Sifting through the ESPN 150

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The first official rankings of the ESPNU 150 Class of 2010 came out earlier this week and according to ESPN, the Gators hit the mother lode. Florida has nine of its 16 verbal commitments on the list, and five of them are ranked in the top 25 (Texas is the only team with more with 10 players in the 150). Florida also either has a verbal or is on the short list for six of the top 10 players.

Wow. Just, wow.

These rankings are a bit different from those of Rivals.com and Scout.com, but all three have been very kind to Florida and it’s pledges. And yeah, it’s still way too early, but as of now ESPN ranks the Gators’ class No. 1 right now. Rivals has Florida fourth, while Scout has UF at No. 7.

Florida is No.1 with the most powerful sports network in the world because recruiting analyst Tom Luginbill and his boys love them some Gator prospects. If you look to ESPN for your recruiting info, you would see that Bradenton, Southeast safety Jonathan Dowling is the headliner of the class, listed as the No. 7 prospect in the country – making him the highest-rated Florida verbal. Rivals has him at 58 and Scout ranked him No. 52.

Florida’s second-highest ESPN-ranked prospect is Lauderdale Lakes, Boyd Anderson defensive back Demar Dorsey, the No. 2 safety and the 11th-best player in the country. He’s good, but that’s pretty high.

As for prospects interested in Florida, West Chester, Ohio, Lakota West linebacker Jordan Hicks is rated the second-best player in the country. First off, Hicks is one of the most athletic linebackers in the country, but he’s not the same kind of talent as Port St. Lucie, Treasure Coast’s Jeff Luc, who is ranked just behind him on the ESPN 150 at No. 5. It’s hard for me to see Hicks competing at the same level as Luc.

Gator fans will be happy to see that Pahokee receiver Chris Dunkley is the second-best receiver – behind Fort Worth, Texas, Dunbar’s Darius White – coming in at No. 13 on the list.

An issue I have with ESPN’s rankings is where West Palm Beach, Elam athlete Matt Elam is ranked. He’s a top 10 player by both Rivals and Scout but gets the snub by ESPN and takes the 25 spot. He’s one of the best players in the country. He can run out of the backfield or snatch a pass out of the air on defense. He’s fast and not afraid to use his body in any situation. OK, enough filling up Elam’s head.

Another difference among the sites is their No. 1 ranked players. ESPN has Plano, Texas, Plano West defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat as it’s top player. And no, he doesn’t list Florida as one of his schools of interest. Rivals and Scout both went with Saint Paul, Minn., Cretin-Derham Hall offensive lineman Seantrel Henderson, who lists Florida, but has yet to even see campus or talk to UF’s coaches.

This will all soon change once these kids start playing real games, but for now, Florida is on top of not just the USA Today coaches poll, but the recruiting poll … well, one of them at least.

Here’s a more detailed look at ESPNU’s 150 and how it pertains to UF:

UF commitments
7. Jonathan Dowling (Bradenton, Southeast)
11. Demar Dorsey (Lauderdale Lakes, Boyd Anderson)
16. Mack Brown (Lithonia, Ga., MLK)
21. Ian Silberman (Fleming Island)
25. Matt Elam (West Palm Beach, Dwyer)
30. Gerald Christian (Dwyer)
47. Jaylen Watkins (Cape Coral)
69. Leon Orr (New Port Richey, Gulf)
75. Solomon Patton (Mobile, Ala., Murphy)

Uncommited players of interest
2. Jordan Hicks (West Chester, Ohio., Lakota West)
3. Ronald Powell (Moreno Valley, Cali., Rancho Verde)
4. Seantrel Henderson (Saint Paul, Minn., Cretin-Durham)
5. Jeff Luc (Port St. Lucie, Treasure Coast)
12. Lamarcus Joyner (Fort Lauderdale, St. Thomas Aquinas)
13. Chris Dunkley (Pahokee)
18. Jordon James (Corona, Cali.)
26. Christian Jones (Winter Park, Lake Howell)
37. Owamagbe Odighizuwa (Portland, Ore., David Douglas)
41. Dominique Easley (Staten Island, N.Y., Curtis)
50. Christian Green (Tampa, Catholic)
62. Chaz Green (Catholic)
74. Sharrif Floyd (Philadelphia, George Wash.)
92. Corey Lemonier (Hialeah)
97. Kadron Boone (Ocala, Trinity Catholic)
113. Ivan McCartney (Miramar)
143. Justin McCay (Shawnee, Kan., Bishop Miege)

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