Gator fans should stop worrying


National Signing Day is just a little more than a week away, which means fans are scrambling.

Who’s going to sign? Why is he rethinking his decision? If he doesn’t want to be a Gator, then get him out of here.

The recruiting craze is in full force and Gator fans need not worry – the 2009 class is still one of the best in the country.

I said last week that even though there were no commitments, Florida had a successful weekend for recruiting because they were able to show some of the top players in the country how much of a family atmosphere surrounds the program. Every recruiting update from those guys has been a rave review for the Gators, and while we aren’t sure if any of them will actually sign with Florida, the program was sold quite well.

This week, I’m here to assure all you Gator fans that come Feb. 4, UF will still have a stellar class. Forget about Greg Reid leaving and Marsalis Teague wavering a bit, National Signing Day will be yet another success. Just ask recruiting guru Jamie Newberg.

“It’s still a great class,” he said. “They still have three or four spots left. They’ll fill them with good players.”

But why is UF starting to see these deflections? Nick Kasa dropped the Gators for Colorado. Reid dropped UF for, well, everyone. And no one really knows what’s up with Teague. One major reason for UF’s sudden slip is obviously depth. Everyone wants to play right away and when you sign with a defending champion that lost hardly any seniors, it’s tough to crack the lineup. And we all know that UF will be a favorite for the 2009 national championship because of so many returning starters.

There must be something else standing in the way.

“They’re just in a situation where they’re in a region which is just brutal,” Newberg said. “Out west, USC’s on top of the mountain beating their chest. In this region, there are four, five, six schools beating their chest trying to get to the top of the mountain. The recruiting is hardcore, man.”

My point is for all the Gators fans to stop worrying about Signing Day. The Gators have a shot at some of the top uncommitted – and committed – talent out there. Trent Richardson (an Alabama commit) rated his visit to UF as his best. Jelani Jenkins is down to UF and Penn State and the general consensus is that the Gators have the edge (Jenkins’ father picked up coach Urban Meyer and defensive coordinator Charlie Strong from the airport when they went to visit with the family). Jarvis Jones still has UF on top and word from a couple Gator commits is that Josh Evans, who visited this weekend, could be a Gator lean.

Stop worrying Gator fans, because UF isn’t.

“I don’t think they’re at a point where they’re going to freaking panic and offer a kid to just offer a kid,” Newberg said. “I’m sure they have a plan in place.”