James Clark, a 5-11 170 lb speedster wide receiver out of New Smyrna Beach, Florida has seen his recruitment take off the last month or so. A slot receiver type with great speed, he’s had heavyweights like Florida, Clemson, and now Ohio State chasing his services. When the Gators finally offered a few weeks ago it seemed they led for his services and were scheduled as his fifth and final visit. However, it appears the Urban Meyer has talked him out of taking that final visit to Florida and instead heading up to Columbus to check out the Buckeyes.
Of course, the Gator staff didn’t take this news laying down, they quickly turned up the heat talking him into taking an unofficial visit the last weekend before signing day. Additionally, all three staffs, Clemson, Ohio State, and Florida are scheduled for in-home visits this upcoming week. Not quite sure what it means with him not taking an official to Florida, but we’ll have to take a wait and see approach after he visits the Buckeyes. It appears, though, that this one is slipping away.
As a result, the staff is turning up the heat on Kermit Whitfield a “soft” verbal commit to Florida State. Whitfield is a smaller player, around 5-8 and 165 but he’s a legitimate track guy who could potentially be a dual sport athlete at Florida if he chooses to sign there. He is expected to trip to Florida this weekend so we will have to wait and see how that goes before giving the Gators any odds on this one. However, getting in on a guy this late is usually a losing proposition so stay tuned.
Another guy that has been a real enigma is cornerback Jalen Ramsey who has long been committed to USC. He has been flirting with the Gators for awhile and some have felt that ultimately he would flip to the Gators. Recently, his position coach at USC was let go and that apparently has affected him greatly. Of course, the family still asserts that he is committed to USC, but it’s quite obvious that he has been looking around.
He recently tripped to Florida State and last week his dad announced that the only three schools left that are in consideration are USC, Florida, and Florida State. The enigma here is that the Seminoles feel good about their chances to flip him, and the Gators feel the same way about their chances. So what gives? Many have long felt that if he didn’t make it to USC he would indeed end up in Gainesville but that is becoming less and less of a likelihood as Jeremy Pruitt, the former Alabama defensive backs coach who is the new Seminoles defensive coordinator, has been doing a great job of making up ground with Ramsey very late in the cycle. It’s a holding pattern right now but we will update with the latest on Ramsey but he will likely be a signing day decision.
At defensive end, it appears to be Tashawn Bower or bust. With Elijah Daniel out due to grades and Robert Nkemdiche a pipe dream and eventual Ole Miss signee, it appears the staff has all their eggs in Bower’s basket for the defensive end/Buck linebacker slot. The Gators have a better than average chance with him as the main player is Auburn with a new coaching staff. The change in staff has led him to look around so he likely will not end up there. Again it’s a wait and see and will likely be another signing day decision.
Fullback Kennard Swanson, who decommitted from LSU over a month ago publicly stating he was going to Florida is probably another victim of grade issues. He still has to improve his test score and his grades are borderline. We likely won’t see any movement here before signing day. The staff has as many as seven scholarships left and won’t fill them all by signing day so that’s not an issue. The staff likes him and wants him and if he makes the grades he will eventually make it into the class. If not, he will have to go the prep school or JUCO route.
At defensive tackle, it appears the Montravius Adams ship has sailed, and the staff is likely down to JUCO Jarran Reed and Jaynard Bostwick. With Bostwick long being a Miami Hurricanes fan, he’s been a lean there the whole time but with the likelihood of NCAA sanctions hanging over their head the thought was that he would head elsewhere. By elsewhere, we mean Florida. This one is likely a Florida/Miami battle with Alabama being a wild card but the closer we get to signing day the Canes chances improve considerably. At this point, I’d have to say he’s probably not going to make into the Gator’s class but will instead sign with Miami.
Reed is the best probability here, but again the longer we go with no commitment the less likely he is to make into the Gators class. He is still taking visits and hasn’t decommitted from Ole Miss, but the Gators probably have a slight lead here with the availability of instant playing time and having friends there at the same position.