Top 10 matchup means big recruiting weekend for UF
Published: Thursday, October 4, 2012 at 8:53 p.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, October 4, 2012 at 8:53 p.m.
Recruiting weekends don't get much bigger than this one at the University of Florida.
When UF hosts LSU on Saturday for the first Top 10 matchup in The Swamp since 2006, the south end zone bleachers are going to be packed with prospects.
On hand will be all but one of Florida's 2013 commits, six Rivals100 members and dozens of recruits from the class of 2014.
The headliners are five-star offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil (Lake City, Fla./Columbia) and five-star defensive tackle Montravius Adams (Vienna, Ga./Dooly County), who are the No. 9 and No. 16 overall prospects on Rivals.com. Florida is trailing some schools for their services, but they aren't planning to make their decision until National Signing Day (Feb. 6).
Having grown up a Gator fan just a half-hour from Gainesville, Tunsil said he recognizes the improvement UF has made this season.
“They've been making good progression,” Tunsil said. “Their running game and offensive line looks a lot better. It's good to see them toward the top of the SEC with some of the other teams. I'm hoping Florida wins this weekend.”
Tunsil, who has UF in third place behind Georgia and Alabama, said an upset against LSU may play a factor in his recruitment.
“It could,” Tunsil said. “How much will depend on how I feel at the end. But I know the game will be real exciting and I'm looking forward to seeing the fans get real loud.”
UF will also be looking to impress receivers Marquez North (Charlotte, N.C./Mallard Creek) and Demarcus Robinson (Fort Valley, Ga./Peach Country). North is a former teammate of UF freshman offensive tackle D.J. Humphries and currently has the Gators in his Top 6, while Robinson called Florida his leader for months before his surprise commitment to Clemson on July 20.
UF is also expected to host Notre Dame linebacker commit Alex Anzalone. The Gators finished in second place for him as well, but the UF coaches and commits have continued their pursuit.
The sixth and possibly most important Rivals100 member coming is Orlando Dr. Phillips safety Marcell Harris. The Gator legacy is believed to be favoring Florida over Texas and FSU. Harris was born and raised in Gainesville — where he grandmother still lives — and his father, Mike “Mud” Harris, played free safety for UF from 1994-1997.
Florida linebacker commit James Hearns, whose Tallahassee Lincoln team plays at Buchholz on Friday night, believes Saturday's atmosphere has the potential to sway recruits.
“I know it's gonna be a sold-out, packed house,” Hearns said. “It makes you picture yourself on that field with all those fans cheering for you. So it's a real good experience and it's going to help a lot, especially if we beat LSU like I think we will.”
UF coach Will Muschamp said this game has a positive impact on recruiting because prospective student-athletes want to play matchups of this magnitude.
“You'd love to coach and play at a place like Florida because of a game like this,” Muschamp said. “It's a national game, it always is. Two of the most prominent programs in the country over the last 10 years as far as playing in national championships and winning national championships.”
From the 2014 class, Florida's two commits — Fort Myers Dunbar receiver Ryeshene Bronson and Palm Bay Bayside defensive tackle Travonte Valentine — are scheduled to attend along with notable targets such as quarterbacks Wade Freebeck (Davie, Fla./Western) and Will Grier (Davidson, N.C./Davidson Day), running back Tony James (Gainesville, Fla./Gainesville), receiver Johnnie Dixon (West Palm Beach, Fla./Dwyer), offensive lineman Garrett Brumfield (Baton Rouge, La./University Laboratory), defensive end Keyon Brown (Wauchula, Fla./Hardee Senior), LSU linebacker commit Kain Daub (Jacksonville, Fla./Sandalwood), defensive backs Duke Dawson (Cross City, Fla./Dixie County) and Jalen Tabor (Washington, D.C./Friendship Collegiate Academy) and athlete Jalen Hurd (Hendersonville, Tenn./Beech Senior).