GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- With less than 10 months until national signing day, the Florida Gators have already filled more than half of their 2013 recruiting class.
Will Muschamp and his staff have 15 verbal commits, including 11 who appear on the ESPN 150 Watch List. It's not just the number of commitments that is so impressive, it's that Florida has landed top players at positions of need.
In Florida's 2012 recruiting class, the Gators hoped to bring in at least four offensive linemen and three wide receivers. Falling short with only two offensive linemen and two receivers, Florida made those two positions a priority for this recruiting cycle.
To date, Florida has landed two receivers in Rodney Adams (St. Petersburg, Fla./Lakewood) and ESPN 150 Watch Lister Ahmad Fulwood (Jacksonville, Fla./Bishop Kenny). At 6-foot-4, 205-pounds, Fulwood is the big receiving target the Gators have lacked in the past several years. Adams, who is more of a slasher, will bring athleticism to a group that has been lacking consistent play-makers.
With three commitments along the offensive line, the Gators have gathered size and athleticism along the interior of the line. Josh Outlaw (Lithonia, Ga./Martin Luther King) and Rod Johnson (Delray Beach, Fla./American Heritage) are projected to be guard prospects, while the most recent commit, Cam Dillard (Canton, Mich./Canton), is pegged to play center for the Gators.
Running behind those three big offensive line commits will be a pair of Watch List running backs in Adam Lane (Winter Haven, Fla./Winter Haven) and Florida legacy Kelvin Taylor (Belle Glades, Fla./Glades Day). Don't let Lane's 5-8 height fool you -- he weighs over 200 pounds and has a running style reminiscent of Maurice Jones-Drew or Ray Rice. Taylor surpassed Emmitt Smith as the state of Florida's all-time leading rusher last season.
At safety, Florida has landed two Watch List athletes in Keanu Neal (Bushnell, Fla./South Sumter) and Nick Washington (Jacksonville, Fla./Trinity Christian). At 6-1, 203, Neal could grow in to a linebacker. Washington, who is also a baseball standout, is athletic enough to play corner or safety at UF.
Joining Washington and Neal in the secondary will be New Jersey cornerback prospect Tre' Bell (Jersey City, N.J./St. Peters Prep). Bell chose Florida over offers from Michigan, South Carolina and Notre Dame.
It appears Florida has hit a home run on the defensive front seven. Defensive tackle Caleb Brantley (Crescent City, Fla./Crescent City), linebackers James Hearns (Tallahassee, Fla./Lincoln), Daniel McMillian (Jacksonville, Fla./First Coast), Quinton Powell (Daytona Beach, Fla./Mainland) and Dillan Lawson (Crestview, Fla./Crestview) are all on the ESPN 150 Watch List.
Brantley is a big, athletic defensive end who will likely end up at a three-technique at Florida. Hearns is a big, physical middle linebacker who will counted on as a run-stuffer. Hearns, however, is coming off of an ACL injury that cost him most of his junior year. McMillian, Powell and Lawson are all athletic linebackers who can play multiple positions in Dan Quinn's attacking defense.
Roughly eight to 10 slots remain to round out the 2013 class, but with some key areas of concern already addressed, the Gators can afford to be very selective going forward