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Gators land another highly rated class

Written by Franz Beard, February 6, 2008, 0 Comments,
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With the signing of an outstanding 22-man class, the Florida Gators capped off the best three-year recruiting run in school history Wednesday. Even with a couple of last minute defections, Florida’s class still ranks among the best in the nation and combined with the last two classes, it provides instant depth and raises the talent levels all over the field.

The Gators landed 11 members of the ESPN 150 including safeties Will Hill and Dee Finley, the nation’s number three and 10 prospects overall and the highest rated pair of safeties. Including Hill and Finley, the Gators had eight defensive players from the ESPN 150 list.

The Florida class included one multi-purpose athlete, four wide receivers, a fullback and four linemen on the offensive side of the ball and four linemen, two linebackers, three corners and two safeties on defense. The Gators also signed one kicker.

It’s an excellent class that fills some immediate needs while giving the Gators quality depth that will have to be developed. Eight of the class of 2008 are already in school and they will get a head start on the other newbies by participating in spring practice.

Here is a look at the Florida class of 2008, complete with grades, as well as who the Gators signed in 2006 and 2007 to give you an idea of how Meyer and his staff are stocking Florida’s depth chart.

QUARTERBACK: None

2007 Signees: Cameron Newton, John Brantley, Bryan Waggener (Transferred)

2006 Signees: Tim Tebow

RUNNING BACK: None

2007 Signees: Bo Williams (Transferred)

2006 Signees: Mon Williams, Chevon Walker (Transferred)

ALL-PURPOSE ATHLETE: The Gators got the fastest player in the country in JEFF DEMPS (5-9, 170, Groveland, FL South Lake), who has run a 10.3 100 meters. He was a running back at South Lake but he doesn’t have the size to be an every down running back at the next level. Figure he will line up at the slot at Florida, where he can be used as a receiver and a runner on the jet sweeps. His speed alone means he will command a double team any time he’s on the field.

GRADE A: It’s hard to get better than the fastest player in the country.

2007 Signees: Chris Rainey

2006 Signees: Brandon James

FULLBACK: This is not a position that is typically manned by outstanding athletes but T.J. PRIDEMORE (6-3, 235, Buford, GA) is good enough that he could play on either side of the ball. With Ramon Buchanan doing a last minute switch to Miami, it is a possibility that Pridemore will be moved over to linebacker. He is big, physical and knows how to move his feet. He is capable of playing inside or the strongside at linebacker. As a fullback, he has pass catching skills and the size to take on a blitzing linebacker or a defensive end.

GRADE A: This could turn out to be the hidden gem of the class because of his versatility.

2007 Signees: Steve Wilks (Expected to move to fullback in the spring)

2006 Signees: None

WIDE RECEIVER: No smurfs in this class. The Gators went after taller receivers with speed to create mismatches against shorter corners. CARL MOORE (6-4, 220, Rocklin, CA Sierra CC) is a juco All-American who is already in school so figure he will see the field early and often. He has the size to go across the middle and the speed to stretch a defense. He is game day ready from day one. OMARIUS HINES (6-3, 200, Corsicana, TX) is a very athletic type who is an outstanding leaper. He’s a very physical receiver that won’t get jammed at the line. T.J. LAWRENCE (6-2, 200, Lakeland, FL) is a very acrobatic receiver who is an outstanding deep threat. FRANKIE HAMMOND (6-1, 170, Hallandale, FL averaged well over 20 yards per catch as a senior. He’s another outside receiver that will stretch the field.

GRADE A: It’s all about the mismatches and the Gators are bringing in the kind of receivers that can create mismatches all over the field.

2007 Signees: Deonte Thompson, Paul Wilson

2006 Signees: Percy Harvin, Riley Cooper, Justin Williams, Jarred Fayson (Transferred)

TIGHT END: None

2007 Signees: Aaron Hernandez

2006 Signees: Trent Pupello (Transferred)

OFFENSIVE LINE: Due to Florida’s depth at this position, none of the 2008 signees figures to play right away so the defection of Ricky Barnum to Michigan is one that can be absorbed. Of the four, MATT PATCHAN (6-7, 265, Seffner, FL Armwood) is the most highly regarded and he figures to see the field early once he’s put on some upper body weight. He may have the quickest feet of any offensive tackle in the country. BYRAN JONES (6-3, 324, Jacksonville, FL Forrest) is a road grader type that will settle in at one of the guard positions. He has a big frame but needs to replace some baby fat with muscle. SAM ROBEY (6-5, 260, Louisville, KY Trinity) could project at all three offensive line positions. He’s smart enough to play center and he’s got good footwork so tackle isn’t out of the question once he adds some muscle. He’s the son of former Kentucky basketball All-American Rick Robey. DAVID YOUNG (6-6, 275, Edwardsville, Illinois) is a late addition to the class. He had injuries his senior year but he had 120 pancake blocks as a junior. Once he heals and adds some weight during a redshirt year, he could be an intriguing tackle prospect.

GRADE B: The Gators finished with four. It is a wait and see group since it figures that all four of them are going to redshirt. Patchan should see the field first.

2007 Signees: Maurkice Pouncey, Mike Pouncey, James Wilson

2006 Signees: Carl Johnson, Marcus Gilbert, Maurice Hurt, Jim Barrie, Corey Hobbs

DEFENSIVE LINE: The Gators followed up last year’s haul of defensive linemen with another outstanding group, headlined by pass rushing specialist WILLIAM GREEN (6-5, 210, Hoover, AL Spain Park) and bull rusher supreme OMAR HUNTER (6-1, 315, Buford, GA). Green is a Jarvis Moss type with long arms and superb quickness. Some recruiting analysts believe he has the quickness to play outside linebacker as well. Hunter is a nose tackle that can punch holes in the pocket from the inside, freeing up the speed rushers from the end positions. Hunter and John Brown could be a fearsome team in the middle of the Florida defensive line. EARL OKINE (6-7, 240, Gainesville, FL) had 10 sacks in the two post-season all-star games that he participated in. He has a great frame and could eventually play at 275 or 280. TROY EPPS (6-1, 270, Coffeyville, KS Coffeyville CC) is an outstanding run-stopper who was a juco All-American at Coffeyville. He’s already in school so he will be part of the defensive line rebuilding project that will be taking place in the spring.

GRADE A+: When you combine this group with last year’s, Florida should become dominant up front once again.

2007 Signees: Jaye Howard, John Brown, Justin Trattou, Torrey Davis, Carlos Dunlap, Duke Lemmens

2006 Signees: Lawrence Marsh, Terron Sanders, Jermaine Cunningham, Brandon Antwine

LINEBACKER: Losing Ramon Buchanan at the last second hurt but the Gators might compensate for that loss by shuffling a couple of players around. The two the Gators landed are outstanding prospects that should have a legitimate shot at playing time in 2008. BRENDAN BEAL (6-3, 240, Bethlehem, PA Liberty) was a huge get for the Gators. He is already enrolled in school and in the spring we should see him backing up Brandon Spikes in the middle and getting some time in on the strong side. He’s a hard hitter with good football smarts. LERENTEE MCCRAY (6-2, 212, Dunnellon, FL) has speed and range to get on the field. He averaged double figures tackles in high school.

GRADE B+: It’s Grade A talent but the Gators really needed at least one more here. There will have to be some shifting of personnel to create the depth that’s needed here.

2007 Signees: Brandon Hicks, Lorenzo Edwards, John Jones, Jerimy Finch (Expected to move to linebacker in the spring)

2006 Signees: Brandon Spikes, Dustin Doe, A.J. Jones

CORNERBACK: This was the most obvious position of need for the Gators and they helped themselves immensely with three very talented players, two of whom are already enrolled in school. JANORIS JENKINS (5-11, 180, Pahokee, FL) was a huge pickup, not just because he’s one of the three best corners in the state and one of the top 10 corners in the country. He’s from talent-rich Pahokee and the last time the Gators got a player out of there was in the 1960s when Harold Peacock signed with UF. Jenkins gives the Gators another very physical receiver. JEREMY BROWN (5-10, 170, Orlando, FL Boone) needs some upper body strength to stay with the more physical receivers but he has excellent cover skills. ADRIAN BUSHELL (5-11, 180, DeSoto, TX) is a multi-talented athlete who seems to be a natural fit at corner where he can use his strength and speed to go against physical receivers.

GRADE A-: All three can play but the Gators really needed to sign one more corner. Jenkins could make a push for a starting position in the spring.

2007 Signees: Joe Haden, Moses Jenkins

2006 Signees: Wondy Pierre-Louis, Jacques Rickerson, Markihe Anderson

SAFETY: In WILL HILL (6-3, 203, Jersey City, NJ St. Peter’s) and DEE FINLEY (6-3, 205, Auburn, AL) the Gators landed two prime time prospects. Hill has the speed and athletic ability to take over at free safety, allowing Major Wright to make the move to strong safety, where he’s better suited to play. When you think Hill, think a clone of Reggie Nelson. Finley could play strong safety but he has the frame to add weight. Like Jerimy Finch, Finley could find his future at outside linebacker. Thanks to Florida’s depth at the position, moving Finley to linebacker could make a lot of sense. He has the right disposition for the position. He’s a nasty hitter.

GRADE A+: The Gators got the two best safeties in the country. It’s hard to do better than that.

2007 Signees: Major Wright, Ahmad Black (Expected to move to safety in the spring)

2006 Signees: Bryan Thomas, Jamar Hornsby

KICKER: The new kickoff rules made this a priority position and the Gators got themselves a real thumper in CALEB STURGIS (5-11, 180 St. Augustine, FL). He is entirely capable of kicking the ball through the end zone on every kickoff, even with the ball moved back to the 30 yard line. With that kind of leg, the Gators figure to be in field goal range any time they cross the 50. He’s in school this spring so he should have the timing with the snapper and holder worked out by the time August rolls around.

GRADE A: Needed a thumper, got a thumper. Mission accomplished.

PUNTER: None

2007 Signees: Chas Henry

2006 Signees: None

CLASS OF 2008 GRADES:

OFFENSIVE GRADE B: The Gators didn’t land a running back and they wanted one badly. Losing Ricky Barnum is a loss they could absorb but if Young can overcome his kneecap injuries, Barnum won’t be missed.  The player most likely to have the largest immediate impact is juco wide receiver Carl Moore.

DEFENSIVE GRADE A: The Gators have an impressive defensive class that will provide much immediate help. The loss of Buchanan will probably be absorbed by moving a couple of players around. Still, it would have been nice to have his speed and athletic ability to go with these other impressive players. The players most likely to have an immediate impact are Omar Hunter, Janoris Jenkins and Will Hill.

OVERALL GRADE A-: This class is solid and in some places spectacular. If Florida had landed Jamie Harper and kept Buchanan in the fold, it would have been a walk-off grand slam. Think of this one in terms of a two-run homer.

OFFICIAL UF BIOGRAPHIES:

Brendan Beal Linebacker

6-3 * 223 * Freshman, H.S. Bangor, Pa. * Liberty

A true freshman linebacker who enrolled at Florida in January of 2008…

PRIOR TO FLORIDA: Parade All-American…AP Class AAAA first-team all-state selection as a senior…Participant in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl…USA Today High School first-team Defensive All-American…Gatorade Pennsylvania High School Player of the Year…Selected to the All-EasternPAFootball.com Big School team…Led Liberty with 148 tackles (18 for a loss) while forcing eight fumbles and collecting 10 sacks in his senior year…First-team AP Class AAAA Pennsylvania all-state first-team selection as a senior…Picked up 151 tackles and 11 sacks as a junior while picking off two passes…Racked up a career-high 17 tackles against Easton…Garnered 121 tackles among six sacks and an interception as a sophomore at Roxbury High School…Ranked as the second-best inside linebacker prospect by Rivals.com…Member of the ESPN 150 class…Four-star recruit by Rivals.com and earned five-star billing from Scout.com…PERSONAL: Born Brendan Michael Beal on Oct. 12,

1989…Son of Craig and Bettina Beal…Has two sisters, Kailee and Amanda…Lists fishing, basketball, quading and spending time with friends among his hobbies…Aspires to work on Wall Street in financial investing.

Jeremy Brown Cornerback

5-10 * 163 * Freshman, H.S. Orlando * Boone

A true freshman cornerback who enrolled at Florida in January of 2008…

PRIOR TO FLORIDA: Helped lead Boone to the Florida Class 6A title game…First-team Class 6A all-state selection as a senior…Selected to participate in the Offense-Defense All-American Bowl…Hauled in an

80-yard touchdown reception in Boone’s win over Apopka and picked off two passes against Sarasota…Intercepted eight passes his senior year…Two-way standout as a junior, picking off seven passes while registering 13 receptions for 213 yards and six touchdowns…Member of the ESPN 150 class…Four-star prospect by Rivals.com…Chose Florida over Georgia, Auburn and LSU…PERSONAL: Born Jeremy Terrell Brown on Jan. 16,

1990…Son of Terrell Brown and Cheryl Alston…Has two sisters, Georgiana and Jasmine…Hobbies include traveling and working out…Intends to major in business and sports management.

Adrian Bushell Defensive Back

5-10 * 183 * Freshman, H.S. DeSoto, Texas * DeSoto

PRIOR TO FLORIDA: Triple threat in his one year at DeSoto, playing defensive back, running back and wide receiver…Recorded 51 tackles and two interceptions in his senior season…Ranked as one of the top-100 Texas prospects in the Waco Tribune Herald…Registered over 500 yards rushing and 10 touchdowns on the ground…Accumulated roughly 300 yards receiving and seven touchdowns through the air…Played at Miami (Fla.) Pace as a junior…At Pace, he had 1,500 all-purpose yards, 1,100 rushing and 400 yards receiving…Scored two touchdowns in the spring game at his new high school…Also ran relay events and hurdles on the DeSoto High School track team…Rivals.com four-star prospect and No. 15 athlete in the country…21st-rated Texas prospect according to Rivals.com…Coached by Dave Meadows…PERSONAL: Born Adrian Antione Bushell on Jan. 19, 1990…Son of Covyonne Edmonds…Has two sisters, Arial and Alexis, and a brother, Kaleem.

Jeffrey Demps Athlete

5-8 * 176 * Freshman, H.S. Okahumpka * South Lake

PRIOR TO FLORIDA: Considered one of the nation’s fastest recruits…Second-team Class 4A all-state selection at running back as a senior…Gained 1,401 yards on the ground along with 16 touchdowns on

157 carries his senior year…Rushed for 21 scores and 1,761 yards on 170 touches in junior campaign…Second-team all-state Class 3A selection…Plan to be on the UF men’s track team running sprints…Ran the 100-meter dash at the Florida state final, the fastest time recorded at that event at 10.37 seconds…Clocked a 10.25 at the AAU Junior Olympics, the second-fastest time ever in the state and the fastest clocking recorded by a high school senior this year…Finished 13th nationally with a 21.04 time in the 200-meter dash…No. 4 athlete and ranked 53rd in the ESPN

150…Earned four-star billing by Rivals.com and part of the Rivals.com250…Listed as the sixth-best all-purpose back by Rivals.com…Coached by Walter Banks…PERSONAL: Born Jeffrey B. Demps on Jan. 8, 1990…Son of Jeffrey and Marilyn Demps.

Troy Epps Defensive Tackle

6-0 * 285 * Junior Transfer Union, S.C. * Union/Coffeyville C.C.

A junior defensive tackle who enrolled at Florida in January of 2008…

PRIOR TO FLORIDA: A junior college All-American who was a force in the middle of the line for Coffeyville’s vaunted program for two years…NJCAA All-American (Region VI) honoree and selected as the region’s No. 9 player by the conference…Named first-team All-Jayhawk Conference at defensive tackle…Forced five fumbles and harassed offenses into five sacks and 17 tackles for a loss (62 total tackles) as a sophomore…Garnered first-team all-conference honors in his freshman year at Coffeyville…Registered 63 tackles, including 16 for a loss and five sacks in his debut season…Also blocked three kicks on special teams…Listed as a three-star prospect by Rivals.com…PREP: A four-year standout at Union High School for Class AAA in South Carolina…PERSONAL: Born Dec. 3, 1986…Attended the same JUCO as former Florida All-American safety and first-round Jacksonville Jaguars’ Reggie Nelson…Son of Ms. Jimmie Sue Epps.

Dee Finley Safety

6-2 * 200 * Freshman, H.S. Auburn, Ala. * Auburn

PRIOR TO FLORIDA: Participant in the Under Armour High School All-American Game…USA Today second-team All-American…Class 6A all-state selection in Alabama…Amassed 70 tackles and seven interceptions as a senior for Auburn…Registered 50 tackles, picked off eight passes and returned three back for touchdowns as a junior…Credited with seven pass breakups in his junior season…Also brought back a punt return for a score…Reled in nine passes for 98 yards and a touchdown as a receiver…Hauled in three touchdowns as a sophomore on just seven receptions for 70 yards…Racked up 50 tackles and an interception as a sophomore…Four-star recruit by Rivals.com and rated as the fifth-best safety prospect…No. 10 in the ESPN 150 and the top safety prospect…Coached in high school by Tim Carter…PERSONAL: Born Darnavious Artez Finley on Feb. 24, 1989.

William Green Defensive End

6-4 * 215 * Freshman, H.S. Hoover, Ala. * Spain Park

PRIOR TO FLORIDA: Parade All-American…One of 12 members on the Alabama Sports Writers’ Association Super 12 football team as a senior…First team all-state selection in his final prep season…Competed in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl as the only player from Alabama…Also participated in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic in Mobile, Ala., where he recorded six tackles…Senior awards included ASWA Super 12 Defensive Lineman, Super All-Metro Birmingham News, Alabama Class 6A nominee for Lineman of the Year, ASWA 6A All-State First Team, Orlando 2007 All-Southern Football Team (Alabama) Linebacker…Had 114 tackles, four sacks and one fumble recovery as a senior during Spain Park’s 6A Championship runner-up season, the school’s deepest playoff run in school history…Led a defense that allowed only 12.9 points per game…Tallied 54 tackles, 18 tackles-for-loss and eight sacks as a junior…Four-star athlete on Rivals.com…Rated as the seventh-best outside linebacker nationally by Rivals.com…ESPN 150 member…Number-four prospect in the Alabama top 30 of 2008…Rivals 100 member…Coached by John Grass…PERSONAL: Born William Alfred Green on April 28, 1990…Son of Otis and Cynthia Green.

Frankie Hammond, Jr. Wide Receiver

6-0 * 170 * Freshman, H.S. Hollywood * Hallandale

PRIOR TO FLORIDA: Third-team Class 4A all-state selection as a senior…Ended his senior season with 46 receptions for 880 yards and 10 touchdowns…Averaged almost 20 yards per catch (19.1)…Returned two punts for touchdowns…Hauled in seven catches for 95 yards during his junior year…Also was a long-jumper for the Hallandale track and field team with a personal-best jump of 6-10…Four-star prospect by Rivals.com…Rated the

26th-best wideout on Rivals.com…Three-star recruit on Scout.com…Coached by Dameon Jones…PERSONAL: Born Frankie Elwood Hammond Jr. on Feb. 17,

1990…Son of Frankie and Nida Hammond…Has a brother, Joshua, and sister, Franishia.

Will Hill Safety

6-2 * 203 * Freshman, H.S. West Orange, N.J. * St. Peters Preparatory School

PRIOR TO FLORIDA: Parade All-American…Competed at the ESPNU Under Armour High School All-American Game, where he returned an interception for 62 yards…First-team all-state selection as a senior…USA Today first-team All-American…Two-time New Jersey Star-Ledger Offensive Player of the Year…Three-time AP New Jersey first-team all-state selection…Multidimensional threat for St. Peters Preparatory School, serving as a three-year starter at quarterback, safety and a returner on special teams…Recorded three interceptions, made 36 tackles and broke up three passes during senior campaign…Gained 960 yards on the ground while tossing for 947 yards and accounting for 26 touchdowns (19 passing, seven rushing)…Led the Marauders to a 34-2 record in three years, including a 12-0 mark and the NJSIAA Non-Public Group 4 Championship as a sophomore…Responsible for 3,817 all-purpose yards and accounted for 34 touchdowns as a junior…Rushed for 682 yards (11.7 yards per carry) and

13 touchdowns as a junior while throwing for 758 yards and 11 scores…Picked off three passes as a junior and brought back to kickoffs for touchdowns…Returned an interception for a touchdown the first time he touched the ball in 2004…Five-star athlete by Rivals.com…Ranked as the top athlete in the class of 2008 by Rivals.com…No. 2 in the ESPN 150…Listed as the fifth-best player available by Scout.com and the top-ranked safety…Committed to Florida at the ESPN Zone in New York City…Coached by Rich Hansen…PERSONAL: Born Willie Hill III on March 7, 1990…Son of Will Jr. and Grace Hill.

Omarius Hines Wide Receiver

6-1 * 205 * Freshman, H.S. Corsicana, Texas * Corsicana

PRIOR TO FLORIDA: Honorable mention Texas Class 4A all-state selection…Compiled over 1,000 all-purpose yards rushing and receiving as a senior…Registered 824 yards on 38 receptions, averaging over 21 yards per catch, and had 13 touchdowns…Also rushed for 330 yards and six touchdowns…Caught 62 passes for 1,262 yards and 23 touchdowns as a junior…Earned first-team all-state and first-team all-district honors as a junior…Four-star prospect by Rivals.com…Ranked the No. 21 wideout in the country according to Rivals.com…Also played basketball and ran cross-country for Coriscana…Coached by Dave Henigan…PERSONAL: Born Omarius D. Hines on Dec. 18, 1989…Son of Marcus and Lisa Hines.

Omar Hunter Defensive Tackle

6-0 * 322 * Freshman, H.S. Buford, Ga. * Buford

PRIOR TO FLORIDA: Parade All-American…First-team Class AA all-state selection as a senior…Played in the Under Armour High School All-American Game…Ranked as the strongest player in the Under Armour All-Star Awards… Helped lead Buford to an undefeated season and a state title his senior year…Georgia Sports Writers’ Association Class AA choice….Registered 93 tackles and seven sacks as a senior…Had 85 tackles, six sacks, a fumble recovery and 13 tackles for a loss as a junior…No. 37 in the ESPN 150 and ranked as the No. 2 defensive tackle in the position rankings…Rivals.com five-star recruit and No. 2 defensive tackle nationally…Received five-star billing and rated the second-best defensive tackle in the nation by Scout.com…Teammate of Florida recruit T.J. Pridemore at Buford…Coached by Jess Simpson…PERSONAL: Born Omar Divine Hunter on Dec. 27, 1989…Son of Keith and Lisa Hunter.

Janoris Jenkins Cornerback

5-10 * 177 * Freshman, H.S. Pahokee * Pahokee

A true freshman cornerback who enrolled at Florida in January of 2008…

PRIOR TO FLORIDA: Parade All-American…First-team Class 2B all-state selection as a senior…Competed at the ESPNU Under Armour High School All-American Game for the Red squad…Participated in the Burger King All-American Varsity Skills Challenge in the hands’ competition…Two-way star collected six interceptions and recorded over 80 tackles as a senior while rushing for 18 yards and gaining over

1,000 yards…Helped lead Pahokee to a Florida Class 2B state title as a junior and senior…Team also won state title as a freshmen…Played in four straight state championship games…Registered 49 tackles and rushed for

698 yards on offense with six touchdowns during his junior season…Four-star recruit by Rivals.com and ranked as the seventh-best cornerback prospect…Ranked the No. 4 corner in the ESPN 150…PERSONAL: Born Janoris Jenkins on Oct. 29, 1988…Son of William Jenkins and Denise Dent.

Byran Jones Offfensive/Defensive Line

6-3 * 305 * Freshman, H.S. Jacksonville * Nathan Bedford Forrest

PRIOR TO FLORIDA: First-team Class 4A all-state selection on the offensive line…Played in the annual Florida Athletic Coaches Association All-Star Game…Offensive Line MVP and Voted Captain of the Scout.com Combine in Jacksonville…Started the annual North/South All-Star game featuring the state of Florida’s best players…Named by Scout.com to the All-Florida Combine team…Rated 44th-best in-state prospect by Rivals.com…Coached by Dennis Clemons…PERSONAL: Born Byran Rashad Jones on Nov. 30, 1989…Son of Phoebe Allen…Went to the same high school as UF linebacker Brandon Hicks.

T.J. Lawrence Wide Receiver

6-0 * 185 * Freshman, H.S. Lakeland * Lakeland Kathleen

PRIOR TO FLORIDA: Competed at the Under Armour All-American Game, where he set up the game-winning score with a 14-yard reception…First-team all-state Class 3A selection by the Florida Sports Writers Association as a senior…Caught 12 touchdowns and amassed over 800 yards as a senior…Earned first-team all-county and first-team all-district honors as a junior…Caught 50 passes for 1,245 yards and 15 touchdowns as a junior produced 40 tackles, two sacks and five interceptions on defense…Earned third-team all-state honors as a sophomore as a defensive back in a group that included Florida secondary players Wondy Pierre-Louis and Bryan Thomas in 2005…Also played both ways as a sophomore, totaling five touchdowns and recording four interceptions in the secondary…No. 21 in the Rivals.com Florida top 100 and No. 49 overall…All-around athlete who also played basketball and baseball at Lakeland Kathleen…Member of the ESPN 150…Coached by Irving Strickland…PERSONAL: Born Antonio Lawrence on Feb. 5, 1989…Son of Wanda Burnett.

Lerentee McCray Linebacker

6-2 * 205 * Freshman, H.S. Ocala * Dunnellon

PRIOR TO FLORIDA: Participated in the U.S. Army All-American Game and had three tackles…First-team Class 3A all-state selection at linebacker…Recognized as the top athlete with the best closing speed following the All-Star Game in San Antonio…Played in the North/South All-Star Game…Named to the Florida All-Combine team in Jacksonville…Averaged 17 tackles per game as a senior…Collected 118 tackles and nine sacks his senior year while rushing for over 500 yards and scoring 11 touchdowns…Earned 11 sacks and 97 tackles as a junior…Versatile athlete who played wide receiver, special teams and linebacker for Dunnellon…Four-star prospect by Rivals.com…No. 10 outside linebacker nationally by Rivals.com…Ranked in the ESPN 150 class…Coached by Frank Beasley…PERSONAL: Born Lerentee Zavonne McCray on Aug. 26,

1990…Son of Sybil McCray.

Carl Moore Wide Receiver

6-3 * 220 * Junior Transfer Roseville, Calif. * Cordova/Sierra C.C.

PRIOR TO FLORIDA: One of the most highly-coveted junior college players in the class of 2008 praised for his combination of size, strength and speed…Racked up 1,068 yards on 73 receptions with 16 touchdowns during his sophomore campaign at Sierra…Tied for fourth in total points scored and rated sixth across the California junior college system in receptions (73) as a sophomore…Helped lead Sierra to a second-ranked billing towards the end of the year and played in the NorCal Junior College Championship Game against the City of College of San Francisco…Reeled in 61 catches for 960 yards and seven touchdowns as a freshman with a long of 65…Averaged 15.7 yards per reception in his first year at Sierra…Five-star prospect by Rivals.com and ranked as the No. 2 junior-college player…Also rated as a five-star recruit by Scout.com…PREP: Hauled in 21 catches for 410 yards and five touchdowns in just three games during his senior year at Cordova High School…PERSONAL: Born Sept. 19, 1988…Son of Jackie Moore.

Earl Okine Defensive End

6-5 * 250 * Freshman, H.S. Gainesville * Gainesville

A true freshman defensive lineman who enrolled at Florida in January of

2008…

PRIOR TO FLORIDA: Third-team Class 5A all-state selection as a senior…Competed at the Offense-Defense All-American Bowl in Miami, where he garnered Defensive MVP honors with 3.5 sacks (three tackles for loss)…Turned in 3.5 sacks at the Florida Athletic Coaches Association North-South Game…Collected 102 tackles with 12 sacks his senior year and caught 15 passes as a tight end…Had 86 tackles, 50 solo, during junior season…Third-team all-state selection and first-team all-area honoree as a junior…Also played basketball for the Hurricanes and lifts weights competitively…Coached in high school by Eddy Moore…PERSONAL: Born Earl James Okine on Jan. 4, 1990…Son of James and Grace Okine.

Matt Patchan Offensive Lineman

6-6 * 260 * Freshman, H.S. Tampa * Armwood

A true freshman lineman who enrolled at Florida in Jan. 2008…

PRIOR TO FLORIDA: USA Today first-team All-American…Selected to play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl…First-team Class 4A all-state offensive line selection as a senior…Honored on the Florida Football Magazine’s

2007 Post-Season Florida Phenoms team…Racked up over 50 pancake blocks and did not allow a sack his junior season en route to Class 4A all-state first-team honors…On the defensive side, registered 99 tackles

(27 for loss), eight sacks, forced four fumbles and recovered four…St. Petersburg Times First Team All-Suncoast selection as a junior…Five-star recruit by Rivals.com and No. 11 overall nationally…No. 4 offensive tackle and five-star prospect by Scout.com…Ranked in the ESPN 150…MVP of the Scout.com combine in March of 2007…Played both ways at Armwood, starring at left tackle and defensive end…Transfer from Freedom High School in Tampa…Coached in high school by Sean Callahan…PERSONAL: Born Matthew D. Patchan…Son of Matt and Deanne Patchan…Father, Matt Sr., played football at Miami (1984-87) and in the NFL…Admires former Green Bay Packers and Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Reggie White and Cleveland Browns offensive lineman Joe Thomas.

T.J. Pridemore Fullback/Linebacker

6-0 * 236 * Freshman, H.S. Gainesville, Ga. * Buford

PRIOR TO FLORIDA: Projected to help Florida at H-back as well as see time at linebacker…First-team Class AA all-state selection as a senior…Helped lead Class AA Buford to a 15-0 undefeated season and a state title his senior year…Compiled 115 tackles as a junior with three sacks, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries in 13 games…Atlanta Journal-Constitution all-state first-team selection as a junior…Helped guide Buford to a 12-1 record as a junior and advance to the State Elite 8…Rivals.com three-star prospect…Teammate in high school with fellow signee, defensive lineman Omar Hunter…Coached by Jess Simpson…PERSONAL: Born Tyler James Pridemore on Jan. 15, 1990…Son of Tommy and Leigh Pridemore…Father, Tom, played collegiately at West Virginia and spent eight years in the NFL with the Atlanta Falcons.

Sam Robey Offensive Line

6-4 * 275 * Freshman, H.S. Louisville, Ky. * Trinity

PRIOR TO FLORIDA: Versatile athlete along the line who projects to play either guard or center collegiately…Three-time first team all-state honoree who helped lead Trinity to three-consecutive state titles…Anchored a line for an offense that averaged over 40 points and over 450 yards of offense as a senior…Collected seven tackles in an overtime victory in the Class 6A state final over St. Xavier…Honored as a co-winner for the Paul Hornung Award, sponsored by the Louisville Quarterback Club, presented to the state’s top high school players…Two-year starter and two-time Kentucky High School all-state first-team selection…Also played defense for Trinity and helped the Shamrocks win a Class 4A state title as a junior …Rivals.com three-star recruit and No. 8 in the Kentucky Top 10…Three-star prospect by Scout.com…Coached by Bob Beatty…PERSONAL: Born Samuel Frederick Robey on Aug. 19, 1989…Son of Rick and Bonnie Robey…Father, Rick, was an All-American basketball player for Kentucky, where he won a national championship in 1978 and played in the NBA with the Boston Celtics, Indiana Pacers and Phoenix Suns.

Caleb Sturgis Kicker

5-10 * 182 * Freshman, H.S. St. Augustine * St. Augustine

A true freshman kicker who enrolled at Florida in January of 2008…

PRIOR TO FLORIDA: Played in the Under-Armour High School All-American Game…First-team Class 3A all-state honoree at placekicker…Offensive Player of the Week in the Jacksonville area by the Florida Times-Union after connecting on 32, 37 and a 50-yard field goals…Booted field goals of 42, 40 and 46 yards against Ponte Vedra Beach (Nease)…Made 8-of-16 field goal attempts in junior year, but six misses were beyond 56 yards…Made 54 of 57 point-after attempts…Named one of the most outstanding kickers by One-On-One Kicking…Averaged over 70 yards on kickoff distance at the kicking expo with Mike McCabe and kicked a long field goal of 55 yards…Also played forward on St. Augustine’s soccer squad and competed for Julington Creek…Two-star recruit by Rivals.com and earned three-star status by Scout.com…Scout.com’s No. 3 kicker nationally…Coached by Joey Wiles…PERSONAL: Born Caleb James Sturgis on Aug. 9, 1989…Son of Smiley and Karen Sturgis…Went to the same high school as Gator teammates Brandon James and Jacques Rickerson…Has three brothers and two sisters…Intends to major in business and sports management.

David Young Offensive Lineman

6-6 * 290 * Freshman, H.S. Edwardsville, Ill. * Edwardsville

PRIOR TO FLORIDA: Three-year varsity starter on both sides of the ball for the Tigers….120 pancake blocks, no sacks allowed since sophomore season with no holding penalties…Listed third according to St. Louis Dispatch Super 30 recruits….Three-time All area selection…An all-conference selection as a sophomore and unanimous all-area and all-conference selection as a junior…Received his first scholarship offer as a sophomore….Coached by Tim Dougherty…PERSONAL: Son of Shantel Watts.

Franz Beard

About Franz Beard

Back in January of 1969, the late, great Jack Hairston, then the sports editor of the Jacksonville Journal, called me on the phone one night and asked me if I wanted to work for him. I said yes. The entire interview took 30 seconds. It's my experience that whenever the interview lasts 30 seconds or less, I get the job. In the 48 years that I've been writing and getting paid for it, I've covered Super Bowls, World Series, NCAA basketball championships, BCS championship games, heavyweight title fights and what seems like thousands of college football, baseball and basketball games. I'm a columnist and special assignments editor for Gator Country once again, writing about the only team that ever mattered to me, the Florida Gators.

Franz Beard Recruiting
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With the signing of an outstanding 22-man class, the Florida Gators capped off the best three-year recruiting run in school history Wednesday. Even with a couple of last minute defections, Florida’s class still ranks among the best in the nation and combined with the last two classes, it provides instant depth and raises the talent levels all over the field.

The Gators landed 11 members of the ESPN 150 including safeties Will Hill and Dee Finley, the nation’s number three and 10 prospects overall and the highest rated pair of safeties. Including Hill and Finley, the Gators had eight defensive players from the ESPN 150 list.

The Florida class included one multi-purpose athlete, four wide receivers, a fullback and four linemen on the offensive side of the ball and four linemen, two linebackers, three corners and two safeties on defense. The Gators also signed one kicker.

It’s an excellent class that fills some immediate needs while giving the Gators quality depth that will have to be developed. Eight of the class of 2008 are already in school and they will get a head start on the other newbies by participating in spring practice.

Here is a look at the Florida class of 2008, complete with grades, as well as who the Gators signed in 2006 and 2007 to give you an idea of how Meyer and his staff are stocking Florida’s depth chart.

QUARTERBACK: None

2007 Signees: Cameron Newton, John Brantley, Bryan Waggener (Transferred)

2006 Signees: Tim Tebow

RUNNING BACK: None

2007 Signees: Bo Williams (Transferred)

2006 Signees: Mon Williams, Chevon Walker (Transferred)

ALL-PURPOSE ATHLETE: The Gators got the fastest player in the country in JEFF DEMPS (5-9, 170, Groveland, FL South Lake), who has run a 10.3 100 meters. He was a running back at South Lake but he doesn’t have the size to be an every down running back at the next level. Figure he will line up at the slot at Florida, where he can be used as a receiver and a runner on the jet sweeps. His speed alone means he will command a double team any time he’s on the field.

GRADE A: It’s hard to get better than the fastest player in the country.

2007 Signees: Chris Rainey

2006 Signees: Brandon James

FULLBACK: This is not a position that is typically manned by outstanding athletes but T.J. PRIDEMORE (6-3, 235, Buford, GA) is good enough that he could play on either side of the ball. With Ramon Buchanan doing a last minute switch to Miami, it is a possibility that Pridemore will be moved over to linebacker. He is big, physical and knows how to move his feet. He is capable of playing inside or the strongside at linebacker. As a fullback, he has pass catching skills and the size to take on a blitzing linebacker or a defensive end.

GRADE A: This could turn out to be the hidden gem of the class because of his versatility.

2007 Signees: Steve Wilks (Expected to move to fullback in the spring)

2006 Signees: None

WIDE RECEIVER: No smurfs in this class. The Gators went after taller receivers with speed to create mismatches against shorter corners. CARL MOORE (6-4, 220, Rocklin, CA Sierra CC) is a juco All-American who is already in school so figure he will see the field early and often. He has the size to go across the middle and the speed to stretch a defense. He is game day ready from day one. OMARIUS HINES (6-3, 200, Corsicana, TX) is a very athletic type who is an outstanding leaper. He’s a very physical receiver that won’t get jammed at the line. T.J. LAWRENCE (6-2, 200, Lakeland, FL) is a very acrobatic receiver who is an outstanding deep threat. FRANKIE HAMMOND (6-1, 170, Hallandale, FL averaged well over 20 yards per catch as a senior. He’s another outside receiver that will stretch the field.

GRADE A: It’s all about the mismatches and the Gators are bringing in the kind of receivers that can create mismatches all over the field.

2007 Signees: Deonte Thompson, Paul Wilson

2006 Signees: Percy Harvin, Riley Cooper, Justin Williams, Jarred Fayson (Transferred)

TIGHT END: None

2007 Signees: Aaron Hernandez

2006 Signees: Trent Pupello (Transferred)

OFFENSIVE LINE: Due to Florida’s depth at this position, none of the 2008 signees figures to play right away so the defection of Ricky Barnum to Michigan is one that can be absorbed. Of the four, MATT PATCHAN (6-7, 265, Seffner, FL Armwood) is the most highly regarded and he figures to see the field early once he’s put on some upper body weight. He may have the quickest feet of any offensive tackle in the country. BYRAN JONES (6-3, 324, Jacksonville, FL Forrest) is a road grader type that will settle in at one of the guard positions. He has a big frame but needs to replace some baby fat with muscle. SAM ROBEY (6-5, 260, Louisville, KY Trinity) could project at all three offensive line positions. He’s smart enough to play center and he’s got good footwork so tackle isn’t out of the question once he adds some muscle. He’s the son of former Kentucky basketball All-American Rick Robey. DAVID YOUNG (6-6, 275, Edwardsville, Illinois) is a late addition to the class. He had injuries his senior year but he had 120 pancake blocks as a junior. Once he heals and adds some weight during a redshirt year, he could be an intriguing tackle prospect.

GRADE B: The Gators finished with four. It is a wait and see group since it figures that all four of them are going to redshirt. Patchan should see the field first.

2007 Signees: Maurkice Pouncey, Mike Pouncey, James Wilson

2006 Signees: Carl Johnson, Marcus Gilbert, Maurice Hurt, Jim Barrie, Corey Hobbs

DEFENSIVE LINE: The Gators followed up last year’s haul of defensive linemen with another outstanding group, headlined by pass rushing specialist WILLIAM GREEN (6-5, 210, Hoover, AL Spain Park) and bull rusher supreme OMAR HUNTER (6-1, 315, Buford, GA). Green is a Jarvis Moss type with long arms and superb quickness. Some recruiting analysts believe he has the quickness to play outside linebacker as well. Hunter is a nose tackle that can punch holes in the pocket from the inside, freeing up the speed rushers from the end positions. Hunter and John Brown could be a fearsome team in the middle of the Florida defensive line. EARL OKINE (6-7, 240, Gainesville, FL) had 10 sacks in the two post-season all-star games that he participated in. He has a great frame and could eventually play at 275 or 280. TROY EPPS (6-1, 270, Coffeyville, KS Coffeyville CC) is an outstanding run-stopper who was a juco All-American at Coffeyville. He’s already in school so he will be part of the defensive line rebuilding project that will be taking place in the spring.

GRADE A+: When you combine this group with last year’s, Florida should become dominant up front once again.

2007 Signees: Jaye Howard, John Brown, Justin Trattou, Torrey Davis, Carlos Dunlap, Duke Lemmens

2006 Signees: Lawrence Marsh, Terron Sanders, Jermaine Cunningham, Brandon Antwine

LINEBACKER: Losing Ramon Buchanan at the last second hurt but the Gators might compensate for that loss by shuffling a couple of players around. The two the Gators landed are outstanding prospects that should have a legitimate shot at playing time in 2008. BRENDAN BEAL (6-3, 240, Bethlehem, PA Liberty) was a huge get for the Gators. He is already enrolled in school and in the spring we should see him backing up Brandon Spikes in the middle and getting some time in on the strong side. He’s a hard hitter with good football smarts. LERENTEE MCCRAY (6-2, 212, Dunnellon, FL) has speed and range to get on the field. He averaged double figures tackles in high school.

GRADE B+: It’s Grade A talent but the Gators really needed at least one more here. There will have to be some shifting of personnel to create the depth that’s needed here.

2007 Signees: Brandon Hicks, Lorenzo Edwards, John Jones, Jerimy Finch (Expected to move to linebacker in the spring)

2006 Signees: Brandon Spikes, Dustin Doe, A.J. Jones

CORNERBACK: This was the most obvious position of need for the Gators and they helped themselves immensely with three very talented players, two of whom are already enrolled in school. JANORIS JENKINS (5-11, 180, Pahokee, FL) was a huge pickup, not just because he’s one of the three best corners in the state and one of the top 10 corners in the country. He’s from talent-rich Pahokee and the last time the Gators got a player out of there was in the 1960s when Harold Peacock signed with UF. Jenkins gives the Gators another very physical receiver. JEREMY BROWN (5-10, 170, Orlando, FL Boone) needs some upper body strength to stay with the more physical receivers but he has excellent cover skills. ADRIAN BUSHELL (5-11, 180, DeSoto, TX) is a multi-talented athlete who seems to be a natural fit at corner where he can use his strength and speed to go against physical receivers.

GRADE A-: All three can play but the Gators really needed to sign one more corner. Jenkins could make a push for a starting position in the spring.

2007 Signees: Joe Haden, Moses Jenkins

2006 Signees: Wondy Pierre-Louis, Jacques Rickerson, Markihe Anderson

SAFETY: In WILL HILL (6-3, 203, Jersey City, NJ St. Peter’s) and DEE FINLEY (6-3, 205, Auburn, AL) the Gators landed two prime time prospects. Hill has the speed and athletic ability to take over at free safety, allowing Major Wright to make the move to strong safety, where he’s better suited to play. When you think Hill, think a clone of Reggie Nelson. Finley could play strong safety but he has the frame to add weight. Like Jerimy Finch, Finley could find his future at outside linebacker. Thanks to Florida’s depth at the position, moving Finley to linebacker could make a lot of sense. He has the right disposition for the position. He’s a nasty hitter.

GRADE A+: The Gators got the two best safeties in the country. It’s hard to do better than that.

2007 Signees: Major Wright, Ahmad Black (Expected to move to safety in the spring)

2006 Signees: Bryan Thomas, Jamar Hornsby

KICKER: The new kickoff rules made this a priority position and the Gators got themselves a real thumper in CALEB STURGIS (5-11, 180 St. Augustine, FL). He is entirely capable of kicking the ball through the end zone on every kickoff, even with the ball moved back to the 30 yard line. With that kind of leg, the Gators figure to be in field goal range any time they cross the 50. He’s in school this spring so he should have the timing with the snapper and holder worked out by the time August rolls around.

GRADE A: Needed a thumper, got a thumper. Mission accomplished.

PUNTER: None

2007 Signees: Chas Henry

2006 Signees: None

CLASS OF 2008 GRADES:

OFFENSIVE GRADE B: The Gators didn’t land a running back and they wanted one badly. Losing Ricky Barnum is a loss they could absorb but if Young can overcome his kneecap injuries, Barnum won’t be missed.  The player most likely to have the largest immediate impact is juco wide receiver Carl Moore.

DEFENSIVE GRADE A: The Gators have an impressive defensive class that will provide much immediate help. The loss of Buchanan will probably be absorbed by moving a couple of players around. Still, it would have been nice to have his speed and athletic ability to go with these other impressive players. The players most likely to have an immediate impact are Omar Hunter, Janoris Jenkins and Will Hill.

OVERALL GRADE A-: This class is solid and in some places spectacular. If Florida had landed Jamie Harper and kept Buchanan in the fold, it would have been a walk-off grand slam. Think of this one in terms of a two-run homer.

OFFICIAL UF BIOGRAPHIES:

Brendan Beal Linebacker

6-3 * 223 * Freshman, H.S. Bangor, Pa. * Liberty

A true freshman linebacker who enrolled at Florida in January of 2008…

PRIOR TO FLORIDA: Parade All-American…AP Class AAAA first-team all-state selection as a senior…Participant in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl…USA Today High School first-team Defensive All-American…Gatorade Pennsylvania High School Player of the Year…Selected to the All-EasternPAFootball.com Big School team…Led Liberty with 148 tackles (18 for a loss) while forcing eight fumbles and collecting 10 sacks in his senior year…First-team AP Class AAAA Pennsylvania all-state first-team selection as a senior…Picked up 151 tackles and 11 sacks as a junior while picking off two passes…Racked up a career-high 17 tackles against Easton…Garnered 121 tackles among six sacks and an interception as a sophomore at Roxbury High School…Ranked as the second-best inside linebacker prospect by Rivals.com…Member of the ESPN 150 class…Four-star recruit by Rivals.com and earned five-star billing from Scout.com…PERSONAL: Born Brendan Michael Beal on Oct. 12,

1989…Son of Craig and Bettina Beal…Has two sisters, Kailee and Amanda…Lists fishing, basketball, quading and spending time with friends among his hobbies…Aspires to work on Wall Street in financial investing.

Jeremy Brown Cornerback

5-10 * 163 * Freshman, H.S. Orlando * Boone

A true freshman cornerback who enrolled at Florida in January of 2008…

PRIOR TO FLORIDA: Helped lead Boone to the Florida Class 6A title game…First-team Class 6A all-state selection as a senior…Selected to participate in the Offense-Defense All-American Bowl…Hauled in an

80-yard touchdown reception in Boone’s win over Apopka and picked off two passes against Sarasota…Intercepted eight passes his senior year…Two-way standout as a junior, picking off seven passes while registering 13 receptions for 213 yards and six touchdowns…Member of the ESPN 150 class…Four-star prospect by Rivals.com…Chose Florida over Georgia, Auburn and LSU…PERSONAL: Born Jeremy Terrell Brown on Jan. 16,

1990…Son of Terrell Brown and Cheryl Alston…Has two sisters, Georgiana and Jasmine…Hobbies include traveling and working out…Intends to major in business and sports management.

Adrian Bushell Defensive Back

5-10 * 183 * Freshman, H.S. DeSoto, Texas * DeSoto

PRIOR TO FLORIDA: Triple threat in his one year at DeSoto, playing defensive back, running back and wide receiver…Recorded 51 tackles and two interceptions in his senior season…Ranked as one of the top-100 Texas prospects in the Waco Tribune Herald…Registered over 500 yards rushing and 10 touchdowns on the ground…Accumulated roughly 300 yards receiving and seven touchdowns through the air…Played at Miami (Fla.) Pace as a junior…At Pace, he had 1,500 all-purpose yards, 1,100 rushing and 400 yards receiving…Scored two touchdowns in the spring game at his new high school…Also ran relay events and hurdles on the DeSoto High School track team…Rivals.com four-star prospect and No. 15 athlete in the country…21st-rated Texas prospect according to Rivals.com…Coached by Dave Meadows…PERSONAL: Born Adrian Antione Bushell on Jan. 19, 1990…Son of Covyonne Edmonds…Has two sisters, Arial and Alexis, and a brother, Kaleem.

Jeffrey Demps Athlete

5-8 * 176 * Freshman, H.S. Okahumpka * South Lake

PRIOR TO FLORIDA: Considered one of the nation’s fastest recruits…Second-team Class 4A all-state selection at running back as a senior…Gained 1,401 yards on the ground along with 16 touchdowns on

157 carries his senior year…Rushed for 21 scores and 1,761 yards on 170 touches in junior campaign…Second-team all-state Class 3A selection…Plan to be on the UF men’s track team running sprints…Ran the 100-meter dash at the Florida state final, the fastest time recorded at that event at 10.37 seconds…Clocked a 10.25 at the AAU Junior Olympics, the second-fastest time ever in the state and the fastest clocking recorded by a high school senior this year…Finished 13th nationally with a 21.04 time in the 200-meter dash…No. 4 athlete and ranked 53rd in the ESPN

150…Earned four-star billing by Rivals.com and part of the Rivals.com250…Listed as the sixth-best all-purpose back by Rivals.com…Coached by Walter Banks…PERSONAL: Born Jeffrey B. Demps on Jan. 8, 1990…Son of Jeffrey and Marilyn Demps.

Troy Epps Defensive Tackle

6-0 * 285 * Junior Transfer Union, S.C. * Union/Coffeyville C.C.

A junior defensive tackle who enrolled at Florida in January of 2008…

PRIOR TO FLORIDA: A junior college All-American who was a force in the middle of the line for Coffeyville’s vaunted program for two years…NJCAA All-American (Region VI) honoree and selected as the region’s No. 9 player by the conference…Named first-team All-Jayhawk Conference at defensive tackle…Forced five fumbles and harassed offenses into five sacks and 17 tackles for a loss (62 total tackles) as a sophomore…Garnered first-team all-conference honors in his freshman year at Coffeyville…Registered 63 tackles, including 16 for a loss and five sacks in his debut season…Also blocked three kicks on special teams…Listed as a three-star prospect by Rivals.com…PREP: A four-year standout at Union High School for Class AAA in South Carolina…PERSONAL: Born Dec. 3, 1986…Attended the same JUCO as former Florida All-American safety and first-round Jacksonville Jaguars’ Reggie Nelson…Son of Ms. Jimmie Sue Epps.

Dee Finley Safety

6-2 * 200 * Freshman, H.S. Auburn, Ala. * Auburn

PRIOR TO FLORIDA: Participant in the Under Armour High School All-American Game…USA Today second-team All-American…Class 6A all-state selection in Alabama…Amassed 70 tackles and seven interceptions as a senior for Auburn…Registered 50 tackles, picked off eight passes and returned three back for touchdowns as a junior…Credited with seven pass breakups in his junior season…Also brought back a punt return for a score…Reled in nine passes for 98 yards and a touchdown as a receiver…Hauled in three touchdowns as a sophomore on just seven receptions for 70 yards…Racked up 50 tackles and an interception as a sophomore…Four-star recruit by Rivals.com and rated as the fifth-best safety prospect…No. 10 in the ESPN 150 and the top safety prospect…Coached in high school by Tim Carter…PERSONAL: Born Darnavious Artez Finley on Feb. 24, 1989.

William Green Defensive End

6-4 * 215 * Freshman, H.S. Hoover, Ala. * Spain Park

PRIOR TO FLORIDA: Parade All-American…One of 12 members on the Alabama Sports Writers’ Association Super 12 football team as a senior…First team all-state selection in his final prep season…Competed in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl as the only player from Alabama…Also participated in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic in Mobile, Ala., where he recorded six tackles…Senior awards included ASWA Super 12 Defensive Lineman, Super All-Metro Birmingham News, Alabama Class 6A nominee for Lineman of the Year, ASWA 6A All-State First Team, Orlando 2007 All-Southern Football Team (Alabama) Linebacker…Had 114 tackles, four sacks and one fumble recovery as a senior during Spain Park’s 6A Championship runner-up season, the school’s deepest playoff run in school history…Led a defense that allowed only 12.9 points per game…Tallied 54 tackles, 18 tackles-for-loss and eight sacks as a junior…Four-star athlete on Rivals.com…Rated as the seventh-best outside linebacker nationally by Rivals.com…ESPN 150 member…Number-four prospect in the Alabama top 30 of 2008…Rivals 100 member…Coached by John Grass…PERSONAL: Born William Alfred Green on April 28, 1990…Son of Otis and Cynthia Green.

Frankie Hammond, Jr. Wide Receiver

6-0 * 170 * Freshman, H.S. Hollywood * Hallandale

PRIOR TO FLORIDA: Third-team Class 4A all-state selection as a senior…Ended his senior season with 46 receptions for 880 yards and 10 touchdowns…Averaged almost 20 yards per catch (19.1)…Returned two punts for touchdowns…Hauled in seven catches for 95 yards during his junior year…Also was a long-jumper for the Hallandale track and field team with a personal-best jump of 6-10…Four-star prospect by Rivals.com…Rated the

26th-best wideout on Rivals.com…Three-star recruit on Scout.com…Coached by Dameon Jones…PERSONAL: Born Frankie Elwood Hammond Jr. on Feb. 17,

1990…Son of Frankie and Nida Hammond…Has a brother, Joshua, and sister, Franishia.

Will Hill Safety

6-2 * 203 * Freshman, H.S. West Orange, N.J. * St. Peters Preparatory School

PRIOR TO FLORIDA: Parade All-American…Competed at the ESPNU Under Armour High School All-American Game, where he returned an interception for 62 yards…First-team all-state selection as a senior…USA Today first-team All-American…Two-time New Jersey Star-Ledger Offensive Player of the Year…Three-time AP New Jersey first-team all-state selection…Multidimensional threat for St. Peters Preparatory School, serving as a three-year starter at quarterback, safety and a returner on special teams…Recorded three interceptions, made 36 tackles and broke up three passes during senior campaign…Gained 960 yards on the ground while tossing for 947 yards and accounting for 26 touchdowns (19 passing, seven rushing)…Led the Marauders to a 34-2 record in three years, including a 12-0 mark and the NJSIAA Non-Public Group 4 Championship as a sophomore…Responsible for 3,817 all-purpose yards and accounted for 34 touchdowns as a junior…Rushed for 682 yards (11.7 yards per carry) and

13 touchdowns as a junior while throwing for 758 yards and 11 scores…Picked off three passes as a junior and brought back to kickoffs for touchdowns…Returned an interception for a touchdown the first time he touched the ball in 2004…Five-star athlete by Rivals.com…Ranked as the top athlete in the class of 2008 by Rivals.com…No. 2 in the ESPN 150…Listed as the fifth-best player available by Scout.com and the top-ranked safety…Committed to Florida at the ESPN Zone in New York City…Coached by Rich Hansen…PERSONAL: Born Willie Hill III on March 7, 1990…Son of Will Jr. and Grace Hill.

Omarius Hines Wide Receiver

6-1 * 205 * Freshman, H.S. Corsicana, Texas * Corsicana

PRIOR TO FLORIDA: Honorable mention Texas Class 4A all-state selection…Compiled over 1,000 all-purpose yards rushing and receiving as a senior…Registered 824 yards on 38 receptions, averaging over 21 yards per catch, and had 13 touchdowns…Also rushed for 330 yards and six touchdowns…Caught 62 passes for 1,262 yards and 23 touchdowns as a junior…Earned first-team all-state and first-team all-district honors as a junior…Four-star prospect by Rivals.com…Ranked the No. 21 wideout in the country according to Rivals.com…Also played basketball and ran cross-country for Coriscana…Coached by Dave Henigan…PERSONAL: Born Omarius D. Hines on Dec. 18, 1989…Son of Marcus and Lisa Hines.

Omar Hunter Defensive Tackle

6-0 * 322 * Freshman, H.S. Buford, Ga. * Buford

PRIOR TO FLORIDA: Parade All-American…First-team Class AA all-state selection as a senior…Played in the Under Armour High School All-American Game…Ranked as the strongest player in the Under Armour All-Star Awards… Helped lead Buford to an undefeated season and a state title his senior year…Georgia Sports Writers’ Association Class AA choice….Registered 93 tackles and seven sacks as a senior…Had 85 tackles, six sacks, a fumble recovery and 13 tackles for a loss as a junior…No. 37 in the ESPN 150 and ranked as the No. 2 defensive tackle in the position rankings…Rivals.com five-star recruit and No. 2 defensive tackle nationally…Received five-star billing and rated the second-best defensive tackle in the nation by Scout.com…Teammate of Florida recruit T.J. Pridemore at Buford…Coached by Jess Simpson…PERSONAL: Born Omar Divine Hunter on Dec. 27, 1989…Son of Keith and Lisa Hunter.

Janoris Jenkins Cornerback

5-10 * 177 * Freshman, H.S. Pahokee * Pahokee

A true freshman cornerback who enrolled at Florida in January of 2008…

PRIOR TO FLORIDA: Parade All-American…First-team Class 2B all-state selection as a senior…Competed at the ESPNU Under Armour High School All-American Game for the Red squad…Participated in the Burger King All-American Varsity Skills Challenge in the hands’ competition…Two-way star collected six interceptions and recorded over 80 tackles as a senior while rushing for 18 yards and gaining over

1,000 yards…Helped lead Pahokee to a Florida Class 2B state title as a junior and senior…Team also won state title as a freshmen…Played in four straight state championship games…Registered 49 tackles and rushed for

698 yards on offense with six touchdowns during his junior season…Four-star recruit by Rivals.com and ranked as the seventh-best cornerback prospect…Ranked the No. 4 corner in the ESPN 150…PERSONAL: Born Janoris Jenkins on Oct. 29, 1988…Son of William Jenkins and Denise Dent.

Byran Jones Offfensive/Defensive Line

6-3 * 305 * Freshman, H.S. Jacksonville * Nathan Bedford Forrest

PRIOR TO FLORIDA: First-team Class 4A all-state selection on the offensive line…Played in the annual Florida Athletic Coaches Association All-Star Game…Offensive Line MVP and Voted Captain of the Scout.com Combine in Jacksonville…Started the annual North/South All-Star game featuring the state of Florida’s best players…Named by Scout.com to the All-Florida Combine team…Rated 44th-best in-state prospect by Rivals.com…Coached by Dennis Clemons…PERSONAL: Born Byran Rashad Jones on Nov. 30, 1989…Son of Phoebe Allen…Went to the same high school as UF linebacker Brandon Hicks.

T.J. Lawrence Wide Receiver

6-0 * 185 * Freshman, H.S. Lakeland * Lakeland Kathleen

PRIOR TO FLORIDA: Competed at the Under Armour All-American Game, where he set up the game-winning score with a 14-yard reception…First-team all-state Class 3A selection by the Florida Sports Writers Association as a senior…Caught 12 touchdowns and amassed over 800 yards as a senior…Earned first-team all-county and first-team all-district honors as a junior…Caught 50 passes for 1,245 yards and 15 touchdowns as a junior produced 40 tackles, two sacks and five interceptions on defense…Earned third-team all-state honors as a sophomore as a defensive back in a group that included Florida secondary players Wondy Pierre-Louis and Bryan Thomas in 2005…Also played both ways as a sophomore, totaling five touchdowns and recording four interceptions in the secondary…No. 21 in the Rivals.com Florida top 100 and No. 49 overall…All-around athlete who also played basketball and baseball at Lakeland Kathleen…Member of the ESPN 150…Coached by Irving Strickland…PERSONAL: Born Antonio Lawrence on Feb. 5, 1989…Son of Wanda Burnett.

Lerentee McCray Linebacker

6-2 * 205 * Freshman, H.S. Ocala * Dunnellon

PRIOR TO FLORIDA: Participated in the U.S. Army All-American Game and had three tackles…First-team Class 3A all-state selection at linebacker…Recognized as the top athlete with the best closing speed following the All-Star Game in San Antonio…Played in the North/South All-Star Game…Named to the Florida All-Combine team in Jacksonville…Averaged 17 tackles per game as a senior…Collected 118 tackles and nine sacks his senior year while rushing for over 500 yards and scoring 11 touchdowns…Earned 11 sacks and 97 tackles as a junior…Versatile athlete who played wide receiver, special teams and linebacker for Dunnellon…Four-star prospect by Rivals.com…No. 10 outside linebacker nationally by Rivals.com…Ranked in the ESPN 150 class…Coached by Frank Beasley…PERSONAL: Born Lerentee Zavonne McCray on Aug. 26,

1990…Son of Sybil McCray.

Carl Moore Wide Receiver

6-3 * 220 * Junior Transfer Roseville, Calif. * Cordova/Sierra C.C.

PRIOR TO FLORIDA: One of the most highly-coveted junior college players in the class of 2008 praised for his combination of size, strength and speed…Racked up 1,068 yards on 73 receptions with 16 touchdowns during his sophomore campaign at Sierra…Tied for fourth in total points scored and rated sixth across the California junior college system in receptions (73) as a sophomore…Helped lead Sierra to a second-ranked billing towards the end of the year and played in the NorCal Junior College Championship Game against the City of College of San Francisco…Reeled in 61 catches for 960 yards and seven touchdowns as a freshman with a long of 65…Averaged 15.7 yards per reception in his first year at Sierra…Five-star prospect by Rivals.com and ranked as the No. 2 junior-college player…Also rated as a five-star recruit by Scout.com…PREP: Hauled in 21 catches for 410 yards and five touchdowns in just three games during his senior year at Cordova High School…PERSONAL: Born Sept. 19, 1988…Son of Jackie Moore.

Earl Okine Defensive End

6-5 * 250 * Freshman, H.S. Gainesville * Gainesville

A true freshman defensive lineman who enrolled at Florida in January of

2008…

PRIOR TO FLORIDA: Third-team Class 5A all-state selection as a senior…Competed at the Offense-Defense All-American Bowl in Miami, where he garnered Defensive MVP honors with 3.5 sacks (three tackles for loss)…Turned in 3.5 sacks at the Florida Athletic Coaches Association North-South Game…Collected 102 tackles with 12 sacks his senior year and caught 15 passes as a tight end…Had 86 tackles, 50 solo, during junior season…Third-team all-state selection and first-team all-area honoree as a junior…Also played basketball for the Hurricanes and lifts weights competitively…Coached in high school by Eddy Moore…PERSONAL: Born Earl James Okine on Jan. 4, 1990…Son of James and Grace Okine.

Matt Patchan Offensive Lineman

6-6 * 260 * Freshman, H.S. Tampa * Armwood

A true freshman lineman who enrolled at Florida in Jan. 2008…

PRIOR TO FLORIDA: USA Today first-team All-American…Selected to play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl…First-team Class 4A all-state offensive line selection as a senior…Honored on the Florida Football Magazine’s

2007 Post-Season Florida Phenoms team…Racked up over 50 pancake blocks and did not allow a sack his junior season en route to Class 4A all-state first-team honors…On the defensive side, registered 99 tackles

(27 for loss), eight sacks, forced four fumbles and recovered four…St. Petersburg Times First Team All-Suncoast selection as a junior…Five-star recruit by Rivals.com and No. 11 overall nationally…No. 4 offensive tackle and five-star prospect by Scout.com…Ranked in the ESPN 150…MVP of the Scout.com combine in March of 2007…Played both ways at Armwood, starring at left tackle and defensive end…Transfer from Freedom High School in Tampa…Coached in high school by Sean Callahan…PERSONAL: Born Matthew D. Patchan…Son of Matt and Deanne Patchan…Father, Matt Sr., played football at Miami (1984-87) and in the NFL…Admires former Green Bay Packers and Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Reggie White and Cleveland Browns offensive lineman Joe Thomas.

T.J. Pridemore Fullback/Linebacker

6-0 * 236 * Freshman, H.S. Gainesville, Ga. * Buford

PRIOR TO FLORIDA: Projected to help Florida at H-back as well as see time at linebacker…First-team Class AA all-state selection as a senior…Helped lead Class AA Buford to a 15-0 undefeated season and a state title his senior year…Compiled 115 tackles as a junior with three sacks, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries in 13 games…Atlanta Journal-Constitution all-state first-team selection as a junior…Helped guide Buford to a 12-1 record as a junior and advance to the State Elite 8…Rivals.com three-star prospect…Teammate in high school with fellow signee, defensive lineman Omar Hunter…Coached by Jess Simpson…PERSONAL: Born Tyler James Pridemore on Jan. 15, 1990…Son of Tommy and Leigh Pridemore…Father, Tom, played collegiately at West Virginia and spent eight years in the NFL with the Atlanta Falcons.

Sam Robey Offensive Line

6-4 * 275 * Freshman, H.S. Louisville, Ky. * Trinity

PRIOR TO FLORIDA: Versatile athlete along the line who projects to play either guard or center collegiately…Three-time first team all-state honoree who helped lead Trinity to three-consecutive state titles…Anchored a line for an offense that averaged over 40 points and over 450 yards of offense as a senior…Collected seven tackles in an overtime victory in the Class 6A state final over St. Xavier…Honored as a co-winner for the Paul Hornung Award, sponsored by the Louisville Quarterback Club, presented to the state’s top high school players…Two-year starter and two-time Kentucky High School all-state first-team selection…Also played defense for Trinity and helped the Shamrocks win a Class 4A state title as a junior …Rivals.com three-star recruit and No. 8 in the Kentucky Top 10…Three-star prospect by Scout.com…Coached by Bob Beatty…PERSONAL: Born Samuel Frederick Robey on Aug. 19, 1989…Son of Rick and Bonnie Robey…Father, Rick, was an All-American basketball player for Kentucky, where he won a national championship in 1978 and played in the NBA with the Boston Celtics, Indiana Pacers and Phoenix Suns.

Caleb Sturgis Kicker

5-10 * 182 * Freshman, H.S. St. Augustine * St. Augustine

A true freshman kicker who enrolled at Florida in January of 2008…

PRIOR TO FLORIDA: Played in the Under-Armour High School All-American Game…First-team Class 3A all-state honoree at placekicker…Offensive Player of the Week in the Jacksonville area by the Florida Times-Union after connecting on 32, 37 and a 50-yard field goals…Booted field goals of 42, 40 and 46 yards against Ponte Vedra Beach (Nease)…Made 8-of-16 field goal attempts in junior year, but six misses were beyond 56 yards…Made 54 of 57 point-after attempts…Named one of the most outstanding kickers by One-On-One Kicking…Averaged over 70 yards on kickoff distance at the kicking expo with Mike McCabe and kicked a long field goal of 55 yards…Also played forward on St. Augustine’s soccer squad and competed for Julington Creek…Two-star recruit by Rivals.com and earned three-star status by Scout.com…Scout.com’s No. 3 kicker nationally…Coached by Joey Wiles…PERSONAL: Born Caleb James Sturgis on Aug. 9, 1989…Son of Smiley and Karen Sturgis…Went to the same high school as Gator teammates Brandon James and Jacques Rickerson…Has three brothers and two sisters…Intends to major in business and sports management.

David Young Offensive Lineman

6-6 * 290 * Freshman, H.S. Edwardsville, Ill. * Edwardsville

PRIOR TO FLORIDA: Three-year varsity starter on both sides of the ball for the Tigers….120 pancake blocks, no sacks allowed since sophomore season with no holding penalties…Listed third according to St. Louis Dispatch Super 30 recruits….Three-time All area selection…An all-conference selection as a sophomore and unanimous all-area and all-conference selection as a junior…Received his first scholarship offer as a sophomore….Coached by Tim Dougherty…PERSONAL: Son of Shantel Watts.

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