UF's class of 2010 is No. 1 but what about historically?

Urban Meyer has to be excited about National Signing Day on Feb. 3.

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Published: Tuesday, January 12, 2010 at 5:20 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 12, 2010 at 5:20 p.m.

Florida's 2010 recruiting class is creeping into the best-ever conversation.

Even after health issues put Florida coach Urban Meyer's future with the program in limbo, recruiting barely suffered. In a seven-day span, Florida gained verbal commitments from five top recruits — Ronald Powell, Sharrif Floyd, Matt Elam, Chris Dunkley and Dominque Easley — on national television.

Of those five, Scout.com rates Powell, Floyd, Elam and Dunkley as five-star prospects, while Rivals.com ranks all but Dunkley and Easley as five-star athletes.

With the recent run unlike any other in recruiting history, will Florida's 2010 class stand alone as the greatest ever?

As of now, there's still work to be done.

Rivals national recruiting analyst Mike Farrell said Florida's 2006 class reigns supreme in Gators history. It brought Tim Tebow, Percy Harvin and Brandon Spikes and captured two SEC and national championships.

Though Scout, Rivals and ESPN all currently rate Florida's class as No. 1 in the country, its lack of big-name offensive players has it trailing '06.

"Defensive guys win championships, but offensive guys get all the attention," Farrell said. "The marquee star power isn't there.

"On paper, they have a chance to finish with the top class we've ever seen. Without a marquee quarterback, a marquee wide receiver, without a big-time running back, I don't think it will have as much of an impact, especially on the offensive side of the ball, as that 2006 class did."

Of Florida's 24 verbals, 12 are four- or-five-star defensive players, according to Rivals. Five of Florida's offensive commitments are four-star prospects. None are five-stars.

Scout rates six of Florida's offensive commitments as four- or-five-star athletes, with two — Dunkley and running back Mack Brown — listed as five-stars. ESPN ranks three players, all defensive, as five-star recruits.

Scout's East Regional Manager, Bob Lichtenfels, agrees that without a "program changer" like Tebow or a dynamic offensive juggernaut like Harvin, Florida's 2010 class dips just below its 2006 counterpart. Though it could be one of the best defensive hauls any school has seen, especially on the defensive line.

"Some schools are lucky if they get a difference-maker like Powell or Floyd once every 10 years," Lichtenfels said. "Powell's an incredible talent. That's a kid you look at and you say that's a kid that's going to be in the NFL in three years, which is pretty sick."

With four class spots remaining, Farrell said the Gators have a chance to surpass the 2006 class and even USC's 2006 class, which Rivals ranks as the absolute best.

Rivals, which determines its team rankings with a mathematical formula based on the average ranking of a school's top 20 prospects and how their positional rankings compare to others in the nation, gave USC's 2006 class 3,018 points. Florida finished just behind the Trojans with 2,901.

To Farrell, for Florida to cement this class as best ever, it will have to land Saint Paul, Minn., Cretin-Derham Hall offensive lineman Seantrel Henderson and Hillside, Ill., Proviso West receiver Kyle Prater, whom Rivals ranks as the top two prospects nationally, giving Florida its two marquee offensive players. That would certainly catapult Florida, who currently has 2,669 points, over USC's 2006 mark.

Florida's class might miss the greatest mark, but Farrell and Lichtenfels assure it will take home the 2010 trophy.

"It's amazing what they've done considering what's going on with Urban Meyer," Lichtenfels said. "Everybody basically thought all the wheels were going to fall of the wagon and that Florida was done. To turn around like they've done is pretty incredible. I think you're going to see over the next couple of weeks, some of those kids that were kind of on the fence with Florida, Florida State, Georgia, some of those kids are going to start flipping over to Florida."

Added Farrell: "They do have a lot of momentum and there's not a kid in the country that's currently looking around that wouldn't consider Florida."

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