Florida Gator Recruiting: The Friday Five 3/7

Andrew Ivie from Dade City Pasco is high on the Gators radar at defensive tackle. (scout.com)

Andrew Ivie from Dade City Pasco is high on the Gators radar at defensive tackle. (scout.com)

TGIFF.

Thank goodness it’s the Friday Five. Yup it’s Friday, which means it’s Friday Five time. This week we continue delving deeper into the Gators exploits on the recruiting trail for the 2015 cycle with five more recruits on the Gators radar

William Sweet is an offensive tackle/defensive tackle from First Coast high school in Jacksonville, FL. The two way player tripped to Florida for their last junior day and came away with a Florida offer a couple of days later. Problem is they weren’t sure exactly what side of the ball they want him for. He’s equally talented as an offensive and defensive lineman but he wants to play offense in college reportedly and that’s likely where he’ll end up.

Sweet has great size at 6’7 275 with very long arms and a good build to further bulk up from where he is now. He is another player who has seen his recruitment blow up of late getting new offers weekly from top programs. He’s a high school teammate of recent Gator commit Tristan Payton and is reportedly high on the Gators. He spent this past weekend in Tallahassee for their junior day and came away from there with an offer as well. While it’s still early, this one could very well end up a Florida-Florida State battle in the end.

Darrien McNair is an outside linebacker from Ocala, FL Trinity Catholic high school. He’s currently committed to Mississippi State but was recently offered by the Gators while attending their last junior day. He put in a strong showing in the Nike SPARQ combine in Miami recently and the Gators are reportedly high on his athleticism and coverage abilities on the outside.

At 6’3 220, McNair has the right size and build that the Gators look for in their outside linebackers and he also has great speed in the 4.5 range with good instincts and solid tackling abilities. The Gators see him as a Will linebacker who will line up in pass coverage against tight ends, running backs, and slot receivers.

Last season he had 82 tackles including 12 for a loss, one sack, and a pass broken up. He was reportedly very excited upon learning of his Florida offer because it’s close to home and it’s Florida. He remains committed to Mississippi State currently but is keeping his options open and the Gators are definitely high on his list of schools to look into further.

Deon Cain is a dual threat qb from Tampa Bay Tech who is being recruited as a wide receiver. He has a host of offers from top schools including Alabama and Florida State in addition to the Gators. While obviously somewhat raw as a receiver, he does possess great speed, solid open field moves, and is a great playmaker. He has good size and possesses surprisingly good hands and pass catching skills for a kid with little training as a receiver.

The Gators, after taking only two in the last cycle, are expected to load up on receivers again in this class seeking as many as four or five to not only replace depth but also in search of playmakers for new offensive coordinator Kurt Roper’s spread offense. Muschamp mentioned in the past that he likes receivers who were former quarterbacks because they usually have a better understanding of coverages and can see the big picture of the offense and how they fit in as a receiver.

At this point, the Seminoles are admittedly his leader and likely the team to beat but Roper is very high on the kid and if the new offense shows out next season they could put themselves in a good position to flip him.

The Gators will be looking to reel in a couple of safeties in the 2015 cycle and already have one committed in Deontai Williams from Jacksonville Trinity Christian. One name that has long been floating as a strong Gator lean is River Ridge, LA John Curtis’ Hunter Dale.

Dale, 6’0 180, is a natural at the safety position and is versatile enough to line up at both safety spots. He has good size and speed, great instincts, and is a hard hitter. He also has good cover skills able to match up in man coverage in the slot or against tight ends. In zone formations he can play two deep or single safety equally well with great sideline to sideline speed and good hips and quick feet to break on balls in the air. He’s also a strong run supporter who can play up in the box in run formations and he’s an aggressive tackler who displays good technique in the open field.

Dale has long been thought to be a Gator lean but has a ton of offers from programs like Mississippi State, Arizona State, and UCLA. In the end, I believe he’s the Gators to lose. I think they have a couple of guys ahead of him on their board at this point but if they want him I believe he’ll be a Gator come signing day.

At defensive tackle, one name stands out that might sound familiar to recruitniks and casual fans as well. Andrew Ivie, from Dade City Pasco, is the brother of 2013 Gator signee Joey Ivie. At 6’3 260, Ivie has a similar build and skill set as his older brother and has certainly caught coach Will Muschamp’s attention. Like his brother, he’s a little light right now but has a good build to add weight once he gets on campus.

He’s a typical Muschamp type recruit, high character, hard worker from a great family, and a high ceiling. As a player, he’s versatile enough to play on the outside if necessary but certainly projects as a three technique defensive tackle.  Last season he had 62 tackles and two sacks.

Like most of the kids the Gators are offering right now, he’s underrated at this point but is starting to get more and more attention as we progress into this recruiting cycle. Again it’s still early, but with the Gators always looking to take two dt’s each cycle I would project at this point that Ivie will likely be one come signing day.

On an important note, I’ve heard a lot of grumbling lately on the net about “stars”. It seems the Gators offer a lot of lower rated kids according to the major recruiting services, including the five current commits who are all considered three star players. For one, right now the staff has already offered all the big name guys on their board. That generally happens more than a year prior to signing day. After signing day of the previous class is when the staff starts canvassing for under the radar guys. That’s why right now we’re seeing them offer a lot of guys who don’t have the star power of some of the other guys. Secondly, the staff recruits according to their needs and according to their evaluations. Unlike his predecessor, Muschamp does not consider the evaluation of recruiting analysts and their subjective rating systems. He and his staff rely on video, speaking with high school coaches, personal evaluation of recruits, and most importantly one on one evaluations. That’s why you see a lot of offers go out after junior days or camps. Most recruits outside of the very top guys must show up and talk to the staff and work out for them before they get a commitable offer. So do not get caught up in star power or recruiting rankings with this staff, otherwise as a fan you might be seriously disappointed.

That’s all for this week folks, but as always stay tuned to Swamp Music for the latest in FREE information regarding Gator recruiting and athletics. See you next week and thanks for reading!

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