Early enrollees on way to UF
Published: Sunday, January 5, 2014 at 5:12 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 5, 2014 at 5:12 p.m.
The Florida football team welcomes seven early enrollees to campus this week, all of whom will help the Gators address key positions of need.
Florida's seven early enrollees
Taven Bryan, OL, Casper (Wyo.), 6-5, 250
Duke Dawson, DB, Cross City Dixie County, 5-11, 195
DeAndre Goolsby, TE, Derby (Kan.), 6-4, 225
Will Grier, QB, Davidson (N.C.) Day, 6-2, 187
Karvaris Harkless, OL, Jacksonville Trinity Christian, 6-5, 285
Nolan Kelleher, OL, Mount Pleasant (S.C.) Wando, 6-6, 315
Drew Sarvary, OT, Tyler (Texas) JC/Tallahassee North Florida Christian, 6-5, 318
A late addition to the group is offensive tackle Kavaris Harkless, who decommitted from Louisville on Sunday and chose to enroll at UF after news broke of Charlie Strong being hired by Texas.
Harkless, rated a four-star recruit by ESPN, was offered by Florida in December and will be joined in Gainesville by offensive linemen Taven Bryan, Nolan Kelleher and Drew Sarvary.
Cornerback Duke Dawson, tight end DeAndre Goolsby and quarterback Will Grier are the other enrollees.
None come in with more excitement or expectations than Grier, who had a decorated high school football career.
The U.S. Army All-American won three consecutive state championships at Davidson (N.C) Day, was named Gatorade North Carolina Player of the Year the past two seasons and set a national record for single-game passing yardage (837) in 2012.
Grier finished with 14,565 passing yards, 2,955 rushing yards and 226 total touchdowns in three years of varsity play.
He was also one of Florida's most solid commitments and became an ambassador for the Gators on the recruiting front through social media and his interactions with other prospects.
“Can't wait to be at a great school and playing for a great program on January 6. No better place to be than the University of Florida,” Grier wrote on his Twitter account last week.
The recent departures of quarterbacks Tyler Murphy and Max Staver will have Grier competing with Skyler Morhinweg for the backup job behind starter Jeff Driskel.
Fellow freshmen Goolsby will also be in line for playing time given the lack of production at tight end in 2013 and Kent Taylor's transfer to Kansas. Although Goolsby is a consensus three-star prospect, he was heavily recruited by Arkansas, Ohio State, Oklahoma and Oregon, among others.
Dawson, a Semper Fidelis All-American, was pursued by Alabama and Florida State but never wavered on his early pledge to the Gators. Former UF and NFL cornerback Keiwan Ratliff personally trained Dawson, who will help fill the void left by Loucheiz Purifoy, Marcus Roberson and Jaylen Watkins.
The four incoming linemen should provide depth to a Florida unit that lost upperclassmen Jon Halapio, Jonotthan Harrison, Kyle Koehne and Ian Silberman. Offensive tackles Bryan and Harkless likely need time to develop, while Kelleher, a Semper Fidelis All-American, and Sarvary, a junior college signee, may find themselves in the rotation at guard.
“There is definitely opportunity there,” Kelleher said. “I just need to work hard.”
There are now 20 members in UF's 2014 class, and the Gators currently have room for four more signees. The verbal commitments of the other 13 recruits are not binding until they sign their national letters of intent on Feb. 5.