Recruiting has been slower than usual for the Gators since Friday Night Lights but that has all changed now that November is a couple of days away. Florida’s coaching staff spent the bye week preparing for the Georgia game but also evaluating new prospects and recruiting top targets hard.
I expect things to intensify on the recruiting trail from now until National Signing Day in February so expect the Gators to close fast and furious.
Here are some things that have happened around the country that involve Florida targets over the past week or so.
RB: 1 committed (Dalvin Cook), 1 more needed
While there isn’t much action going on here at the running back position with targets there is still the weekly Dalvin Cook (5-11, 192, Miami, FL Central) watch. This weekend Cook spent time in Tallahassee for an official visit to Florida State. I spoke to several sources around FSU and all of them told me that Cook had a good visit and showed interest but in the end they don’t see Cook flipping from Florida. One thing to watch here is if Cook goes to Florida State for an unofficial, which right now doesn’t look like will happen.
WR: 1 committed (Ermon Lane), 1-2 more needed
Before we get into the targets that Florida is after let’s talk about Ermon Lane (6-2, 172, Homestead, FL Homestead) and the weekly rumors that he’s looking elsewhere. I spoke to several people close to Lane and all of them told me that Lane truly enjoys being a Gator and sees an opportunity at Florida to play early. A source told me that Lane was excited about how Will Muschamp came all the way down to Homestead to watch him play in person.
Now to the targets. The Gators went out to California this past Thursday to watch JUCO receiver Eric Lauderdale (6-1, 195, Mission Viejo , CA Saddleback Community College) in person. Lauderdale told me that he was very excited to meet Joker Phillips in person and that he was in the process of setting up an official visit to Florida. A visit will happen soon as Lauderdale is set to graduate in December. Right now I’m told that the Gators have positioned their selves well for the JUCO star.
Alabama pulled out an offer for receiver Josh Malone (6-3, 195, Gallatin, TN Station Camp) this past week and that all but guarantees that Florida will not receive an official visit. The Gators had all but given up hope on Malone a few months ago but this all but puts the nail in the coffin.
OL: 3 committed (Dontae Angus, Travaris Dorsey, Nolan Kelleher), 2-3 more needed
Hey, I have news on the offensive line this week something that has seemed to be escaping the Gators as of late.
The biggest news comes from Homewood, Alabama where Florida visited Jordan Sims (6-4, 348, Homewood, AL Homewood) this past week and is in the process of finalizing his official visit plans. The big news is that Auburn now is out of the running as they would like to add a center and a JUCO offensive tackle and Sims is a guard. Alabama doesn’t appear to be getting back in the mix for Sims either due to limited of numbers. Now while some of you may say well he must not be good because Alabama passed but I disagree. Sims had a weight issue at first but he has that under control. Now there simply isn’t room for him. Sims texted me on Thursday night saying he had a good conversation with Florida last week and that he’s fired up to visit Gainesville. To help Florida’s case, one of Sims’ high school coaches has a connection to a Florida staff member.
Florida offered Western Michigan commit Chukwuma Okorafor (6-5, 270, Southfield, MI Southfield) and USC commit Toa Lobendahn last week. The Gators were scheduled to visit Okorafor but pushed the visit back to a few weeks. I’m told that there is a chance Okorafor visits Florida for the FSU game with teammate Malik McDowell who Florida is recruiting on defense. Okorafor lives in Michigan but isn’t from there originally so staying in the state isn’t a big deal.
One name that Florida was after early in the process but backed off of was JUCO offensive lineman and Arkansas commit Jermaine Eluemunor (6-6, 300, Scranton, PA Lackawanna) He’s taking official visits and could be close to opening up his recruitment. Eluemunor texted me that the Gators reached out to him to see if there was still interest. He said yes so the staff will reevaluate him and move forward in his recruitment.
TE: 1 committed (C’yontia Lewis), 1 more needed
Arkansas is fighting tooth and nail with Florida for Deandre Goolsby (6-4, 225, Derby, KS Derby) I’m told that the Razorbacks confidence is pretty high but Goolsby still has a visit to Kansas State, which should take place in the next month or so. At this point I still believe Florida wins out for Goolsby but no doubt things are getting tighter.
DL: 3 committed (Taven Bryan, Khairi Clark and Justus Reed), 2-3 more wanted
In two weeks the Gators will get their chance to host defensive end DeShawn Hand (6-4, 248, Woodbridge, VA, Woodbridge) and while most believe he’s a Michigan lock, I tend to believe that Alabama and Florida have a slight shot here, especially if Hand has a good visit. After talking to a few people in Hand’s area they have all told me that Hand talks about visiting Gainesville more than any other school and that his relationship with Brad Lawing is great. While I think it’s a long shot there still seems to be a shot.
Michigan native and defensive tackle Malik McDowell (6-6, 292, Southfield, MI, Southfield) informed me on Saturday that he will be in Gainesville for an official visit for the Florida State game and he plans to have his parents with him. Michigan is presumed to be the leader but McDowell admits that he talks to Florida the most, usually to Will Muschamp about twice a week. Florida wants McDowell at the defensive tackle position but he would also see action at defensive end.
One new name to add to the board is Delray Beach defensive end Kevin Bronson (6-3, 247, Delray Beach, FL Village Academy) who Will Muschamp himself offered a few weeks ago. Bronson is a 6-3, 247-pound defensive end and he plans to be in Gainesville for the Vanderbilt and Florida State game. Bronson claims no leader right now but his recruitment has picked up as of late.
LB: 0 committed, 1 wanted
The Gators visited California linebacker Dwight Williams (6-1, 212, Gardena, CA Junipero Serra) this week and Williams will visit for the Florida State game but at this time he isn’t a take for Florida. The Gators would like to add one of Tre Williams (6-2, 220, Mobile, AL St. Pauls), Raekwon McMillan (6-3, 235, Hinesville, GA Liberty County) , Nyles Morgan (6-1, 222, Crete, IL Crete Monee) or Clifton Garrett (6-2, 222, Joilet, IL, Plainsfield South) but right now all of those seem like long shots.
Cornerbacks: 4 committed (Duke Dawson, J.C. Jackson, Chris Lammons and Quincy Wilson) 1 more wanted
Florida visited cornerback Adoree’ Jackson (5-10, 170, Gardena, CA Junipero Serra) on Thursday and while there was no chance to talk the factt that the Gators flew out there for him was not taken lightly. Jackson told me that Florida is still recruiting him very hard and the track program is as well. Jackson told me that he and his parents will take at least one unofficial visit to Florida and possibly multiple visits.
Top Five Most Likely as of October 28:
1. Jamal Adams
2. Adoree’ Jackson
3. Jordan Sims
4. DeAndre Goolsby
5. Eric Lauderdale