National Signing Day predictions for UF


Published: Tuesday, January 31, 2012 at 8:18 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 31, 2012 at 8:18 p.m.

Whether it turns out to be great, disappointing or somewhere in between, National Signing Day promises to be a memorable one for the Florida Gators, who are in the running for some of the nation's top recruits announcing Wednesday.

Veteran football beat writer Robbie Andreu and recruiting expert Zach Abolverdi think they have an idea of how things will play out for UF. Here are their predictions:

ANDREU'S PICKS

Stefon Diggs, WR — Despite the visit to Ohio State this past weekend and a promise from Urban Meyer that he'll be the next Percy Harvin (haven't we heard this before?), the Gators still feel positive about landing this dynamic five-star player. Diggs has said numerous times that he wants to play in a pro-style offense. Will Muschamp has one; Meyer does not. Still, the Gators are going to have to wait this one out. Diggs doesn't plan to announce until Feb. 10. Prediction: Florida.

Tracy Howard, CB — A week ago, it looked like the nation's top cornerback prospect was a lock for Florida. Now, after a weekend visit to Miami, there is all this speculation that Howard will sign with the ‘Canes today. The Gators are still in this one, and his mother is a big-time UF fan, but it looks like Howard has decided to stay closer to home. Prediction: Miami.

Nelson Agholor, WR — He has been real quiet throughout the recruiting process, but according to some of his high school teammates, he's been talking up Southern Cal for quite some time and seems enamored with the Trojans. Along with his mother, he visited USC this past weekend, so the Trojans hold the advantage of having the last visit. Unlike Howard, Agholor does not mind leaving home, but ... Prediction: Florida.

Josh Harvey-Clemons, LB — Florida was one of the first schools to offer, and he's liked the Gators for a long time. Many think Georgia is the team to beat. In reality, it might be Florida State, which emerged as a late contender when Harvey-Clemons visited Tallahassee on Jan. 21-22. Prediction: Florida State.

Dante Fowler, DE — He will have a Florida hat at his announcement today, but there's zero chance he puts it on (so forget about a big signing day surprise for the Gators). The UF coaches worked him hard, and he listened, but Fowler never really wavered from his long-time commitment to the Seminoles. Prediction: Florida State.

Avery Young, OL — Given the fact the Gators have secured only two offensive linemen in a huge area of need, Young is a priority. It's been hard to get a feel for this guy because he's been very private throughout the process. My feeling is he won't be part of UF's class. Prediction: Georgia.

Leonard Williams, DE — It sounded very positive earlier in the week when it was reported Williams was down to Florida and Southern Cal. There had been a lot of speculation that Auburn had been his leader, but apparently the Tigers have faded late. The Gators made up a lot of ground in the last week, but Williams is a tough guy to get a feel for. Prediction: Southern Cal.

Schyler Miles, LB — Miles and Agholor are high school teammates and close friends. So, if I'm predicting Agholor to Florida, this is a no-brainer, although Miles has shown sincere interest in Kansas and West Virginia. Prediction: Florida.

Brian Poole, CB — He's been committed to UF for a long time and says he's never wavered, but Notre Dame won't go away and he's in possession of a ND letter-of-intent, so there's still a chance he could pull a signing day shocker. Prediction: Florida.

ABOLVERDI'S PICKS

Stefon Diggs, WR — Diggs' coach said he won't commit to a school unless his mother sees the campus and gives her approval. The five-star receiver has taken official visits to Cal, Auburn, Florida and Ohio State, but UF is the only school that Diggs brought his family to. In fact, his mother has been to Gainesville twice. She also came down for the FSU game with the parents of Jelani Jenkins, who went to the same high school as Diggs and is very close to their family. Prediction: Florida.

Tracy Howard, CB — Howard's recruitment has been all over the place in recent months. FSU had the edge in November, Florida took the lead in December, LSU became a threat in January, and now Miami is the team to beat following his visit there last weekend. A lot of stock has been put into his mom being a Gator fan, but his father has a life-threatening condition and that weighs heavily on Howard. The Hurricanes are the hometown team, and his family can see the stadium from their house. Prediction: Miami.

Nelson Agholor, WR — Up until early January, Florida was believed to be the favorite for Agholor. He told UF commits Marcus Maye and Kent Taylor that the Gators were his top school. Then Southern Cal came out of nowhere and secured his final official visit. Turns out, USC is his dream school and has been in the picture from the beginning. The Trojans were the first to offer, and they have zero depth at receiver due to transfers and scholarship limitations. Prediction: Southern Cal.

Josh Harvey-Clemons, LB — Earlier this week, Harvey-Clemons said Florida has two advantages over FSU and Georgia. No one recruited him harder than Muschamp and he believes his best opportunity at early playing time is in Gainesville. He also grew up a Gator fan. Prediction: Florida.

Dante Fowler, DE — Throughout his recruiting process, Fowler maintained that he was 100 percent solid with the Seminoles. Yet he's taken seven visits to UF and many think that's where the former Gator-lean wants to be, but his family of FSU fans has kept him committed. After his in-home visit with Muschamp on Jan. 26, Fowler said he didn't know where he was going and would call the shots on his final decision. Prediction: Florida.

Avery Young, OL — Young was always in my mock class based on necessity — not confidence. Florida needs to land another lineman, and he is the last option. Distance favors the Gators and they led early on, but Young's mom lives near Auburn and Georgia is in the picture as well. I'm going to say UF because it's the school in the middle and Muschamp recruited him the hardest, but it's an educated guess at best. Prediction: Florida.

Leonard Williams, DE — Williams grew up a Gator fan and called Florida his co-leader in the fall. Then he didn't show up for three official visits that he scheduled to UF. He finally did make it to Gainesville on Jan. 23 and put the Gators in his final top two. But his other favorite is USC, and he was raised in California. Prediction: Southern Cal.

Schyler Miles, LB — You would think that someone with a top three of Florida, Kansas and West Virgina would easily pick the Gators. Not Schyler Miles. He has a close relationship with Charlie Weis, and the Jayhawks offer plenty of playing time. They also got his last visit. Prediction: Kansas.

Brian Poole, CB — Notre Dame never slowed in its pursuit of Poole, and the Irish coaching staff convinced him to take an official visit to South Bend in October. But he has remained solid to UF and was even on the phone with Howard this week trying to get him on board. Prediction: Florida.

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