This weekend is the Florida Gators annual team awards banquet. A fun get together away from the football field where the coaches and players reflect on the past season while recognizing players for their hard work and efforts on the field. It’s also a great recruiting tool.
This weekend expect many of the currently committed Gator recruits to attend, including Quinton Powell the much publicized outside linebacker recruit which has made it very public that he is looking at other schools. Many of prospective 2014 recruits should be on hand including the Gators most prized prospect North Carolina quarterback Will Grier and the most likely Gator lean at this point, cornerback Duke Dawson.
I’ll try to give you a quick run down on some expected visitors for the weekend. This is in now way complete or gospel as guys can make plans to come but then plans can change at any point in time.
Let’s start with the expected official visitors. For starters, Jason Hatcher a 4 star defensive end from Trinity high school in Louisville, Kentucky was to be the only official visitor that is not already committed to the Gators. He is currently a USC commitment and interestingly is a teammate of five star wide receiver James Quick who is listening to some late overtures from the Gators. However, it appears he was talked out of making the visit by the USC staff.
The other official visitors are Gator commits Kelvin Taylor who was awarded the Lou Groza High School Player of the Year Award, an honor his father also received as a senior in high school, Ahmad Fulwood, Caleb Brantley, Daniel McMillan, Vernon Hargreaves, Nick Washington, Quinton Powell, Keanu Neal, Marquis Hawkins, Joey Ivie, Jordan Sherit, and Adam Lane.
Both Powell and Marquis Hawkins have informed the staff that they intend to take other visits. Both claim to be committed to the Gators but would like to look at a few other schools to make sure they made the right decision. Powell is likely to take a visit to USC as his close friend is Leonard Williams who signed with the Trojans last season.
A new name that has popped up on the recruiting radar for the Gators is top wide receiver prospect Laquon Treadwell from Illinois who had crossed the Gators off his list previously. This past week he mentioned in an interview that he plans to take an official to Florida in January. Still think he’s a long-shot for the Gators but you never know once they get on campus.
Another guy that had previously eliminated the Gators that is taking second look is 4 star cornerback Mackensie Alexander from Immokalee, Florida. Alexander, I think, previously felt slighted by the Gators and had ruled them out as a possibility, but with the recent addition of Joker Phillips on the staff as wide receiver coach and recruiting coordinator, Alexander is taking a second look. Phillips had developed a strong relationship with Alexander when he was the head coach at Kentucky and as we know recruiting is all about relationships so stay tuned to this one.
This week it was announced that fullback Kennard Swanson did indeed decommit from LSU and basically said he would commit to Florida. I think the staff is not letting him commit at this point either because they have someone higher on the board at that position, or simple numbers. If allowed to commit, though, he likely would on the spot. I think they still want to pull a tight end this season with Jordan Reed likely to be gone, but with all their targets basically committed to other schools and shutting down their recruiting, it’s unlikely they will. If they do not and no plus ones sign on, I think Swanson will be a signing day deal or offered a preferred walk-on status.
The staff had their in-home visit with massive offensive tackle Trenton Brown last week and he is still expected to announce on December 19th. He is likely to pull the trigger for the Gators.
Another big time target for 2014 is wide receiver Artavis Scott from Tarpon Springs East Lake high school. Muschamp reportedly visited his school last week and is trying to get him to take an unofficial to Gainesville. Also, D.J. Durkin went to check on 2014 linebacker Greg Miclisse 6-1 235 from Palm Bay, Florida.
Should be a fun weekend for Gator players and recruits but don’t look for any new commitments. If any were to commit it would likely be Will Grier or Duke Dawson but not likely.