The The Florida Gators football off season is finally over and football season is back as colleges and high schools have started practice.
The downfall in that is that you will see prospects mostly visit college campuses on the weekends for a practice or for a game when the season officially kicks off at the end of the month.
With that being said it has been an very important and productive summer for the Florida Gators on the recruiting trail and in this article I’m going to take a look at five prospects that Florida gained, stayed the same, or lost momentum on this summer.
Of course Florida gained momentum on the guys that are committed to Florida as of August 3rd so I won’t list them, but that’s not to say the summer wasn’t important in gaining their commitment.
Offensive linemen Jalen Merrick (6-5, 295, New Smyrna Beach, FL High)– was on Florida’s campus twice this summer and camped with offensive line coach Mike Summers both times. Merrick has said he may decide the first week of September but that he wasn’t 100-percent certain of a date yet. Florida has built a sizable lead over Miami and South Carolina here and barring a big push by Miami the Gators should pick up the lineman.
Linebacker Roquan Smith (6-0, 203, Montezuma, GA Macon County)– Smith also visited Florida twice this summer. The second time was for Friday Night Lights, where he spent multiple days with Will Muschamp during the visit and the two have built quite the relationship. Smith is also very good friends with Adonis Thomas and Mike Horton who have both announced for Florida in recent days. Georgia and Florida will battle for Smith until National Signing Day, most likely.
Linebacker Tevon Coney (6-0 ,221, Palm Beach Gardens, FL High)– Notre Dame seemed to be the team to beat for Coney for a good bit of the summer but a multiple day visit in July to Florida for Coney and his mother has put Florida back on top for him. The linebacker has said he will announce in September and unless he visits South Bend again then the Gators should be the team to beat.
Cornerback Jeremy McDuffie (5-11, 169, Snellville, GA Shiloh)– McDuffie was a standout player at Will Muschamp’s camp in June and he earned the offer from Florida during the camp. McDuffie has a Florida and Duke on top for him but he admits that Florida has the edge due to its track program. McDuffie would be a great addition to Florida’s class.
Receiver Ryan Davis (5-10, 161, St. Petersburg, FL Lakewood)– Heading into the summer Davis didn’t have an offer from Florida and Florida State was the team to beat for him, but as soon as Chris Leak was hired that all changed for him. Davis and Leak have built quite the relationship and Florida is now squarely in the mix for the wide out. FSU will still be tough to beat for Davis but the Noles are filling up their receiver class,which again, could help Florida.
Defensive end CeCe Jefferson (6-2, 245 Glen St. Mary, FL Baker County)– Jefferson being in this category is not a bad thing, but he simply doesn’t have anything else to see at Florida except for this season. Jefferson has made himself a staple on Florida’s campus and that didn’t change this summer. Expect Jefferson at several of Florida’s games this fall.
Defensive end Byron Cowart (6-3, 252, Seffner, FL Armwood)– Much like Jefferson, Cowart is in this category because Florida has nothing else to show him except a good season. Cowart continues to list Oregon and Florida up top but if the Gators win this year and Brad Lawing is around after the season, then it will be tough for Cowart to go anywhere but Florida.
Offensive lineman Martez Ivey (6-5, 271, Apopka, FL High)– Florida and Auburn are battling at the top for Ivey but Ivey told GC on Sunday that he just needs to make sure everyone is going to be at Florida before he announces a decision. Without saying it, Ivey basically just wants to see Florida win and if they do then he’s very likely to be a Gator.
Linebacker Jeffrey Holland (6-1, 225, Jacksonville, FL Trinity Christian)– Holland spent three days in Gainesville two weeks ago and as he said he didn’t even consider it a recruiting trip because he has seen everything at Florida. Holland likes the recruiting game and that’s the biggest thing keeping him from making a decision.
Defensive tackle Kendrick Norton (6-2, 292, Jacksonville, FL Trinity Christian)– Ever since Norton decommitted from Florida State he has been a heavy lean to Florida and that continued this summer. Norton, like Holland, made multiple visits to Gainesville this summer and the Gators are in good shape here as Norton plans to announce in January.
Running back Ray-Ray McCloud (5-9, 176, Tampa, FL Sickles)– McCloud seemed like a lock to Florida for most of the summer but last Monday he announced his commitment to Clemson. While Florida is still in the mix for McCloud and could very likely flip him with a good season it was still a big loss to see him commit elsewhere for the Gators.
Receiver George Campbell (6-3, 183, Tarpon Springs, FL East Lake)– Campbell hates the media and doesn’t like to talk, so he has never really named a leader but Florida was in great shape heading into the summer. Florida is still in the thick of things now but LSU and FSU have made their way into the conversation. Florida has the distance from home in their corner, plus they can offer early playing time. With a long way to go in Campbell’s recruitment the Gators still have time to make the ground back up.
Tight end Auden Tate (6-4, 199, Tampa, FL Wharton)– Florida got into the Tate sweepstakes late but Tate was talking up Florida and his relationship with Vernon Hargreaves a lot. However, the tight end didn’t visit Florida this summer and now it looks he will commit to FSU this week. The Gators would love to add Tate but right now it seems very unlikely.
Defensive tackle Fletcher Adams (6-3, 260, Brandon, MS Brandon High)– Adams seemed like a sure thing to visit this summer but he backed out of two trips, including one for Friday Night Lights. Right now it looks like Adams will stay closer to home.
Offensive lineman William Sweet (6-7, 280, Jacksonville, FL First Coast)– When Florida first offered Sweet it looked like the Gators were in great shape but he committed to North Carolina and has since backed away from communication with the staff. Unless Sweet visits Florida and the Gators decide to go in his direction than Sweet is someone who Florida fans should stop watching.
Will Muschamp and his staff has done an incredible job recruiting so far, especially under the circumstances that they are recruiting under with the 4-8 season last year. One other person who deserves a lot of credit is new recruiting coordinator Drew Hughes who did a phenomenal job of getting these prospects on campus this summer. If Florida has the season that Muschamp is expecting then this class has the potential to be great for the Gators.
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