Wednesday, February 6, 2013
GatorNation signing day recap
By GatorNation staff
Welcome to GatorNation's live coverage of national signing day for the Florida Gators. We'll be with you throughout the day providing up-to-the minute updates on Florida's Class of 2013.
Watch live coverage on ESPNU | Talk signing day on our "Chompions Club" forum
Florida’s signing day is complete. Check out the official Class of 2013 here.
3:15 p.m. ET: Florida has announced its Class of 2013, but as head coach Will Muschamp addressed the media, he said, "There's always a chance [to add to the class]."
1:01 p.m. ET: Juco 100 defensive tackle Jarran Reed signed his letter of intent and faxed it in to Florida. Reed, once an Ole Miss commit, picked the Gators over Alabama. Here is Derek Tyson's story.
11:50 a.m. ET: Four-star defensive end Tashawn Bower (No. 132 in ESPN 300; Somerville, N.J./Immaculata) has faxed his signed letter of intent to LSU. He had previously been committed to Auburn, gave a verbal commitment to Florida this morning, but had a change of heart and ended up with the Tigers. LSU coach Les Miles and his war room erupted when presented with Bower's fax. The coach spoke with ESPN and discussed his newest surprise signee .
11 a.m. ET: UF’s class is rounded out by quarterback Max Staver and offensive lineman Rod Johnson. Staver is a big kid (6-6, 238) with a big arm. He’s the prototypical pocket passer. He’s got decent pocket presence and has shown the ability to move around to evade the rush. He’s also pretty accurate and has shown that he understands that not every pass needs to be 100 mph. In other words, he’s got touch, which is something young quarterbacks sometimes struggle with. Johnson (6-6, 316) has the build and athleticism to become a tackle in the SEC. He’s strong and has good explosion off the ball but needs to become more agile.
10:43 a.m. ET: Florida has received a LOI from ESPN 150 safety Marcell Harris, which means the Gators have signed 26 of the 27 players who have committed. They are waiting on Bostwick’s LOI. Harris is a safety who is solid in run support but also covers well. He’s got good size and speed, but needs to get better at recognizing and diagnosing plays. But once he does, he’s a physical tackler.
10:14 a.m. ET: UF has received a letter of intent from offensive lineman Trenton Brown. The 6-foot-7, 345-pound Brown was expected to enroll in January but had to complete a class at Georgia Military College. He likely won't be competing for a starting job this season, but he will be an effective piece of the Gators' jumbo package. UF can line him up as an extra tight end and that gives the Gators a pretty solid look on the goal line or in short yardage.
9:53 a.m. ET: The fax is in for five-star cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III, Florida's top-rated signee -- the nation's No. 1 corner and the No. 3 overall prospect in the country. If there’s anyone that’s going to break through in a crowded and talented secondary, it’s Hargreaves. He was fantastic in the Under Armour All-American game. It’s hard to be any more glowing than his ESPN scouting report: “Hargreaves may be one of the more complete and ready-to-play corners we have seen in recent years. He possesses all the ideal attributes you look for in a cornerback prospect aside from size, but he's developing there. He has more than adequate height and a well-built, muscular frame. Displays great quickness and speed, and deceptive playing strength for a cover corner. Hargreaves uses his strength to his advantage at the line of scrimmage pressing receivers and taking away leverage, as well as on run support. While quick, explosive and a technician in a variety of coverages, his best asset may be his football intelligence at the position.”
9:50 a.m. ET: The Gators have received LOIs from offensive lineman Octavius Jackson and safety Keanu Neal. Also, ESPN 150 defensive lineman Montravius Adams picked Auburn over Florida, Clemson, Georgia and Alabama. Jackson is a big body (6-4, 304) who needs a year to develop, both fundamentally and in the weight room. Neal is a player that ESPN’s scouting report says is one of the more explosive players from the state of Florida. He’s got good size, speed and instincts and is a physical tackler and has a knack for timing hits to cause incompletions and turnovers.
9:36 a.m. ET: Wide receiver James Clark has has chosen Ohio State over Florida. The Gators were hoping to make the speedy Clark their sixth receiver commitment.
8:57 a.m. ET:More faxes have arrived for Florida. They're from wide receivers Chris Thompson and Marqui Hawkins, linebacker Jarrad Davis and defensive tackle Caleb Brantley. Here’s Luginbill on Thompson: “Likely has the best pure speed of the group, but still developing in our opinion. Certainly a guy that can stretch the field.” Luginbill on Hawkins: “May be the most talented, best upside guy in their class off talent alone, but also the most green, so how quickly he develops will likely determine his role early. He has the best combo of speed/size/quickness of the pass catchers in the class." Davis has great quickness and is the prototypical outside linebacker. He’s good in man coverage but also is a solid run defender. The Gators’ linebacker situation is in flux and Davis has as good a chance as anyone to earn plenty of playing time. Brantley is a prototypical run-stuffing defensive tackle. He’s a mammoth body (6-3, 304) who runs well for his size. He needs to get better at shedding blockers. Again, because of the situation at tackle, Brantley will have the opportunity to get on the field in 2013.
8:07 a.m. ET: ESPN 300 defensive tackle Jay-nard Bostwick announces he is signing with Florida. The 6-foot-4, 250-pound lineman from Port St. Lucie, Fla. picked UF over Miami and Alabama. Read Derek Tyson's analysis here . This was a huge boost to the Gators’ defensive front. UF’s situation at defensive tackle is pretty fluid, and the Gators certainly needed help there after the losses of starters Sharrif Floyd and Omar Hunter. The 6-foot-4, 250-pound Bostwick obviously needs to put on weight, but he’s a tough, physical player who uses his hands well and can stand his ground. Bostwick needs to improve his initial burst off the ball to become a good player. If he can do that, he’ll get plenty of playing time because other than Easley the Gators’ group of defensive tackles isn’t that impressive.
8:03 a.m. ET: Florida just received signed LOIs from defensive lineman Antonio Riles and wide receiver Ahmad Fulwood. The lean and lanky Fulwood (6-4, 189 pounds) is one of two receiver signees expected to earn playing time in the fall. He’s not a burner, but he is a guy who uses his body well and has good hands. He’s a good red-zone target, too, because of his ability to go up and get the football. That’s something UF has lacked at receiver for the last three seasons. Riles (6-4, 261) is a physical, tough player who could play end or tackle, depending on how he grows into his body. He’s able to hold his ground well but also is agile enough to slide down the line to make tackles on the perimeter.
7:58 a.m. ET: As expected, the nation's No. 1 prospect, defensive end Robert Nkemdiche, picked Ole Miss over Florida and LSU. Read the story and Kipp Adams' analysis here .
7:38 a.m. ET: Next in are athlete Alvin Bailey and defensive end Jordan Sherit. Here’s Tom Luginbill, ESPN’s senior national recruiting analyst, on Bailey: “He isn’t as fast as [former Gators RB Chris] Rainey, but could be used in a similar role. Bigger than Solomon Patton, but similar in skill set. Likely more dynamic and versatile to play both inside, outside, and as a potential change-of-pace in the backfield.” Sherit (6-foot-5, 234 pounds) has a build to put on weight to make him much more of a force on the outside. However, he’s a pretty quick player with good strength and he’s good with his hands. He needs to get stronger, though. Sherit could redshirt as a freshman while recovering from a torn ACL suffered last October.
7:24 a.m. ET: The first faxed letters of intent have arrived at UF. They belong to running back Adam Lane, the Gators' first commitment in the class, center Cam Dillard and defensive back Nick Washington. Matt Jones and Kelvin Taylor will get a lot of work in the spring, but don’t count out Lane in the fall. He’s a bowling ball of a runner, much like Maurice Jones-Drew, and RB coach Brian White says Lane is similar in style and build to Ray Rice. Lane and Taylor could end up with equal carries. Dillard is a tough run blocker and he has the tenacious attitude line coaches love. He’s also got that nastiness that separates good linemen from great ones. But he’s got to work on his body and needs to become a better pass blocker. Washington is expected to compete for playing time in a crowded secondary, but getting on the field on defense will be tough. He’s likely headed for special teams as a freshman.
RB Kelvin Taylor: The son of former UF standout RB Fred Taylor is the nation’s top-rated player at his position. He’s pretty much a carbon copy of his father in terms of athleticism and moves – but it’s a copy of his father as a college senior. Kelvin Taylor has already mastered the jump cut that his father didn’t perfect until later in his college career. He’s a downhill runner with good elusiveness, very good speed, and the power to break tackles. With Mike Gillislee gone, Matt Jones enters spring practice as the top back. Taylor will get plenty of work, though, and even if he doesn’t beat out Jones he will get significant carries in the fall. UF would like to have a feature back but also wants to rotate guys to keep them fresh. Enrolling in January will give Taylor a head start over Adam Lane.
WR Demarcus Robinson: He is the most likely receiver to make a significant impact as a freshman. Robinson is a big target (6-2, 200) who has good speed and ball skills. He runs solid routes and uses his body to shield defenders from the ball. He’s able to go up and get the ball and go down and dig out a low throw. He’s a physical runner after the catch and is a good blocker.
OLB Daniel McMillian: The 6-2, 220-pound McMillian has the speed, agility and versatility to play all three linebacker spots, and there’s a possibility that he could eventually develop into a buck linebacker or a defensive end. He’s a good pass rusher with a good burst. He’s also able to chase down ball carriers and is good in coverage. He’s a physical tackler who attacks the line of scrimmage. The Gators are losing MLB Jon Bostic and need a replacement. Mike Taylor or Antonio Morrison are the top two candidates, but Taylor struggles in pass coverage and Morrison needs to add about 20-30 pounds to hold up physically at the spot for an entire season. McMillian is a little bigger than Morrison so he could get a shot there. But he’ll most certainly earn some playing time on defense because UF doesn’t have a lot of depth at linebacker. He also projects to be a regular contributor on special teams.
LB Alex Anzalone: The 6-3, 231-pound Anzalone is a quick, rangy defender who can play inside and outside. He’s got good feet and makes plays sideline to sideline. He’s more athletic than he appears and will be hard to keep of the field.
DT Darius Cummings: The 6-3, 310-pound Cummings is a run-stuffing tackle with good strength and quickness. He’s a tough load to move and he does a solid job of holding his ground and controlling a gap. He uses his hands well and is able to shed blocks. He’s got enough range that he’s able to pursue ball carriers to the outside. Cummings isn’t a dynamic pass rusher but he’s able to get push up the middle. The Gators need a lot of help at nose tackle after the graduation of Omar Hunter, who played the best football of his career in 2012. The East Mississippi Community College transfer will compete with redshirt junior Leon Orr for the starting job. If he doesn’t play at nose tackle he’ll figure into the rotation at the other tackle spot with senior Damien Jacobs, redshirt freshman Quinteze Williams, and several other freshmen commits.
DT Joey Ivie: He’s a high-motor guy who gets off the ball pretty well and has a knack for shooting the gap and being disruptive. He’s not exceptionally tall (6-4) but he does a good job of getting his hands up and knocking the ball down if he can’t get to the quarterback. He’s a solid rusher up the middle. Ivie is able to use his hands well to get separation and shed blocks. Ivie also will have a chance to get into the rotation at tackle, especially with the departure of Sharrif Floyd to the NFL. The concern is Ivie’s size against the beefy SEC offensive lines. He could see some time at end, as well, but the Gators appear to be stocked there with Jonathan Bullard and Dominique Easley (if he doesn’t leave for the NFL).
OT Tyler Moore: Moore is a big (6-6, 300), physical brawler – exactly what you want at the tackle position. His biggest asset is his strength and he’s able to push defenders around and finishes blocks well in the run game. His footwork needs to improve and he’s sometimes a bit stuff in his lower body. But he was good enough to start four games as a freshman at Nebraska in 2011. He was the first freshman offensive lineman to start the season opener in school history. Moore will be able to compete for a starting job. He’ll battle Chaz Green, the incumbent starter at right tackle, but will certainly get playing time in the Gators’ jumbo package. UF could stick Moore and Brown out there as extra tight ends and create a formidable short-yardage formation.
LB Matt Rolin: The 6-4, 209-pound Rolin is an aggressive, physical tackler who has the speed, quickness and agility to play multiple linebacker spots. He’s solid in pass coverage. Rolin excels in stopping the run. He’s quick off the ball, has good lateral movement, and is a smart player who is rarely fooled by misdirection and play action. He played wide receiver in high school so he will be one of UF’s most athletic linebackers when he’s healthy. Rolin likely will redshirt after undergoing surgery to repair a torn ACL.