The Florida Gators coaching staff has been busy with the spring evaluation period going on since the middle of April. That will come to end at the end of the month, but the coaching staff will have no time to rest.
Jim McElwain said it best during his opening press conference when he said “recruit daily or die” and he has taken that approach this recruiting cycle. With the spring evaluation period over soon the Gators will go right into summer camp where they hope to host several big time visitors.
Over the next week GatorCountry.com will break down each position and let you know who Florida has the best chance at landing heading into the summer as well as some guys to watch that Florida could gain on this summer.
Last week took a look at the offensive side of the ball so this week we move to the defensive side of the ball and start in the trenches with the defensive line.
DL recruiting breakdown
Defensive end JaQuan Bailey (6-3, 235, Jacksonville, FL Raines) is a solid commit to Florida and he’s someone that has the Gators excited about his future. Bailey will be at Florida this weekend for a visit.
Defensive end Eric Mitchell (6-1, 228, Miami, FL Central) is very solid to Florida and he’s good friends with a lot of players on the Gators team. The biggest question surrounding Mitchell is where he will end up playing in college because he’s not big enough at this point to play defensive end so linebacker may be his position of the future.
Best chance heading into the summer
Below are the guys that GatorCountry.com believes Florida has the best shot with as of right now. This list is surely to change as the summer progresses and prospects visit schools.
Keyshon Camp (6-3, 274, Lakeland, FL Lake Gibson)
Why he makes the list: Camp likes Florida a lot, but right now the Gators aren’t pushing extremely hard for him. If they do, then Gators are likely to be his leader. Camp will visit Florida this summer.
Teams in the race: USC is the leader for Camp at this time and Miami is also in the mix as Camp was once committed to them.
Antonneous Clayton (6-4, 218, Vienna, GA Dooly County)
Why he makes the list: Clayton said that Florida set the bar high when he visited Gainesville earlier in May. Clayton says he grew up watching the Gators on TV and that his family loves the coaching staff at Florida. Clayton isn’t close to making a decision though.
Teams in the race: Auburn is the main contender to Florida right now as Clayton is friends with a few of Auburn’s players and he just visited Auburn this past weekend. Clayton will likely choose between the two schools when he makes a decision.
Darius Whitfield (6-1, 268, Mobile, AL St. Paul’s)
Why he makes the list: Florida was Whitfield’s favorite school growing up and he’s also best friends with new Florida commit La’Mical Perine. Whitfield is someone that Florida is monitoring closely and he will likely visit Florida this coming weekend.
Teams in the race: Alabama, Auburn, LSU and Miami are all teams that Whitfield talks about and if Alabama offers then the Crimson Tide will be tough to beat since his older brother plays for Alabama.
Jordan Woods (6-3, 235, Ocala, FL Trinity Catholic
Why he makes the list: Woods has visited Florida over a dozen times as a prospect and was on campus several times this spring. Woods is building a great relationship with defensive line coach Chris Rumph and that helps Florida. The Gators are by far the team to beat here.
Teams in the race: Florida State and Georgia are two other teams that Woods mentions as recruiting him hard but right now Woods has no plans to visit either team.
Names to remember
The following list are guys that have either said they will visit Florida this summer or have said that there is a chance they could visit this summer. These are prospects that like Florida but have yet to visit the Gators or are still a long ways away from making a decision. Stay tuned to Gator Country to see if these prospects will visit the Florida Gators this summer.
Dexter Lawrence (6-5, 290, Wake Forest, NC High)
Why he makes the list: Florida was Lawrences’ favorite school growing up and the Gators have been working hard on getting him down to campus and that looks like it will finally happen this summer. Lawrence is a big time need this year.
Teams in the mix: Alabama Crimson Tide, Clemson Tigers, Georgia Bulldogs, North Carolina Tar Heels and Ohio State Buckeyes are all schools that Lawrence talks about. He has said he will decide between Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Ohio State and others this summer.
Shavar Manuel (6-3, 262, Bradenton, FL IMG Academy)
Why he makes the list: Florida has been gaining ground on Manuel ever since Florida hired Chris Rumph and the Gators have received two visits from Manuel this spring and are hopeful he will visit this summer.
Teams in the mix: Florida State is the team to beat here and Manuel will visit them this summer and a commitment could come at any time from Manuel but Florida State has lost some momentum as of late.
Janarius Robinson (6-5, 225, Panamy City, FL Bay)
Why he makes the list: Robinson has built a good relationship with the Florida Gators coaching staff and visited this spring so the Gators are at least keeping in touch with the Noles commit.
Teams in the mix: Robinson has been committed to Florida State for some time now and it will be tough to break that commitment but Alabama and Florida are trying to get Robinson on campus as much as possible.