National Signing Day predictions
Published: Tuesday, February 5, 2013 at 5:39 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, February 5, 2013 at 5:39 p.m.
It should be yet another memorable National Signing Day for the Gators, who remain in the running for several top prospects announcing their decisions Wednesday. Already sitting on a consensus top-five class, the Gators have a chance to close strong. Veteran football beat writer Robbie Andreu and recruiting expert Zach Abolverdi think they have an idea how things will play out for UF. Here are their predictions:
Jay-nard Bostwick, DT — Throughout the fall and summer, Bostwick called nearby Miami his leader and it seemed like a forgone conclusion that he would end with the ’Canes. But that changed over the past two months after building a strong bond with Bryant Young and giving UF his last official visit. Prediction: Florida.
Tashawn Bower, DE — Bower has been a soft verbal to the Tigers since December and did not shore up his pledge during his visit to The Plains over the weekend. Bower says he’s down to Auburn and Florida, but why have an announcement when you claim to still be committed? Will Muschamp was the last coach to have an in-home visit with him, and I think he flips a defensive end on signing day for the second straight year. Prediction: Florida.
James Clark, WR — The Gators offered Clark during his unofficial visit on Jan. 6 and immediately became one of his favorites. He did his due diligence and took all five official visits to other schools, but he returned to Gainesville on his own dime last weekend with father in tow. Academics are the determining factor in his decision, and UF is a slightly stronger school than his other finalists, Clemson and Ohio State. Plus it’s close to home. Prediction: Florida.
Robert Nkemdiche, DE — The nation’s No. 1 consensus recruit had a great trip to Florida on Jan. 18 and is close with UF commits, but he also told them privately that he’s going to Ole Miss. This is no surprise because his brother plays for the Rebels, and their mother wants them at the same school. The Gators never had a realistic shot at Nkemdiche, but at least they can hang their hat on being able to attract a recruit of his caliber to campus. Prediction: Ole Miss.
Jarran Reed, DT — I’m not sure about this guy. It sounded like Florida had the edge following his official visit on Jan. 11, although he remained publicly pledged to Ole Miss. Then he visited Alabama the past two weekends and decommitted from the Rebels on Sunday. On the surface, he seems to have turned toward the Tide, but that isn’t what he’s telling those close to him. Prediction: Florida.
Jay-nard Bostwick, DT — Of the players left on UF’s board, he may be the most important because defensive tackle is a huge position of need for the Gators. Bostwick is going to be tough to pull away from Miami, but he has a great relationship with the Florida coaches and will have a chance to see the field early at UF. He’ll be a huge signing day get for Will Muschamp. Prediction: Florida.
Tashawn Bower, DE — With the coaching change at Auburn, Bower backed out of his solid verbal commitment to the Tigers, but has insisted that he remains a soft AU commitment even though he’s visited other schools, including Florida. Bower said he grew up a Gator fan. Lately, it seems that those long-time UF fans have ended up elsewhere. Bower will be no different. Prediction: Auburn.
James Clark, WR — Recruiters across the nation have to be kicking themselves for not getting on this top prospect earlier. Despite the relatively late interest (and offer) from Florida, the Gators have an excellent chance to add this speedy playmaker to their class Wednesday. But watch out for Urban Meyer on this one. Clark had a great visit to Ohio State two weeks ago and he seems to really like Meyer and the OSU coaches. Prediction: Ohio State.
Robert Nkemdiche, DE — No explanation needed. Ole Miss, right? Well, that’s been the feeling for months now, with the nation’s No. 1 prospect telegraphing his choice at almost every turn in the recruiting process. His pick has been so obvious, it makes me think something strange could happen Wednesday. Signing-day shocker? Maybe. The Rebels have to be a little worried after Nkemdiche went ahead and decided to visit LSU last weekend and then let everyone know what a great time he had in Baton Rouge. I’m tempted to pick LSU on this one, but I just don’t see it happening. Prediction: Ole Miss.
Jarran Reed, DT — He decommitted from Ole Miss earlier this week after making back-to-back visits to Alabama. He has friends at UF (DTs Darious Cummings and Damien Jacobs) and seemed to be favoring the Gators after his official visit to UF several weeks ago. But those back-to-back weekends in Tuscaloosa (the second on his own dime) may be a dire sign for the Gators. Prediction: Alabama.