As the Florida Gators coaching staff tries to nail down a final few recruits in the 2014 class with signing day approaching, they are also looking ahead to 2015 hosting their first junior day of the year on Saturday. By all accounts, it was much smaller than perhaps in years past.
The biggest recruit to attend on Saturday may have been defensive end CeCe Jefferson from Baker County high in Glen St. Mary, Florida. Jefferson, an ESPN Top 100 player, is the Gators top defensive line target for 2015. Jefferson has a great mix of size, speed, and strength. He has a constant motor and is a ferocious hitter with great instincts. He’s a great pass rusher who is also strong against the run as well. He reportedly is planning to enroll at Jacksonville Trinity Christian for the upcoming season to play alongside top Gator linebacker target and fellow ESPN 100 member Jeff Holland and Gator safety commit Deontai Williams. He made his way to Gainesville on Saturday evening . Afterwards he tweeted,
Another ESPN Top 100 member who made his way into Gainesville for the event was Florida State commit safety Derwin James who arrived with teammate Tavon Cox. James, who says he is solid to the Noles, was reported by 247sports to have been given the full court press by the Gator coaching staff. He has great size at 6’2 200 and is a hard hitter with great instincts. He’s certainly a longshot at this point, but as we have seen with this staff they certainly know how to flip recruits.
One important recruit who was expected to come but didn’t make it in was linebacker Tevon Coney who received his “dream offer” from the Gators on Friday but his plans to attend fell through. Reportedly, he plans to come up to visit next weekend instead and many analysts expect there’s a good chance he commits to the Gators as soon as does make the trip.
He will be at Miami today, however, for their junior day. Coney, 6’2 215 projects as a OLB or SLB in college with his build and athleticism but has great MLB instincts and skills and is a hard hitter. The upside for the Gators is he grew up a Gator fan and has always dreamed of playing there. Expect a commitment sooner rather than later from him and with him being a popular south Florida recruit he could very well be the Quincy Wilson of the 2015 class.
Also attending was ESPN Top 100 linebacker Roquan Smith from Macon County high school in Montezuma, Georgia. Smith has a ton of offers including Alabama, Auburn, and Georgia. Many think that Georgia is the team to beat right now for his services. Smith, 6’2 207, had 100 tackles including 27 for loss, six sacks, and three forced fumbles as a junior this past season. He’s got great speed for a middle linebacker and is athletic enough to catch 47 passes this past season.
Two recruits off the board for the Gators.
JUCO receiver Eric Lauderdale who had Florida as his leader for months but shut down his recruiting after last weekend’s visit to Arizona State has committed to the Sun Devils as expected. Reports from ASU sites is that he was still listing the Gators as his leader going into the weekend visit but was simply blown away on the trip and that was the difference for him. With Lauderdale off the board, the Gators will continue to put pressure on C.J. Worton and Isaiah McKenzie as they seek a couple of playmakers at the receiver position.
Last weekend’s visitor, offensive tackle Yodny Cajuste who named the Gators as his leader after his official visit this past weekend committed to West Virginia during his official visit there this weekend. It was expected considering he had been leaning there before his trip to Gainesville and his high school head coach who talked him into playing football in the first place is now an assistant on the West Virginia staff. Of course, the staff has bigger fish to fry at the tackle position and I believe the staff feels real solid about where they stand with Damien Prince going into the final recruiting weekend before national signing day.
As always, stay tuned for the latest FREE info on Florida Gator recruiting and athletics.