Gators’ Class of 2012 off to strong start

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Remember when some Gators fans thought Will Muschamp wasn’t getting it done on the recruiting front? Remember when that Florida ledge seemed to be getting shorter and shorter because the January recruiting stretch wasn’t pretty to look at?

Well, it looks like Muschamp has everything in order now that the 2012 class is here. There’s much less stress and more time to really create some meaningful relationships.

After securing the two 2012 commits from the Urban Meyer days, Muschamp has reeled in three this month, including two of the top running back prospects in the Southeast.

Florida could sign 25 in the class, but let’s take a look at the five Florida has right now.

WR Latroy Pittman, 6-1, 200 (Citra North Marion) — He was the first in this class to commit to the Gators back in October. While some have listed him as a potential safety in college, there’s no question he’s an absolute playmaker at receiver. He was one of the top prospects at last year’s Friday Night Lights, showing great hands and speed, and he proved that he was again one of the top receivers during the Under Armour and U.S. Army junior combines in January. He’s very solid in his commitment and will enroll at Florida early, but recently received verbal offers from Alabama and Miami.

DT Omari Phillips, 6-6, 270 (Venice) — He could play offensive tackle or defensive tackle, but Muschamp made it clear to him that the staff wants him on the defensive line when he arrives. That was exactly what he wanted to hear when he visited and reaffirmed his commitment to the Gators during Florida’s first Junior Day. On the field, he’s one of the more athletic linemen around and should be one of the top at his position in the state of Florida this fall.

RB Matt Jones, 6-3, 215 (Seffner Armwood) — Meyer always wanted that big, bruising back, but with the spread offense, it was always tough to lure one to Gainesville. Only a few months on the job, and equipped with a pro-style plan, Muschamp has one of the top prospects in the southeast. There are questions about his technique and whether he runs too upright, but he has a year to correct that and should be one of the more exciting running backs to watch this fall. He’s already taller than any of last year’s top SEC rushers and is close to most of them in weight.

RB Mike Davis, 5-11, 185 (Stone Mountain, Ga., Stephenson) — Florida ended its recruitment of running backs when Davis committed this past weekend. He’s not as big or as powerful as Jones, but he’s shiftier and appears to be faster on tape. He should be a solid complement to Jones in the backfield. His verbal could also help the Gators with three other big-time prospects at Stephenson High.

LB Jeremi Powell, 6-2, 200, (Largo Pinellas Park) — Few may have known about him before he committed to Florida over the weekend, but once more of his film comes out people will start to notice. He’s not a huge linebacker, but he’s got great speed off the line. Most of the tape on Powell shows him playing linebacker, defensive end and some tight end/receiver. He truly is a pure athlete. The way he performs at camps this summer should only pump his name up to fans and other schools.

50 COMMENTS

  1. Let’s not get too ahead of ourselves and say this will automatically be the #1 class. There are a lot of big time recruiting teams out there, but I will say I think Will Muschamp will land us in the top 5. Either way, we are going to be bringing in some mad talented guys. It’s gonna be exciting! Go gators!

  2. It’s just an estimated guess that we’ll be #1. Odds are, we’ll have at least three 5 stars in this group, and four, ‘maybe’ five wouldn;t be a stretch to expect either. Jones is already a 5* on Scout. Powell is the nation’s #5 OLB and could easily shoot up to a 5* at the end of the HS season. Don’t be surprised to see 4 5*’s in this class on NSD 2012. That said, we only had 19 in the 2011 class with 6 ships left over. Our biggest in-state recruiting rival right now is FSU after their #2 class, but they oversigned by five this year and will only have about 15 slots to offer next year, and our biggest SEC recruiting rival, Bama, also oversigned by 5 or 6 and will have a smaller class next year too. UF has a chance to take advantage with the enormous recruiting experience on it’s staff in the 2011-2012 recruiting season.

  3. I don’t agree with F$u being our biggest in-state recruiting rival right now…Miami will come on strong which is where we need to be recruiting (but we do play f$u). Fsu used a down year for UF to clean up and you have to give jimbo credit for that, nothing else because they still didn’t do great on the field. Just one top 5 class over I don’t know how many years for f$u doesn’t scare me at all…they still have to win games and they didn’t show us that this past season. I agree we are headed for a top 5 class which is all you really need anyways.

  4. Everything’s developing about as well as we could hope–it’s hard NOT to be excited. Let the others (FSU especially) have their overheated boasts and short-termed dreams, we’ll take our steadily building reality.
    This coming Gator team will be whipping ALL their butts soon enough.
    Eat ’em up!

  5. MIKE, my observation is based on a yearly basis. FSU was our main in-state recruiting rival this year (2010), but I certainly don;t expect that to be the case in 2011. Of course, FSU has had good recruiting years in the ’05=’06 years, and after their 9 win season in ’08 too, and nothing really came of those teams. And remember, Jimbo Fisher was there too. They beat us in recruiting this year, but we still managed a top 14 class with only 19 signees, plus the nation’s #1 and #4 QB’s, #1 FB, and one of the top DB’s too. We did fine, and we’ll do fine in 2012 too, because we won;t have to oversign to make a top 5 class like FSU had to this year.

  6. I pray that our #1 rated fullback will be used as he needs to be, as a running fullback, not just an additonal blocker out of the backfield. I know that blocking is one of the roles of any player on the team, just not on ebery down. I believe that this is one of the reasons that many of the big, go-to, every down backs shied away from Florida…hard to make a name for yourself when all you do is block out of the backfiled. I know that our new running backs coach, Ron Dayne’s coach is well aware of this…look at dayne’s numbers. Our run game is in good hands!!

  7. Swamptalk,
    first off jeff is a tough dude. whens the last time you’ve seen a 5’8″ 180 pound back take on 250 to 300 pound linemen an still get at least a couple of yards every time. If his mates don’t block for you thats not his falt. you know what happens when they do block. Those freshman don’t have the core work to last yet in the SEC. they won’t be real contributers till 2013. Jeff is still the best we have period.

  8. @swamptalk – Who said J Demps isn’t tough? And why all of a sudden with the Jones and Davis commitments are Gator fans under the delusion that we never had a running game? We have had more big plays (20+ yards) than any team over the last 5 years – 60% of them were on the ground. I know we were terrible last year offensively, but it wasn’t because of lack of talent in our backfield…….. It was the guy telling them where to line up.

  9. Gotta agree that the comment of Demps not being tough was a little overboard. He carried the ball 26 times against UT until a huge lineman stepped on his foot and injured. That could have happened to ANY back of ANY size too. Of course, with Steve Addazio’s influence gone from this team now, our offense will be able to flourish once again. Lets face it, The 2010 offense was NOTHING like the previous Meyer offneses in previous years. It’s no coincidence that after Meyer had health problems, this offense (and team overall), went into the tank in 2010. Why? Because Meyer handed over most of the team operatipns to Addazio, and we saw the disaster unflod in front of our eyes from Miami, Ohio all the way to FSU. (It still gives me shivers thinking about it). SA refused to use the freshmen much, wouldn;t use the FB’s, pretty much wouldn;t do anything but run the ball behind center and use the dive-play. Why people think he’s going to be successful at Temple, I don’t know. That said, we finally have some coaches who KNOW how to run an offense again.

  10. I know we have Pittman at WR right now, but what about the tall/ freaky receivers, Ed? Now that it seems our QB, RB, DB, FB, TE and probably DB and LB situations are in good hands and damn near solid for the Muschamp era(next 4 or 5 years), looks like we need one or two marquee “big” receivers to round out our roster.. so who is out there, that we dont know about? We have plenty of possession receivers with speed under 6′. We now need some bigger, physical guys with range and wingspan.

    And does anyone know what ever happened to Stephen Alli, an ’09 signee? He was a 6’5 WR who with speed and promise, who needed a few years of development. Well, it’s been two years, can he get open and catch a ball(lol)?

    Thanks Ed.

  11. The momentum is underway…. This coaching staff and program with time to develop relationships will take care of itself.

    Once these recruits see our spring game and a legit plan in place during next years schedule will all contribute towards closing the deal.

    Was sorry to hear that Jernigan felt betrayed by Florida. Sorry Timmy, the world does not operate on your schedule and people and coaching staffs change.

    I would have thought better of him if he would have just said that his longer relationship with Odell Haggins was the reason to pull the trigger with FSU. He has the right to go wherever he wants.

    I’m just glad we are focusing on and getting committed recruits.I’ve gotta really good feelin about this.

  12. JOEL, you have Alli (who’s a project player), Hines, and Dunkley who could be the big possession types, but with TE’s like Christian, Leonard, and Reed, coupled with a pro-set offense, you’re going to see lots of tall guys with great hands catching the ball.

  13. DENNIS, I spoke with some folks recently about Jernigan and who knew some folks in the football circles he was in, and yes, TJ said “he liked UF”, but that like me, a UF fans saying that I also “like Oklahoma”. Fro0m what I’ve heard, he was mostoly a lost cause even with Meyer. This kid was eating up the attention he was getting from UF fans to go to UF and he played the system well. He may have “liked” UF, but he was never really a serious Gator.

  14. Gator Todd u forgot about Percy Jr.(Andre Dubose)he’s tha real deal they just didn’t know how 2 use him,if we can get Brantley on the right track the sec might b n trouble this yr. not 2012.Go 2 espn.com & look at our offense it’s at least 10 playmaker without the 2011 class,add n Driskell,Leonard,Blakley,&Story like i said somebody might b n trouble this yr.

  15. MONEY, we were talking amore about big possession WR’s, but no doubt, there won;t be any wasting this young man’s talent in 2011. It was Addazio’s own decision that Debose never touched the ball in the opener against Miami, Ohio, as well as his own incompetence that Debose never got an offensive touch v.s. FSU either (RB Mike Gillislee gopt one offensive touch in that game). The coaches last year didn’t trust the younger kids, and that didnpt help in developing them IMO. Debose is a slot reciever anyway, but then he was the wide spread WR, and then KO returner. Last year was just a complete mess created mostly by Addazio.

  16. Dale, Orr will be playing defensive tackle this upcoming season unless somebody else gets moved over to that side of the ball..we only have four players at this position and need at least one more to add depth even though we will be running the 3-4 with Powell as the hybrid LB. Also people are forgetting about Chris Martin (5 star who transferred from Cal last year) he will be competing for a starting job this spring and fall with my guess that he will see ample playing time in the fall. Go Gators!!!!!

  17. DALE, it looks like Wilson may get a medical hardship due to chronic injuries, Xavier Nixon has dropped down to 270 pounds (huh?! Illness maybe?), and Matt Patchen will miss the spring. That leaves us with about 10 serviceable linemen after that. Roby is stbility at C, Halapio and Hurt offer good OG strength, I think Nixon will get back up to where he was, but after that, it’s a wait and see what happens with Patchen. Of course, with a new Ol coach who will actually COAXH the OL this year may be just what we need. 😉

  18. With the Pouncey’s success at line (rookie pro bowl starting gor steelers!) And our new staff…I just don’t see this team lacking in O line talent. FSU cleaned up cuz we had a lame duck and we ( and MIA ) were without a coach (and most of a staff!). Nobody will convince me that the situation is as”sexy” over there. They’ll get there’s but on equal footing we win most of the time. My guy is an UGA fan (translation hater of the highest order) and even admits this. It might take us a year to translate on the field BUT were gunnin’ hardcore recruiting wise.

  19. @ MONICA, I agree 100%! UGA fans are terrible! they talk so much crap its funny[haters of the highest order]. iv only been a live for 24yrs, but i think they have won less than 5or6 times since iv been around, is that REALY a rivalry or are we just being nice to our GA friends? i grew up about 30 miles from athens and heard how this was there year….every year… forever. i could take some trash talk from alabama MABYE, but not from AU, UGA, FSU. AU JUST USED FLORDIA GUYS TO WIN A CHAMP! QB AND COACH WERE FROM UF!

  20. Gator Todd,
    Matt Jones is a 4 star on Scout, not 5. It appears on their recruiting page. FSU appears on this years board with the number 1 class with Auburn number 2. How do you feel about our chances with those teams this year?

  21. @tomk – yes it was and still is a rivalry. As lopsided as it has been, it was the other way around when I was growing up. 44-0, both 26-21 games and 10-9 ……. heartbreaking. Georgia had our number and Herschel Walker was that good. FSU had two undefeated regular seasons back to back, and Miami shocked everyone by beating Nebraska….. a very tough time to be a Gator. It was unfathomable to think that 30 years later we would be one of the 2-3 premier programs in the country – never thought I would live to see it. So, enjoy it while it is here.

  22. FSU never had back-to-back undefeated regular seasons. They went 11 – 1 in ’79 and lost in the Orange Bowl to JC Watts, Billy Simms, and Oklahoma, and then they went 10 – 2 in ’80, losing to Miami in the regular season 10-9 I believe, and then getting beat by Okie again in the Orange Bowl.

  23. todd are you a smith?
    you are knowledgeable.

    like the early recruiting success, but it is marathon and nothing counts until they sign.

    FSU, BAMA, CLEM, OHIO ST are getting to many gator recruits. and MIA will do better next year.

    WE HAVE DEPTH PROBLEM AT DL OL LB

    go gators

  24. we need wilson, nixon, & patchen to be dominate every down guys.

    i do not see any other dependable OL.

    hope i am wrong

    DL needs to get much better next year as BAMA, SO CAR, FSU, GA all will have very good running game next year. not to mention LSU

  25. BUCK, I appreciate that. No, I’m “GATOR TODD”, aka “The Graygator”, and pretty well known in Tally circles and on Gator Country. I was a well known Gator on local Tally sports talk radio for years back in the ’90’s. I used to drive the nolies crazy up here too. 😉 To this day I still get dirty looks from the folks over at Warchant.com when they see me out and about in Tally. lol
    At OL, we are 10 deep, which isn’t bad per-say, but you want at least 12 serviceable linemen, Thing is, the talent level is off the charts. We have a decent DT rotation, but need to be wary of injuries. Okine and Orr can go either way on the LOS this spring IMO. I think Okine ends up at OT and Orr stays on D. LB isn;t as bad as you might think.

  26. BUCK, Halapio came on strong in the final five games of last year. Alajajian is a stud, and Robey is a proven talent for C. James Wilson is really the only one that’s up in the air with chronic injuries, and Nixon lost some weight this off-season, but that can be normal for off-season linemen. Patchan, we’ll just have to wait and see what happens with him, but he won;t participate in the pring from what I’ve heard.

  27. we need help for the future at OL for sure. there is a ton of talent in this next class of recruits from FLA. how are our chances with OT J.Theus,T.Darlington, K.Davis, J.Hamilton? also we want be WRs in the new offence, theres 2 huge WRs in the same class, what are the chances with Green-Beckham and/or Jason Croom? and is the TE Hunter Boudreau a lock tto be a gator? feed us edward, we need that info

  28. Hi Gator Todd… Your not the only one living behind enemy lines… I’m in Tally as well. My girlfriend was a member of the marching chiefs back in the mid 80’s. Not being racial… just humorous. We consider ourselves in an inter-racial relationship. Go Lizzards…. D