Weekend was hard to predict

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Sunday was supposed to be for football watching. The NFC and AFC championships were supposed to be the only things football-related that I would care about. Sure, there were three official visitors in Gainesville over the weekend, but there wasn’t supposed to be much noise coming from any of them.

Defensive end Ronald Powell was — and still is — as solid a Florida commit as they come, and this visit wasn’t going to change any of that.

Tight end commit Michael McFarland hadn’t gotten much attention this year in the recruiting world, but there was little doubt he’d be looking at any other school other thanFlorida.

And Tyler Murphy was supposed to be a project recruit coming in to talk with coaches.

Talk about going 1-for-3.

Powell was the only prospect that didn’t hinder my NFL football viewing Sunday. And this blog was supposed to lead with me bragging about how I picked the Colts and Vikings to meet in the Super Bowl.

Talk about going 1-for-4 …

But hey, this is recruiting and there never is a dull moment.

Sunday brought Florida its 26th commitment of the 2010 class when Murphy, a quarterback from Wethersfield, Conn., committed immediately after receiving an offer Sunday morning. The thing about Murphy is that he’s a tremendous athlete. He’s probably the most athletic quarterback Urban Meyer has ever gotten a commitment from. He runs and cuts like a wide receiver. I’m still not sure what I think about his arm. I’ve only seen a little video on it, while I’ve seen a ton on his feet. I sure know he can run with the best of them. But if quarterbacks coach Scott Loeffler personally went up there to recruit him, then I guess he really will come to Gainesville to play quarterback.

The Gators need the depth and he will provide a nice change of pace in the backfield opposite John Brantley.

McFarland’s situation is a win for all parties involved. He sounded so down at first about grayshirting, but the more he talked about it, the more he mentioned how he can take this time to really get his body right. When I saw him over the summer working out at Florida’s camp, he definitely looked too small to be a tight end. He’s got the height, but he’s skin and bones. He also has to work on his routes. It looked like he was running through sand with the way he moved his legs. He knows his faults, and this is a perfect chance for him to totally transform himself in the next six months. Extreme Football Makeover!

McFarland’s January 2011 enrollment also helps Florida make more room in this class. Florida now has three more spots to reach 28 for 2010. The staff still wants a linebacker, receiver and offense lineman. Oh wow, what a coincidence! There are still a handful of prospects with the Gators near the top of their lists that meet those exact needs!

Wide receiver

  • Delray Beach Atlantic receiver James Louis made that surprise visit to Gainesville last week, and even though he’s committed to Ohio State, rumors are flying that he could be switching to Florida as early as this week. His coach came out and denied that and said Louis is very firm to Ohio State and was done with recruiting. Well, it’s recruiting and I still like Florida’s chances. He’s wanted to be in this class since the summer and he might get his shot (again).
  • Tampa Catholic’s Christian Green told me last week that Florida made up ground and that the Gators are even with Florida State and Georgia. But his brother just committed to Florida A&M and he has too many ties to FSU. The Seminoles have the edge.
  • Baltimore, Md., City College’s Adrian Coxson is someone that I’ve heard could commit any day now. But he hasn’t. The longer he stays uncommitted, the harder it could be for him to be a part of Florida’s class. But he might just be looking to find what’s really right for him. Georgia has gotten into the mix, and it looks like the Bulldogs are creeping to the top of his list. Notre Dame is also a team to watch.

Offensive line

  • Tampa Catholic offensive lineman Chaz Green has Florida on his (very) short list. He was a heavy Florida lean, then a heavy Tennessee lean and now he’s up in the air. Tennessee could be out of it now that Lane Kiffin is at USC. But USC could now replace Tennessee. He’s visiting Southern Cal this weekend, and his decision should come down to Florida and USC.
  • St. Paul, Minn., Cretin-Derham Hall offensive lineman Seantrel Henderson is the guy everyone wants but only one team can have. I’ve heard about him secretly being a Gator lean and that Florida has a great chance of snagging him. While I agree Florida has a chance, I think Meyer’s situation really stunned Henderson and turned him away a bit. Ohio State really sticks in my mind when I think about where he could really end up.

Linebacker

  • West Chester, Ohio, Lakota West linebacker Jordan Hicks is the hardest guy to read. Oh, that’s because he doesn’t talk about recruiting with the media. There are plenty of rumors about him being silently committed to Florida. Some even think that Ohio State has the advantage. And I don’t know why people are already counting out Texas. Regardless, Texas, Florida and Ohio State have a chance to land him, and one school will be very happy — and exhausted — come Signing Day.
  • Winter Park Lake Howell’s Christian Jones has come out of nowhere to become one of the hottest Florida recruits at the moment. He was influenced by current Gator commits to visit unofficially a week ago, and it looks like Florida has made up some ground on FSU. He was supposed to commit to FSU, but he’s still open. I like the Gators’ chances, but FSU will have coaches lining up to speak with him before NSD.
  • Homestead’s Darrin Kitchens is a guy I like for Florida’s class. He’s very athletic and he’s got the talent. He might not be a Hicks or Jones, but he’s a Meyer-type athlete. If he wants to be a Gator, he’ll have to do some waiting on Feb. 3.

21 COMMENTS

  1. Tyler murphy runs a 4.4 40 at 6’2″ and 200+. He scored 6 TD’s in one game this season as an option QB. This kid is a pure athelete but wants to play QB, Sounds like a taller Joe Haden to me. After Hernandez I figure Urban wanted another kid from Connecticut.

  2. Just lost my comments before submitting them. Errant stray keystroke. Could not retrieve. What fun!
    In short, we’ll sign (in decreasing order of confidence) Jordan Hicks (LB), James Louis (WR), and Seantrel Henderson (OL).

    ED: Possibly the reason people are discounting Texas in the Jordan Hicks sweepstakes is the same reason I’m most confident of his acquisition: because by the Longhorns own account (BurntOrangeNation.com), they are ALREADY loaded with young talent at LB, with a minimum of 4 LB’s and potentially as many as six (including two super-seniors, by petition) returning next year.
    Hicks’ starting days will commence much sooner at Florida than they would at Texas!

    If Urban “Legend” TWICE turned down his would-be “Notre Dream” coaching job (when they were wide open and searching) for the Gators – first to come five years ago, then to stay five weeks ago, then there must be some relative drawback(s) to Notre Dame and/or some advantage(s) to Florida! (Duh!!).
    If this alone isn’t proof positive that it’s truly great to be a Florida Gator, than I don’t know what is!!!
    What’s more, when Urban, with a nod from his wife, his daughter, his doctors, AND EVEN GOD, tries to resign his position, he STILL can’t resist the call of the Swamp (who could?), and turns back!!!

    C’mon, Gator Nation, let’s all say it together! … (you too, Haters; admit it already!), …

    “IT IS GREAT TO BE A FLORIDA GATOR!”

  3. Coming down to it now. A week from tomorrow, the names hit the dotted lines and the faxes are sent. Hopefully, nobody jumps ship and we get some huge pick-ups in Henderson and Hicks, along with either C. Green, Coxson, or McCartney.

  4. So what are we looking at here?

    OL – Wanting Henderson, may settle for Green?

    LB – Wanting Hicks, may settle for Jones

    WR – Wanting Louis, may settle for McCartney?

    If it happens to be any combination of these six players for the remaining three positions then I think this class will have been completed. My only real question is about the lack of a power RB and a back up/future true passing QB..not another runningback with a strong arm type QB.

  5. Drew….

    None of the second choices are settling….especially if we get Jones and Green because they would be bigtime commits for the Noles and taking a couple of top guys off their hands is always a good thing.

    Those guys will have a spot on signing day if they want in.

    Also we will not be getting McCartney.

    We will get Coxson. Louis basically was a silent and was supposed to announce today, but suddenly the staff can’t get ahold of him so he may have gotten cold feet and reaffirmed OSU as his commit.

    Paul, we already have that commit in Mack Brown Jr., his national ranking dropped off a bit because his senior season was slowed by a hamstring injury(and the fact that his running was required to carry a very poor team, allowing for teams to stack the box against him), but prior to that he was regarded as one of the top 3 or 4 backs in the country. Urban said months ago when he committed that he was the top back on their board and they weren’t looking for anyone else. I’ll trust his talent evaluation skills!

  6. Kenbrell Thompkins or Christian Green would be my choice. Even Da’Rick Rodgers would be great if possible. I would take him first. Louis, Coxson and McCartney are a little suspect to me, maybe? Henderson would be great down the road. Chaz Green, to me, would have a faster impact. Wanting Hicks and getting him is great for us. I don’t think we need him or Jones now. Jones would be gravy and a steal from FSU.

  7. Edward,
    I just want to thank you for your great work on keeping us up to date on Gator recruiting. Yours is the most objective and accurate information out there in what can truly be a very frustrating and unpredictable business. While I would love to be greedy and get everyone on the board, the general consensus that if we get no one else we still have one of the recruiting classes for the ages. I’ll just be content at that. Go Gators!

  8. I feel we have a great shot landing Hicks due to the lack of depth at LB spots. Texas has LB depth which Hicks may take into acct. Plus that, Hicks enjoyed playing and had a great time with all the UF commits at the UA game.