The recruiting cycle for the 2014 class nears the end as national signing day approaches. The final touches on what is already a top ten class for the Florida Gators have been laid down and the quiet period has begun.
The Gators have 21 commitments with a maximum four slots left and a handful of recruits left on the board. The only official visitor from the 2014 class for the Gators this past weekend was five star offensive tackle Damien Prince out of Washington, D.C. The good news is the Gators were able to give him maximum attention. From all accounts he loved the visit and the staff believes they did what they had to do to build on the momentum of the last month in their favor and seal this recruitment down. Will it be enough to hold off the home state Maryland Terrapins? That remains to be seen, but I think the staff did everything they needed to do to get him to choose the Gators. His good friend corner back Jalen Tabor, who is already enrolled, was able to be his host and really show him a great time. He’s very fond of offensive line coach Mike Summers and has expressed a desire to play in new offensive coordinator Kurt Roper’s offense. He seemingly likes the up tempo, spread offense and sees himself as a good fit for that offense. The biggest question is how much distance from home is a factor and how much influence those around him are in his final decision. This one is trending very much in the Gators favor.
Corner back. two-way, and two sport star Adoree Jackson is the highest rated recruit left on the Gators board and, despite listing a final four of Florida, USC, UCLA, and LSU this one appears to be between Florida and USC. Ask ten recruiting analysts where they think he’s going and likely it will be split down the middle. Very hard to read but it’s interesting that despite announcing he wouldn’t be taking a fifth and final official visit this past weekend, he actually did make two unofficial visits to both USC and UCLA. Normally that would bode ill for the Gators, and may very well yet, but the fact that he has a great relationship with position coach and lead recruiter Travaris Robinson and the fact that track is very important to him and the Gators have one of the top programs in the nation, the visits may be less telling than one might think. While he has never taken an official visit to Florida, he did make it to campus on an unofficial visit last summer. He had previously mentioned it wasn’t important if he takes an official visit to Florida because he’s “seen everything he needs to see.” This one is very hard to read but the Gators have a strong chance here.
Another recruit that was said not to be visiting anywhere this weekend but got in a surprise unofficial visit was Gator commit J.C. Jackson. The corner back who has had an interesting recruitment for sure had previously been thought to be visiting FSU but his dad said last week he would not be visiting them nor anyone else this weekend. That led to speculation that Miami may now be the team to beat as they had sneaked in late on his recruitment and he had visited there multiple times since his official visit to UF. He actually had an in-home visit with the Miami staff scheduled for Saturday but ducked out to head to Gainesville leaving Miami coaches to conduct the in-home sans J.C.. The fact that he chose to visit UF on the last weekend and did it while spurning the Miami staff can only be good for the Gators. This one is trending up for the Gators.
Receiver C.J. Worton took his final official visit to West Virginia this weekend and came away informing the Gator staff he was down to Florida and West Virginia. He will inform both staff’s of his decision on Monday but won’t announce his decision until signing day. West Virginia has to be considered a serious player here with them getting the last visit and having an established offense. However, the Gators have a lot in their favor including closeness to home, strong football and academics, playing in the SEC, Kurt Roper whom he has mentioned he was very impressed with, and an older brother who played there. I think West Virginia likely was tempting but I don’t see him going all the way to West Virginia when he can play at a major SEC school like Florida. I could be wrong but I believe he’s the most likely of all left on the board to end up a Gator.
Lorenzo Carter took his final official visit to the home state Georgia Bulldogs this past weekend. While his camp remains tight lipped to this point, logic would have it that the Bulldogs have a leg up with distance, Pruitt, and the last visit being in their favor. I have to believe, however, that the staff has done a great job and this one really ends up being a toss up between the Dogs and the Gators.
Travis Rudolph, the wide receiver from South Florida whom the staff has been furiously trying to flip from his commitment to the Seminoles, allowed coach Muschamp to make an in-home visit and give him and his family his final pitch for the Gators. It didn’t work. He made a point to contact the Gator staff to inform them that he would be sticking with his Nole committment. The staff did a great job but just came up short. Too little, too late. Can’t blame a guy for trying. With McKenzie likely heading to Virginia Tech it appears the Gators last and only hope at receiver is Worton.
With 21 commitments, the Gators have only four spots remaining assuming J.C. Jackson sticks and everyone qualifies. There is a scenario where they could go over by one signing five more than what are already committed. Tomorrow I will go over every scenario and offer final predictions and a final mock signing class.
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