The Florida Gators recruiting train rolls on with some old names and some new names popping up on the radar. The staff has been working furiously to shore up commits and talk to some guys they haven’t been on in the past to round out this year’s class.
Currently, the staff is sitting on 21 commitments and would like to add 4-5 more. They’d possibly like to add another wide receiver, defensive tackle, defensive end, a linebacker, an offensive guard, and a tight end. Not necessarily all of the above, but some combination of them. WR, DT, and DE would be most pressing. Linebacker is fallback in case they lose one of Hearns or Powell. Tight End is to replace Reed numbers-wise who is likely to leave after this season. Guard is simply to get right number-wise but only the right recruit not just a warm body.
Some new names on the horizon include speedster James Clark a 5’11” 170 lb wide receiver from New Smyrna Beach, Florida. Receiver’s coach Bush Hamdan was reportedly down to visit him this week. With top targets Laquon Treadwell and Marquez North crossing Florida off the list, the Gators are looking elsewhere to find playmakers at the position. Playmaking receivers are the Gators most pressing need this recruiting cycle as anybody who watched them play this season surely understands. They do have some good ones committed but would like to upgrade numbers-wise as well as talent-wise.
At defensive tackle the staff is really pushing to get JUCO DT Jarran Reed on campus. A JC teammate of recent commit Darious Cummings, Reed decommitted from East Carolina and lists Ole Miss and Florida as his top two choices. He has good things to say about both and says Cummings choice of Florida will not influence his decision. With Floyd likely gone after the season and Easley possibly gone it is important they bring in one more guy that can compete right away. Reed, a 6’4″ 305 pounder, is the guy the staff really wants. He has scheduled an official for January 15th.
At linebacker there’s a couple of names one old, one new. Trey Johnson, 6’1″ 220 lbs from Lawrenceville, Georgia was committed to Auburn but recently backed out with the turnover in the coaching staff. The Gators have long been in on this recruitment and D.J. Durkin came out to check on him this past week and he is scheduled for an official visit on December 14th. As always in recruiting, wait until they get on campus before you make any predictions about likelihood. The other two likely candidates are USC and Ohio State. While the Gators have forged a strong bond with Johnson, Ohio State offers the best opportunity to play right away and that might be too much for Florida to overcome, especially with four linebackers already committed.
The new name at linebacker would be South Carolina commit Matt Rolin. Rolin is a 6’4″ 209 lb linebacker from Ashburn, Virginia quietly visited Gainesville this week. Still a long shot, but may be a fallback attempt in case Quinton Powell chooses to go elsewhere as he’s been flirting with Miami and USC.
Another old name is offensive guard Roderick Johnson who had committed to the Gators earlier in the year but decommitted or was dropped depending upon who is telling the story. They have continued to recruit him though and there is still a possibility he could end up at Florida by signing day. With the expected impending commitment from junior college offensive tackle Trenton Brown, the only position the Gators may be looking to shore up is guard. There is always need in this downhill running offense for road grading offensive guards and Johnson fits that bill for the Gators. He is likely the only one left on the board that they would take at the position. If not then they’ll likely stick with what they have already committed and call it a day.
One new name that popped up this week is fullback Kennard Swanson. Swanson is a 6’0″ 245 pounder that decommitted from LSU last week and picked up an offer from the Gators. The Gators like him as the replacement for Hunter Joyer. He’s not quite qualified yet, but if they let him commit he will likely be a Gator.
For the next two weeks, expect the coaching staff to continue to work the roads visiting as many prospective 2013 and 2014 recruits as possible before bowl practice begins around December 14th or 15th.