- Derek Tyson, RecruitingNation
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Running back was a position of need for Florida in this 2012 recruiting class. New head coach Will Muschamp retained commitments from two top running backs back in February to make sure Florida didn’t miss out on a priority position.
With less than two months remaining until signing day, the Gators now appear to be back at square one.
With five-star running back Keith Marshall (5-11/195, Raleigh, N.C./Millbrook) verbally committing to the University of Georgia on Tuesday and four-star running back Mike Davis (5-10/195, Stone Mountain, Ga./Stephenson) decommitting from Florida on Sunday, where does this leave the Gators?
Davis and four-star running back Matt Jones (6-3/215, Seffner, Fla./Armwood) had been longtime commits to UF, but Davis said a “misunderstanding” with the Florida coaches led to his decision to decommit from the Gators.
“It was a misunderstanding,” Davis said. “I felt like I was lied to about some things, but that’s all I will say about it.”
In addition to the Marshall commit, Georgia offered Davis a scholarship on Tuesday. Davis said he will likely visit the Bulldogs, even if Marshall is committed there.
“Man, I’m not afraid of competition,” he said. “I’m going to have to compete no matter where I go, so yeah, I will still visit Georgia.”
Along with Georgia, Davis is planning to visit Florida State on Dec. 16 and has tentatively set a visit to South Carolina on Jan. 14.
When asked if Florida has been completely eliminated, Davis replied: “I wouldn’t say they have been completely eliminated, but yeah they kinda have.”
A source close to the Florida program says Davis is still a top priority for the Gators, and Florida is attempting to do an in-home visit with Davis this week.
Aside from Marshall, Florida hasn’t recruited any other backs. A name that could possibly come in to the picture is Wes Brown (6-0/200, Olney, Md./Our Lady of Good Counsel). Brown is a teammate of five-star athlete Stefon Diggs (6-0/185), who has Florida near the top of his list.
Running back Imani Cross (6-0/222, Gainesville, Ga./North Hall HS) recently decommitted from Tennessee. All indications are that he is leaning toward Wisconsin at this time, but Florida could try to make a push if it feels it has no shot at getting involved with Davis again.
The state of Florida is loaded with top running backs next season, so another option for the Gators is to save the scholarship and load up next year. However, that would leave Florida with only three scholarship running backs heading in to the 2012 season.
Florida will likely scramble to find other options at running back, but with time running out, Florida will be playing catch-up.