Breaking down Gators' '06 class=1


Published: Wednesday, February 8, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, February 8, 2006 at 12:00 a.m.

Facts

The best prospects?

  • Sun sports writer Robbie Andreu breaks down UF's new class position-by-position.

  • The fax machines have gone silent in the coaches' offices and recruitniks have had a few days for the withdrawal process to start kicking in.
    Now that a week has gone by since national signing day and things have settled down, it's a good time to take a closer, more comprehensive look at Florida's 2006 recruiting class.
    Depending on which recruiting service you go by, Urban Meyer put together either the No. 1 or No. 2 recruiting class in the nation. And the Gators did it despite losing five players who had committed to them at some point during the recruiting process.
    The recruiting analysts seem to agree that UF put together a very talented, very fast and very complete class.
    Offensively, the class features one of the nation's top quarterbacks, three running backs, five wide receivers, one tight end and four linemen. On defense, UF signed five linemen, three linebackers and five defensive backs.
    "It's a great class that really fills all of Florida's needs," Rivals.com recruiting analyst JC Schurburtt. "The strength of it is the balance. They have addressed every position."
    -Robbie AndreuGRADING UF FOOTBALL'S RECRUITING CLASS OF 2006 Here's a position-by-position breakdown: QUARTERBACK
  • SIGNED: Tim Tebow.
  • BEST PROSPECT: Tebow. He can run and throw and seems an ideal fit for UF's spread offense.
  • SLEEPER: None.
  • BEST CHANCE TO PLAY EARLY: Tebow will open the spring as the No. 2 quarterback and could be a factor in the fall.
  • ONE THAT GOT AWAY: Jevan Snead, one of the nation's top prospects from Texas, committed last summer, but the Gators couldn't fend off the Longhorns.
  • GRADE: A.


    RUNNING BACK
  • SIGNED: Brandon James, Chevon Walker, Mon Williams.
  • BEST PROSPECT: Williams has an excellent combination of size and speed.
  • SLEEPER: James is small (5-foot-7, 175 pounds), but very quick and elusive and figures to have an immediate impact as a return man.
  • BEST CHANCE TO PLAY EARLY: Walker. An early enrollee, he'll be a spring practice ahead of James and Williams.
  • ONE THAT GOT AWAY: UF did an excellent job of recruiting Union County tailback C.J. Spiller, but he surprised everyone and went with Clemson on signing day.
  • GRADE: A-


    RECEIVERS
  • SIGNED: Riley Cooper (WR), Jarred Fayson (WR), Percy Harvin (WR), Jamar Hornsby (WR), Trent Pupello (TE), Justin Williams (WR).
  • BEST PROSPECT: Many rate Harvin the nation's No. 1 overall prospect.
  • SLEEPER: Fayson is a burner making the move from quarterback.
  • BEST CHANCE TO PLAY EARLY: Harvin has the speed and playmaking ability that could make him an impact player in 2006. Fayson, Cooper and Hornsby also have the kind of speed Meyer is seeking on the perimeter.
  • ONE THAT GOT AWAY: Damian Williams held out to the end, then succumbed to home state Arkansas.
  • GRADE: A.


    OFFENSIVE LINE
  • SIGNED: Jim Barrie, Marcus Gilbert, Maurice Hurt, Carl Johnson.
  • BEST PROSPECT: Johnson is considered one of the nation's premier OL prospects.
  • SLEEPER: Barrie comes from a small school, but has a big upside.
  • BEST CHANCE TO PLAY EARLY: Johnson is already enrolled and will compete for playing time this spring.
  • ONE THAT GOT AWAY: UF made a late run at Andre Smith, but the nation's No. 1 offensive lineman decided to stay home and signed with Alabama.
  • GRADE: B+.


    DEFENSIVE LINE
  • SIGNED: Brandon Antwine (DT), Jermaine Cunningham (DE), Corey Hobbs (DT), Lawrence Marsh (DE), Terron Sanders (DT). BEST PROSPECT: Cunningham is an excellent athlete and a devastating pass rusher.
  • SLEEPER: Marsh. He has an excellent frame and could grow into a DT.
  • BEST CHANCE TO PLAY EARLY: Hobbs is a big, strong kid who could contribute at tackle next season.
  • ONE THAT GOT AWAY: DT Jared Odrick showed a strong early interest, but signed with Penn State.
  • GRADE: A.


    LINEBACKER
  • SIGNED: Dustin Doe, A.J. Jones, Brandon Spikes.
  • BEST PROSPECT: Jones. He can run from sideline to sideline and has natural LB instincts.
  • SLEEPER: Doe is a fast and intelligent athlete who could grow into a big-time OLB.
  • BEST CHANCE TO PLAY EARLY: Spikes is big and athletic and physically ready to play.
  • ONE THAT GOT AWAY: Jarrell Miller, one of the top players in North Carolina, would have given the class a second inside linebacker.
  • GRADE: A.


    SECONDARY
  • SIGNED: Markihe Anderson (CB), Wondy Pierre-Louis (CB), Jacques Rickerson (CB), Derrick Robinson (CB), Bryan Thomas (S).
  • BEST PROSPECT: Rickerson has a chance to be a big-time cover corner.
  • SLEEPER: The UF coaches got in on Pierre-Louis late in terms of an offer, but they scouted him extensively and like what they see.
  • BEST CHANCE TO PLAY EARLY: Rickerson and Thomas have the speed and ability to provide an instant boost to the secondary.
  • ONE THAT GOT AWAY: Jai Eugene, the No. 1 cover corner in the nation, told Tebow the night before the Army All-American Game that he was committing to the Gators. He picked Michigan instead, then signed with LSU.
  • GRADE: A.


    DECOMMITMENTS
  • DEFECTIONS: Snead (Texas), Williams (Arkansas), LB Larry Grant (Ohio State), CB Patrick Robinson (FSU), WR Damon McDaniel (FSU).
  • ONE THAT STUNG THE MOST: Williams is a good kid and a great athlete, and the UF coaches worked him hard for months. To lose him two days before signing day was somewhat deflating.
  • ONE THAT DIDN'T STING AT ALL: McDaniel. Once Harvin's high school teammate started looking at other schools, UF quietly backed off this prospect whose lack of speed had been a concern.
    Robbie Andreu can be reached at 352-374-5022 or andreur@gvillesun.com
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