Early look at Florida football's Class of 2012


North Marion's Latroy Pittman, the Gators' lone commit at wide receiver so far, will be counted on to help with the lack of playmaking from that position.

Doug Engle/ Staff photographer/ File
Published: Saturday, January 7, 2012 at 8:23 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, January 7, 2012 at 8:23 p.m.

Will Muschamp and his staff have done tons of recruiting work and picked up lots of commitments over the past year. Now, it's coming down to closing time.

Facts

Rivals rankings

Rivals.com's school 2012 class recruiting rankings as of Saturday night with verbal commitments:
1. Alabama, 26
2. Texas, 24
3. Florida, 19
4. Michigan, 24
5. LSU, 21
6. Oklahoma, 18
7. Ohio State, 19
8. Florida State, 15
9. California, 18
10. Miami, 29

With less than a month to go before signing day, that means hanging on to the commitments the Gators have (19 in all at this stage) and securing some elite prospects down the stretch that could make this UF recruiting class one of the top two or three in the nation.

In recruiting, it's all about needs, and that's what the UF coaches have been focusing on while building the 2012 class. Ultimately how well the Gators fill those needs will be determined over the next few weeks.

With closing time fast approaching, here's a position-by-position look at UF's recruiting class:

Quarterback

Returning scholarship players: Jacoby Brissett, Jeff Driskel and Tyler Murphy.

Needs: The Gators would like to have had a QB in this class, but with Brissett and Driskel still just true sophomores, the interest in UF was not there among the top quarterbacks.

Committed players: None.

Still on the board: None.

Tailback

Returning players: Mike Gillislee and Mack Brown.

Needs: With only two scholarship tailbacks on the roster, this is a huge need. The Gators hope/need to sign at least two, but that may not happen now that Mike Davis, an early commitment, has fled.

Committed players: Matt Jones.

Still on the board: Randy “Duke” Johnson (a Miami commitment)

Tight end

Returning players: Jordan Reed, A.C. Leonard and Clay Burton.

Needs: The TE position in the pro-style offense is prominent in the passing game. With only three scholarship TEs on the roster, this is a crucial position of need. The Gators have filled this need with commitments from two of the top prospects in the nation.

Committed players: Kent Taylor and Colin Thompson.

Still on the board: None.

Wide receiver

Returning players: Andre Debose, Quinton Dunbar, Frankie Hammond Jr., Ja'Juan Story, Omarius Hines, Solomon Patton and Stephen Alli.

Needs: After signing only one wide receiver a year ago (Story), this is a huge need, especially considering the lack of playmakers on the current roster. The Gators need to sign at least three or four wide receivers, but have a commitment from only one at the moment.

Committed players: Latroy Pittman.

Still on the board: Stefon Diggs, Nelson Agholor and Avery Johnson (LSU commitment who will visit UF).

Offensive line

Returning players: Xavier Nixon, Matt Patchan, Jonotthan Harrison, Kyle Koehne, Jon Halapio, Nick Alajajian, Chaz Green, Sam Robey, Trip Thurman, Tommy Jordan and Ian Silberman.

Needs: Depth on the OL is a major concern. After signing only two offensive linemen a year ago, the Gators would like to have at least four in this class, but it is doubtful that will happen.

Committed players: D.J. Humpries (the No. 1 tackle prospect in the nation), Jessamen Dunker and Visesio Salt.

Still on the board: Avery Young, Andrus Peat, Kyle Murphy.

Defensive end

Returning players: Ronald Powell, Sharrif Floyd, Earl Okine, Kedric Johnson and Tevin Westbrook.

Needs: With Floyd likely playing more DT in 2012, the lack of numbers here is scary. The positive is the UF coaches can sell (without much effort) early playing time for some big-time prospects the Gators are pursuing. UF needs to sign at least four. The Gators got big news out of the Army All-American Game on Saturday with the commitment of five-star prospect Jonathan Bullard.

Committed players: Jonathan Bullard and Quinteze Williams.

Still on the board: Darius Hamilton, Jordan Jenkins, Leonard Williams and Dante Fowler (an FSU commitment who will visit this month).

Defensive tackle

Returning players: Omar Hunter, Sharrif Floyd, Dominique Easley and Leon Orr.

Needs: The Gators have only four scholarship DTs on the roster, and three of them are upperclassmen (two juniors, one senior), so this is a critical area of need that has to be addressed. Having so few defensive tackles in the rugged SEC is not a good thing. The Gators need to sign at least three or four.

Committed players: Damien Jacobs (junior college transfer who will participate in spring practice), JaFar Mann and Dante Phillips, who still plans to visit other schools between now and signing day.

Still on the board: Dalvin Tomlinson.

Linebacker

Returning players: Jonathan Bostic, Jelani Jenkins, Lerentee McCray, Darrin Kitchens, Michael Taylor, Graham Stewart, Gideon Ajagbe and Chris Johnson.

Needs: The Gators return their three starters (Bostic, Jenkins and McCray), but lack of depth is a concern. The Gators would like to have four linebackers in this class.

Committed players: Antonio Morrison (an early enrollee who will participate in spring practice) and Jeremi Powell.

Still on the board: Josh Harvey-Clemons (a Florida lean) and Schyler Miles (a Florida lean, but would likely play fullback).

Cornerback

Returning players: Marcus Roberson, Cody Riggs, Jaylen Watkins, Loucheiz Purifoy and Jeremy Brown.

Needs: Five scholarship cornerbacks obviously are not enough, especially when you consider one of the five has had major health issues for much of his career (Jeremy Brown). The Gators are looking to sign at least four corners.

Committed players: Willie Bailey (an early enrollee who will participate in spring practice) and Brian Poole.

Still on the board: Tracy Howard.

Safety

Returning players: Matt Elam, Josh Evans, De'Ante Saunders, Jabari Gorman and Valdez Showers.

Needs: The Gators will have a lot of experience at these two positions in 2012, with the top four players returning. This is not a huge position of need, but UF would like to sign two.

Committed players: Rhaheim Ledbetter and Marcus Maye.

Still on the board: Deon Bush.

Contact Robbie Andreu at 352-374-5022 or andreur@gvillesun.com. Also check out Andreu's blog at Gatorsports.com.

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