The Briefing Room: And now, the Class of 2010

While Florida’s Class of 2009 was short on numbers, it was not short on talent. While there were a few misses here and there down the stretch, the Gators still met almost all of their needs on the recruiting trail for the year, and now are moving full speed into 2010.

The talent in this class will be as bountiful as any group I’ve seen in the 10 years I’ve been covering recruiting. There are many people out there who feel the crop which Florida is producing for 2010 is the most talented in the history of the state. Certainly there will be a ton of prospects in South Florida once again. Jacksonville appears to be loaded, too, and Orlando and Tampa look to be producing a number of good players as well. I think the one area that will really be down in this class will be the Tallahassee region, however. After the Big Bend produced a bumper crop in 2009, the talent level will be way down this year.

In terms of numbers, I have been saying since National Signing Day that the Gators will be looking to take a full class in 2010 this year. That much seems certain. With the numbers available (no less than 16 scholarships will be open following this season) and with the added bonus of a deep group of talent, it’s hard to see Florida not signing a full class of 25 when next year’s National Signing Day rolls around on Feb. 3.

Because it’s early, keep in mind that a lot of names are going to emerge and a lot of names are going to drop off the board. With Florida being so active on the trail this early, there’s a lot to talk about in regards to names on the board and which other prospects could emerge as targets for the Gators over the course of the year.


Committed to Florida: Trey Burton, 6-3, 205, Nokomis, Fla. (Venice).

Others to watch: B.J. Chitty, 6-3, 185, Dothan, Ala. (Northview); Jarred Haggins, 6-1, 175, Lakeland, Fla. (Lakeland); Stephen Morris, 6-2, 185, Miami Springs, Fla. (Monsignor Pace); Nash Nance, 6-4, 192, Rome, Ga. (Rome); Philip Sims, 6-1, 210, Chesapeake Va. (Oscar Smith).

Notes: Burton is the Pied Piper of this group, and I feel he will be one of the instrumental parts in building and keeping together a tremendous Class of 2010.

I know most on this site are well-acquainted with Burton’s game by now. He is an incredible athlete and a real threat with his legs. He has great size and should only continue to get bigger – he has size 15 feet, so don’t be surprised if he has another inch or two left in him. He is only getting better as a passer.

One thing that was immediately noticeable about the progress he made from his sophomore year to his junior year was the footwork. As a first-time quarterback his sophomore season, Burton just looked like a big athlete back there. But under the direction of quarterback coach Jon Cooley, who played college ball at Auburn, Burton’s footwork improved dramatically in just a year, to the point where he looked like a real-live quarterback there on film from this past season.

Now, the main thing is for Burton to continue working on the finer points of his game, mechanics, making reads, improving on going through his progressions during a play, etc. The upside here is tremendous, however. Burton has the opportunity to be a truly great quarterback in Gainesville one day. That much is not in doubt.

As of now, Florida isn’t aiming to take a second quarterback in the 2010 class, but keep an eye out on B.J. Chitty of Dothan, Ala. He is a big-time Gator fan and has an high level of interest in the Gators. He is open to playing wide receiver as well – his more likely college position. This is one match that definitely has the potential to be made down the line.


On the board: Mack Brown, 5-11, 185, Lithonia, Ga. (King); Roy Finch, 5-8, 170, Niceville, Fla. (Niceville); Brandon Gainer, 5-11, 195, Miami, Fla. (Central) early-enrollment candidate; Darion Hall, 5-11, 180, Naples, Fla. (Lely); Corvin Lamb, 5-9, 185, Miami, Fla. (Northwestern); Cassius McDowell, 5-9, 175, Deerfield Beach, Fla. (Deerfield Beach); Casey Turner, 5-11, 190, Jacksonville, Fla. (Ed White).

Others to watch: Giovanni Bernard, 5-9, 193, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (St. Thomas Aquinas); Dareyon Chance, 5-6, 165, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (Cardinal Gibbons); Tevin Drake, 6-0, 204, Brooksville, Fla (Nature Coast); Maurice Hagens, 6-1, 235, Tampa, Fla. (Tampa Bay Tech); Storm Johnson, 6-1, 210, Loganville, Ga. (Loganville); Tiger Powell, 6-0, 210, Lake City, Fla. (Columbia); Hosey Williams, 5-7, 170, Miami, Fla. (Southwest Miami); Devon Wright, 6-1, 185, Coral Springs, Fla. (Taravella).


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