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Insider

GatorNation recruiting mailbag

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- It’s been a rough week for Gator recruiting. Could there be good news on the horizon? It's time to dip in to the GatorNation recruiting mailbag and answer the questions you want to know. There were some great questions this week, but due to the amount of questions we’ve received, we won’t be able to get to all of them here. We encourage you to ask your questions on our Insider forum, The Chompions Club.

Kendallland1: Is Avery Young more Orange & Blue than that awful Red & Black?

A: There is no doubt Palm Beach Gardens (Fla.) offensive tackle Avery Young (6-foot-6/292) enjoyed his visit to Gainesville on Thanksgiving weekend. Young gave his Florida visit a 10 and said Auburn and Florida were his top two schools.

Young is visiting Georgia this weekend, so the Bulldogs have a chance to impress the talented tackle. But in my opinion the Gators are the team to beat.

@PhillipGaryTalks: Since TE Aaron Hernandez, UF has not had a skilled player worth talking about. Is our next star on bench (RB Mike Gillislee) or coming in 2012?

A: I could make a compelling argument that Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps were at least worth talking about. Tight ends Jordan Reed and A.C. Leonard have shown promise but both need to be more consistent. If Florida can land Nelson Agholor (6-1/185, Tampa, Fla./Berkeley Prep) and/or Stefon Diggs (6-0/185, Olney, Md./Our Lady of Good Counsel), then it would greatly improve its playmaking ability at that position.

Tight end Kent Taylor (6-5/215, Land O’Lakes, Fla.) also has the ability to contribute in the passing game as a freshmen, but will need to add bulk before he contributes in the blocking schemes.

@4BenWillis: Can the Gators get back in it with Mike Davis or will our RBs be as thin as Angelina Jolie next year, and not nearly as attractive?

A: It’s not every day you hear Angelina Jolie used in the same sentence as the Florida running back position. I asked Davis on Tuesday if he has completely eliminated the Gators, he responded with: “I wouldn’t say I have completely eliminated them, but I kinda have.”

Davis said the main reason he decommitted was because of a misunderstanding with the Florida coaching staff. If Davis allows the Florida coaching staff to do their in-home visit with him, then yes I think the Gators are right back in it for Davis. If not, the Gators will be forced to move on.

Joakim4Prez9713: Can you please just bring us Gator fans as much good news as possible in your mailbag?

A: Yes, this probably hasn’t been the best of weeks for UF recruiting. First Davis decommits on Sunday, then tight end Kurt Freitag commits to Alabama over Florida on Monday, then Keith Marshall commits to Georgia over Clemson and Florida on Tuesday.

However, Florida still has the No. 4-ranked class in the country and is still in it for several top prospects. I have heard very good things regarding Agholor. His in-home visit with the Florida coaches went very well. Florida running back commit Matt Jones (6-3/215, Seffner, Fla./Armwood) even went as far as to say that “His [Agholor’s] visit went so well, it put a smile on his mama’s face.”

The Gators are also hosting big-time visitors Josh Harvey-Clemons (6-5/205, Valdosta, Ga./Lowndes), Darius Hamilton (6-3/245, Ramsey, N.J./Don Bosco Prep) and Agholor this weekend, so things could definitely start looking up for the Gators.

Enova24: What do you see as a big difference between this staff's recruiting philosophy compared to our last staff? And do you hear more positive about this staff from recruits and coaches?

A: Actually, I think Urban Meyer and Will Muschamp are very similar in their recruiting styles. Both are aggressive and not afraid to go anywhere in the country to recruit a player.

Obviously with the different styles of play (ie., spread offense vs. pro-style), the type of players they go after are going to be different.

From the high school coaches I have talked to, I have heard nothing but positive things about Muschamp and the rest of his staff. Same with Meyer. Both coaches are well respected.

KH07: Who would you say are the top priorities left on the recruiting board in order of importance?

A: In my opinion it would go in the following order:

WR -- Florida desperately lacked a playmaker at wide receiver this year. Andre Debose finally showed glimpses of what he is capable, but is he a true No. 1 receiving threat? Bringing in a player like Agholor or Diggs would drastically change the receiver group as a whole. Both players just have that “it” factor the Gators have been lacking.

DE/Buck -- Florida struggled to get a pass rush off the edge this year and teams like LSU and Alabama overpowered the Florida defensive ends. The Gators would like to add depth and size at the position. With prospects like Jordan Jenkins (6-3/245, Hamilton, Ga./Harris Co.), Jonathan Bullard (6-4/255, Shelby, N.C./Crest), Darius Hamilton (6-3/245, Ramsey, N.J./Don Bosco Prep), Noah Spence (6-4/245, Harrisburg, Pa./Bishop McDevitt) and Leonard Williams (6-4/265, Daytona Beach, Fla./Mainland) Florida should land at least one, if not two of these top prospects.

RB -- This was a position that was thought to be locked up by February, when Davis and Jones committed. However with Davis decommitting, this now becomes a position of major importance. Florida is still trying to get back in it for Davis, while also scrambling to find a replacement just in case.

ESPN.com recruiting reporter Derek Tyson can be reached by email at DerekTysonESPN@gmail.com or you can follow him on Twitter at DerekTysonESPN.