As part of my tradition with this blog, I will now bring you Florida’s recruiting Christmas list. It’s even more special this year because this blog will come out the day before Christmas, which is a national holiday because it’s my birthday.
You readers should feel VERY special this year because I’ve always lived by three birthday rules and I’m breaking one today.
First, I never drive on my birthday. Two, I never cook for myself on my birthday. Three, I never work. But I couldn’t leave you guys without a Christmas list. There would be nothing for you guys to ask Santa for at the last minute.
With 15 commitments right now, we’ll look at the top 10 players I think Florida would love to add to its class. Enjoy and Merry Christmas and happy holidays to all you guys! Hurry up and read this, then tell you friends about it and go celebrate my birthday with a drink of your choice.
Dear Santa …
1. S Hasean Clinton-Dix (Orlando Dr. Phillips) Alabama commit — Two weeks ago, Clinton-Dix wouldn’t have made this list because he was such a long shot. He wasn’t really paying Florida much attention and everyone was convinced he was very solid with his Alabama commitment. However, the arrival of new coach Will Muschamp has elevated Clinton-Dix’s interest in Florida. He’ll officially visit UF in January and rest assured Muschamp will be in his ear the entire time. Safety is a position of need and Clinton-Dix is the best at it in the nation. Gators fans will want to leave out extra cookies tonight to make sure Santa gets the memo about swaying Clinton-Dix over to Florida’s side.
2. LB Curtis Grant (Richmond, Va., Hermitage) — He’s arguably the nation’s best linebacker and he has Florida high on his list. Florida has been the team to beat for a while and even though Urban Meyer stepped down, Grant is still favoring the Gators. Florida must get a couple linebackers and he’s at the top of the list. He’ll officially visit Florida in January and a decision could come soon after.
3. DT Timmy Jernigan (Lake City Columbia) — Everyone picked him as a Gator lock at the beginning of the recruiting season, but things have changed considerably. Alabama, Florida State and LSU are schools that appear to be at the top of his list, but Florida isn’t totally out of it. The loss of Meyer and defensive line coach Dan McCarney certainly didn’t help Florida’s chances at all, but I’m told he’ll visit Florida in January. With Muschamp being a defensive-minded guy, the two should connect, but it could be tough to develop a strong relationship fast. Florida needs big bodies on its line and Jernigan has been targeted by Florida for some time. It would be tough to lose a guy right out of your backyard.
4. LB Lamar Dawson (Danville, Kent., Boyle County) — He was very high on Florida before his scheduled official visit earlier this month. However, he never took that visit because of Meyer’s resignation. While he’s yet to reschedule, he’s interested in meeting Muschamp and could still visit in January. In order to get back to Florida (he has unofficially visited this year) he’ll have to cancel one of his scheduled visits. He’s one of the most athletic linebackers in the country and he looked very good when I saw him this summer. Florida has to get him on campus to have a chance.
5. WR Kelvin Benjamin (Belle Glade Glades Central) — Benjamin was all set to commit to Florida State until he talked to Muschamp. Now, he’s going to visit UF in January before he makes his final decision. I’ve been told that Florida is where is heart is, so Muschamp has a real shot at landing him. Florida needs another big-play receiver and Benjamin fits that mold. FSU is still pushing hard and won’t be easy for the Gators to beat.
6. DE Curt Maggitt (West Palm Beach Dwyer) — Florida needs defensive linemen and Maggitt has been on Florida’s radar for some time. He’s a very athletic end and made a bunch of plays during his senior year. Florida has always been a school near the top of his list, but he’s pretty open at the moment.Maggitt likes Muschamp and he’s pushing his decision date back. Florida could get a visit from him in January.
7. CB/S Marcus Roberson (Ft. Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas) — The loss of Nick Waisome means Florida needs another cornerback. The thing about Roberson is that he can play both corner and safety. He’s a big, physical defender that might be more suited to Muschamp’s style of defense. Auburn is the school to beat, but he’s going to officially visit Florida next month. Remember, the Gators were at the top of his list at one point during the summer. The fact that he hasn’t picked the Tigers yet can only be a good thing for Florida at this point.
8. DE Ray Drew (Thomasville, Ga., Thomasville County Central) — He is one of the top defensive ends in the country and he’s not too far from Gainesville. The loss of Meyer has changed things for Drew, but there’s still a lot of time between now and National Signing Day. Florida might have fallen but he’s still a guy Florida should be after. He’s a big, physical end who could compete for time early.
9. S Wayne Lyons (Ft. Lauderdale Dillard) — Florida needs help at safety and Lyons has a strong connection to Florida with his sister attending UF. Academics are very important to him and Stanford seems to be the team with the edge at this point. Florida has a chance, but he needs to get on campus to meet with Muschamp.
10. OL Xzavier Ward (Moultrie, Ga., Colquitt County) — While he hasn’t been mentioned much, he’s a guy that’s still interested in Florida and the Gators need to land at least one more offensive lineman. Ward has Florida in his top five and is expected to visit Florida next month. He’s one of the few offensive line prospects Florida can seriously go after. Most guys are committed elsewhere, but Ward is a solid option.