We are a few months into the 2011 recruiting season and while Florida hasn’t made the noise it made at this point last year, there is still a lot of work to do and there figures to be a lot of excitement surrounding Florida’s program in the coming months. With less scholarships to work with this year, Florida’s goal for this class is quality, not quantity.
Here’s a list of a few prospects on offense to keep an eye on.
Jeff Driskel (Oviedo Hagerty) — He’s committed to Florida and said he isn’t looking around at other schools. Tim Tebow’s first-round selection should only help to ease his mind even more about playing in Florida’s offense.
Jerrard Randall (Hollywood Chaminade Madonna) — He’s a tremendous athlete with a decent arm to match. He doesn’t have an offer from Florida and has Oregon on top. The feeling is that if Florida offers it would be tough for him to pass up the opportunity to compete in Gainesville and Florida would probably like to get two quarterbacks in this class.
Braxton Miller (Huber Heights, Ohio, Wayne) — He’ll be arguably the top dual-threat quarterback in the country this fall and earlier this spring Florida was one of the schools recruiting him the hardest. Driskel’s commitment probably changed that, and don’t forget that Ohio State is certainly a factor.
Teddy Bridgewater (Miami Northwestern) — He could play quarterback or receiver at the next level, but it seems that receiver is where he’ll be. He’s just too athletic. Florida is certainly near the top of his list and this one should come down to the Gators and Miami.
Christian Lemay (Matthews, N.C., Butler) — It looked as if Florida would have the advantage considering his father’s connection to the school (former team chaplain). But Florida’s offense has always been and issue. He didn’t make it to any of Florida’s spring practices, so he didn’t get to see if the offense looked different. He’ll announce his leader Friday and from all accounts, Georgia looks to have the edge.
Kevin Hogan (Washington, D.C., Gonzaga) — He doesn’t have an offer from Florida, but he visited practice this spring and has a pretty good relationship with Florida quarterbacks coach Scot Loeffler. He could be a solid second option for Florida with Driskel already on board.
Mike Bellamy (Punta Gorda Charlotte) — He’s one of the most exciting running backs in the country and had more than 2,100 yards and 31 rushing touchdowns as a junior. Florida seemed like the overwhelming favorite, but with the numbers of players at the position, Bellamy backed off a bit. Things might have picked up for Florida since he visited earlier this month, but Clemson has really caught the speedy back’s eye.
Mike Blakely (Bradenton Manatee) — He could stand to gain a couple more pounds (he’s at 194), but his vision is tremendous. He’s got moves as well. He visited Florida this spring and has a Gator offer. I’ve heard that Auburn and Clemson seem to be making the most noise with him, but he’s a guy that will wait a little longer before making a decision.
Isaiah Crowell (Columbus, Ga., Carver) — With his vision, speed and explosive first step, he could be the top running back prospect in the country. I’m not sure how interested he is in Florida, but with his talent, coaches have to at least try to get some attention from him. Alabama, Georgia, Auburn and Clemson are all schools to watch, but he said recently that Alabama and Georgia are his leaders.
De’Anthony Thomas (Los Angeles Crensaw) — He’s so talented that he might be able to play every skill position on the field. I won’t be surprised if he’s the top running back in the country this fall. He’s showing interest in Florida and reports are that he wants to visit. Obviously, UCLA and USC are the ones with the edge at this point, but he’s far from through with the recruiting game.
Savon Huggins (Jersey City, N.J., St. Peter’s Prep) — He’s a bigger back, but certainly doesn’t lack any speed. He’s also from the same high school as Will Hill, so he’s definitely got some Florida ties. Still, it might be hard for the Gators to pull him from schools close to his home.
Jameel Poteat (Harrisburg, Pa., Bishop McDevitt) — Another big back that has the speed to match. He wants to get on Florida’s campus this summer, but like Huggins, northern schools might have the advantage at this point.
Kelvin Benjamin (Belle Glade Glades Central) — He could be the top receiver prospect on Florida’s board, but I’ve been told that his hustle isn’t always the greatest. Still, he’s a tremendously gifted athlete. He’s also a bigger receiver at 6-foot-6, 210 pounds. Miami and Florida seem to be in front at this point.
Eli Rogers (Miami Northwestern) — I was told he’s getting interest from Florida’s coaches, but he has yet to get an offer. He told Rivals.com that he wants a Florida offer before he makes his college decision, but Miami leads. From what I’ve seen on video, he’s a perfect spread receiver.
Sammy Watkins (Fort Myers South Fort Myers) — He’s got tremendous hands and speed. He’s the half-brother of current Gators cornerback Jaylen Watkins and said Florida has an advantage with Jaylen there. He visited Michigan this spring, and Miami has always been near the top.
Kasen Williams (Sammamish, Wa., Skyline) — He could probably end up being the top receiver in this class. He recently told Scout.com that Florida is “definitely” making his next cut of top schools, but the word is that it will be tough to get him away from the west coast. He’s also go strong ties to the University of Washington.
Phillip Dorsett (Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas) — His hands are solid and his athleticism is even better. He can play receiver in the spread and be a threat in the return game. Florida is among his top schools at this point.
George Farmer (Gardena, Cali., Junipero Serra) — He’s got a bigger frame, but he’s been clocked at 4.4 in the 40. All the big schools are going after him, so there’s no doubt that with Florida’s improvements out west he’ll being hearing a lot from Florida’s coaches. He also is considering playing both football and basketball in college.
A.C Leonard — (Interlachen) — He’s a very solid commitment to Florida and looks suited to play tight end at UF, but could still be a bit raw when he gets on campus. Seeing him in person, he’s a beast and he proved it by taking home MVP honors at the BadgerSports Elite 7-on-7 at south Florida in March.
Nick O’Leary (West Palm Beach Dwyer) — Sure his ex-teammate, Gerald Christian, plays the exact same position at Florida and is battling for playing time, but O’Leary is a top athlete and tight end is a position that Urban Meyer wants to make a threat in his offense (see: Aaron Herandez and Cornelius Ingram). There’s no word on a leader for him, but it seems that elite schools from everywhere are getting involved.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins (Gig Harbor, Wa., Gig Harbor) — After making a trip to Gainesville earlier this spring, there were reports that Florida had come away as his leader. He then told Rivals.com that he has no leader and that he’s wide open. I got the feeling when I talked to him that he’s interested in getting away from the west coast. Florida is definitely a player for him.
Brandon Fulse (Fort Meade) — After seeing him in person, he’s definitely a lot bigger than I imagined. He’s built very well for the tight end position and is sure to get even more attention after a few camps this summer. He’s set to narrow his list down this summer and from all accounts, Florida’s big three will make it.
Jay Rome (Valdosta, Ga.) — Rome recently came out with a top five and the Gators made the cut. But so did a couple of rivals, including Georgia and Tennessee. Clemson is also a team to watch here. He’ll be one of the top players in Georgia this fall.
Trip Thurman (Dover, Del.) — He recently got the Florida offer he was looking for. He’s still pretty open as far as recruiting, but you have to think Florida made up some major ground with its offer. Boston College, Maryland, Penn State, Clemson and Tennessee are schools to watch.
Angelo Mangiro (Succasunna, N.J., Roxbury) — He’s one of those Northeastern guys that Florida tries to go after each year. Florida has offered and he’s made it known that he’s very interested in what the Gators have. Northern schools like Boston College and Ohio State are certainly getting a lot of his interest.
Bobby Hart (Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas) — He just recently got a Florida offer, but he told Rivals.com that Florida State is his leader, while Alabama is No. 2. It doesn’t look like he’ll be making a commitment in the near future.
Tommy Jordan (Ridgefield, Conn.) — He’s got a Florida offer and he was in Gainesville this spring. Reports are that Boston College leads, but if he makes it back to Florida, things could change. He’s expected back on campus this summer.