Florida needs Joshua Shaw’s commitment Tuesday. The Palmdale, Calif., cornerback is a must for the the Gators. In less than 24 hours, one of the top defensive prospects in the country will hold a live press conference to announce his college decision. He’s doing it in style and doing it earlier than people thought. He’s also doing it a little more than a week after taking an unofficial visit to Gainesville and staying late with his parents to talk with Florida’s coaches. That’s a great sign for the Gators, not to mention all the chatter I’m hearing about how this past visit all but stole Shaw from Ohio State.
But there’s more than just Shaw leaning toward picking the Gators Tuesday, it’s about how Florida needs to land Shaw. The Gators have verbal commitments from six defensive back prospects in the 2010 class. However, in my opinion, two of those prospects will end up at corner — Travon Van and Jaylen Watkins. People have talked about Demar Dorsey playing corner, but I think with his size he’ll be moved to safety. Also, Dorsey’s iffy commitment to the Gators could mean getting another defensive back prospect would be a must anyway.
Outside of the kids potentially coming in next fall, Florida will lose two senior corners in Markihe Anderson and Wondy Pierre-Louis and will likely lose junior Joe Haden to the NFL Draft. That’s three bodies gone. So, Florida will return four corners and only one — Janoris Jenkins — has starting experience. Moses Jenkins will be a senior, and he’s barely had time at the position. Freshman Jeremy Brown has done nothing in his career because of a serious back injury. Freshman Adrian Bushell has the tools to lineup opposite Janoris Jenkins, but who knows because of all the time he’s spent on special teams.
After next year, Janoris Jenkins will likely head to the draft and Moses Jenkins will be out of eligibility. Getting some extra guys at corner is essential to adding depth. Florida doesn’t want that 2007 defense showing up any time soon. Adding at least four corner prospects in this class would go a long way into making sure the defensive backfield for the Gators in the next couple of years aren’t thin.
Shaw is the top priority at the position. Ft. Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas corner Cody Riggs is good, and he’s probably still favoring the Gators, but the staff cannot pass on the opportunity to land Shaw. He’s got great size for the position with his 6-foot-1, 195-pound frame. He looks tremendously fast on tape and when I saw him up close last week, I could see the potential for growth once he gets on campus. The size combined with the speed is huge for that position. Even if Shaw commits Tuesday, landing someone like Riggs shouldn’t be a problem. Again, that would give Florida four corners for a team that plays multiple defensive backs at a time. That’s also a reason why it shouldn’t worry any of the committed corners.
Getting Shaw on Tuesday would be huge for Florida’s class. Not Tim Tebow huge, but big enough that Florida’s corner issue next season won’t look so bad.