Two days remain until National Signing Day, so in honor of the end of the 2009 recruiting season, I’ve come up with my five predictions to look out for on Wednesday.
Let’s get started.
1. Florida will not fill its class. With 16 on board, coach Urban Meyer said at the national championship that there are about 20 scholarships open for this year. The Gators have four uncommitted prospects on their radar for Wednesday, but there’s always the chance of missing out or losing a current commit. UF is looking to finish up its class with Irvington N.J., safety Joshua Evans, Olney, Md., Our Lady Of Good Counsel linebacker Jelani Jenkins, Columbus, Ga., Carver linebacker Jarvis Jones and either Pensacola, Fla., Escambia running back Trent Richardson, Montgomery, Ala., Carver offensive lineman Brandon Moore or Tampa, Plant tight end Orson Charles (who will sign after Signing Day). That’s too many people for four spots and more than half of those guys aren’t UF locks. I see UF getting Evans, Jenkins and Jones and missing out on the rest.
2. Florida will lose a current commitment. It happens every year for everyone. Kids start to really think long and hard about their decisions just before the big day. Last year, the Gators lost out on Lake Gibson offensive lineman Ricky Barnum (Michigan) and Palm Bay linebacker/safety Ramon Buchanan (Miami). The only current commit really wavering seems to be Paris, Tenn., defensive back Marsalis Teague. He’s decided to make a Signing Day decision and he’s down to UF, Tennessee and Alabama. All I know is that if you have to have a press conference after being committed, things don’t look too good for your original school. Also, look out for Pahokee star Nu’Keese Richardson. He said he had a “great” time on his visit to UT. I see him sticking with UF, but his chances of playing early at UT are pretty good.
3. Florida will hold a scholarship for Charles. He’s perfect for UF’s offense, especially if UF actually decides to use the two tight end sets next year. He’s a smaller Cornelius Ingram (yeah, I said it), and the Gators have room to wait, especially if Teague leaves. The worst that could happen is that he doesn’t sign with UF after Signing Day and UF has a spot open for the 2010 class. Not a bad trade.
4. Florida will sign some Notre Dame commitment. Well, probably not, but Meyer has been able to snatch up a Notre Dame verbal the last two years (Justin Trattou in 2007 and Omar Hunter in 2008). The Gators haven’t really gone after any of the Irish’s commits this year, but the one that could switch over is Vero Beach linebacker Zeke Motta. Sure he signed in October, and oh yeah, he’s enrolled early and is already on campus, but he was all about the Gators over the summer. The Gators worked him out at linebacker, safety and tight end during one camp and if Meyer gives him little hint of interest again, he’ll pack his bags for Gainesville. Bank on it.
5. Florida will have a top-10 class for the fourth consecutive year. First off, the Gators will look to sign a few of the top players at their positions in Gary Brown (defensive tackle), Andre Debose (receiver) and Jenkins. Jenkins hasn’t signed (yet), but from all accounts the Gators are sitting pretty for the top linebacker in the country. And what a nice supporting cast the Gators have as well. Safety Dee Finley makes it into this class after not qualifying last year. Xavior Nixon is arguably the top offensive tackle in the country. And Nu’Keese Richardson is one of the best athletes in the class. The Gators lead for Evans, who would be a great pick up if Teague stays or leaves. Plus, there are already six guys on campus.
Just for fun: Because the class isn’t full, there could be a surprise signing for UF this year, but it won’t be Trent Richardson. I talked to a source who has kept up with Richardson this whole season and he said he would be “shocked” to see Richardson not sign with Alabama, and if he were to decommit, it would be to sign with LSU. Richardson wants to be in a pro-style offense and he wants a fullback. Besides look at Gator reserve Emmanuel Moody. He’s a bruising back who sits on the bench. Where would Richardson fit?