While the negative recruiting news seems to keep piling up for the Florida Gators, here’s something positive to ponder concerning the future: On UF’s 2011 roster, there will be a whopping 18 four-star freshmen and one five-star. And that’s if the Gators don’t add any more commitments between now and the close of signing day Wednesday.
Now that’s a boatload of young talent.
Of those 18 four-star prospects, nine will come from last year’s No. 2-ranked recruiting class, and they will be redshirt freshmen after sitting out this past season. The other nine will be true freshmen. That five-star recruit is California transfer Chris Martin, who redshirted this past season and is expected to contend for a starting role at linebacker this spring.
Those nine four-star prospects from a year ago also are going to have a chance to have a huge impact in Will Muschamp’s first season.
Wide receivers Chris Dunkley and Quinton Dunbar could be instant stars in Charlie Weis’ offense. On the line, Chaz Green, Ian Silberman and Leon Orr will have a chance to nail down starting roles this spring. Quarterback Tyler Murphy also could be an immediate factor in terms of providing depth. By all accounts, he has a big-time arm, and he’ll have a chance to show it off in the spring. And tight end Michael McFarland also has a big upside.
Along with Martin, the redshirt freshmen could make a significant immediate impact on defense. The Gators have a need at linebacker, and Gideon Ajajbe and Michael Taylor are considered excellent prospects. Up front, once-undersized defensive end Lynden Trail has gained about 30 pounds and now looks ready to become a major contributor at a position of need.
On the back end, Joshua Shaw is expected to emerge as a major player at cornerback or safety.
So, yes, the recruiting news for Florida has mostly been negative down the stretch. Still, this is going to be a Florida team stacked with dynamic young talent next season.