Elite prospects still on UF’s wish list

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The old saying “The rich get richer” comes to mind when thinking about Florida’s current recruiting class.

After Urban Meyer’s drama put a little uncertainty into what this class would look like in February, everything has been going right. In seven days, the Gators snatched up five top recruits — all on national television. Eleven of the 24 commitments are already on campus and will participate in spring ball.

And there’s still room for improvement in this class. Yes, Florida can still make this class better. It sounds weird to say, I know, but with four spots left, Florida is far from finished with this year’s class.

Here’s a look at the final few prospects Florida’s staff is looking at as the weeks for this recruiting season wind down.

QUARTERBACK

Andrew Hendrix, Cincinnati Moeller (Notre Dame) — Hendrix visited Florida this past weekend for an official visit and reportedly came away very impressed with what Florida has to offer. Although he’s committed to Notre Dame, he committed to the Irish when Charlie Weis was in charge and now that Brian Kelly has taken over, Hendrix said he’s opened his recruitment up a bit in order to take visits. He’s got a strong arm and while he’s mostly a pocket-passer, he’s shown some signs of decent mobility in his high school videos. Trey Burton and Jordan Reed are on campus, but getting another quarterback into the mix this year wouldn’t hurt.

Jesse Scroggins, Lakewood, Calif. (USC) — He’s on the list simply because of the fact that Pete Carroll is out as USC’s coach. He’s hasn’t come out publicly with any intention to looking around, but I have to think that since Florida was a finalist for his commitment over the summer that Meyer and Co. have to get involved with some sort of communication.

RUNNING BACK

Dillon Baxter, San Diego Mission Bay (USC) — He’s a bit of a long shot and I doubt Florida’s staff is actively pursuing him with Mack Brown committed. Brown has met with new running backs coach Stan Drayton and is comfortable with Florida’s coaching staff. However, if anything were to change (many schools are actively recruiting him), don’t be surprised if Baxter’s name comes up closer to Signing Day. He said after Carroll’s resignation that he’d be interested in hearing from Florida.

WIDE RECEIVER

Kyle Prater, Hillside, Ill., Proviso West — The nation’s top receiver has reportedly decommitted from USC and will take visits between now and Signing Day. Tennessee is definitely getting a visit and Prater told reporters in San Antonio that he’d be interested in visiting Florida. He’s got tremendous size and speed and showed great hands over the weekend as well. If he gets on campus for a visit, expect Florida’s staff to turn the heat on considerably.

Ivan McCartney, Miramar — He’s been one of Florida’s top prospects all year and he showed during the U.S. Army Game that he’s an elite receiver with elite speed. He’s been quiet about recruiting all year, but it appears to be a Florida-Miami battle. He’ll decide on Signing Day and Florida’s staff will constantly be after him between now and then.

Adrian Coxson, Baltimore City College High (Penn State) — Coxson visited Florida for the Florida State game and came away impressed (like everyone) with what he saw in Gainesville. There’s been talk about his status with the Nittany Lions lately. Some say he’s leaning toward Florida and that PSU is backing off. If he wanted to commit, I find it hard to belive Florida’s coaches would say no. He’d be a solid get at a position of need.

Kadron Boone, Ocala Trinity Catholic (Texas Tech) — Boone was a guy that a lot of people pegged as a Gator, but when he committed to Texas Tech, it threw many for a loop. Now that Mike Leach is out as head coach, Boone is looking around and Florida is definitely a team to watch. I’m not sure where the interest level is between both parties at the moment, but things could change depending on the receivers in front of him.

Christian Green, Tampa Catholic — He was a Florida lean over the summer, but Georgia and Florida State appear to be his top schools. He’s got tremendous athletic ability and would fit in well in Florida’s offense, but it might be too much of an uphill battle for Florida’s staff this late in the game.

OFFENSIVE LINE

Seantrel Henderson, Saint Paul, Minn., Cretin-Derham Hall — He’s the top lineman in the country and was a beast in Saturday’s all-star game. He’s been on Florida’s radar all fall and finally started talking up the Gators after his official visit in December. He’s a Signing Day guy and Florida is very much in the mix. He’s the No. 1 offensive lineman on Florida’s board and could get most of Florida’s attention the rest of January. USC might have hit a bit of a wall with Carroll gone, which will only help Florida. Ohio State and Notre Dame are also major players.

Chaz Green, Tampa Catholic — Like his teammate, Christian Green, Florida was the leader early on, but Tennessee is in the driver’s seat. It’s going to be hard to pull him away from Knoxville, but he and Christian are officially visiting UF on Jan. 15. Anything can happen when kids see Gainesville up close.

Matt James, Cincinnati St. Xavier — He’s another guy that talked up Florida at the beginning of the recruiting season but then went quiet. After his time in San Antonio (around all those Gators) he has decided to take an official visit to Florida this weekend.

DEFENSIVE LINE

I would put Plano, Texas, defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat on this list, but ESPN reported Monday that he has cancelled his official visit to Florida.

LINEBACKER

Jordan Hicks, West Chester, Ohio, Lakota West — The top linebacker prospect has Florida and Texas at the top of his list, with Texas getting a slight edge at this point. The hiring of George Edwards as defensive coordinator certainly helps Florida’s chances. The next thing is for one last in-home visit from the coaches.

Michael Taylor, Atlanta Westlake (Tennessee) — He was last weekend’s surprise recruit, which means Florida must be very interested in him. He’s not rated as one of the best linebacker recruits by most Web sites, but he won co-MVP honors at the Under Armour game and is a very athletic linebacker. I like Florida’s chances here.

Christian Jones, Winter Park Lake Howell — For most of the year it was Florida State that held the advantage, but after Florida’s recent success, he’s started to get the orange-and-blue itch. He wants to visit before Signing Day and a lot of current Gator commits are pushing him to make it to Gainesville. Still, Hicks and Taylor might be ahead of Jones on Florida’s board.

30 COMMENTS

  1. If Florida brings Prater and Henderson into the Gator Family you will see UF in Atlanta every year through 2013. This class could become famous with two or three more big time players…we all know the best want to win Championships which is why Florida is the premier school in America…The Swamp will be Rockin’!

  2. The Gator Nation welcomes this amazing class with open arms, it just goes to show that the Gators are not only the beasts of the SEC, but the beasts of the entire land. Meyer and company have really turned this recruiting year into a bonanza of future talent, last years kids & this years kids make looking forward to the future….fantastic! Go Gators

  3. honestly… out of these listed i only see us landing adrian coxson and michael taylor. which both these guys are way under rated imo. coxson reminds me a lot of a anquan boldin and isn’t rated high enough because he’s from maryland.

    Christian Jones- most likely out of the rest… his FSU roots are too deep. No way he goes and plays for his whole families in state rival.

    Sentrel- also could see, but in the end he stays close to home and sticks with Ohio state. they are putting together what I think is an underated class. Taylor Graham is going to be an outstanding qb with a redshirt year. Just has never had a chance because of injuries

    Hicks- I wish, but the mere fact that we brought in taylor should show us that our staff probably isn’t very confident that we will land him. In the end, “what momma wants, momma gets”

    Ivan McCartney- honestly he has been so quiet this whole time, who knows what he will really do. I see him ending at scUM though.

    Kadrone Boone- I keep on thinking that UF has a shot.. and then he always shows a ton of interest in everyone else but UF. You would think with Brantley and all the other gator coaches he has in ocala he would want to be at UF, but it doesn’t look like it. In the end, I think it’s a Tech LSU battle

    the rest of the guys… Prater, Baxter, scroggins, etc. im not gonna even touch on because I couldn’t really see us landing any of them. Prater would be nice, but even if he officially does reopen everything I think it’s a battle between zook and lame k.

    If I were to pick 4 from this list to wish for though.. it would be henderson, prater, hicks, taylor

  4. for the record, there was one drop that Prater had that certainly didnt look like he had body control or hands everyone makes it sound like…not saying mcartney is better but he is from south fla and won a state title with record tds in that game.

  5. I still don’t understand Florida’s aversion to big, powerbacks.
    Not that 175 lbs speedsters aren’t great does not seem to even looking after the 230+ backs while other teams are loading up on them. And these are not the heavy blocking fullbacks.

    Look what Alabama did with just one, Ingram. And they have more in the closet.

    4 star recruit, Jaylston Fowler, from Pritchett, Alabama, was reportely one time interested in Fl but was ignored. This 245 pound tailback os now slated to go tp Alaabama and play behind Ingram and Richardson. He could proably start at Florida.
    Big tailbacks/running fullbacks don’t fit Fl? look at what Billy Latsko did for Fl’s offense. Power running up the middle AND the spread do NOT need to be mutually exclusive!!!

    Take a look at Jalston Fowler, the beast, on You Tube…see what you think!

  6. If we can score any 2 off this list we’ll be #1 recruiting class, and it won’t even be close if we get 3. Our existing 11 early enrolled prospects would land us in the top 20 and would give FSU’s entire class a run for it’s money. If can get the early edge on James Wilder Jr (Plant, Tampa) for next year we’re looking at another 5 years of dominating the SEC East, winning a several SEC titles and probably playing in a couple of BCS Title games. Excellent job by the Gator coaching/recruiting staff. Go Gators!

  7. I too am confused as to why the Gators do not go after a “quality” BIG (220 or bigger) running back to get the tough yards Tebow got during his four great years. We have been beaten by SEC teams with that type of back in recent years. Who gets those tough yards for the Gators next year? Moody, who is our biggest returning back and bigger than what so far is in the class of 2010????

  8. I’ll take 2 OL’s, a tall receiver, and either a top shelf QB or LB. Already a great class that can go way off the charts with 4 more great additions. Just have to keep the vultures away through signing day. BTW, Aschoff is doing a great job with this blog. Give him more opportunities as a sports journalist.

  9. I agree with Paul’s assessment of the big power back. Jeff Demps is great when he gets big holes, but if he runs into a DT or a MLB he goes down post haste. Then there are the times when the other teams outside linebackers are fast. That creates a problem for the fast scat backs too. You have to have all kinds of weapons in your arsonel in order to be able to play each kind of team. A large power back can give you ball control and a run game when all else fails.

  10. Offense? Everyone is forgetting who redshirted his freshman year.

    Debose had more than 2,000 yards at wide receiver, running back and quarterback. He is considered the No. 2 receiver in the nation by Rivals.com. “He is as good as there is,” Meyer said. “I think he is the best player in America.

    A power back is all that is needed. Look at the review on Ronald Powell and you may see an option for short yardage downs. He also had great hands as a receiver.

  11. Tim and Jack,

    I agree that Tebow has been Florida’s big powerback. His 240 pound frame is exactly what the Gtors need. Moody and Gillslee are good but don’t appear to have that BIG guy power that Tebow showed. I have never seen any of them run over people. Tebow should have showed clearly what power up the middle, not 35 yards side to side looking for holes (2, 4, 6, oops 3, 5, 7) for a 4 yeard gain. When the scat backs of Florida can slip by people their 175 pounfd frames do not let them run over people, they just run by. This is great and the speed does kill but an ‘ol hammer up the middle works to!
    I’m talking about a Mike Alstott, Jerome Bettis type of athlete. As good as Brantley will be, Fl will miss that power up the middle and I don’t think they have it in their current running back stable. As many great 4 & 5 star athletes as Fl recruited I don’t see any BIG running backs.
    Again, please look at Jalston Fowler on You Tube and see what I’m talking about. I reallt think that Florida is not interested in the big power back even though Tebow proved it would work and would provide the Triple Option Spread with a whole new dimension of possibilities.
    Go Gators!

  12. Enjoy all of your columns, Ed and this is my 1st time submitting a question. Due to lane kiffen leaving UT, are their any prospective recruits that Coach Meyer & his staff would be interested in pursuing? In addition, How will Kiffen going to USC affect the the swaying of Kyle Prater and some other usc recuits that urban has been hot on the trail of? Thanks again for your commitment and hard work…Go Gators!

    Maury Mizell

    Class of 2002

  13. The rules have changed!!!! Four open positions mean a lot of these kids from USC and Tenn. have blown thier opps, waiting till signing day
    won’t be an option for 99% of them now,either your a gator or gator bait. I see maybe Scroggins, Hicks, Henderson and Prator. The rest are left out.

  14. Could be the most explosive offensive team, ever.

    Redfreshman Debose, Myers called him the best recruit in the nation, will be back and alongside Brantly. Could be some monster holes inside for a strong 220 pound back with speed to run through.

    The offense could be the early season surprise. Maybe Urban and company know that defense has the bigger need. What a great class this is shaping up to be.

    Still like the idea of Ronald Powell as a power back in for short yard plays. Powell, the same Defensive star that is well known for tight end possiblities.

    Looks like 2011 could be the year to focus on offensive stars?

    Redfreshman Debose