Class of ’09 wish list

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I’d like to start off by apologizing for the lateness of my blog. I’ve been traveling since my graduation Saturday – the last few days from Gainesville to my hometown of Oxford, Miss. I just got to Cedar Rapids, La., to see the rest of the family for Christmas, so forgive me, oh faithful readers.

With all the good cheer and the Christmas spirit alive in well in the town of Quaker Oats, I got to thinking that this is the perfect time to create Florida’s wish list. With a class ranging from 20-24 commitments, the list will be short, but the 2009 class is all about quality, not quantity.

1. Jelani Jenkins (Olney, Md., Our Lady of Good Counsel Linebacker) – Jenkins is the No. 1 priority for the Florida at this point. He’s the top linebacker prospect in the country according to Rivals.com, and he’s a perfect fit for UF’s defensive scheme. He’s strong and fast and would compete for immediate playing time. Word is that UF leads, but he’s set to take a couple more visits.

2. Andre Debose (Sanford, Fla., Seminole Athlete) – He was the guy to get from the start, but it looks as though LSU has taken a considerable lead for his services. Many have compared him to Percy Harvin, and he would be a great pick up for the Gators if Harvin decides to forgo his senior season and enter the NFL Draft. He’s still the best athlete on the board, but it looks like an uphill battle for UF.

3. Trent Richardson (Pensacola, Fla., Escambia Running Back) – He’s still committed to Alabama, but he keeps saying that he wants to take an official visit to Gainesville at some point. The Gators don’t run the style of offense Richardson is used to and the lack of production by UF reserve Emmanuel Moody doesn’t help, but UF proved that its running game can be lethal with anyone in the backfield. Plus, UF knocked off Richardson’s current team with a strong running game in the SEC Championship.

4. William Campbell (Detroit, Cass Tech Defensive Tackle) – He recently visited and was said to have had a good time in Gainesville, but the distance could be a problem. UF is always looking for bodies on the defensive interior and with the futures of a couple of current linemen uncertain, picking up Campbell would be huge.

5. Jarvis Jones (Columbus, Ga., Carver Linebacker) –
He’s this high because who knows what’s going on with Jenkins (he’s one of the hardest prospects to get a hold of). Jones is a very athletic linebacker and has had the Gators at the top of his list for most of the recruiting season. It’s going to be hard to knock UF out for him.

6. Xavior Nixon (Fayetteville, N.C., Jack Britt Offensive Lineman) – It seems as though UF is the favorite heading into his public commitment at the Army All-American Game in January. UF will be losing a few of its starters from its line and Nixon would be a great pickup.

7. Dre Kirkpatrick (Gadsden, Ala., Gadsden City Defensive Back) – Getting him out of the state of Alabama will be hard, but he makes the list because it seems the Gators can never have too many cornerbacks. He’s the No. 1 corner on Rivals and he’s been to Gainesville a few times. Snatching him away from Nick Saban and the Tide would be big for future recruiting in the state.

8. Jon Bostic (Wellington, Fla., Palm Beach Central Linebacker) – He’s this far down only because he could be UF’s first gift of the Christmas season. All indications are that UF’s in the driver’s seat and a commitment could come soon.

9. Orson Charles (Tampa, Plant Tight End) – He’s a smaller version of Cornelius Ingram, but hasn’t talked as glowingly about the Gators like he did over the summer. UF has a tight end in Desmond Parks locked up, but Charles is the best at the position in this class. The Gators lose Ingram and senior tight end Tate Casey this year and adding Charles means the offense could run the two tight end sets it wanted before Ingram’s ACL injury.

10. Randall Carroll (Los Angeles, Cathedral Wide Receiver) – He might be a better overall receiver than Debose, but the chances of landing him are a little less likely than Debose. He’s still committed to USC, but plans to visit UF in January. He’s one of the top prospects in the entire country and getting him would be nice, but I see him as a Trojan in the end although crazier things have happened.

HONORABLE MENTION

Marlon Brown (Memphis, Harding Academy Wide Receiver) – He says he wants to visit UF, but has yet to get to Gainesville. He’s a great athlete, but Tennessee and Georgia look like the favorites at this point. If he gets on campus, things could change dramatically.

Je’Ron Stokes (Philadelphia, Northeast Wide Receiver) –
Still committed to the Vols, but will visit in January. When I spoke to him he had glowing things to say about UF and could be the second Vols commit to switch to the Gators.

Ryne Giddins (Seffner, Fla., Armwood Defensive End) –
Florida is near the top of his list and getting a fast, strong defensive end like Giddins would be a plus, but there are prospects listed a little higher on UF’s board.

Frankie Telfort (Miami, Gulliver Prep linebacker/safety) – Projects as more of a safety at the next level, which could be a problem with UF’s depth. He’s a great athlete and UF never shies away from getting a chunk of them.