RECRUITING: Early ‘08 Projections For UF

With signing day 2007 less than a month in the rear view and spring football still a couple of weeks away, it’s not easy to project what kind of numbers UF will be looking for in their next recruiting class. Some of the holes are obvious but others will only become evident in the coming weeks but here is a look at a probable depth chart and what the UF might go for in the next signing class.

There are a couple of bottom line numbers the Florida staff has to look at when recruiting a class. They have to recruit to a total scholarship limit of 85 and they can only have 25 prospects a year show up on campus unless there were deficiencies in the previous class number. These numbers are where we will start.

By my count and without attrition, the Gators will have about 16-17 scholarships available for the signing class of 2008. This takes into account that linebacker Jon Demps and defensive end Daryl Gresham are not still on the team, which has not been totally cleared up at this writing. It also means that Avery Atkins is presumed eligible by the ’08 season. This means a roster of 68 or 69 without attrition heading into signing day ’08. We will get into number specifics as we continue.

The Gator staff also has to take into account the 25 scholarship limit per class. That does not seem to be an issue at the moment if the attrition stays low and if the entire recruiting class of ’07 makes into school for the fall semester.

A class breakdown for ’08 shows the Gators with only 11 possible seniors and just three of those are defenders. Without attrition there will be 17 juniors or 18 if you count Avery Atkins, with an even split of nine offensive and nine defensive players among them. We won’t separate sophomores and freshmen in the class, namely because we don’t know which freshmen will red-shirt in ’07. By my count there will be 40 freshmen and sophomores on campus before the ’08 class is signed. That is a huge number of underclassmen that will only be added to with the ‘08 signing class.

Now a look at the players by position:

QUARTERBACK — Have: (4); Need (0); Lose from ’07 (none): The Gators will have senior Bryan Waggener, junior Tim Tebow and it’s likely that either John Brantley or Cameron Newton will red-shirt while the other plays, meaning one will be an ‘08 sophomore and the other will be a red-shirt freshman. Unless they are able to sign a really top flight signal caller or they lose one of the above, the Gators will likely take a pass at quarterback back.

Some Top QB Prospects: Darius Banks, B.J. Daniels, Troy Dannehower, Jacory Harris, D.C. Jefferson, Connor Kempe, Dustin Land, Russ Oltorik, Sancho McDonald Jr., Terrelle Pryor, Justin Tuggle.

RUNNING BACK— Have (6); Need (1-2); Lose from ’07 (none): I took the liberty of moving Chevon Walker to cornerback. The Gators will have two seniors in Markus Manson and Kestahn Moore, two juniors in Mon Williams and Brandon James, and two sophomores/freshmen in Chris Rainey and Bo Williams. With the size limitations in Rainey and James we will have to see how much they could contribute at the position. With two seniors in the group, a minimum of one and possibly two would be a good bet at this stage.

Some Top RB Prospects: Brandon Davis, British Footman, Josh Haden, Jeremiah Harden, Deondre Holley, Reggie Hunt, Dontavius Jackson, Milton Knox, Alonzo Landry, Reggie Hunt, Desmond Johnson, Ty Jones, Sam McGuffie, Tony Morgan, Latavius Murray, Eric Smith, Darrell Scott, Sausan Shakerin, Richard Watson, Rashad White

FULLBACK — Have (0); Need (1); Lose from ’07 (Eric Rutledge): I think it would have to be a special player to fill this spot. They want an effort and a tough guy in this role, right now there is one guy that fits the mold.

Top FB Prospect: Jonathan Meyers

WIDE RECEIVER — Have (9); Need (1-2); Lose from ‘07 (Andre Caldwell): Urban Meyer has always talked about needing twelve receivers for the offense to run effectively and to have the offense not miss a beat the next year or when someone goes down. I will assume that he is also including the tight ends in this mix. The Gators will have one senior in Louis Murphy, four juniors in Percy Harvin, Jarred Fayson, David Nelson and Riley Cooper, and four sophomores/freshmen in Justin Williams, Joe Haden, Deonte Thompson and Paul Wilson. With one senior and four juniors in the group, plus another great year at the receiver position as far as prospects, look for the Gators to sign two. Again the board is loaded at the position.

Some Top WR Prospects: Harry Adams, Antonio Bell, Travis Benjamin, DeAndre Brown, Justin Brown, Daniel Bryant, Daniel Buckner, Chris Bynes, Avis Commack, Khiry Cooper, A.J. Green, DeSean Hales, Destin Hood, Josh Jarboe, Alfred Jenkins, Aldarius Johnson, Davon Johnson, Malcolm Johnson, Julio Jones, Wes Kemp, Tavarres King, Jarvis Lambright, T.J. Lawrence, Darius Morgan, Martavious Odoms, Darius Morgan, Christopher O’Neal, Melvin Ray, Cameron Riley, Darryl Stonum, Kenny Tate, Chris Tolliver

TIGHT END — Have (3); Need (0-2); Lose from ’07 (Tate Casey): The Gators could go into the ’08 season with only one tight end if senior Cornelius Ingram leaves early for the NFL and sophomore Trent Pupello moves to defensive end as he is expected this spring. That would only leave underclassman Aaron Hernandez and might be cause to try and sign two at the position.

Some Top TE Prospects: DeWayne Allen, Chase Clement, Tyler Edwards, Austin Holt, Bobby Petereson, Bo Reliford

OFFENSIVE LINE — Have (13); Need (3-4); Lose (Carlton Medder, Drew Miller, and Phil Trautwein): The staff wants to have around 16-17 offensive linemen on the roster at all times. The Gators will have a big core of returning players in seniors Jim Tartt and Jason Watkins, juniors Simon Codrington, Ronnie Wilson, and Eddie Haupt, and underclassmen, Jim Barrie, Marcus Gilbert, Corey Hobbs, Maurice Hurt, Carl Johnson, Maurkice Pouncey, Michael Pouncey, and James Wilson. The staff would like to sign a true center and a couple of true tackles among the linemen in the class as they have really done well lately at the guard position.

Some Top OL Prospects: Mike Adams, Michael Brewster, Daniel Campbell, R.J. Dill, Ben Habern, Jermarcus Hardrick, A.J. Harmon, Josh Jenkins, Bryan Jones, Joe Looney, Kyle Long, Tyler Love, Kenneth Page, Matt Patchan, Quin Sanford, Courtney Senior, Gregory Shaw, J.B. Shugarts, Tyron Smith, D’Angelo Tyson, Brandon Washington

Tomorrow we will take a look at the defensive side of the ball.