If it’s Friday it’s time for the Friday Five where Swamp Music introduces you to five recruits on the Florida Gators recruiting board. After putting together two consecutive top ten recruiting classes, the Gators staff is hard at work building relationships and seeking top talent for the 2015 class. And with recruiting starting earlier and earlier, they are working on 2016 as well and even some for 2017. Crazy to think about it but with recruiting being so competitive, college coaching staffs have to always keep their eye on the future.
One 2015 recruit the staff is really high on is Washington, D.C. four star cornerback Marcus Lewis. Lewis is a big time corner from the same area that recent Gator enrollee cornerback Jalen Tabor hails from. At 6’2 180, Lewis has great size and length and also has great speed running a reported sub 4.4 forty. According to Scout.com recruiting analyst Brian Dohn who covers that area of the country,
“Lewis is the type of long, athletic cornerback teams crave. His size and mentality make him a possible safety as well, but he has the athleticism and hip flexibility to play cornerback. He is at his best driving on the ball and closing to make the tackle. He gets off blocks well and can shut down the corner in the running game. He has the speed to cover down the field and he has good ball-tracking skills.”
Head coach Will Muschamp and defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin are always on the lookout for tall, speedy, athletic corners and Lewis fits the bill perfectly. As always, it can be tough to recruit out of state guys but Lewis has listed the Gators in his top two with Ohio State leading.
Lewis told 247sports recruiting analyst Luke Stampini that he is impressed by how Florida coaches it’s defensive backs and gets them to the NFL,
“That definitely helps (getting db’s to the NFL). That shows they know what they are doing. They put a lot of guys in the league and that’s still going to happen because they got some great defensive backs right now.”
It’s still early but it is a good sign that Lewis has the Gators so high early on. Having Tabor on board could help the Gators chances down the road as Tabor is well respected in the D.C. area and he is a good recruiter in his own right. Lewis is slated to visit the Gators the weekend of the 21st, according to Stampini, as he makes a swing through Florida to visit all three of the major state schools. Once he makes it on campus, it will be easier to get a read on the Gators chances here.
Keeping that eye on the future the Gators offered a couple of big time 2016 recruits this past week. The most recent was Port Arthur, TX all purpose back Kameron Martin who was offered on Tuesday. At 5’10 170, Martin is a typical spread option type running back, smaller back with really good speed. Martin reportedly runs a sub 4.4 forty and has a quick burst through the hole, with good change of direction speed. Despite his size, he’s not much of a jitter bug. He doesn’t dance around a lot, he gets north and south quickly and gets past slower lineman before they have a chance to react and once he gets to the second level he has the speed and moves to make people miss and outrun them.
Currently, he lists Texas as his leader, he’s the cousin of former Longhorn running back Jamaal Charles, but has yet to receive an offer from the home state school. While the Gators are in the mix with their offer, they have a lot of ground to make up if they truly want to get him out of Texas. A good showing by new offensive coordinator Kurt Roper’s newly installed spread offense would go a long way to getting Martin to take notice of the Gators.
Another 2016 recruit who recently received a Gators offer is Columbus, GA Carver high school dual threat quarterback Jawon Pass. At 6’5 200, he is a big, strong armed quarterback who is a talented runner as well and he plays for one of Georgia’s top high school programs. Because of his size, athleticism, and arm strength, Pass has drawn many comparisons to former Florida and Auburn quarterback Cam Newton. While he is still young and still raw, Pass possesses a good skill set for the type of offense that Florida offensive coordinator Kurt Roper runs.
Like Martin, Pass’ recruitment is starting to blow up and he’s getting offers from some top programs. Currently, Clemson leads and he reportedly is high on Auburn and Georgia as well. The Gators have gotten their hat into the ring, but as with all offensive recruits on Florida’s board right now, the Gators must show some major improvement in the upcoming season if they hope to have a shot.
An interesting note, Pass claims that he intends to go to the same college as his brother Khane who is a 2015 safety recruit. Most of the schools that have offered have offered his brother as well but no word if the Gators have done so. That will be interesting to keep an eye on moving forward.
Another 2016 recruit previously offered by the Gators is Newton, PA Council Rock North quarterback Brandon McIlwain. Like Pass, McIlwain’s recruitment has been blowing up lately getting offers from a number of top schools including Penn State and Ohio State as well as SEC stalwarts Auburn and South Carolina. He is another big, strong-armed dual threat quarterback with good athleticism, a prototype for the modern college spread formation qb.
An A student in the classroom, he has a high football IQ and is physically gifted not only with his arm but with his legs as well, according to Steve Wiltfong of 247sports. He has a very strong arm and a quick release and he already possesses the ability to make throws which belie his youthfulness. In his first two seasons of high school football, he has thrown for over 3,000 yards and run for over 1300 yards. He continues to rack up offers and is already one of the most highly recruited 2016 prospects. If he continues to progress at the rapid pace that he has the last two years, he could be one of the top players in the nation by the time he is a senior.
A South Carolina legacy, he reportedly is high on the Gamecocks and Penn State so the Gators have an uphill battle for sure if they hope to secure his services. There is plenty of time, however, between now and signing day 2016 and once again, if the Gators offense takes flight under Roper, don’t count them out in this one.
While the Gators are hard at work on 2015 and 2016, they haven’t stopped there, however, as they have already started showing extensive interest in 2017 wide receiver/defensive back Emmanuel Greene from Coconut Creek high school. Just a freshman last season, he played much older displaying good hands and speed as well as great body control and escapability. Kind of smallish at 5’9 155, Greene looks well suited for the slot position and has a skill set tailor made for the spread offense.
He visited Florida back in mid February with his coaches and a few other teammates and appeared to have a great time. Obviously there is a lot of time to go in his recruitment but the Gators are off to a great start with him.
Check out Green’s freshman highlights here.
That is it for this week’s edition of the Friday Five. Stay tuned to Swamp Music for all the latest FREE Florida Gators recruiting news and info.