Even with Venice quarterback Trey Burton locked up in the 2010 class, Urban Meyer has got to start looking around at trying to sign another arm. Tim Tebow is gone after this year. I know, it’s hard to believe, but one of the greatest college football players of all time will be leaving in a few months. Cherish these moments Gator fans.
Once Tebow is gone, Florida will head into spring practice with just two scholarship quarterbacks — redshirt sophomore John Brantley and freshman Jordan Reed. However, Reed has been working out at tight end a little this season, and while Meyer contends that he is still listed as a quarterback, there’s a chance he could be used at tight end in the future. He wasn’t the sharpest QB during summer work outs, but he’s a tremendous athlete.
So, if you take Reed out of the equation, you’re left with Brantley as the starter, and eventually rock-solid commitment Trey Burton will come in as a true freshman next summer. A lot has been made of Burton’s abilities as a quarterback. His mechanics will need improvement, but with the coaching he would get at UF, it can be fixed. He, like Reed, is a great athlete. I almost like him more as just an athlete-type player than as a quarterback because of his speed and shiftiness. All in all, Florida could have a problem under center if Brantley goes down.
With word that quarterbacks coach Scot Loeffler went up to Michigan a few weeks ago to see Detroit Inkster dual-threat Devin Gardner (a Michigan commit), Meyer was asked earlier this week if he was thinking of going after another quarterback for this class.
“It’s hard to sign more than one,” Meyer said. “It’s unusual because they usually ‘X’ each other out. We haven’t made that decision yet.
“Would like two, but I don’t know if there are two we could go get.”
It could be tough to bring in another quarterback this year. The staff went after Lakewood, Calif., quarterback Jesse Scroggins earlier this year and USC snatched him away. The Gators had a great chance with Memphis University School’s Barry Brunetti. He actually had Florida as his leader in the spring, but the Gators never offered and he chose West Virginia.
If Florida is going to go after another quarterback, Gardner is the cream of the crop this year in terms of dual-threat guys. This is definitely a down year for quarterbacks, but Gardner has great upside with is 6-foot-4, 195-pound frame. He’s a run-first type of player right now but certainly has a great arm. Gardner had nearly 2,000 yards passing with 26 touchdowns and 1,400 yards rushing with 22 scores. The issue with trying to get Gardner is that some think he’s good enough, right now, to beat out Michigan’s Tate Forcier and Denard Robinson.
Florida could also look at Miami Central’s Jeffrey Godfrey. He doesn’t have an offer from the Gators and he stands just 5-11 and weighs 167 pounds. He might translate into a better athlete prospect at the next level with that frame. But like Robinson last year, he could be a guy who surprises some under center. He threw for just under 3,000 yards and had 28 touchdowns as a junior.
Florida could wait and develop the players it will have next fall or it could go hard after Gardner. If he were to turn to the Gators, it would cover all of their bases. Stay tuned.
Notes for the weekend
Florida will have a couple of big-time visitors on campus for the Vanderbilt game. Port St. Lucie Treasure Coast linebacker Jeff Luc will be in town for an unofficial visit. This could be big for the Gators considering all the recent talk about Tennessee taking a bit of a lead on the Gators.
Got word this week that Manning, S.C., defensive back John Fulton will be in town for an official visit. Looks like he’ll be the only official for the weekend as well. That means extra, extra time with the coaches. It also figures to be a game where the Gator defense will surely look fantastic. Fulton has shown some interest in the Gators, but South Carolina is the favorite. He’s visiting the Gamecocks next week for the Florida game. If Florida can impress two weeks in a row, that will be huge, but I still give South Carolina the advantage. UF has so many defensive back prospects at the moment and South Carolina has home-state advantage. He’s planning to make a decision in the next few weeks and will enroll early.
In a surprise move, Palmdale, Calif., cornerback Joshua Shaw will pay his own way for an unofficial to Gainesville this weekend. Remember, he officially visited for the Tennessee game and his last official will be to Oklahoma next weekend. This is big for the Gators, who are apparently trying to get 50 commitments from defensive backs this year. Shaw is a tremendous athlete and if he were to try and commit in the near future, there is no way Florida would turn him down.
Pahokee receiver Chris Dunkley will be visiting Alabama this weekend for the LSU game. I still consider Florida the leader. He’ll be in town for the FSU game and probably again in December. Gators have the advantage.