Recruiting notebook: Tailback search

Published: Wednesday, January 16, 2008 at 1:51 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 16, 2008 at 1:51 p.m.

It appears that Florida's search for a dynamic tailback this recruiting season has come down to a final two: Milton Knox and Jamie Harper.

Knox is from Lake Balboa, Calif., while Harper is from nearby Jacksonville. Since Knox is a former UCLA commitment who visited UF more than a month ago and Harper is coming to Gainesville for his official visit this weekend, the focus is clearly on Harper now.

The good news for the Gators is Harper did not commit to Clemson during his visit there last weekend. The bad news is Harper has been favoring the Tigers for quite some time now and the word is he's been quietly committed to Clemson for almost a month.

The UF coaches will find out where Harper stands this weekend. If the Gators can't impress Harper enough to get a commitment, Harper likely will be heading to Clemson.

As for Knox, he says it's now a two-team race between Florida and UCLA. Although he's had several good conversations with new Bruins' coach Rick Neuheisel, Knox said he's still seriously considering Florida. One possible obstacle for the Gators is the fact Stan Drayton is now at Tennessee. Drayton is the one who was recruiting Knox to Florida and the two had formed a good relationship.

The UF coaches must feel pretty good about landing either Knox or Harper because they slow-played Texas tailback Cyrus Gray on his UF visit this past weekend, and Gray went ahead and committed to Texas A&M on Tuesday, opting not to wait and see how things play out with the Gators.

Savannah, Ga., running back Franklin Green is no longer an option for the Gators. He committed to UF this past summer, but grade issues are going to force him to go another route. He de-committed over the weekend and now is looking at Georgia Southern and others.

Turning the Tide?

It's always been a hard pull getting the top players in Alabama to leave the state. The Gators are going to try. Three of the best players in Alabama wide receiver Julio Jones, defensive end/linebacker William Green and athlete Burton Scott are making official visits to UF this weekend.

Jones is the consensus No. 1 wide receiver in the nation. Even though Alabama has long been considered his leader, the Gators have a legitimate shot to pull the upset here, according to sources.

Green has listed Florida as his leader for months, but Auburn and Alabama, as expected, are making a late push and will leave Green with a difficult decision to make.

Scott, a five-star prospect, has been committed to Alabama since Dec. 7 and has reaffirmed his commitment numerous times over the past few weeks. Which makes many wonder why the UF coaches are bringing him in for a visit. Skeptics are saying Scott will use the opportunity to try and recruit Jones and Green to Alabama. The UF coaches obviously don't feel that way, and that's why they're bringing him in.

No 'ship for you

For the past month or so, Clayton, Ohio, offensive tackle Zebrie Sanders slow-played the Gators hoping to get an offer from his favorite school, Georgia. When it became obvious the 'Dogs had no room for him in their class, Sanders decided to go ahead and commit to the Gators. But the offer was no longer there. When Lakeland Lake Gibson offensive lineman Ricky Barnum committed to UF this past Friday, he filled UF's offensive line recruiting class.

Now, Sanders is looking at Florida State, UCLA and possibly Miami. The word is he will be signing with UCLA.

Prediction time

Here's a prediction on who the Gators gain commitments from over the next three weeks (some this weekend):

Lerentee McCray, Marcus Robinson, Omar Hunter, William Green, Julio Jones and Ramon Buchanan.

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