With July just around the corner, the recruiting chatter is starting to heat up with each passing day. The Gators made a lot of noise last week, snagging three verbal commitments to up their total to 15 on the year. Florida also made some nice ground on some of the top prospects sill available on the recruiting board.
Here are a few updates from things going on in the world of recruiting:
* Once considered a strong Florida lean, Jacksonville, First Coast defensive tackle Tavaris Barnes decided to pull the trigger for one of Florida’s biggest rivals in Florida State. It’s no surprise Barnes didn’t wait around for the Gators to offer, he made it clear a while back that Florida’s lack of an offer turned him away from the orange and blue.
* Urban Meyer and Co. have been seeking an elite running back since he arrived and this may be the year the Gators sign one … or two. Lithonia, Ga., Martin Luther King’s Mack Brown has said for some time that Florida is his top school and that it’ll be hard for anyone to push the Gators out of the top spot. But the Gators have also been getting a lot of love from Decatur, Ga., Southwest Dekalb’s Kendrun Malcome, who some have rumored to be a package deal with Brown. Malcome recently told Rivals.com that Florida is his leader and that he would like to play with Brown at the next level.
* The Gators might have taken two pledges from receivers in the last week, but the way the depth chart is shaping up for 2010, there’s a chance Florida could sign five to six guys. One player expected to pledge at some point is Ocala, Trinity Catholic’s Kadron Boone. The Gators have been No. 1 for him since last season, but he said this week that he still wants to look around before making a decision. On the other hand, Daytona Beach, Mainland’s O.J. Ross told me over the weekend that Florida has been the school for him since he was young, and if he were offered he would commit. No offer has come, however, and he even said the staff hasn’t invited him to Friday Night Lights in July.
* One guy who doesn’t have to worry about earning scholarship from the Gators anymore is Venice quarterback Trey Burton. He committed last year and since then has been one of Florida’s biggest recruiters. He’s also been criticized because of his throwing mechanics. Known as more of a runner than a passer, Burton said this weekend that while at Florida’s camp he and quarterbacks coach Scot Loeffler made sure they spent most of the time working on his throwing motion and his footwork.
* Probably the biggest news concerning Florida recruiting — that didn’t involve a commitment — was that Moreno Valley, Calif., Rancho Verde defensive end Ronald Powell made it clear that the Gators are indeed in his top two. After spending a couple days in Gainesville working out, Powell not only proved that he’s one of the top defenders in the country; he can also carry his own offensively as a receiver/tight end. This is down to USC and Florida.
* Burton is already on board for the Gators, but Loeffler took a trip during the spring to go see Lakewood, Calif., Lakewood High School’s Jesse Scroggins and came away quite impressed, according to Scroggins’ coach Thadd MacNeal. MacNeal also said that Loeffler told him Scroggins looked like the best quarterback in the country. But after visiting and working out at Florida, Scroggins headed to Tennessee for a visit. Scroggins told the Knoxville News-Sentinel that he came away from his visit more than impressed with the Vols program. “I’m loving the trip actually,” Scroggins told the Sentinel. “This is my mother’s home state. That gave them (the Vols) an advantage a little but I have not committed yet.”
* Quote of the week comes from Tallahassee, North Florida Christian quarterback Clint Trickett, who visited Florida last week and worked out — and yes, he’s the son of FSU assistant head coach / offensive line coach Rick Trickett. I asked Clint why he didn’t have an offer from FSU and this is what he had to say: “I told my dad and Mr. Jimbo (Fisher) that I’m not going to Florida State,” he said. “I don’t want to play for my dad. That would be just a bad situation. I don’t want to deal with all the political bullcrap.” Gotta love the honesty.