The no in-person contact dead period has expired and the race is on to National Signing Day which this year falls on February 5th. Today begins the first of the final three official visit weekends and the Gators expect to have as many as eight coming in.
Four of those visitors are Gator commits. Defensive tackle Khairi Clark, cornerbacks J.C. Jackson and Quincy Wilson, and tight end Moral Stephens. The other four are all recruits which have received late offers from the Gators. Running back Derrell Scott, duel threat quarterback Treon Harris, an FSU commit, athlete Deiondre Porter, who previously was committed to USF but decommitted yesterday shortly after receiving the Gator offer, and Isaiah McKenzie, a speedy receiver who is known as “the human joystick” and is considered a soft commit to the University of Notre Dame all are expected in this weekend.
At this point, the staff has room for only five more commitments assuming all current commits stick with as many as ten to twelve recruits left on their board. So as the staff races coast to coast making last minute visits trying to keep what they have and secure the last few, the race is on for the recruits to secure their spot in this class as well.
It’s important to distinguish between those with a secured spot and those who must “know when to hold em and when to fold em” so to speak. Of course, who falls in what camp is certainly open to some interpretation but suffice it to say that there are three who the staff will take regardless. Two-way multi-sport standout Adoree Jackson, offensive tackle, Damien Prince, and defensive end Lorenzo Carter fall into the former category. Regardless of how things shake out and what the commitment numbers look like those three will be in this class if they want in. Which leaves at least two spots and possibly up to four spots depending upon what happens with a couple of other commits currently in the fold.
Weekend visitor J.C. Jackson is one of those commits. A former FSU commitment who flipped to the Gators, he has long been rumored to be a shaky commitment at best. Jackson is the cousin of Ermon Lane, who recently decommitted from the Gators, and many analysts do not expect him to be in this class on signing day. There were reports that he made statements to the effect that he was going to FSU along with Lane and Cook and these rumors floated around on Twitter and Gator sports message boards for a week after the Under Armour All American game. Recently, an uncle of Jackson made a public statement that J.C. was solid in his commitment to the Gators, was tired of the process and was “his own man”, and would definitely be signing with the Gators. This weekend should tell the tale for Jackson. If there is any inkling that he is wavering on his commitment you can bet the staff will be either nailing his commitment down or letting him go. With three other corners committed including superstar Jalen Tabor who is already enrolled and Adoree Jackson still on the board and said to be leaning to the Gators, J.C. must give the staff confidence in his commitment or risk being odd man out on signing day.
Derrell Scott is a dynamic running back out of Havelock, North Carolina that the staff offered late once it was apparent that top choice Dalvin Cook was looking elsewhere. The staff scurried to find a replacement back for this recruiting class and offered a number of backs including Scott and Brandon Powell, a Miami Hurricane commit, who quickly committed to the Gators and subsequently enrolled early. Some thought the staff was done once they flipped Powell, but apparently they are not. While Powell is a great replacement for Cook at the scat back spot, the staff is looking for as many playmakers as they can fit into this class and Scott certainly fits that mold. He’s a legitimate threat to score every time he touches the ball, is equally adept running inside or getting out on the edge, and has solid hands coming out of the backfield. Scott is certainly a longshot to make it into this class with this being a three team battle between UF, Tennessee, and South Carolina. Many analysts are predicting the Vols to be the team to beat but if he does indeed make in to Gainesville the Gators certainly have a shot.
The search for playmakers led the staff to give a late offer to Notre Dame soft commit Isaiah McKenzie. He’s a small but versatile player who can lineup at multiple spots on the field and can be utilized as a returner on special teams as well. He’s electrifying with the ball in his hands and is a playmaker out in space which is exactly what the staff needs as it shifts to a spread style offense. For comparison purposes he has Chris Rainey moves with Soloman Patton speed. The staff will certainly put the full court press on but as always with guys they get on late, he’s a longshot at best to make into this class.
Another late offer went this week to South Florida commit Deiondre Porter. He’s a high school quarterback with solid numbers that the Gators are recruiting as an athlete. While many analysts project him at corner, the Gators are likely looking at him at receiver. With one receiver commited after Ermon Lane decommitted, the staff is looking to add at least two more if possible and Porter certainly has the potential there. He’s tall at 6’1 with great length, and at 185 pounds has the frame to add weight. A track guy in high school he certainly has the skill set to excel on either side of the ball and there’s a good chance were he to sign with the Gators that he could be another two way player for the Gators. He’s built a lot like Loucheiz Purifoy and has a very similar skill set coming out of high school. The upside here for the Gators is they would not only get a guy who could play both ways but could be lined up at receiver, at running back, and even as a third string quarterback. Considering the need for playmakers there is a better than average chance that Porter commits on his official visit this weekend.
Finally, FSU quarterback commit Treon Harris will also be in town to see what new offensive coordinater Kurt Roper and coach Muschamp have to offer. Reportedly he’s intrigued by Roper’s offensive scheme and is willing to listen to what the staff has to offer. With the staff definitely looking for a second quarterback in this class after the suprise transfers of both Tyler Murphy and redshirt freshman Max Staver, they are certainly looking to add an athletic dual threat guy who can run the spread offense and Harris fits that bill to a tee. While those around him assure that he is solid in his commitment to the Noles, privately he has expressed an interested in Roper and would like to ask some basic questions regarding the offense and how the staff sees his role within it. I would guess there are a few more the staff is considering as the second quarterback but Harris is certainly at the top of their list.
Update Friday morning 10:30:
Offensive tackle Yodny Cajuste from Hollywood, Florida is on the way to Gainesville for an official visit as well. A late surprise addition. He does have a UF offer but is likely a plan B in case they lose out on Prince.
Additionally, Pensacola, Florida West Florida Tech defensive end Rocel McWilliams is also a surprise visitor this weekend. The Missouri Tiger commit received a late offer as it’s looking more and more like the staff will miss in Lorenzo Carter. Stay tune for the latest.
Also, Quincy Wilson is not on an official visit this weekend. I apologize. Relying on old info.
It should be an interesting weekend in Gainesville as the staff pulls out all the stops and tries to secure commitments from some playmaking skill players. Stay tuned to Swamp Music for the latest FREE info on weekend visitors and Gator recruiting.