Junior Day to set tone for UF's 2014 class

Florida coach Will Muschamp knows the importance of making an early impression on recruits.

Matt Stamey/Staff photographer
Published: Friday, February 15, 2013 at 6:20 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, February 15, 2013 at 6:20 p.m.

Some of the nation's top high school football talent for the 2014 recruiting cycle will be in Gainesville on Saturday for Florida's annual Junior Day.

The Gators gained six verbal commitments during last year's big event, including record-setting running back Kelvin Taylor. UF won't match that number this weekend, but it should once again set the tone for the class moving forward.

Florida coach Will Muschamp said early unofficial visits are just as meaningful for prospects and their parents as the official visits in the fall.

“Recruiting is so early now,” Muschamp said. “They don't start their official visits until Sept. 1 their senior year. But really, the unofficial visits throughout the spring and what we call junior days, those are really official visits, they just have to pay for them. Guys are exposed to so much more.”

Dixie County cornerback Duke Dawson, one of four UF commits for 2014, will be on campus recruiting for the Gators.

“I'm looking forward to the trip,” he said. “Seeing the coaches again and meeting the recruits they have coming in. Hopefully I can get some of those guys to join the class.”

Florida is scheduled to host four Rivals100 members — Hollywood Chaminade Madonna defensive tackle Khairi Clark and linebackers Dillon Bates (Ponte Vedra), Raekwon McMillan (Hinesville, Ga./Liberty Co.) and Christian Miller (Columbia, S.C./Spring Valley).

The Gators lead for Miller, who is the most likely prospect to pledge this weekend. His father, former NFL linebacker Corey Miller, was coached by Florida's new defensive line coach Brad Lawing at South Carolina.

Another visitor who favors Florida is Rivals250 defensive end Justin Thornton (Prichard, Ala./Vigor). Some other Rivals250 members expected to attend are Gainesville running back Tony James and Immokalee teammates J.C. Jackson (FSU commit) and D'Ernest Johnson. West Palm Beach Cardinal Newman receiver Travis Rudolph, a Miami commit, is visiting along with Jacksonville Raines offensive guard Travaris Dorsey, who has UF atop his leaderboard.

The Gators will also host Moultrie (Ga.) Colquitt County defensive tackle Jamyius Pittman. He is from the same high school as 2013 Florida offensive guard signee Octavius Jackson.

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