Big weekend for UF football recruiting


Urban Meyer and his staff may have assembled the most star-studded lineup of recruits the Gators have ever seen in one weekend.

Brian W. Kratzer/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Thursday, January 17, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 18, 2008 at 12:14 a.m.

In terms of the numbers, this Florida football recruiting weekend probably resembles any other. In terms of star power, it may not be like any other.

Facts

Prospects visiting this weekend

Player Pos. Ht./Wt. High School
Daniel Andrews DB 6-0/192 Trinity Christian
Two-star CB has already committed to Clemson

Ricky Barnum OL 6-2/246 Lake Gibson
Committed to the Gators a week ago

T.J. Bryant CB 6-1/175 Tall. Lincoln
He paid the Gators a visit earlier this week

Ramon Buchanan LB 6-0/181 Palm Bay
Gators are making a strong run at this Miami commitment

Jeffrey Demps RB 5-8/161 South Lake
One of the nation's fastest prospects committed to UF two weeks ago

Dee Finley DB 6-3/210 Auburn, Ala.
Future Gator who could play strong safety or outside linebacker at UF

William Green LB 6-4/215 Hoover, Ala.
UF was the first to offer and he says he slightly favors the Gators

Frankie Hammond WR 6-0/151 Hallandale
Big-play receiver committed to UF in December

Jamie Harper RB 6-0/210 Trinity Christian
He has become UF's No. 1 tailback target

Omar Hunter DT 6-1/295 Buford, Ga.
He has emerged as one of the nation's top DT prospects

Julio Jones WR 6-4/215 Foley, 0kla.
Nation's No. 1 receiver has Florida on his short list

Lerentee McCray LB 6-2/209 Dunnellon
Speedy LB gave his commitment to UF on Wednesday

Burton Scott ATH 5-11/194 Prichard, Ala.
Has not wavered on his commitment to Alabama

Chaz Sutton DE 6-4/236 Savannah, Ga.
Has been committed to the Gators since the summer

With some of the nation's most elite uncommitted prospects due in Gainesville, this might be the most star-studded lineup the Gators have ever assembled for one recruiting weekend. And it arrives at a time when the Gators, with 20 commitments already, are looking to put the exclamation mark on what could be another top 5 recruiting class (which would be the third in a row for Urban Meyer).

The Gators picked up their 20th commitment Thursday when DeSoto, Texas, athlete/cornerback Adrian Bushell gave his pledge to Meyer. Bushell visited this past weekend and had planned to trip to Miami this weekend, but has canceled that visit, DeSoto coach Dave Meadows said. "He's not taking any more visits," Meadows said.

This weekend likely will determine how the remainder of the recruiting season plays out for the Gators. The potential is there for a very strong finish.

Among the weekend visitors are three of the top players in Alabama, one of the top players in Georgia and the top tailback in Florida.

One of the players from Alabama is five-star wide receiver Julio Jones, the consensus No. 1 receiver in the nation. The kid from Georgia is five-star defensive tackle Omar Hunter. And the Florida guy is four-star tailback Jamie Harper from nearby Jacksonville Trinity Christian.

Wide receiver, defensive tackle and tailback happen to be among UF's biggest priorities coming down the stretch, along with cornerback.

Here's a look at how UF's class is shaping up (and how it could end up) heading into this critical recruiting weekend:

Quarterback

In the house: None.

Still on the board: Terrelle Pryor.

The skinny: This position is not a priority, but the nation's No. 1 prospect is still showing some interest in UF and may visit (although it looks like Pryor favors Ohio State and Michigan, with LSU moving into the picture).

In the house: Jeff Demps, T.J. Pridemore.

Still on the board: Milton Knox, Jamie Harper.

The skinny: Demps is an all-purpose back and one of the fastest recruits in the nation and Pridemore is a tough, blocking fullback. But the Gators are still looking for that dynamic, every-down tailback that's been missing in the offense. They might still be looking after this class because Knox seems to favor UCLA (where he committed earlier, then backed out) and Harper had to be talked into making his UF visit this weekend and appears primed to pull the trigger for Clemson.

Wide receivers

In the house: Carl Moore, Frankie Hammond Jr., Omarious Hines.

Still on the board: Julio Jones, T.J. Lawrence.

The skinny: This is a very good wide receiver class that could rocket to No. 1 in the nation if the Gators land Jones, the consensus No. 1 wide receiver prospect in the country. Alabama has long been perceived the leader for Jones, but UF is still in the hunt, with Jones scheduled to be in Gainesville this weekend.

Offensive line

In the house: Matt Patchan, Bryan Jones, Sam Robey, Ricky Barnum.

Still on the board: None.

The skinny: The Gators have filled their needs nicely. Patchan is one of the nation's premier tackle prospects and he's already on campus and Barnum, Robey and Jones are solid prospects that will have time to develop over the next two seasons. Jones also could end up at defensive tackle.

Defensive line

In the house: Troy Epps, Earl Okine, Chaz Sutton.

Still on the board: Omar Hunter, Keith Wells, Glenn Harbin.

The skinny: The Gators are pretty much set at end with Okine and Sutton, but UF still has a serious need at tackle, where Epps is the only committed player. The No. 1 target (not just for tackle but maybe for the remainder of the class) is Hunter, a five-star prospect who figures to be a factor at DT wherever he ends up. The former Notre Dame commitment has favored Florida for weeks, but Georgia is lining up to make a strong last push down the stretch.

Linebackers

In the house: Brendan Beal, Lerentee McCray.

Still on the board: Ramon Buchanan, William Green.

The skinny: The Gators appear to be filing their needs here. Beal is already in school and could be the No. 2 middle linebacker by next season and McCray is one of the nation's top outside linebacker prospects. Buchanan is a Miami commitment, but UF has a real shot at turning him this weekend. Green has slightly favored the Gators for months, but it might be tough to pull him out of the state of Alabama.

Cornerback

In the house: Jeremy Brown, Janoris Jenkins, Adrian Bushell.

Still on the board: T.J. Bryant, Brandon Harris.

The skinny: This was a real position of need, and the Gators had hoped to sign four. That's probably not going to happen because it's going to be an uphill battle for Bryant (who is from Tallahassee) and Harris (who is from Miami). But the Gators are certainly OK with the three they have now.

Safety

In the house: Will Hill, Dee Finley.

Still on the board: None.

The skinny: Hill could end up playing a number of positions, but he looks like UF's free safety of the future (maybe the immediate future, like next season). Finley is a physical athlete who could play strong safety or grow into an outside linebacker.

Kicker

In the house: Caleb Sturgis.

Still on the board: None.

The skinny: Sturgis has incredible leg strength and range. An early enrollee, he will have a chance to earn the starting place-kicking role for next season.

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