UF recruiting: Key weekend
Published: Friday, October 19, 2012 at 9:27 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, October 19, 2012 at 6:28 p.m.
Time to pull out the recruiting red carpet again.
For the second straight home game, the Florida Gators play host to a Top-10 team — as well as dozens of high school football prospects lining up at the gates of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.
At least 14 members of Florida's 2013 class will be in attendance, including offensive lineman Cameron Dillard (Canton, Mich./Canton). He's the lone UF commit officially visiting, but that might not be the case by the end of the weekend.
ESPN's No. 1-ranked offensive guard David Dawson (Detroit, Mich/Cass Tech) will also be on his UF official visit less than a week after decommitting from Michigan. Dawson named the Gators his leader last Sunday and there's a high possibility he pulls the trigger on his first trip to Gainesville.
Dillard, rated a four-star recruit by ESPN, has been close friends with Dawson since they were in ninth grade, and he feels they could make a dynamic duo on Florida's offensive line.
“We can be the road graders from Michigan,” Dillard said. “I'll be playing center and he'll be at guard. So two good friends playing next to each other would be real cool.
“We've got a connection now and it would just carry on over to college. Hopefully this visit will make that happen.”
The third official visitor this weekend is safety Marcell Harris (Orlando/Dr. Phillips). He attended the LSU game and this weekend will be his fifth trip to UF since June 12. Harris has previously taken officials to Texas (Sept. 1), Oklahoma (Sept. 22) and Florida State (Oct. 13), but the Gators are believed to have the edge because of his desire to play in the SEC and his family ties to Florida. Harris was born and raised in Gainesville — where his grandmother still lives — and his father, Mike “Mud” Harris, played free safety for UF from 1994-1997.
Like Harris, Lake City Columbia five-star offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil is making his second stop at UF in three weeks. Tunsil, the country's consensus No. 1 prospect at his position, has the Gators in third place behind Georgia and Alabama.
Florida is expected to receive unofficial visits from Clemson receiver commit Demarcus Robinson (Fort Valley, Ga./Peach Country), Alabama tight end commit O.J. Howard (Autauga, Ala./Autauga Academy) and Auburn linebacker commit Trey Johnson (Lawrenceville, Ga./Central Gwinnett). All three recruits are in the top 100 of the Rivals.com rankings.
The one to keep an eye on is Robinson, who favored Florida back in the spring and summer and has been recruited by the UF staff harder than any other school.
“Even though I'm not committed to them, they've kept in contact with me more than the Clemson coaches and just always ask me if I'm ready to be a Gator. So they've been in my head. They're having a great season. I knew they would be pretty good and bounce back from last year. But to be No. 2 in the nation, that's impressive.”
The 6-foot-2, 200-pounder admits he would like to see the Gators pass more often, but he said the Florida coaches have stressed they don't have enough talent and size at receiver and he could change that. Robinson remains solid with Clemson, but he's keeping his options open and will give UF a shot to sway him.
“It's pretty strong,” Robinson said of his commitment, “but I'm trying to see what Florida can offer and do for me and see if they're a better school than Clemson.”
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 quarterback Will Grier (Davidson, N.C./Davidson Day), Alabama running back commit Bo Scarbrough (Tuscaloosa, Ala./Northridge), receiver Demarre Kitt (Tyrone, Ga./Sandy Creek), defensive end Andrew Williams (McDonough, Ga./Eagle's Landing) and defensive backs Duke Dawson (Cross City, Fla./Dixie County), Wesley Green (Lithonia, Ga./Martin Luther King), T.J. Harrell (Tampa, Fla./Tampa Catholic) and D.J. Smith (Marietta, Ga./Walton).