US ARMY: Evaluating the Gator Prospects

With the biggest game in college football just on the horizon and the US Army All-American Bowl behind us, it is time to take a look back at last week’s festivities in San Antonio (TX) and talk about the prospects Florida is recruiting. We will take a look at them in terms of how they looked all week and where the Gators stand.

John Brantley (QB) Ocala Trinity Catholic

How He Performed: Brantley had a rough week for the most part. One big issue for all the quarterbacks in the East was a really porous offensive line. Still, Brantley was gunning it in practice and was not scared to take chances. The defensive backs were very good and they flat out made plays on him. Brantley is a heady player and is a guy that will excel over time.

Recruiting Status: Johnny was born to be a Gator and really looks forward to donning the orange and blue next season.

Chris Rainey (RB) Lakeland

How He Performed: Rainey and Joe McKnight were the best backs on the field for most of the week. He showed he was capable of running inside mainly because it is so hard to get a good hit on him. There is no one better in the open field graduating from high school this year.

Recruiting Status: Rainey was an early Gator commitment and solid as a rock.

Noel Devine (RB) North Ft Myers

How He Performed: Devine got a late start, but was very good when he got a chance to do his thing in practice. He hits the creases extremely hard when he sees one and also runs exceptionally well in the open field. He and Rainey have excellent lean when running the ball.

Recruiting Status: This one is wide open for all the four schools involved. Florida, FSU, LSU, and West Virginia all have a chance and this will likely go down to signing day.

Aaron Hernandez (TE) Bristol (CT) Central

How He Performed: Hernandez had a rough game for sure dropping a few balls along the way. But, he was open for a reason and the coaches were flat out amazed at his physical abilities out on the practice field. He is an absolute mismatch and a night mare for any defender and will be a great one before he is done.

Recruiting Status: Hernandez will enroll in classes early and be in school on Monday at Florida. I think it is pretty safe to say he is solid.

Deonte Thompson (WR) Belle Glade Glades Central

How He Performed: Thompson probably impressed me more than I thought he would. That says a lot because I thought he was a heck of a football player anyway. Thompson is bigger than most people think and probably the second biggest behind Toliver of all the receivers the gators are recruiting. He is also the fastest and knows what to do with the ball in his hands. He was the best receiver in the East.

Recruiting Status: We got good vibes from Thompson all week about the possibility of him being a Gator. He will take his visits and no one is definitely out of it here, but I like the Gators’ chances.

Terrance Toliver (WR) Hempstead (TX)

How He Performed: There is no denying the Toliver is very deserving of his number one ranking at the wide receiver position. Simply put, he is big, fast, aggressive, and absolutely owns the ball when it is in the air. He is also very smooth in his route running and just a special player. He displayed this almost every day at practice in San Antonio,

Recruiting Status: A two team race to the end with LSU. I think the Gators hold a lead at this time.

Ahmad Paige (WR) Sterlington (LA)

How He Performed: The west defensive backs were big time and played mean press coverage all week in practice. Paige had some trouble with that especially against the stronger guys. When the game was on and the East played a softer zone and softer man, he excelled. He has excellent hands and good to great speed. Once he gains some weight and strength, watch out.

Recruiting Status: This should come down to a Florida –FSU battle. He visits Gainesville on an unofficial on the weekend of January 19. That will be big for the Gators. He also visits Tallahassee for banquet weekend and the Noles typically close strong with kids visiting that weekend.

Gerald Jones (WR) Millwood (OK)

How He Performed: Jones is the strongest of the receivers of the five the Gators are recruiting from the game. He is ultra quick and works well in traffic. He is a terrific tunnel screen guy that can get the ball quick and make something happen. Jones isn’t the fastest of the receivers but maybe the hardest to tackle.

Recruiting Status: It will be an uphill battle with Tennessee and Jones is committed to them at the moment. He too will visit Florida for what looks like a huge visit weekend on January 19.

Ron Brooks (WR) Irving (TX) MacArthur

How He Performed: Brooks really impressed me with his ball catching and ability to make a quick and decisive move after the catch to get away from the defender. He is the smallest of the receivers in the mix but not really small. He is an excellent receiver.

Recruiting Status: Unfortunately he is the only prospect we could not get an interview with all week and could not get any feel for him. The opinion of this writer is that it seems to be a Florida – LSU battle.

James Wilson (OL) Ponte Vedra Beach Nease

How He Performed: Wilson is a relentless blocker, but got off to a slow start on the week with a bruised shoulder. He is extremely athletic and a great blocker in open space.

Recruiting Status: Real uphill battle here as he is committed to USC. He will visit Florida on January 19.

Sidell Corley (DE) Mobile (AL) McGill-Toolen

How He Performed: The thing that I can see the Gator coaches love about Corley is his size to speed ratio. He is a load to handle on the outside and moves well to get to the backfield or disrupt runners heading to the outside. He uses an extra move sometimes, but when he focuses on his job, he can go through or around offensive tackles.

Recruiting Status: The Corleys have never hidden the fact that they planned on visiting Alabama and would get an in-home visit from whoever the Alabama coach was. That in-home visit was scheduled this week and I expect the Corleys to enjoy the visit from new Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban. Still, Sidell has maintained his commitment to Florida and men of their word, I expect the Corleys to stick to their commitment to the Gators.

Torrey Davis (DT) Seffner Armwood

How He Performed: Davis had a rough first day, but bounced back to be one of the East starters at defensive tackle. He has unusual speed and quickness for his size and is a handful for any opposing offensive lineman. He had the move of the week during the scrimmage on Wednesday spinning away from the guard blocking him and sacking the quarterback.

Recruiting Status: Davis has been solid for quite some time.

Allen Bailey (LB) Derian (GA) McIntosh Academy

How He Performed: In an interview I did with the East linebacker’s coach, he was all smiles talking about Bailey and thinking of how disruptive he is because of his size and speed. Bailey may have to lose some weight after being inactive for most of the late football season due to injury. He is a big time hitter that is a great talent.

Recruiting Status: Bailey is very quiet and it is very hard to get any read on him whatsoever. I believe it is a Florida – Georgia battle, but things have certainly changed for Miami and Alabama, so it could get interesting.

Lorenzo Edwards (SS / LB) Orlando Edgewater

How He Performed: One scout said after the second day of practice he was the best player on the loaded East defense. He will get every shot to play safety at Florida, but he is an absolute star in the making at weak side linebacker. He has lateral speed with the best of them, takes great angles, and is a sure tackler.

Recruiting Status: Edwards is the newest Gator commitment and one of the biggest stars in this recruiting class.

Major Wright (Saf) Ft Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas

How He Performed: It is hard to put it in words, but Wright is just a ball player. He has a terrific nose for the football and makes the hard hit. He has better speed than most think and that was probably one of the bigger surprises of the week.

Recruiting Status: Wright has a poker face similar to Edwards so no one will get a good feel for him. This seems to be a Florida – Ohio State battle, but recruitniks will have to wait this one out.