Countdown to Signing Day: Latest Word

FSU receiver commit C.J. Worton with receiver's coach Joker Phillips on his official visit to Florida.

FSU receiver commit C.J. Worton with receiver’s coach Joker Phillips on his official visit to Florida.

With only one week remaining until national signing day, the crunch is on for recruits who have yet to decide on a school and for staffs who seek to nail down the final few available slots. The Florida Gators have roughly four slots available at this time with a number of recruits left on their board. That number, of course, is highly fluid with questions remaining about a couple of guys currently committed to UF.

One recruit, offensive lineman Travaris Dorsey has questions about whether or not he will qualify academically. It’s a big enough issue that head coach Will Muschamp made a visit to his school last week to check on his academics. For what it’s worth, Dorsey claims that he is ok and will be able to qualify. Of course, don’t they always say that? Reportedly, the staff does plan to allow him to sign a letter of intent (LOI) on Wednesday.

The other recruit that is an even bigger question mark is corner back J.C. Jackson. He has been committed to Florida since last summer when he flipped his commitment from Florida State. Almost as quickly as he flipped to Florida it appeared that there were major questions about whether he would stay committed to the Gators. Partly due to his tight lipped nature which always leads to conspiracy theories by fans and partly due to his familial relationship with former Gator commit Ermon Lane (he’s a cousin), questions have been raised about whether or not Jackson would end up in the Gators’ class on signing day.

Despite the rumors, people around him have repeatedly indicated that he was solid to the Gators, mostly an uncle who has never established why or how he is a de facto spokesman for J.C. To say this recruitment has been odd would be an understatement. Regardless, on his official visit to Florida two weekends ago the staff put the full court press on Jackson and his father and appeared to nail this commitment down. Since that point, however, things have gotten even more foggy. For the longest time this recruitment appeared to be a two horse race between Florida and Florida State. However, since the OV to Florida it appears that Miami has inexplicably not only gotten into the race but has appeared to make up a lot of ground on the other two schools. Jackson has made numerous trips to Miami including this past weekend.

Now it appears that Miami has pulled even with Florida while Florida State has dropped considerably. Originally Jackson was scheduled to take an official visit to FSU this upcoming weekend, the last before signing day. After the Florida visit, it was reported that J.C. had shut his recruitment down and wouldn’t be taking the FSU trip. That led to speculation that Jackson was solid to Florida. Since then, however, it appears that his recruitment is far from shut down and is as wide open as it’s ever been. Reportedly, the Noles are out and it’s down to Florida and Miami. Very odd recruitment that continues to become more odd by the day. If it’s true, it may very well be that he doesn’t end up in Florida’s class as previously predicted by many but ends up as a Hurricane rather than a Seminole. This one is certainly trending away from Florida by the day.

While one trends away another trends towards the Gators. Receiver C.J. Worton, who took an official visit to Florida this past weekend and was scheduled to visit the Seminoles this weekend to whom he has been committed for a year, officially decommitted from the Noles via Twitter:

And with that the speculation began. This news can’t be anything but good for the Gators. Coming right on the heels of his official to Florida, with Florida ties and relationships with Florida players not to mention the opportunity for early playing time as the Gators seek playmakers for the soon to be installed spread offense, everything points to Worton signing with the Gators on NSD. To this point he has not officially committed to the Gators and there are other schools recruiting him but if his facebook cover shot is any indication he has possibly already silently committed to the Gators.

While some fans have decried his lack of “star” power as he is rated a three star player on most major recruiting services, anyone who has seen his highlights knows he has great potential. He’s projected as a slot receiver, a very important position in a spread offense as Gator fans saw with the last great slot receiver, Percy Harvin. While Worton certainly isn’t Percy, he doesn’t need to be. At 6’1 175 he’s a tall receiver who plays even taller. He’s very good at going up and grabbing balls over defenders, he has great hands catching everything in his vicinity, and he’s speedy enough to get separation from the linebackers and safeties he’ll be lined up against. In the Florida class 8A state title game against Apopka Worton had 6 catches for 159 yards and three touchdowns including the game winner. If he does indeed end up in the Gators’ class he very well could be the most underrated recruit they sign.

From underrated to top rated. The highest rated recruit left on the Gators board is two-way, two sport standout Adoree Jackson who narrowed his list of finalist schools from six to four today. As expected, the Gators made the final cut.

This set off a firestorm on social media sites as seems to be the case these days anytime a high profile recruit eliminates schools or decommits from schools over social media. Tennessee Volunteer fans inexplicably appeared to be the most upset for whatever reason they errantly had hope he might sign there. And despite his narrowing of the list from six to four, I still believe this is a two horse race between USC and Florida.

As has been reported previously, Jackson moved to Southern California to finish high school for the express purpose of attending college at USC. The staff turnover appeared to give Florida the needed boost take control of his recruitment. He’s long been considered a Gator lean largely due to his interest in playing both football and track in college, his relationship with Mike Holloway the head coach of the Gators 2nd ranked track team, and his relationship with Florida defensive backs coach and ace recruiter Travaris Robinson. Adoree is a legitimate Olympics candidate in track so the Mike Holloway angle cannot be ignored.

I still believe Florida has a great shot here particularly with the defensive back class the Gators are bringing in, their recent history of being top rated nationally on defense and sending db’s to the NFL, and the staff’s willingness to utilize him both defensively and offensively at Florida. However, it appears the new staff at USC has really done a nice job of stepping up to save his recruitment and there is a very, very good chance that he ultimately stays the course on his original plan. He is set to announce his final official visit on Thursday. That should be very telling on where he plans to sign. While many have had him leaning towards the Gators for months, I still feel like the Trojan’s have the edge right now.

Isaiah McKenzie who visited Florida two weekends ago and appeared to be enamored with new offensive coordinator Kurt Roper and how he might fit into the new spread offense, tripped to Ole Miss this past weekend. While this recruitment appeared to be a two horse race between Notre Dame, who he’s been a soft commit to for some time, and Florida, it appears that Ole Miss has positioned themselves squarely in the race as well. Reportedly, he had a lot of positive things to say about Ole Miss and stopped just short of naming them his leader. Very surprising, but in the last few weeks before signing day, surprising is the norm. He has his final official visit to Notre Dame this weekend before making a signing day decision but it’s safe to say this one is certainly trending away from the Gators.

A couple of guys whose names keep being bandied about are receiver Travis Rudolph and defensive end Davon Godchaux. Rudolph, out of West Palm Beach Cardinal Newman high, is committed to Florida State but the staff continues to recruit him. Reportedly, the staff actually secured an in-home visit with him and his parents this week. For his part, he continues to be publicly committed to the Seminoles.

However, as long as the staff continues to recruit him the rumors will continue to fly. Florida obviously needs playmakers at receiver and, inexplicably, Florida State continues to lose committed recruits at the position. I think the staff does put the full court press on but ultimately he is all Nole. If, and it’s a big if, there is a surprise signing day flip that previously hasn’t been mentioned, this one would be the most likely.

Godchaux, has been rumored to be looking around for a while. He was at one point considering taking a visit to Florida. That visit had been squashed a couple of weeks ago, likely by LSU to whom he is currently committed. If Florida were to miss on top choice Lorenzo Carter, Godchaux would be a nice plan b. However, that’s simply not going to happen. The rumored visit to Florida was likely due to the staff putting out feelers in case Carter doesn’t come and maybe he thought he could take a free trip. More likely than not Godchaux is solid to the Tigers and this rumor should just be put to rest.

Speaking of Lorenzo Carter, he doesn’t appear to be any closer to making a decision with a week to go until signing day. Public statements indicate he is still torn between four schools,  Georgia, Florida, LSU, and Florida State, with all four scheduled to make in-home visits this week. Despite being long rumored to be a Georgia lock, he really does appear to be torn on this decision. Ultimately, I believe it is a two horse race between Georgia and Florida, but don’t count out LSU necessarily because he continues to bring up LSU as a school who puts out defensive lineman to the NFL. That’s obviously their selling point and it appears to be working at least a little bit. Of course, we all know Florida and Georgia do as well and both are much closer to home and he has a much longer standing relationship with the two. As always with recruiting, anything can happen between now and signing day but my gut feeling is Georgia leads and the Gators are a close second.

As always stay tuned to Swamp Music for the latest in FREE news, analysis, and opinion related to Gator recruiting and athletics.

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