Rivals ranks UF class No. 1
Published: Monday, January 21, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 24, 2008 at 12:07 a.m.
After gaining a commitment from five-star defensive tackle Omar Hunter on Tuesday, Florida vaulted to No. 1 in the nation in Rivals.com's rankings Wednesday.
UF moved ahead of Alabama and Notre Dame for the top spot. The Gators hold a slight edge (11 points) over the Irish.
Florida is the only school in the nation with four five-star prospects in the Rivals rankings. Notre Dame, Ohio State and Oklahoma each have three.
The SEC and the state of Florida are well-represented in the rankings. Alabama and Georgia are ranked third and fourth, respectively, while Florida State is at No. 5 and Miami is No. 8.
If the Gators add outside linebacker William Green of Hoover, Ala., to the class, the Gators seem assured of at least a No. 1 or No. 2 finish in the Rivals rankings. It would be a third consecutive top three class for Meyer. The Gators had the consensus No. 1 class last year and the No. 2 class the year before.
Scout.com ranks the Gators No. 6.
Florida has 22 commitments now, a No. 1 ranking by Rivals.com, and there will be no recruits on campus this weekend making official visits.
With almost two weeks still to go before National Signing Day, is recruiting basically over for the Gators?
Not even close.
Here's a perfect example of how the process doesn't end until those letters-of-intent are faxed on Feb. 6: On Tuesday, the UF coaches had an in-home visit with All-American safety Will Hill in Jersey City, N.J., even though Hill committed to the Gators back in September and has never wavered on that commitment.
"Obviously, Will is going to Florida, everybody knows that," St. Peter's Prep coach Rich Hanson said Tuesday. "But the Florida coaches still had an in-home visit (they could make with Hill), and they wanted to make it and Will wanted them to make it. They'll have a chance to get to know each other even a little better."
It's all about closing the deal here in the final two weeks. That means recruiting the committed players as if they weren't committed at all yet. That means lots of recruiting still ahead for Urban Meyer and his staff.
And, UF's class is not complete, yet. The Gators hope to sign up to 25 players on Feb. 6, so there are a few big-time prospects the UF coaches are working on.
The next possible commitment could come Green, a four-star prospect who told the UF coaches on his visit this past weekend that he was going to sign with Florida but wanted to visit Clemson this weekend before making an announcement. Green could have an announcement as soon as Sunday.
The Gators also haven't given up hope on adding a featured tailback to this class. Even though Jamie Harper is basically off the radar now (he'll visit FSU this weekend, then Miami the next), there are a few names left on the board.
Cyrus Gray appears close to committing to Texas A&M, but it hasn't happened yet and UF is still trying to make a late push. The Gators are in a similar position with Milton Knox, who is considered a "soft" commitment to UCLA. Knox hasn't made it official yet with UCLA, and the Gators are still on his short list as he considers his options.
Here's another name that might emerge in the coming days: Enrique Davis, a five-star tailback who signed with Auburn last year, but did not make it academically and went to a prep school (Hargrave Military Academy in Chatham, Va.) last year. The son of former Florida cornerback Henry Davis has opened up his recruiting after deciding he did not want to re-sign with Auburn. The Gators are considered a long shot, but stranger things have happened in recruiting.
The Gators continue to recruit several other prospects, including Lakeland Kathleen wide receiver T.J. Lawrence, Mobile, Ala., defensive end Glenn Harbin and Gainesville, Ga., defensive end Keith Wells, a former Florida State commitment. Harbin and Wells are expected to visit UF on the final recruiting weekend (Feb. 2).
Lawrence visited South Carolina this past weekend and seemed enamored with Steve Spurrier's passing offense. He's expected to make an announcement Feb. 6.
Sanders finds a home
Ohio offensive tackle Zebrie Sanders has done all right for himself. When UF and Georgia decided last week they didn't have room for the four-star prospect, Sanders wasn't certain where he might end up.
After a weekend visit to Tallahassee, he knows. Sanders committed to the Seminoles and now will have a chance to play against Florida for the next three or four years. Sanders is the highest-rated prospect among the FSU offensive line commitments.
In an earlier version of this story, The Sun inaccurately reported that All-America wide receiver Julio Jones was sent home early from his University of Florida visit by the coaches and that Jones, who is from Foley, Ala., was recruiting for Oklahoma while he was in Gainesville. Sources confirmed Thursday that Jones, in fact, stayed for his entire visit and had not done any recruiting for another school. The Sun regrets the errors.
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