The Florida Gators recruiting hits the stretch run towards signing day and this is the time you start to see guys drop quickly, new names pop up, and rumors start to run rampant.
One of the biggest rumors of the day was that wide receiver commit Marqui Hawkins was going to take an official visit to Auburn this weekend. This is a guy that had previously made some noise about looking around and possibly taking some visits. The staff put those fires out a few weeks ago, shoring up this recruitment after which he announced he was solid to the Gators and would not take any visits. Of course, today’s rumor stirred up the Gator faithful that follow recruiting through one of the pay sites that cover Gator recruiting or on Twitter. Throughout the day there was a lot of speculation on message boards and such but in the end it is what we thought it was, an unbridled speculative internet rumor. Hawkins actually took to Twitter to deny the rumors as such.
Rumors going around about me going to auburn this weekend . Im not going to auburn 1000% gator nation
The next rumor du jour has been that the nation’s number one ranked cornerback recruit Vernon Hargreaves III would take a surprise trip to Ole Miss this weekend. This one has wheels only in the fact the he and Robert Nkemdiche hit it off at the Under Armour practices and he talked Nkemdiche into taking a visit to Gainesville. Where it gains traction is Gator fan fears of the monster defensive haul (at least for them anyway) that Ole Miss is bringing in and the thought that they might could sway the top corner into joining it. This one is simply not going to happen. He has been as solid a commit as the Gators have and he’s not going anywhere else unless he just wants a free trip and to visit a friend.
There’s a new name on the horizon for the Gators with a surprise visit coming in this weekend. There has been speculation that the Gator coaching staff may still be looking for a second quarterback in this class with backup Jacoby Brissett transferring out to NC State. A few weeks ago speculation was that the staff might be looking at Asiantii Woulard again, the kid they had offered a chance to throw for them the same weekend they brought in Gator commit Max Staver. Woulard declined to show, Staver did show and throw and he got the offer. The staff took a quick second look at Woulard but decided to go in a different direction.
The new direction is to bring in a JUCO qb who could provide immediate depth as a backup, one that wouldn’t threaten either Staver or top 2014 quarterback commit Will Grier. The staff has apparently settled on one player: Tanner McEvoy a former South Carolina player who transferred out and spent last season at Arizona Western. He led them to an 8-2 record throwing for almost 1600 yards with 21 touchdowns and only 3 interceptions. He is expected to take an official visit to Florida this weekend which is the last before signing day next wednesday.
The question is with the staff actively seeking another quarterback, what does that say about the ones already on campus? They already have Tyler Murphy and Skyler Mornhinweg backing up Driskel. Then they have Staver coming in this year and Will Grier coming next season. That’s a lot of scholarship qb’s. Apparently the staff doesn’t have much faith in either Murphy or Morninhweg to win the backup job. It also signals that the staff doesn’t think they will get to the magic number of 33 signees in this class.
Another new name that that has popped up on the horizon this week is actually not necessarily a new name in Ira Denson. He is an offensive lineman out of Madison County high that has been committed to the Seminoles forever. He is close friends with Gator defensive tackle commit Caleb Brantley and has been the subject of much speculation for the past year in regards to the Gators. The thought has always been that if the Gators, who haven’t ever strongly recruited Denson for whatever reason, decided to put the full court press on, he would sign with the Gators. With five offensive line recruits in the fold as well as one transfer, it appears the staff has never even given Denson a committable offer. However, the rumormongering is in full force with a week to go to signing day.
There is speculation that Denson will be silently tripping to Gainesville this weekend. If he does indeed make the trip, then likelihood of flipping Denson goes up dramatically, but if he doesn’t then there’s next to no chance he’ll sign with the Gators.
The question in this writer’s mind is simply why would they go after yet another lineman, particularly one that they have repeatedly shown little interest in? Once again it would mean the staff has no expectation of signing the 33 they are able to sign meaning there are a few extra scholarships and with the need for lineman they may be willing to take as many as possible this year for numbers. Also it could possibly mean that the staff might be considering converting an offensive line commit or current offensive lineman to defensive tackle.
One guy who certainly won’t be in this class despite loads of speculation is defensive end Jason Hatcher. Some had pinned him as possibly a “silent” recruit to the Gators. Some thought he might take a surprise late visit this weekend to Gainesville as has been rumored for quite some time. However, there were widespread reports that Hatcher had actually recommitted to USC yesterday after hosting an in-home visit with the USC coaching staff and had called off any further visiting or consideration and is now considered a solid Trojan commit.
Stay tuned to HailFloridaHail for the latest recruiting updates as signing day 2013 approaches.