Future Gators


Published: Tuesday, February 1, 2005 at 2:23 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, February 1, 2005 at 2:23 p.m.

With the football-signing period coming to a close, many athletes have already given their verbal commitment to their college of choice. Though the verbal commitments are not binding, many will keep their word and attend the school they have committed to already, though some will not. The following are the up-to-date verbal commits to the University of Florida, listed by position.

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QB Josh Portis 6-foot-3/195-pounds/4.55 40-yard dash

William Howard Taft High School (CA)

As one of the most talented and athletic quarterbacks in the nation, Portis has thrilled crowds throughout his high school career.

With one of the top quarterbacks in the nation, Chris Leak, cemented into the Gators' starting job, there is little chance, barring injuries, of his playing right away.

This will give him time to learn the Urban Meyer spread offense, which he could thrive in because of his great arm and running abilities.

He is a big fan of Meyer, having originally committing to Utah, Meyer's former school, and following the Gator coach to Gainesville.

Portis is rated as one of the top-10 overall quarterbacks in the country by many recruiting services, including ESPN.com's Tom Lemming.

He could be a welcome addition to a Gator football team, learning under Leak and from Meyer.

RB Kestahn Moore 5-foot-10/198/4.4

Mansfield Summit High School (TX)

Moore is a multi-purpose back who can do it all. He can run the ball with power and speed, catch the ball well out of the backfield and block very well.

He is coming to a Gator team that is weak at the running back position, with junior Ciatrick Fason declaring early for the National Football League draft.

He averaged almost 10 yards per carry in high school, showing his big-play ability, something the Gators could use in their new offense.

He had 1,256 yards rushing and 12 touchdowns as a senior in 2004. After visiting the University of Florida, Moore stated that he was very impressed with head coach Urban Meyer and his coaching staff.

RB Tony Wright 5-foot-10/185/4.47

Peach County High School (GA)

Wright is a back who just racks up yards, rushing for more than 2,000 yards as a junior.

He has good speed, and will put on bulk at the next level to become an effective runner.

Coaches have raved about his field vision and ability to hit the hole with authority and make good cuts.

With Moore and possibly the addition of one of the nations top runners, Antone Smith, and Wright, this looks to be rounding out as one of the strong suits of the Gators' recruiting class.

Wright is ranked as the 12th best running back in the country by GatorCountry.com.

WR Nyan Boateng 6-foot-3/195/4.45

Abraham Lincoln High School (NY)

One of the most talked about and sought after receivers in the nations, Boateng did not play in his senior year due to a broken left ankle suffered before the 2004 season.

He was still selected to start for the East squad in the U.S. Army All-American Game, where he starred.

As a junior, Boateng had 55 catches for 950 yards and 16 touchdowns, showing off his big play ability, with a huge yard per catch average.

He has the size and speed to dominate at the next level, and possibly play early in his Gator career.

His overall ranking dropped significantly in the preseason, because of his injury, but the Gator coaches knew that they were getting a playmaker.

WR Louis Murphy 6-foot-3/180/4.54

Lakewood High School (FL)

A less heralded recruit than some of the other wide outs in this class, Murphy has very good size, a lanky build that will only get stronger and thicker as time passes, and decent speed for a college wide receiver.

His high school stats were not mind-boggling because of the running offense he was a part of, but Murphy still managed to be ranked among the top-50 wide receivers in the country by GatorCountry.com and Rivals.com.

WR David Nelson 6-foot-6/190/4.5

Rider High School (TX)

Nelson is a huge receiver, who has the ability to grow into a dominator. At 6-foot-6, he will create a mismatch with any defensive back he lines up against.

His speed is very good for a player of his size. His amazing senior year statistics of 91 catches for 1,648 yards and 18 touchdowns show just how solid he can be in college.

He could grow into a build of former USC wide receiver, Mike Williams, who dominated from the start in college.

Nelson may not play early, because of the great depth at receiver for the Gators, but when he does play, he will no doubt make an impact with his size and athletic ability.

WR Eric Sledge 6-foot-3/185/4.56

Apopka Senior High School (FL)

Sledge played both ways, as a receiver and a defensive back at Apopka. He will complete the Florida trifecta, with cousins of his at both Miami and Florida state, when he signs with Florida.

Cousin Brandon Meriweather plays for the Hurricanes, while Adam Jones, his other cousin, plays his college ball for the Seminoles.

Sledge was one of the states top safeties, but will most likely make the transition to full-time receiver.

His knowledge of both sides of the ball can only help his move to offense, while he brings good size and above average speed.

He will enjoy having time to learn, with the Gators already having a strong receiving group in place at Florida.

This will help his move to the offense full-time. Rivals.com ranked Sledge as the 27th best receiver in the nation.

TE Brian Ellis 6-foot-3/235/4.6

Mainland High School (FL)

Ellis is a great athlete, who plays the tight end position like former Gator, Ben Troupe, with speed, great pass-catching ability and a knack for the big play.

He was a four-year starter on the Mainland basketball team as well. At Mainland, Ellis was a talented defensive end, as well, though he projects to play full-time at tight end in college, though he will also get a look at linebacker, because of the lack of depth at that position for the Gators.

He comes into a situation with no set tight end, and has a chance to play and make his impact early in his Gator career.

Ranked at the 11th best tight end in the nation by Rivals.com, Ellis will use his good speed and size to develop into a solid player for Florida.

OL Eddie Haupt 6-foot-4/290/5.1

Merritt Island Senior High School (FL)

Haupt projects to be an offensive guard in college, and has dominated defensive linemen for three years starting for Merritt Island.

He is a very smart player, having scored a 1320 on his SAT test as a junior. He has good athleticism and very solid footwork along the line, and coaches say he has a mean streak that comes alive during games and helps him push defenders around.

He is ranked as the 24th best offensive lineman by GatorCountry.com and the number 17 guard by Rivals.com.

He has a lot of room to still grow, according to his coaches, which bodes well for the Gators, who will have a solid lineman to anchor their line, and a guy who will work hard and get better.

OL Ronnie Wilson 6-foot-3/335/5.4

Blanche Ely High School (FL)

Wilson is a 335-pound monster guard, who could eventually join with Eddie Haupt to make a very athletic and punishing guard tandem for the Gators.

He is rated by Rivals.com as the 16th best offensive guard in the nation. Blanche Ely has produced many star college football and NFL players, including current Philedalphea Eagles teammates Jerome McDougle and Corey Simon.

This is a good sign for the Gators, because many Ely players are very close to being ready to play at the next level.

LB Kalvin Baker 6-foot-2/225/4.55

Pacelli High School (GA)

A playmaker throughout his college career, Baker has shown he has skills at both outside and middle linebacker, and will likely play in the middle for the Gators, though he was a defensive end at Pacelli.

He had amazing high school statistics; totaling more than 300 tackles and 70 quarterback sacks.

This shows that he can get to the quarterback with relative ease. With the loss of sophomore linebacker Channing Crowder to the NFL Draft, Baker has a chance to come in and star early on, just as Crowder did.

He looks the part, with great size and speed coming out of high school. In 2003, he was voted as his regions Defensive Player of the Year.

LB Ryan Stamper 6-foot-2/210/4.6

First Coast High School (FL)

Like Baker, Ryan Stamper is looking at possible early playing time, as well. With the thin Gator line backing depth chart and only four players actually on scholarship, Stamper could see playing time early, because of his great athletic ability and knack for the big defensive stop.

First Coast's head coach, Marty Lee, raves about Stamper's athletic ability, and believes that he can come in and play, if not start, right away.

Stamper brings great intensity to the football field, almost like former NFL great, Jack Lambert did in his playing days, Lee said.

S Dorian Munroe 6-foot/180/4.5

Coral Reef High School (FL)

A ball-hawk at the safety and cornerback positions, Munroe dominated Dade County football fields throughout his career.

He led Dade County in interceptions with eight as a junior, and tallied three picks in his senior year.

He is the 11th ranked safety by both GatorCountry.com and Rivals.com. Munroe does not have great size for a safety, but has good speed and great field vision.

He was a representative of the Florida team in the annual CaliFlorida All-Star game in January.

CB Avery Atkins 5-foot-11/185/4.45

Mainland High School (FL)

One of the most sought after defensive prospects in the country, Atkins is a big, fast and flat-out talented cover-corner.

Described as a playmaker by coaches, Atkins will find a way to make a big play in the open field.

He combines his great size and speed to become a dominant cornerback, ranked as a top-10 cornerback by multiple recruiting services, including ESPN.com's Tom Lemming.

Should continue to grow and become a playmaker for the Gator secondary relatively quick. Joins his Mainland teammate, Brian Ellis, to strengthen a Gator recruiting class on the defensive side.

K Jonathan Phillips 6-foot-1/200

Wellington High School (FL)

With senior kicker, Matt Leach graduating, an open competition for kicker could lead to Phillips to early playing time.

Ranked as the second best kicker in the country by GatorCountry.com, Phillips, who has a career long field goal of 47 yards, has a very strong leg.

More than 90 percent of his kickoffs were not returned, which is a staggering statistic, and shows just how strong his leg is.

Phillips lists former Gator kicker, Jeff Chandler, who finished the NFL season with the Washington Redskins, as one of his favorite kickers.

That is good news, Gator fans, because Chandler hold Florida's all-time scoring record.

In his high school career at Wellington, Phillips has made 86 percent of his field goals inside of 45-yards and also has a practice long field goal of 67 yards, he told Scout.com.

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