Re-evaluating the 2010 UF class


Seven games into the season and it’s time to take a look how the 2010 class has fared thus far.

Remember, this was rated as the No. 1 recruiting class by everyone, except

Has this class lived up to your expectations? Is it a disappointment? Is it where you thought it would be? We’ll find out …

Trey Burton (Venice) — The former three-star prospect has been a total surprise and has been one of the most productive players on offense for the Gators. He leads Florida with nine touchdowns (more touchdowns than John Brantley has passing). He’s played almost every position (including on Florida’s kickoff team) and has grabbed 20 receptions for 115 yards and a touchdown. As Florida’s wildcat quarterback, he’s rushed the ball 32 times for 138 yards and eight touchdowns. He’s also 1 of 2 passing for 42 yards and an interception. He’s easily Florida’s most productive freshman.

Tyler Murphy (Wethersfield, Conn.)
— In warmups he looks like he has a great throwing motion, but word is that he isn’t getting the offense down as well as Burton. He was a dynamite athlete in high school, despite not being highly recruited. It seemed like he’d be an ideal wildcat option, like Burton, but it looks like he’ll redshirt this year. He definitely looks like he knows what he’s doing when he’s relaying signals to the offense from the sideline.

Running back
Mack Brown (Lithonia, Ga., Martin Lurther King) — Everyone keeps asking why he isn’t getting the ball. Jeff Demps, Emmanuel Moody and Mike Gillislee are all dinged up in some capacity, but Brown still isn’t seeing playing time. I’m not a coach, but it would seem that if you’re missing running backs you could probably hand him the ball at least once. He’s played in three games this season, carrying the ball three times for 23 yards. He’s also played some special teams and recorded a tackle. With the (little) amount of time he’s played, it looks like he might not have the option of redshirting.

Wide receiver
Chris Dunkley (Pahokee) — He was supposed to be Florida’s next great weapon at receiver, but a hamstring injury dating back to his senior year of high school has kept him out this season. Coach Urban Meyer said last week that his hamstring was around 80 percent healthy, but he didn’t play against Mississippi State. This looks like a redshirt year, but if he can get healthy, Florida needs him because the playmakers out there are hard to find.

Solomon Patton (Mobile, Ala., Murphy)
— A tremendous slot guy in high school, Patton has played special teams for the Gators and has 23 kick-return yards. He enrolled in January and looked like he’d make some sort of contribution on offense in the fall, but has yet to get that chance. He’s a small, speedy guy who could make something happen if the ball is put in his hands, but maybe he’s behind in practice.

Quinton Dunbar (Miami Booker T. Washington)
— With the way his coaches talked him up during training camp, you’d think he was the next big deep threat for the Gators. Meyer talked about all the plays he was making in practice and how he surprised everyone with how fast he was. However, he’s only played in two games, registering no stats and was held out of the MSU game with a hamstring injury.

Robert Clark (West Palm Beach Dwyer) — Clark has played in the slot since Chris Rainey’s suspension, but will probably move from there when Rainey returns. In his time there, Clark has caught five passes for 48 yards. His only carry of the year went for minus-2 yards, on fourth down against MSU. He’s played special teams, recording five tackles and is also a blocker on special teams for the Gators’ return man. Clark was another guy who seemed to be primed to have a nice role in the offense in the slot, but hasn’t been used too often on offense.

Adrian Coxson (Baltimore, Md., City College)
— Coxson transferred to Maryland during training camp.

Tight end
Gerald Christian (Dwyer) — The true mystery of this class. Christian came in as one of the best tight ends in the country, but has played sparingly this fall. He has yet to record a catch, and with the tight end position one of great need for Florida, you’d think he’d have more of a role in the offense. Right now, he’s having trouble beating out Jordan Reed (third-string quarterback) for playing time. Great pumpkin?

Mike McFarland (Tampa Blake)
— He was originally supposed to greyshirt, but the coaches decided to bring him in during the summer. Weight was an issue for him coming in and he has yet to see game action this year. That redshirt is probably heading his way.

Offensive line
Chaz Green (Tampa Catholic) — Green had hernia surgery before the season and hasn’t seen any playing time this season. Though the offensive line is a mess, Green will probably redshirt and take this fall to help his development. The Gators will obviously need him next year.

Ian Silberman (Fleming Island)
— Silberman started the season as a blocking tight end, but hasn’t played since. As a true freshman, he’s probably not physically ready and could use time to develop, even with the struggles up front.

Leon Orr (New Port Richey Gulf)
— Orr moved over from the defensive line this fall, but was on schedule to redshirt from the beginning of fall practice, despite enrolling early.

Defensive line
Ronald Powell (Moreno Valley, Calif., Rancho Verde) — He went from being the subject of transfer rumors to moving to outside linebacker. That move has gotten him more playing time and he delivered two crushing hits against MSU last weekend. Powell was the nation’s No. 1 player in the country, but he struggled to adapt to the college game during training camp and has yet to make much of an impact. I thought he’d be one of the most active freshmen this fall, but he has yet to really make that push. Defensive line coach Dan McCarney said before Powell made the move to linebacker that he wasn’t progressing as fast as the coaches wanted. Powell has six tackles and a sack in seven games. He’s also playing on special teams.

Sharrif Floyd (Philadelphia, Pa., George Washington)
— Floyd has been one of the most consistent freshmen on this team. McCarney said he’s ahead of all the other frosh defensive linemen and he made his presence known from day one. Floyd plays more consistently on defense than the other freshmen linemen and has recorded nine tackles, including two for loss. He’s still not that huge force in the middle that the Gators need, but he’s showing flashes of having that ability. Floyd seems to be a guy who will make the biggest impact the fastest of the stud d-line class Florida brought in.

Dominique Easley (Staten Island, N.Y., Curtis)
— Easley was also the subject of transfer rumors and has not had a very impressive fall. A foot injury has kept him out most of the time and he’s only played in three games, recording two tackles. Easley also missed practice time due to a funeral he had to attend back home earlier this season. For unspecified reasons, he wasn’t even on the sideline for Florida’s game against MSU. McCarney said Easley hasn’t progressed nearly to the degree he was expected to. At Media Day, Easley anointed himself the “LeBron James” of the “Big Three” that includes Powell and Floyd.

Lynden Trail
— From the beginning, Trail was set to redshirt. He’s a bit undersized, but has great speed. He hasn’t played this year and the plan is to get him ready for next year.

Gideon Ajagbe (Coconut Grove Ransom Everglades) — Ajagbe underwent surgery to repair a partially torn rotator cuff before the season and is expected to miss the whole fall. He would have probably redshirted anyway, but he’s a very athletic linebacker.

Michael Taylor (Atlanta Westlake) — Taylor seemed like the perfect Meyer recruit because of his blue-collar attitude and work ethic. He’s undersized, but packs a punch. He hasn’t played this year and will probably redshirt, but the coaches did rave about him before the season.

Darrin Kitchens (Homestead)
— He’s been a guy who’s really taken to special teams. He hasn’t recorded any statistics this year, but he’s one of the guys Meyer talks about a lot when it comes to special teams.

Neiron Ball (Jackson, Ga.)
— Ball has become a special teams guys for Meyer and has recorded five tackles. He’s played some linebacker in mop-up duty.

Defensive back
Cody Riggs (Ft. Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas) — Riggs has moved in front of the other freshmen cornerbacks as far as playing time is concerned. When Moses Jenkins went down, he was the No. 3 corner, and when Matt Elam didn’t play in the nickel against MSU, he started in his place. He’s really surprised me with how well he covers, despite his 5-foot-9, 166-pound frame. He’s got great speed and has made a few plays on defense. Before that, he was a gunner on kickoff. He has seven tackels and two pass breakups.

Matt Elam (Dwyer)
— Elam looked to be the most physically ready freshman this spring, and he’s been in the nickel corner spot all season. A concussion limited him against MSU, but he played some on special teams. He showed he’s got a knack for the football when he sprinted in for a sack in the Alabama game. Of all the defensive freshmen, he’ll probably make the biggest impact for the Gators. He’s been a great special teams player as well. His playing time will only increase, once he’s fully healthy. Elam leads the freshmen with 15 tackles and has recovered a fumble.

Jaylen Watkins (Cape Coral)
— Watkins is the fourth guy in the cornerback rotation and has two tackles in five games this season. He’s done well when he’s played and could be a playmaker in the future.

Jonathan Dowling (Bradenton Southeast)
— Dowling was one of the most exciting recruits for the Gators in this class. He played well at both safety and receiver and there was thought that he could play receiver in college. He’s staying at safety and has played sparingly this season with two tackles. Expect his contributions to come in the future.

Joshua Shaw (Palmdale, Calif.)
— For a guy who enrolled in January, Shaw has become a ghost on this team. He moved behind Riggs, who came in July, and Watkins, with whom he battled in the spring. Shaw looked to be the most physically ready and was a stud in high school. Through seven games, he’s played in three and started one. He didn’t dress against MSU for unspecified reasons. Shaw has no stats this season.

Jordan Haden (Fort Washington, Md., Friendly)
— Haden transferred during training camp.


  1. My sentiments exactly on Murphy and Brown. When did Patton get a return? I missed it. Why not give Powell a shot at Tight End especially in Red Zone? I keep picturing him burning Jaylen Watkins and Gerald Christian in Army All-American Bowl. Acrobatic catch too. One doesn’t have to play only one way in college.

  2. um josh, carlos dunlap came in and tore it up as a freshman. I am dissappointed in the lack of playing time given to mack brown, hes a stud that needs to be getting carries. WHY DONT WE THROW THE BALL MORE. we have great receivers and wont land another big receiver commit if they see our horrible offense. come on addazio needs to move back to OLine and we need to bring in a offensive guru like……..mike leach.

  3. It’s sad that we feel forced to rate the freshman class. Wasn’t too long ago that Gators expected the vast majority of their freshman to be redshirted. Seems to me the question should be evaluating the 2009, and particularly the 2008 and 2007 classes. Hit and miss. Will Hill and Carl Moore were 5 stars. Are they still? Moore is pretty clutch, and he is what he is as a possession receiver, but you’d expect 5s to dominate. Meanwhile Hill has disappointed I think.

  4. Agree with GREG, evaluating the 2009-08-07 may be in order unfortunately, it be like beating a dead horse…bottom line, for many reasons, UF is not very good right now. Sadly, no one saw this coming!

  5. It would appear that 4-star and 3-star recruits have more incentive than 5-stars to prove themselves, increasing their chances at success.
    Compare Trey Burton and Dominique Easley.
    Also, a comparison of FSU’s and UM’s 2007 & 2008 classes is a study in how, while good talent is important, good coaching is MORE important!
    If I recall correctly, I believe their respective recruiting class ranks for those two years were as follows: UM: #9 & #1. FSU: #25 & #19.
    Obviously, our situation is an interesting (re: painful!) study too.


  6. The real issue to worry about is as the Juniors and Seniors fail in front of this class nobody is going to the Freshman to help the play on the field!!! If YOU ARE 4-3 then play the kids;unless injured!

  7. This is sad we have no running game and Mack Brown is sitting on the bench.You can’t redshirt him now so play him coach Meyer, Burton,Brown and Reed in the same back field? Also do we have any kicker’s on the Roster?

  8. So I get the drift that we have some of the finest athletes.

    So, what’s the problem ?

    Don’t the other schools know how good we are ? Why should we play so hard when we are already the best ?

    Do they have some kind of problem ?

    Well forget it, just mail my pro contract asap so I can start planning my retirement.

  9. Since it seems we emphasize speed in recruiting players, I wonder how we compare across top programs in size. You mention “undersized” several times above, and I worry that we don’t have enough beef in key places, like at DT or middle linebacker.

  10. As well as our offense sucks I think Gator Nation has let something slip by us for the past 3 years. Why are our pplayers so easly hurt?! It seems like there is no durability. Strength and conditioning maybe?! Have you seen what Bama S&C is…awesome!And like a blogger said IF DEBOSE AND BROWN COULDN’T SEE THE FIELD MORE BECAUSE OF COMPLICATIONS LEARNING OUR OFFENSE MAYBE WE SHOULD SIMPLIFY THINGS. And what happens to adjusting your offense around your talent?!

  11. I still can’t believe that after the MSU game, Urban made the statement that we were down to zero RB’s. Where the heck is Mack Brown??? Come on Myer…play the kid!!! South Carolina plays a freshman RB, Bama played Trent Richardson last year as a frosh, and those are just two off the top of my head. Even looking back through UF, didn’t Emmitt emerge during the midpoint of his freshman year because he was given a chance in a game??? Probably too logical a move for this coaching staff. But keep passing that other frosh Burton the ball baby!!!…sigh…

  12. My only point was it seems kind of silly to evaluate the brand new class. That’s not where our problems lie (at least not yet). You’re dealing with 20-year-olds too irresponsible to return the car with a full tank of gas let alone have the discipline needed to excel in major college student-athletics. Thus the point of a high-ranking class with lots of 4- and 5-stars is to beat the law of probability that states that inevitably the class is going to be thinned out through basic attrition — homesickness, academic issues, injuries, purchasing stolen laptops and tossing them out the window when the cops arrive, etc. You want a big class with lots of high stars because come four years later half of them just aren’t going to pan out like we hoped. Conversely, there’s a 5-star like Harvin or 4-star like a Joe Haden who dominates, and some gems like a 3-star Lou Murphy and Brandon James.

  13. Pat Dooley was right. If the offense is too complicated to play a talented freshman like Mack Brown then the offense needs to be reevaluated. Maybe that’s the problem on defense too. Simplify things so some of those talented freshman can get on the field and build for the future.

  14. October 19th, 2010 9:52 am
    Pat Dooley was right. If the offense is too complicated to play a talented freshman like Mack Brown then the offense needs to be reevaluated. Maybe that’s the problem on defense too. Simplify things so some of those talented freshman can get on the field and build for the future.

    by Stephen


  15. When a coach says a player “hasn’t progressed as quickly as we want him to”, perhaps that means the player is still too full of himself and hasn’t realized that at this level this is a team sport and you have to play your position and assignment. I suspect that a class full of 5-star prospects is so full of themselves that it’s hard for coaches to teach them to perform within the roles and expectations of the team. But, coaches still need to realize when it’s time to give a talented freshman a chance, especially when a not so talented upper classman is not making plays or is failing miserably.

  16. This is simply a follow up evaluation of the class, not some “let’s find where our problem is” evaluation! It’s usually done, every year, by most media outlets covering specific teams.

    I am afraid that we will have several transfers after the season is over! Something just doesn’t make sense, like Brown not playing And Easley’s situation. Of course, things are kept quiet and we don’t really know the situation. Injuries may be an issue!

  17. What’s amazing is how I keep hearing the comment “He doesn;t see any playing time in this offense”. Well, that’s pretty much been the picture this season with an OC like Steve Addazio that has no clue what’s he’s doing running this offense.

  18. I think you will see Powell, Ealey, and Shaw transer out of Florida at the end of the season. Powell and Shaw will head back to California or Western schools and Ealey will head back to the East coast to play. More 5-stars that play like one-stars….although Powell might be making some progress and might stay. If things keep going the way they are, you might see even more of these seemingly overrated dudes transfer to other schools and then disappear….like many wonderous 5-star flame outs before them. Recruiting is truly a crap shoot.

  19. I understand Brown is having difficulty learning plays….what plays….dive left, dive right, and pitch left and pitch right. How hard is that to learn? It is more like….those are the only plays Addazio can learn!!!

  20. Greg…..

    When has Will Hill ever made an impact play on the field. Heck, Will Hills starts but you would not even know he is on the field during games….unless you see him getting run over or missing a tackle. He has been a big disappointment….but I here his agent is getting him ready to leave for the NFL after his Jr. year (this year)…..what a joke agents are…and the star system for recruits is… me on the field….like Trey Burton…this kid puts it all on the line every single play….the Gators need a lot more 3-star players like Mr. Burton…and they will start winning close games again. Let Ealey and Shaw go “cry” somewhere else for playing time.

  21. The pattern I see and hear – at least on offense – is lots of talent and little utilization. I’m not a ‘fire Addazio’ fan, but I am becoming more a fan of execution of the basics, such as basic plays, mismatches & adaptation, thus finding a way to leverage the talent that can’t seem to “understand” our offense. I don’t see rocket science beating us. Put Apples to Apples and we win.

  22. TampaG.. 1) I never read above that Shaw or Easley were “crying” about PT, so unless you heard that somewhere else, it’s wrong to just assume. I don’t think they are given to transfer out or a “flameout” because they haven’t won the Heisman 7 games into 4 year careers, give them a chance to develop and adjust to going up against kids older and just as talented as opposed to HS.

    2) You referring to Will Hill already having an agent is a bit concerning. I think we all knew he was gone after this season anyway, but I certainly hope for the programs sake he hasn’t inked with someone yet. I do find it funny in his case, he doesn’t give a crap about the team and is just focused on declaring for the Draft, yet I’d imagine his attitude & terrible play have killed his stock.

  23. I disagree with some of the comments which state “we did not see this coming” about the questions with this program.

    When a head coach is this mental and after 6 weeks continues to run 3 plays….I think the rest of the entire nation saw this coming.

  24. Regarding player selection, perhaps there’s a degree of “seniority politics” involved when a position is populated with players of approximately comparable talent (which, if so, would not seem unfair – especially in college ball).
    For instance, Demps and Moody are ahead of Gillislee, et al class-year wise? Yet, even so, I believe Gillislee is markedly better than them, and Mack Brown – call him last in rank or slow to learn – is averaging over 8 yards-per-rush (albeit, with only 3 carries). Not bad for a so-called “dumb freshman!”
    As far as Trey Burton is concerned, his versatility trumps his neophyte status.

  25. Are they afraid Mack Brown will make a mistake?
    What kind of mistake??
    How bad could it be???
    Look at all the mistakes the Juniors and Seniors are making, especially the OL (not to mention his RB cohorts)!
    Behind those OL sandbaggers – and being handicapped by youth and stupidity (I’m being facetious) – he has still managed an 8 yard-per-rush average,… with no fumbles (albeit only 3 carries)!!
    Besides, don’t experience and mistakes teach us?!?
    Maybe Meyer plans to red-shirt him (if 3 rushes don’t disqualify him), but is delaying to keep his options open. This would beg the question: is there a deadline for red-shirting?
    Anyone Know?

  26. I read fans bashing recruits for going to other schools because they want to play right away and then I read fans bashing 18 year olds because they didn’t pan out? Greg comments “homesickness, academics, etc”. These are just kids in a man’s body. Lets be the good fans that Gator fans are known to be, and support. The Gatornation has gotten spoiled. It’s great to win all the time, but is that realistic? These teams have studied the gators to death, look at all the copycat offenses popping up. The competition has caught up, Coach Meyer, the best coach in the country, will step up and get the Gators back to the winning ways.

  27. UF is learning the same lesson that FSU learned with talent.

    Instead of sticking to 3 and 4 stars from the state of Florida, FSU chose to pursue 5 stars with the like of Domonique Robinson and Lorenzo Booker and many others.

    I saw this coming

  28. 2 things jump out to me: 1. A lot of premature talk from the coaches about how great many of these recruits are going to be. 2: A lot of damaged goods. Injuries from their last year of HS as well as injuries suffered after reporting to UF. Andre DeBose, the one guy Meyer “absolutely had to have” in 2009 didn’t play in ’09 and is again injured in ’10. It seems that Meyer and staff are recruiting guys at key positions that aren’t delivering because they’re either injured or just not getting the offense down.

    For all the pre-season hype about the OL, probably originating from Addazio, the play has been absolutely horrible. A 4 senior OL that plays like a bunch of true freshmen! Hell, I’d RATHER have the freshmen because at least they’ve got the excuse of learning their positions and could only improve as the season went on. Spurrier was faced with starting 4 freshmen on his OL in ’92 and that became a solid unit by season’s end, giving NC Alabama all they wanted in the SEC Championship. The current bunch, with 4 seniors, appears to be GETTING WORSE as the season progresses! THEY STINK! Addazio has to go. He’s had his chance. Instead of knocking Richt out at UGA with another crushing loss to Florida, I’m starting to think I’d rather have Georgia win if it helped to get rid of Addazio!