The last chance


Published: Friday, January 28, 2005 at 12:44 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 28, 2005 at 12:44 p.m.
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LB Jon Demps 6-foot-4/228-pounds/4.7 40-yard dash
Washington Senior High School (FL) Jon is what teams look for in a linebacker, a guy who is always around the ball, considered a ball-hawk by coaches. Jon set the all-area tackles record in 2004 with 165 total tackles, including five sacks. He is ranked as the 8th overall inside linebacker by Rivals.com and the 32nd best linebacker overall by GatorCountry.com. I n addition to Florida, Auburn, LSU, Florida State and Miami (FL) have all garnered major interest from Jon. The Gators are in need of a talented linebacker, to take over for the departed Channing Crowder, who left after his sophomore season to enter the National Football League Draft. WR Brandon La Fell 6-foot-3/170-pounds/4.5
Lamar High School (TX) Brandon is a lanky receiver who finds his way into the open field. He caught 46 passes for 1,115 yards and 16 touchdowns, while grabbing eight interceptions on defense. His top three schools are Florida, LSU and Oklahoma State. He has said that LSU is currently on top, but will wait until he visits Gainesville to make a decision, meaning a lot is riding on his visit this weekend. Brandon is rated as a top-40 wide receiver by multiple recruiting services. He has mentioned going to the same school as friend, and fellow visitor this weekend, R.J. Jackson, though Jackson has noted that he will do what is best for him. TE Brian Ellis 6-foot-3/235-pounds/4.6
Mainland High School (FL) As a player who has said he always loved the Florida Gators, Brian Ellis is very excited about visiting this weekend, and possibly signing with UF. He has narrowed his school choices down to Florida and Florida State. He took a visit to Florida State, and was not enthusiastic about it after, according to GatorCountry.com. Brian will be visiting with high school teammate, CB Avery Atkins, who has already committed to the Gators. He is an athletic and very talented tight end, who also played on the basketball team for four years. Some have said he could be a talented defensive player at the next level, though Brian is an offensive playmaker that caught seven touchdown passes as a senior at tight end in 2004. He is ranked as the 11th best tight end in the country by Rivals.com. LB Quentin Taylor 6-foot-1/210-pounds/4.64
Apopka Senior High School Taylor has been described as an explosive and talented linebacker. He has good speed, decent size and a knack for being around the ball, recording 95 tackles in his senior season. He is a big hitter, who could fit into a defense desperately needed a standout linebacker. He has limited his choices down to two schools, Florida and Ole Miss, where he just visited. Florida already has a commitment from Taylor's teammate, wide receiver Eric Sledge, which could help in Taylor's decision. Quentin has said he will make his decision as soon as he finishes his visit to Gainesville. There is a strong possibility that the Gators will land the 18th overall outside linebacker, as rated by Rivals.com.CB Avery Atkins 5-foot-11/185-pounds/4.45
Mainland HS (FL) Atkins hasn't been a firm commitment since he gave his verbal to Florida over the summer. However, he hasn't seemed too impressed with the other schools he visited and that includes his visit to Tallahassee on 1/21. I expect Atkins to sign with the Gators where his family will be able to travel from Daytona Beach easily. He could be the long-term answer the Gators are looking for in the defensive backfield. WR Derrick McPhearson 5-foot-11/185/4.40
Fork Union Military Academy (VA) McPhearson was a 2004 commitment who never really wavered with his pledge to the Gators until he visited with Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden. It would appear he would have an easier time playing early at Clemson, but the new staff could convince McPhearson to come in and get some looks returning kicks and catching a few passes in the equal-opportunity offense. It's a good thing the Gators get the last chance to win his services. I think it's 60/40 that he'll sign with the Gators, but I would not be shocked if he went elsewhere considering Florida has three receiver commitments and expect to get another from O.J. Murdock. RB R.J. Jackson 5-foot-11/200/4.55
Westside HS (TX) Jackson really likes the new staff at Florida and lists the Gators along with LSU as his top choices. Once again, the Gators seem to have the upper hand since they get to make the final impression. Jackson played in the Army All-American Bowl and is known as a versatile back whose skill sets match Urban Meyer's offense. Jackson has expressed his desire to attend the same school as Houston-area receiver Brandon La Fell who also lists UF and LSU as his top two. My feeling is the Gators will sign both of these players, but I think the Gators would lose the chance to sign Antone Smith if that's the case. Smith hasn't shied away from competition, but if the Gators signed Jackson that would make three running back commitments combined with three talented backs currently on the roster. If I were trading Smith for Jackson and La Fell, it would be close but I would rather have Smith. WR LaVar Lobdell 6-foot-3/192/4.55
Christian Brothers Academy (NY) Lobdell may seem like a new name to Gator fans, but the staff has been in touch with him since their arrival. Lobdell is a physically imposing receiver prospect who appears to favor Miami at this point. Maybe current Gator commit Nyan Boateng can talk to Lobdell about joining him from New York. Maybe Meyer can play on his Christian school background. I don't think the Gators will be able to sway him, but if he really enjoys his visit then depth charts might not matter. A team can never have too many skill position players and Lobdell is a really good one.

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