Top offensive targets for Florida Gators recruiting in 2018

The 2017 Florida Gators recruiting class is in the books, which means it’s time to move on to the class of 2018 class.

On Tuesday the Florida Gators coaching staff returned back to Gainesville and this Saturday they will host a junior day.

Before we get to junior day, Gator Country is going to break down some top prospects at each position for the 2018 class. We will start with the offensive side of the ball before finishing on the defensive side of the ball on Thursday.

 

Quarterback

Number needed: One is the likely number for the class at the position unless Florida was to see someone transfer out which I don’t see happening at this time.

Top prospects:

Artur Sitkowski (6-5, 205, Bradenton, FL. IMG)- Sitkowski is a New Jersey native who just moved down to IMG and already has a Gators offer. Sitkowski picked up the offer over the summer while camping at Florida and the Gators quickly rose to the top with him as he has family in the Tampa area that are Florida fans. Sitkowski has said in the past he wants to make a decision this spring. The quarterback is also playing for former Gators defensive back Keiwan Ratliff on his 7-on-7 team in Orlando.

Ohio State commit Emory Jones (6-4, 179, Franklin, GA. Heard County)- Jones was one of the first quarterbacks in the 2018 class to get an offer from Florida and despite his commitment, the Gators continue to recruit him hard. Florida is looking to add a quarterback who is mobile and Jones fits that bill. It will be something to watch this spring to find if Florida is able to get Jones on campus or not.

Dorian Thompson- Robinson (6-2, 190, Las Vegas, NV. Bishop Gorman)- Thompson-Robinson visited Florida last summer and picked up an offer during the event. Thompson-Robinson talks to offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier a lot but many believe the quarterback will stay on the west coast for school.

Penn State commit Justin Fields (6-2, 210, Kennesaw, GA. Harrison)- Fields is the only quarterback on this list without an offer from Florida but if he visits then the Gators will likely offer. Fields is big on academics and that’s something Florida has going for them as they look to get the quarterback on campus.

 

Running back

Number needed: Two running backs are needed in this class because you lose Mark Thompson and there’s a good chance that Jordan Scarlett could leave early with a solid junior year.

Top prospects:

Lorenzo Lingard (6-0, 180, Orange City, FL. University)- Lingard is considered to be one of the best backs in the country and Florida has recruited him hard since his sophomore year. Lingard likes a lot of schools but many believe it will come down to Florida and Miami. Lingard runs track so getting him on campus is something that will be tough this spring but look for Florida to push for him to attend a spring practice.

Florida State commit James Cook (5-11, 181, Miami, FL. Central)- Florida fans are still gun shy when hearing the name Cook but Florida will continue to recruit the FSU commit despite what happened with is brother. Cook is reportedly going to move in with his grandmother and if that happens then look for Cook to be all but locked up to FSU.

Florida State commit Charles Strong (6-1, 220, Gainesville, FL. P.K. Young)- Florida invited Strong to several games this year and the running back attended one game, which showed, some interest in the Gators. Strong is a bigger running back but someone Florida continues to monitor this spring.

Ohio State commit Brian Snead (5-11, 187, Seffner, FL. Armwood)- Snead has visited Florida multiple times in the past and being from Armwood the Gators have a shot at getting him back on campus more. Snead is one of the top running backs in the state and Florida is pushing for a flip here.

 

Receiver

Number needed: Three is the likely number at the position with only one senior on the roster. There’s a chance that Antonio Callaway could leave early and if Dre Massey was to have a solid year he could possible make the jump as well.

Top prospects:

Florida commit Jalynn Williams (5-11, 183, St. Petersburg, FL. High)- Williams committed in January after picking up his dream offer last summer. Williams says he will likely still take visits but the Gators are in good shape to keep the receiver.

Warren Thompson (6-4, 187, Seffner, FL. Armwood)- You can make the argument for several receivers to be called the best in the state and Thompson’s name deserves in that mix. Thompson visited Florida for all but one home game this past year and has named Florida and Miami his top schools in the past. Thompson has a good relationship with receiver’s coach Kerry Dixon.

Mark Pope (6-1, 162, Miami, FL. Southridge)- Pope shined at Florida’s summer camp last June and is teammates with two Gators that signed with Florida this year. Pope has said in the past that Florida and Alabama were his top schools but Miami is trying to make a run for him as well. Look for Pope to visit Florida this spring.

Alabama commit Xavier Williams (6-0, 180, Hollywood, FL. Chaminade-Madonna)- Williams picked up a Florida offer last year and called it a big one but he recently committed to Alabama after they were by his school. Florida will still work on Williams in hopes of flipping the talented prospect.

Jacob Copeland (6-1, 188, Pensacola, FL. Pine Forest)- Copeland’s name is right up there for best in the state as he has all the tools to be a really good receiver at the next level. Copeland has set his commitment for July but he likely pushes that back but the receiver has visited Florida several times in the past. Copeland likes Clemson and Florida a lot right now.

Anthony Schwartz (6-0, 175, Plantation, FL. American Heritage) – Much like Southridge, Florida has developed a strong pipeline from American Heritage as well. This past year they signed three players from the school and the next big player from there is Schwartz who is a speedy receiver that has dominated in track in high school. Schwartz picked up a Florida offer last month.

 

 

Tight end

Number needed: At this time, Florida only needs one tight end but with the position loaded this year, I could see Florida taking two tight ends in 2018.

Top prospects:

Judge Culpepper (6-5, 240, Tampa, FL. Plant)- Culpepper’s father played for the Gators but his brother plays for Syracuse so where will the tight end go? That’s the big question but Florida has been recruiting Culpepper hard for the last years and is a top target at the position. Tennessee is also heavily involved here.

George Takacs (6-6, 235, Naples, FL. Gulf Coast)- Takacs picked up a Gators offer at Friday Night Lights last year and is someone that Florida has recruited hard all fall and spring. Takacs is one of the top tight ends in the state for 2018. Georgia is also heavily involved here.

Jarrett Jackson (6-5, 235, Palm Beach Gardens, FL. High) – The biggest question for Jackson does he play defensive end or tight end. Over the summer Jackson said the Gators offered him at tight end but no matter where he plays, Florida is recruiting him hard and want him in 2018. Miami is also involved.

 

Offensive line

Number needed: Three to four is the number needed in the 2018 class after only signing two in 2017. From what I’ve gathered, four would be the ideal number to make up for only signing two this year.

Top prospects:

Richard Gouraige (6-5, 270, Tampa, FL. Cambridge Christian School)- Gouraige is a very athletic tackle that is going to be a really good player at the next level once he hits the weight room. Florida and defensive line coach Chris Rumph have really turned up the heat on Gouraige this year. Florida just needs to get him on campus with his family.

William Barnes (6-4, 290, Apopka, GA. High)– Barnes is close with Gators offensive lineman Martez Ivey and that’s something Florida hopes lands in its favor. Barnes is considered to be one of the top guys in the state heading into this spring. North Carolina is also recruiting Barnes hard and the lineman is a player that could play guard or tackle in college.

Reuben Unije (6-5, 303, Bradenton, FL. IMG)- Unije is from Georgia originally but he has been on the Gators campus as much as any 2018 prospect and he has called Florida one of his top schools in the past. Unije didn’t see the field a ton his junior year at IMG but that hasn’t stopped schools from offering. Auburn is a team to watch here as well.

C.J. Dunlap (6-4, 350, Bradenton, FL. IMG)- Dunlap is originally from Jacksonville and he has said in the past that he really likes Florida. The biggest question with him is slimming down but that’s something that should happen once he hits a college weight room.

Cleveland Reed (6-4, 295, Lakeland, FL. High) – Reed doesn’t say much but he just transferred to Lakeland, which has been a pro Florida school in the past. Reed has a lot of big schools like Florida, Miami and Ohio State after him heading into this spring.

Trey Hill (6-3, 325, Warner Robins, GA. Houston County)- Hill camped at Florida over the summer and liked the visit with his father. Florida State is also heavily involved with Hill who is going to be one of the top guys in the state for next year.

 

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Andrew Spivey
Andrew always knew he wanted to be involved with sports in some capacity. He began by coaching high school football for six years before deciding to pursue a career in journalism. While coaching, he was a part of two state semifinal teams in the state of Alabama. Given his past coaching experience, he figured covering recruiting would be a perfect fit. He began his career as an intern for Rivals.com, covering University of Florida football recruiting. After interning with Rivals for six months, he joined the Gator Country family as a recruiting analyst. Andrew enjoys spending his free time on the golf course and watching his beloved Atlanta Braves. Follow him on Twitter at @AndrewSpiveyGC.