Gators recruiting Xmas list


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.


  1. I do think once we totally get our “team” of coaches together we will start to get some big gut feeling is Muschamp has his team lined up but is waiting til after the bowl games to not rock the boat…I sure hope my gut is right!!!!

  2. According to some of more knowledgeable recdruitniks, Nick Waisome wasn’t getting a lot of love from Coach Muschamp because he likes taller, bigger CB’s, and that’s why Nick switched schools. Hoping we get Drew though, We need a good pair of DE’s for depth next season. Drew could play as a freshmen.

  3. Happy bday! Go Gators! We will have an outstanding recruiting class because we are FLORIDA. So I’m not worried, and for the recruits that back off because Meyer is stepping down aren’t real Gators and we don’t need those types. Happy holidays Gator nation!

  4. Happy Birthday, Edward! Of those on your list, I think we get Clinton-Dix(and his teammate Dee Hart), Grant, Benjamin, Roberson(and Lyons if Harbaugh jumps to Michigan to replace RR- although I’m not sure we stay on Lyons if we get HCD and Roberson). I thought Jernigan had eliminated UF.

  5. OK, Ed! You can go shoping for me anytime! Great List, the extra Big cookies are out with a Big Cup of Hot Irsh Coffee! With a Big Glow, Big Santa brings Big Toys for Coach Muschamp, You, Me and the Gator Nation! GO GATORS!!!!!!!

    Love Your Stuff, keep it coming!
    Big G.

  6. To me, the main ingredients in recruiting is does the athlete want to be there in his heart or is he just looking out for himself and his future in the pros; if he does not want to be there or shows hesitation; let him go; he will not be a team player. The best athletes don’t win championships, it’s those who play together for a common cause!

  7. Nice work Edward! Happy B-Day and Merry Christmas. Its refreshing to see to we have a shot at getting some of these top recruits even after all that’s happened. January will be a huge month for the GATOR NATION. Also Kudo’s for whoever added the view one page feature clicking on each page was rather annoying.

  8. Since this has been a holidays dead period for contacting recruits, I have a feeling we’re going to get an announcement within the next few days about a new coordinator and maybe a couple of new assistants. Keep your fingers crossed.

  9. Ed: Iam a regular reader and fan of your column. But I have to tell you its CHRISTMAS not XMAS!!! We are celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Please use the correct and complete spelling in the future. Many thanks and keep up the good work.

  10. Love the column as usual, Ed, and as of 9:04 am, christmas day 2010, i now have a son that shares a birthday with you! I know we are loaded at running back but do you think there is anyone out there that coach muschamp is looking at as it seems all the teams who he coached for had big punishing type backs in a pro-style offense? Thank you, belated merry christmas and happy birthday!

  11. Great Thing about recruiting…Its how you finish that counts!
    We have a good 6 weeks and a Bowl game to win….That done and I just have a feeling that Muschamp is going to pull in a very nice class!
    The exciting part is the fact that we can tap into the rich Texas market in addition to Florida!!!!
    We are going to be fine and I think we are going to be a fun team to watch next year!!!
    And we will win alot…..
    Go Gators!
    Bob in Jupiter.

  12. Gator Nation:

    Why can’t you just accept that FSU is recruiting better than UF? I try to come on here and be civil, but every time you guys lose a recruit or lose a game all you do is blame this person or that event. Jimbo Fisher is one of the finest recruiters in the nation, if not the finest, and players leaving UF for FSU has nothing to do with Muschamp liking “taller CBs.” Seriously, guys, you had your run–and it was a great one that will always be remembered–but the game of making excuses is childish. It’s delusional to think that UF loses recruits or games only because of bizarre circumstances. In your entire history you have won three national championships. That is nothing compared to other universities. Please humble yourselves a little and soak in some reality. I’m not trying to be antagonistic, but some of you guys make excuses for everything.


  13. Jack,

    Jimbo is a good recruiter but FSU has not been relevant or won a national championship in a long time. One victory does not exactly mean the run is over.

    I hear noise about Shula. Smart guy-average coordinator and NOT a good fit.

  14. @Jack-
    You make some great points about the wishful thinking and blame-game excuses some Gator fans engage in. And, other schools do have more than 3 NC in their histories. The Mighty Fighting Irish of Notre Dame come to mind. However, be mindful that you, too, might be drinking of the FSU Kool-Aid. Jimbo Fisher is an improvement over the Bobby-Jeff Bowden end of era reign of terror, but be careful, just because for one season the Gator are worse than normal and FSU is better than normal does not make it a trend. Time will tell. Look in the mirror, maybe you are the one deluded at this point.
    Your points are well taken and I commend you for your civility. Now Go Gators, and GO FSU! I want you guys to be perfect when we crush you like a grape! As you would wish likewise. I like it when the NC has to be decided at Tally and Hogtown year in and year out.

  15. Rooferman:

    Fair points, but I don’t think you know how much Bowden dragged our program down. I will always be grateful to Bowden for what he did, in building the program, but he became incredibly selfish in his later years. And, on this note, I blame his wretched wife for much of it. That woman was an absolute piece of white trash and I am glad that she is forever out of Tallahassee. So many fans hated her, and many blamed her for Bobby’s staying on—she kept feeding his ego and telling him that FSU cannot survive without him. Jimbo inherited an absolute mess. Our school has been in shambles for years. Look at Penn State—what a joke. They keep hanging on to this deaf, incontinent, delusional guy who couldn’t win them a national championship if they were playing FAMU. That’s what happened to FSU. But yes, now I believe in Jimbo—I have to. Just look at his first recruiting class, this year’s 2011 class. It may wind up being the number one unit in the country. That’s mighty impressive in my opinion. It’s a great start.

    You are right that Jimbo hasn’t turned the program into a powerhouse yet, but, considering what Bowden left him, I’m impressed.

    Yes, I too would love the rivalry to get back to its 90’s intensity levels. So many of your colleagues on here choose to forget how great of a rivalry it is. But it looks to me like things have been leveled: two great young coaches/recruiters competing against each other for years to come.


  16. Jack:
    I agree FSU is putting together a great recruiting class this year, but those freshman will not help much next season if history is an accurate guide. UF’s recruiting class may not rival FSU’s this year, but it will be better than Miami’s! As of today, Miami has four comits, four! And, I have to agree, FSU had a better season this year, played in the ACC championship game, and is the Florida champion having beat UF and Miami. However, we played many freshman and true sophmores this season, and FSU comes to the Swamp next year. We shall see. Meanwhile, I tip my hat to you Jack, you are always a gentleman. But, be a little kinder to Joe Pa, he is still better than Bobby.
    Go Gators! And to FSU, Beat Miami!

  17. Norm H — Allow me to digress from recruiting and respond …

    The Greek letter “X” is the first letter for the Greek word for Christ, Xristos.
    Xmas therefore means “Christ’s Mass” The “X” in “Xmas” represents the Greek letter chi, which is the initial letter of Christos — the Greek for Christ.
    Christians came to use X as a symbol, and it crept into the English language as a shorthand. From there it became more generally used.

    Xmas, or in some cases X-mas, is an easier way to write Christmas. So in many ways, the X in Xmas stands for Christ.

    I shall now return to discussing recruiting …

  18. hey guys this site is just like all the rest these guys are just speculatingthey have no fing idea what they r going to do these recruits have them spinning like a top and if muschamp is such a great recruiter why the hell has he been only able to get one commit and since hes been aboard weve lost 2 guys that i know of 1 to are arch rival fsu so far he is still – 1 if my math serves me correct