Gators would like to haul in Stephenson 4

Could there be a new carving on the side of Stone Mountain? (Photo Illustration by Rob Mack/Staff)

We could have another Lakeland situation on our hands here in Gainesville.

Remember when those seven guys from Lakeland High all signed with Florida in 2007? I believe some very large and talented twins were a part of that group, along with a small, slow safety who could go down as one of the best Gators to ever play that position.

Well, it seems like Florida’s new staff is trying to pull a similar stunt in Stone Mountain, Ga. Over the weekend, Florida hosted another slew of junior prospects for its second Junior Day of the year. A part of that group were four standouts from Stephenson High — the same high school that delivered Jermaine Cunningham to the Gators.

Coach Will Muschamp and his crew certainly made a strong impression on the foursome of running back Mike Davis, linebacker Raphael Kirby, defensive end Jarontay Jones and defensive tackle Jafar Mann. Davis enjoyed his time in Gainesville so much that he committed to Florida’s staff before leaving campus, becoming the Gators’ fifth verbal of the 2012 class.

As for his buds, they all came away with Florida as their leader.

Jones was so impressed he said it was “really hard” for him to not commit to Florida over the weekend. The only thing that stopped him was that he wants to take more visits to other schools.

“(The visit) went great,” Jones said. “Everything from the coaches, players, facilities, campus (were impressive).

“After the visit, they are definitely first (on his list of schools).”

Jones listed Auburn as his favorite earlier this month, but the loss of defensive line coach Tracy Rocker, who took a job with the Tennessee Titans, removed the Tigers from the top spot.

Mann was also pretty close to committing. Growing up a Gator fan, Mann had Florida as his leader before he made the trip to Gainesville, but cemented the Gators there once he left.

“I really can see myself down there,” Mann said.

Mann, who spent most of his time with defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, said one reason he has Florida as his leader is the depth chart. With no DTs signing in 2011, Mann thinks he’s got a chance to come in and contribute early.

Mann, who stands 6-foot-3, 286 pounds, spent time hanging out with former Georgia prospect Mack Brown, whom he played against in high school.

Finally, there’s Kirby.

The 6-foot-1, 212-pound linebacker has been getting a ton of early interest from schools, but Florida seems to be saying all the right things to him.

“It was great,” Kirby said of Florida’s Junior Day. “I enjoyed the competitive environment. I had a great time talking with all the coaches.”

Kirby was also very excited to see his teammate commit to a school he also considers his leader at this point.

“I’m happy for the young star,” he said. “He’s a great running back, and I’m proud of him.”

Kirby spent most of his time with Quinn and linebackers coach D.J. Durkin.

Davis said he will be actively recruiting his teammates to join him, and all of them will be back to speak with Florida’s coaches and watch spring practice in March.


  1. Man I cannot believe the passion and intensity that Muschamp is putting into this thing already.

    Looks like he is holding nothing back, Gonna be some good years to be a Gator.

    Just wonder if he can surpass the excellence that Urban and that Tebow guy enjoyed.

  2. Chomp is killing it in recruiting…I thought that he would…I really like what this staff is doing…and all though I haven’t heard Muschomp talk much (because he’s new and the season is over)…I really like his attitude and energy. Keep it up coach…you’re doing an awesome job!

  3. This is great to hear, but how interested are we in them? (are they top targets, or someone to have a relationship with in case someone else falls through?) And are they all projected to be talented college players?

  4. If you’ll go back to an earlier post when so many were panicking because of our below standards recruiting year for 2011, i told all those that were about to jump to take a chill pill, our coach would see us through. Come on in Ga Boys, the water is just fine. Do it Will, just do it. Go Gators

  5. @LEVELGATOR Stone Mountain is in Dekalb County, not Gwinnett… i love living in Atlanta and singing the praises of the Great university of Florida to all those pitiful UgA supporters… It’s Great 2 Be A FLORIDA GATOR!!!

  6. I think there’s more to it than we think…yeah we can SEE Chomp’s effort he’s putting into recruiting rather than him getting in front of a camera and yapping with no results. But what we can’t see or hear about right now is really the big surprise…him preparing this team for the 11 season. I believe he’s gonna work miracles with the talent he was left with. Go Gators!

  7. The important thing about getting these five commits early is the attention it brings to the program with other recruits. They see these big-namers committing to UF this realy and they stop and take notice, and then start digging deeper into what UF has to offer. It’s all good.

  8. Lets not get carried away. NSD is just over 11 months away. Look at July 2010 – 7 months out, last year. Pagan, Waisome, shazier verbals – gone. Maggit heavy Fla lean – gone. Wilder, heavy Fla lean – gone. Anthony, heavy Fla lean – gone. Benjamen, heavy Fla lean – gone. AJ Johnson, heavy Fla lean – gone. Watkins, thought to be a heavy Fla lean – gone. We still had a decent class after the complete overhaul with the coaching staff, though I think Brisset or Driskel will end up transferring when one of them realizes they are to good of a quarterback to ride the bench.

  9. Coach Muschamp has the “it” factor and he will appeal to young football players. Additionally, his style of football is contagious and he’ll bring many championships to Florida Football in a style we all can embrace. Go luck and thanks to Coach Meyer for everything he did, but I am glad to get back to some traditional football. I like the downhill running game that I expect we will see with Coach Muschamp but he will need lots of backups because they aren’t going to play the finesse style of play. They will be sore and beaten up after every game and may need two weeks to bounce back so the backups need to be as good as the starters. We need lots of depth.
    Fernandina Gator