Big recruiting weekend

Published: Friday, January 21, 2005 at 1:53 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 21, 2005 at 1:53 p.m.

David Nelson


Wide receiver

Rider High School (TX)

6-foot-6 195-pounds

4.5 40-yard-dash

Nelson is a big receiver who can also run. He had a soft verbal commitment to Notre Dame early in the recruiting season, but has backed off of it lately after the firing of former coach Tyrone Willingham. Said his decision will come after his visit to the University of Florida this weekend. Is favoring Florida and his hometown school, Texas. If the New England Patriots win in the National Football League playoffs Sunday, Notre Dame could be dropped off of his list, because Notre Dame head coach/Patriots offensive coordinator Charlie Weis will be unable to commit all of his time to recruiting. Ranked as the 39th overall receiver by and the 27th best wide receiver by Has also been offered by Iowa.

Louis Murphy

Wide receiver

Lakewood High School (St. Petersburg, FL)

6-foot-3 180-pounds

4.54 40-yard-dash

Murphy already has verbally committed to the Gators. One of two receivers to verbal to UF (Nyan Boateng) already. Senior season hurt by the season-ending injury of Lakewood's quarterback. Murphy is also a gifted basketball player for Lakewood. He is ranked as the 46th overall wide receiver by and the 37th overall by Has been offered by Duke, Iowa, Louisville and Maryland, though it looks as though he will most likely be in a Gator uniform in 2005.

Brian Roche

Offensive lineman

Don Bosco Prep School (NJ)

6-foot-5 280-pounds

Roche, who is projected as a guard in college, is a top lineman on one of the best high school football teams in the country. Rated as the 22nd overall offensive guard by's Tom Lemming, the 21st offensive lineman by and the 50th overall offensive lineman by Roche is leaning towards both Louisville and Notre Dame, which gives Florida only a small chance, if any at all. In addition to Louisville, Notre Dame and Florida, Michigan State and North Carolina State have offered Roche a scholarship as well.

Eric Sledge

Wide Receiver

Apopka Senior High School (FL)

6-foot-3 180-pounds

4.59 40-yard-dash

Sledge has verbally committed to South Carolina, citing head coach Steve Spurrier, yes, the "Old Ball Coach," as his main reason. Sledge did not have great statistics in his senior year, attributed mostly to the run-oriented offense he played in. He is still slightly interested in both Florida and Louisville, though it seems that he will sign with South Carolina. He is rated as the 27th overall wide receiver by and the 60th wide receiver by The loss of Sledge can be withstood by the signings of Boateng, Murphy and a few other talented athletes.

Quinton Brown

Offensive lineman

Edgewater High School (FL)

6-foot-6 270-pounds

A dominant offensive tackle for one of the top teams in the state of Florida, Brown has drawn the interest of many schools around the country, including the Florida Gators. He seems most interested in Florida, Florida State and North Carolina State, who he says are his top three. Brown says he will not make a decision until after he takes all of his visits. Brown has said that there is a chance he and his teammate, Matt Hardrick, will go to the same school to play. Hardrick will be joining Brown on the recruiting trip to Gainesville this weekend. Brown is ranked as the 35th best offensive tackle by A good visit to Gainesville could help the Gators' chances to land Brown.

Tommy Duhart

Tight end, offensive lineman, defensive lineman

Glades Central High School (FL)

6-foot-3 253-pounds

5.17 40-yard dash

Duhart has given a solid verbal commitment to the University of Pittsburgh after visiting them in December. Even though his father played for the Gators, chances look slim of Florida landing the projected lineman. He is not ranked in the top 100 of any positions by the major recruiting services, but that may be because of his versatility and his lack of position at the moment. Along with Florida and Pittsburgh, Rutgers and South Florida have offered Duhart scholarships.

Tyller Roberts

Defensive back

Edgewater High School (FL)

6-foot-1 190-pounds

4.45 40-yard dash

Another member of the talented Edgewater High School team, Roberts is a quick, good-sized, three-year starter at cornerback. He favors Florida over North Carolina State, Central Florida and South Florida. Number two to the Gators, according to Roberts, would probably be N. C. State. He played in the CaliFlorida All-Star Game, in which he had two interceptions for the Florida team. Roberts is ranked as the 51st overall cornerback in the country by With a little more work, Roberts could help solidify the Gators secondary in a couple of years.

  • RB Antone Smith- 5'8" 185 4.30 Smith has been as elusive in naming favorites as he is on the field where he rushed for over 2,400 yards and 44 touchdowns his senior year. Smith is one of the top prospects in the entire country and doesn't fear competition, but don't expect the Gators to land him. His signature alone would move the Gators up a few spots on many signing lists though.

  • DT James McKinney- 6'3" 263 4.90 Right now McKinney favors Michigan, but he has been talking to defensive line coach Greg Mattison who convinced him to take a visit this weekend. He could be a Jarvis Moss-type prospect that wasn't favored to sign with Florida, but changed his mind after a great visit. Once again, don't count on it unless the coaches can convince McKinney that he is a top priority since they are not recruiting heavily across the defensive line this year.

  • OL Matt Hardrick- 6'5" 342 5.7 Hardrick has liked Florida State, where he has Edgewater High teammates already in place, but maybe he could be a Marcus Thomas-type conversion. Gator fans remember the day when Thomas decided to de-commit from the Seminoles to join the Gators' d-line. If he has a good visit and takes a long look at the depth chart, I could see Hardrick becoming a Gator. If his teammates visiting along with him this weekend also like Gainesville, they could do a little recruiting of their own.

  • DT- Jeffrey Owens- 6'2" 275 4.90 Owens committed to Georgia long ago, but the fact that he is willing to look elsewhere is a good sign for Florida. Owens is in the same boat as McKinney although it seems easier to convince a Florida resident (Owens) than a Kentuckian (McKinney).

  • S Dorian Munroe- 6'0" 185 4.5 Another current Seminole commitment. My feeling is at least a couple of these guys who are already committed will change their minds. At this point, meeting the Florida coaching staff is the difference for some of these players. In other years, this would be too late to start building relationships, but with all of the coaching turnovers it shouldn't have as big an impact. Munroe could be one of those surprises.

  • DT Vladimir Richard- 6'4" 255 4.80 Richard was one of the four super commits following the Gators' summer camp along with Gerald Williams, Avery Atkins and Demetrice Morley. Atkins seems content with Florida as does Williams so I wouldn't expect Richard to follow Morley's departure. Anything can happen though and Richard is taking his visits.

  • RB Kestahn Moore- 5'10" 199 4.45 Moore is relatively new to the recruiting board, but he already lists the Gators along with Wisconsin and Oklahoma State as his three favorites. With Urban Meyer yet to make his in-home visit and Moore's ability to catch passes, don't be surprised to see the Gators land this Texan's signature on February 2.

  • LB Kalvin Baker- 6'0" 228 4.65 "Pig" Baker seems ready to be a Gator. The staff will probably ask him to help recruit some of the other undecideds on his visit to Gainesville. I don't understand how a player who racks up 29 sacks as a junior in the state of Georgia slips under the radar as much as he did. As an undersized defensive end, Baker led the entire state in sacks and had another great season in 2004. Hopefully his enthusiasm carries over to the other prospects.

  • LB Ryan Stamper- 6'2" 210 4.6 Even though Stamper committed to Auburn already, I feel good about the Gators' chances at swinging him to Gainesville. As a Jacksonville native, it is close to home and the Gators' need at linebacker is now pretty well-known. If he has a good visit, he could be a signing day surprise. For someone projecting such a firm commitment to Auburn, the fact that he is visiting Gainesville is not a good sign for the Tigers.

  • CB Jordan Hemby- 5'11" 176 4.4 Hemby is a brand new name who is already committed to North Carolina. I don't know enough about him to make any kind of prediction, but the common line of thought seems to be "anything can happen." One thing that is easy to observe from the new staff is they are scouring the entire country for prospects.

    For more information about Gator recruiting, go to: Gator Football Gator Recruiting Recruiting Message Board

    Gators look to close deal By Robbie Andreu

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