It’s the final week of the regular season and things are getting ready to pick up on the recruiting trail!
Florida only had one official visitor for the Furman game, JUCO defensive tackle Damien Jacobs, and I will have a blog on him tomorrow. There were also a handful of no-shows, but that won’t be the case this weekend.
It’s UF-FSU and several of the nation’s best prospects will be in The Swamp to see these arch-rivals go at it. We’ll have a preview story on the website Friday, but for now here’s a running list of visitors expected to attend.
Lots more questions for this week! Keep ’em coming!
Most of them were about specific recruits and where they stand with the Gators. So what I’ll do for this recruiting mailbag is take a look at the targets left on the board for each position of need. This will cover the guys you all asked about, many of whom will be visiting for Florida Sate.
With the commitments of Matt Jones and Mike Davis, Florida is set in the backfield. But some still want to know if Keith Marshall, the No. 1 ranked RB by Rivals and Scout, could possibly join the party. Marshall officially visited for the Alabama game and put the Gators in his top six on Nov. 16 along with Clemson, Georgia, North Carolina, Notre Dame and South Carolina.
But when he makes his announcement on Dec. 6, it will not be for UF. He has been a UGA-lean for months and all signs point to him picking the Bulldogs, especially given their success this season. This isn’t that big of a loss for the coaches. They are searching for size and strength at the position and Marshall is more of speedster at 5-foot-11, 190 pounds.
That’s all you need to know.
Not only are these two the top priorities at wide out, they may very well be atop the recruiting board. The Gators need offensive playmakers who can create separation and make plays down the field, and both of them fit the bill.
Although Agholor and Diggs have yet to name a leader, many feel that Florida is their favorite.
Agholor unofficially visited for the Alabama and Vanderbilt games and plans to take an official visit with his parents after the season. He is very quiet when it comes to recruiting and rarely does interviews, but two commits have told me they think he will be a Gator.
Diggs was scheduled to be in town for FSU, but he canceled on Monday because he wants to watch his brother play in the state championship game back home. However, Diggs’ mother and his mentor are still coming down to check out Gainesville with Jelani Jenkins’ mother. Diggs attends the same school as the starting UF linebacker and their families are very close. They also share the same mentor. There was a lot of talk back in July that Diggs was ready to commit at Friday Night Lights but just needed his mother’s blessing. So her trip to UF this weekend is a very positive sign for Florida and speaks volumes about Diggs’ interest.
On Saturday, UF will host its top offensive line target in Avery Young. Rated a five-star prospect by Scout.com, Young has liked Florida from the beginning of his recruitment and it seemed like only a matter of time before he committed to the Gators. But Young decided to stay open and has also gained interest in Auburn, Georgia and Alabama. Young is taking his official visit this weekend and it will be his last trip to Gainesville, so the coaches need to try and secure his verbal.
Florida was also supposed to have JUCO OL and Oklahoma State commit Donald Hawkins in for an official, but he canceled the visit after spending last weekend in Texas. But the Gators now have another JUCO option, 6-foot-7, 290-pound Pierce Burton. He was recently offered a scholarship and has an official visit scheduled for Dec. 17, where he could make a commitment to UF if given the opportunity.
Five-star defensive end Jonathan Bullard is Florida’s top priority at the position. Unfortunately for the coaches, they are having to pursue him the hardest. He will be on an official visit this weekend with his teammate, safety commit Rhahiem Ledbetter, so they should get a good idea of where he stands. If he ends up going elsewhere, look for the staff to turn up the heat on Noah Spence. The five-star is ranked as the No. 1 DE on Scout and has UF in his top seven. Penn State once held the lead for Spence, but he has all but eliminated the Nittany Lions since the scandal broke. If the coaches get Spence on campus (he’s never visited) and convince him to leave home, Florida could be in the driver’s seat.
Williams called UF his leader after the Tennessee game, but once Auburn entered the picture he changed his tune and now seems neutral. He grew a Gator fan and is coming for FSU this weekend, so maybe Florida can make a move for him. McCalister will also be in The Swamp to the Gators and Seminoles square off, but he looks like a backup plan if Bullard, Spence and Williams don’t work out. Hamilton has UF in second place and is scheduled to officially visit in December, but he is all Rutgers at this point and will be hard to sway away from New Jersey.
The coaches will have all three of their targets in the south end zone bleachers Saturday. No. 1 on their list is official visitor Jordan Jenkins. He had Alabama leading for his services in October, but the Gators have evened the playing field thanks to his relationship with the coaches and players. I still see him signing with the Crimson Tide in the end, so if UF is going to prevent that from happening, things have to go well this weekend.
Joining Jenkins in the stands will be FSU verbal Dante Fowler. This will be his fourth visit to Gainesville since choosing to the Seminoles and he appears to have real interest in Florida despite his “100 percent committed” comments. If the Gators come out with a victory, it would be a big help in their efforts to make him switch. Fowler’s good friend Tyric McCord is also attending the game. If the coaches get bad vibes from Jenkins or Fowler, they may try and get the one time Gator-lean to pull the trigger.
Josh Harvey-Clemons was one of the no-shows for Furman. His high school team lost a late-night game on Friday and he wasn’t able to make it for the 1 p.m. kickoff. He was also scheduled to be at the FSU game but now has a wedding to attend on Saturday. But his change in plans in no way reflects a change in interest with the Gators. He still has UF as one of his top schools and will take an official visit in December. He’s one of the last options left for Florida at LB, but if I made a mock class for 2012 — he would be in it.
Like other positions above, the top targets remaining are attending the FSU game. Rivals’ No. 1 cornerback Tracy Howard will be there with his mother, who is a huge Gator fan. Florida and Florida State are Howard’s favorites and Saturday should help him decide his college destination with the depth he see’s on the field. USF commit Chris Bivins is making his third trip to The Swamp this year. If UF misses on Howard and still wants to add a CB, Bivins would likely drop on the spot if given an offer.
Thanks all for this week! Everyone have a Happy Thanksgiving!