.
And how about that double fist pump from recruiting master Urban Meyer as he strolled through a crowd of giddy high school kids at game’s end? It couldn’t have worked out any better for Florida’s biggest recruiting weekend of the year. Forget Miami. This was the game to see if you were getting the special treatment from Florida.
The Sanford Seminole trio – Andre Debose, Dyron Dye and Ray Ray Armstrong – was on hand. It’s hard to believe that Debose, one of the top athletes in the country, wasn’t impressed with how Percy Harvin was used in the offense.
The nation’s top cornerback, Dre Kirkpatrick, was in the stands to watch Florida’s corners contain some of the SEC’s finest. The Gadsden City, Ala., defensive specialist had to be excited about the chance to play alongside emerging corner Janoris Jenkins.
But what about those who weren’t able to make it to Gainesville this past weekend? Top running back prospects Trent Richardson (Pensacola, Escambia) and Miami’s Jamaal Barry are already committed to Alabama and Ohio State, respectively. But there’s no doubt they were surprised to see how well Florida ran the ball against a very tough and talented LSU defense.
We’ve been here before with this team. Florida has a knack for unleashing the hounds on the biggest recruiting weekend of the year. In 2005, it was the Florida State game in Gainesville that got a lot of the year’s top prospects thinking Gators. The Gators rolled 34-7 in Meyer’s first game against FSU. Current Gators Lawrence Marsh, Brandon Spikes, Carl Johnson and Tim Tebow all took official visits that weekend. All – except an already committed Johnson – committed to Florida shortly after that. But that wasn’t the end of it. Jarred Fayson – now with Illinois – Jacques Rickerson and Bryan Thomas all committed to the Gators the day after the game.
The same happened after last year’s embarrassment of the Seminoles in The Swamp. Omarius Hines, Frankie Hammond Jr. and Byran Jones all committed a day or two after the 45-12 win.
The only difference for this year could be the fact that the LSU game is earlier in the season. The advantage Florida has with the FSU game is that it’s closer to Signing Day and a lot of recruits have already seen their share of colleges. But there were a few kids that were supposed to leave after the game that stayed until Monday or late Sunday.
The Gators might not get many public commits in the days to come – heck, they might not get any – but make no mistake about it, a performance like this on a national stage against a highly-ranked team will stay in the minds of some of these guys for a while.