Recruiting is coming down to the wire with approximately 13 hours to the start of fax machines raining LOI’s. The Gator recruiting machine has already seen some more defections from the board and a new name pops up.
Jalen Ramsey a five star corner out of Tennessee and a guy that the Gator staff has been recruiting hard since July is apparently headed to Tallahassee. Widespread reports this morning had him contacting the FSU staff of his intentions to decommit from USC and instead sign with the Noles in the morning. It’s been a hard fought battle for his services and he’s a player the UF staff had good vibes about throughout the process. With numerous Gator recruits in his ear constantly the thought has always been that if didn’t sign with USC he would likely end up a Gator.
Unfortunately, though, the staff didn’t give him an offer during Friday Night Lights, when some felt he wanted to be a Gator, in favor of Vernon Hargreaves who most analysts had rated higher. The Gators, of course, did get the commitment from Hargreaves and were hoping to double up on top rated corners. New FSU defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt had been building a relationship with Ramsey while the defensive backs coach with Alabama and apparently that relationship has paid off. Once again Pruitt has shown his recruiting prowess stealing one away the Gators coveted late, the other being defensive end DeMarcus Walker.
Ryan Timmons, a four star receiver out of Kentucky whom the Gators had made a late run at has opted to commit to Kentucky as expected. He visited Gainesville this weekend and left without committing and it’s unclear whether he actually had an offer from the staff or he just felt like Kentucky was a better fit for him. Gator fans are hoping this is a good sign that perhaps James Clark will indeed sign with the Gators tomorrow.
On to the Final Five list. With a new name
5) Mackensie Alexander
With the loss of Ramsey, word got out today that the Gators have sent a LOI to five star corner Mackensie Alexander, a guy who was rumored for a long time to be seeking a UF offer but supposedly never got it. There has been an air of bad blood but the staff has never stopped recruiting him. The Gators got a good in with him when they brought Joker Phillips on board as wide receiver coach. He had built a great relationship with Alexander while head coach at Kentucky. However, the staff had previously put all their eggs in Ramsey’s basket and that has fallen through. Now it appears they may try to turn up the heat on Alexander hoping to pull one out in the end. This one is not likely. He is more likely to end up in Hawaii at this point. There are many issues too numerous to mention here that has kept the staff at arms length but maybe there’s enough time to forgive and forget.
The Field 85%
4) Tashawn Bower
Not much has changed here. He did reiterate on Twitter he has not publicly announced anywhere and will not until tomorrow. He did not deny however that he has made a decision. Still think it’s Auburn and maybe even a little less confident of Florida at this point. This one is down to UF and Auburn however.
3) Jarran Reed (Announcing 9:30 am)
Like Bower, not much has changed. Still a UF-Alabama battle. Some reports are leaning slightly to the Tide, some giving a UF vibe. My feeling is a slight edge to the Gators due to playing time, friendship on the team, and Bama being over full right now.
2) James Clark (Announcing 8 am)
Still getting strong vibe on this one as the Gators simply wowed him this weekend from all accounts. OSU sites are not overly confident. I still think distance is huge here he just needed to see the Gators had everything he needed. Feel like the staff convinced him that academically and athleticly they have it all and are much closer to home and play in warmer weather. Feeling better about this one by the minute especially with the staff basically letting go of Timmons. Clemson likely out of the race altogether as it’s UF and OSU head to head here in the end.
Reports coming out that OSU has made a last minute push for Clark and it’s looking not so good for the Gators. Stay tuned for latest updates.
1) Jaynard Bostwick (Announcing 8 am)
This one has the feel of a slam dunk at this point. The key all along was getting him on campus and they did that this past weekend. The family raved about the school, the campus, the town, and the staff. His high school head coach has inferred all along that he was much closer to the UF staff over all the other coaching staffs. Distance is likely a big factor here, knocking Bama out of the running. The hometown Hurricanes, his childhood favorite, are the only competition and the feeling is they won’t keep him anymore than they were able to keep Alex Collins. Program facing likely NCAA sanctions and their staff has had numerous recruiting gaffes. Looking more and more like the situation in Coral Gables is imploding. Bostwick who has strong family ties likely won’t allow him into that quagmire. He’s looking all Gator from here.
Stay tuned to HailFloridaHail for up to the minute updates on signing day as the LOI’s get faxed in. Follow on Twitter @HailFloridaHail for live updates and coverage.