HailFloridaHail continues their series analyzing the recently signed 2013 football recruiting class.
Today we break down the top five most underrated recruits.
1) Jarrad Davis LB
One thing about this recruiting class for the Gators, they signed so many elite level athletes that it is really hard to list the underrated ones because almost all are highly rated. One guy that is most assuredly underrated is three star linebacker Jarrad Davis. A former Auburn commit who became one of eight players that Muschamp flipped to the Gators, Davis has good size and speed at 6-2 225 with a solid frame to add another twenty to twenty five pounds without losing anything in terms of quickness.
Davis has great natural instincts for the linebacker position and is a hard-hitting tackler with great technique. He has a nose for the football, has good lateral movement and quickness and can get north and south in a hurry. He uses his hands well when engaging blockers and has great ability to get off of blocks. He will likely fight for early playing time next season along with the other three linebackers signed in this class. He may not have the aplomb or star rankings of the other three but make no mistake, talent-wise he is in the same category. Saban pushed hard for his services late if that has any meaning to anyone.
2) Alvin Bailey WR
Bailey comes to Florida with a three star ranking according to scout.com mostly because of his size (5-11 175 listed), lack of straight line speed, and lack of experience at receiver as he played mostly quarterback in high school. However, don’t be fooled. He is a playmaker. The reason he played mostly quarterback is that he was the best player on the field for his high school team and made plays all over the field. He wasn’t surrounded by a lot of great talent in high school but still managed to make plays which says a lot about his free lance ability.
Bailey will do a lot of things for the Gators, playing the slot receiver, wildcat quarterback, running jet sweeps and bubble screens, and as a returner. Most assuredly, offensive coordinator Brent Pease will find creative ways to get him the football as they look for the playmakers they’ve lacked at the position for many years in Gainesville. Though raw at the position, he will still likely see the field early and often next season as a true freshman.
3) Roderick “Rod” Johnson OT
Rod Johnson is a guy that came to camp and excelled earning an offer from the staff, the kind of guy the staff really likes. They love guys who aren’t afraid to compete and Johnson epitomizes that. After earning the offer from Muschamp Johnson committed right away. However, as often is the case with guys who commit early, especially in Florida, he started having second thoughts as other schools started showing interest and ultimately decommitted. The staff never stopped recruiting him, though, and eventually he came around and recommitted to the Gators after the season they had and realizing deep down he wanted to be a Gators.
Johnson (6-5 320) is a big, strong offensive lineman with great footwork and the staff is really high on him. Why he’s only rated a three star on most services is beyond me. He was named an Under Armour All American, not many “three star” players are which tells me a lot of scouts like his abilities. Sometimes guys get buried early behind the hype of other players like Laremy Tunsil and never recover in the eyes of the recruiting services. Regardless, Muschamp and company never gave up recruiting him after he decommitted which means something. Usually guys get passed over when they back out of their commitment, ala Quinton Powell, but the fact that Muschamp continued to recruit him hard and signed him means they must really see something special in him.
He’s a very versatile player that can play both tackle and guard, he has guard size with tackle footwork and athleticism. He will likely see some time next season in Brent Pease’s jumbo packages.
4) Antonio Riles DT
Riles, 6-4 265, is a little smallish for a DT coming out of high school but has a large frame for adding weight and will likely bulk up to around the 290 level while in college. He may need some time in the weight room to add the bulk and muscle but definitely has the quickness and athleticism the Gators need to be an effective pass rusher for them. Most likely a redshirt candidate next season but could play some end in pass rush situations if call upon.
Riles repeatedly made waves about looking around throughout his recruitment and the staff worked diligently to keep him in this class and Georgia was really working him hard right up to signing day. Any time a guy shows a propensity to leave the class and Muschamp works to keep him in, it means the staff is really high on the kid and this staff appears to have a good eye for talent.
5) Octavius Jackson OT
At 6-4 275, Jackson is a little smallish for the offensive line coming out of high school, meaning he’ll likely sit for a season and bulk up. Dilman’s weight program will certainly put weight and muscle on him. Jackson is a little raw at this stage of his career, but the staff likes his athleticism for a big man and he plays with a high motor and is highly coachable.
Another one of Muschamp’s guys who came to camp and competed and earned his spot in this class. He’s there to provide depth down the road for the Gators. Once he bulks up and learns more about the game and the nuances of line play at the collegiate level he’ll likely be a strong player for the Gators. He actually runs a sub 5 second forty and has a 31 inch vertical leap which are amazing stats for a player of his size and stature. His upside is as good as any lineman the Gators signed in this class.