Wednesday, February 6, 2013
GatorNation: Signing day superlatives
By Derek Tyson
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Florida still has the possibility to add another prospect or two to its No. 2-ranked class, but the Gators finished national signing day by landing 28 prospects, including 16 in the ESPN 300. Here's a closer look at how the class breaks down.
Best position group
The Gators did very well by landing five wide receivers and four linebackers, three of which are in the ESPN 300. But Florida hit a home run with its secondary class. Cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III (Tampa, Fla./Wharton), a five-star prospect, and safeties Marcell Harris (Orlando, Fla./Dr. Phillips), Keanu Neal (Bushnell, Fla./South Sumter) and Nick Washington (Jacksonville, Fla./Trinity Christian) are all ranked in the ESPN 300, and all but Washington are in the top 70 players in the country. Hargreaves is the son of a college coach and was the MVP of the Under Armour All-America game in January. With the loss of Matt Elam and Josh Evans, all four of these defensive backs have a chance to earn playing time early on in their careers.
Most likely to contribute on offense
Two players, running back Kelvin Taylor (Belle Glade, Fla./Glades Day) and wide receiver Demarcus Robinson (Fort Valley, Ga./Peach Co.) should both see significant time as freshmen. Both players are enrolled early and will participate in spring drills. Taylor is the state's all-time leading rusher and should push sophomore-to-be Matt Jones for playing time early next season. Robinson could provide a vertical threat that has been sorely missing over the last two season. If Taylor and Robinson are able to pick up Brent Pease's offense over the spring, both players could get the opportunity to start during their freshman seasons.
Most likely to contribute on defense
An argument could be made for Hargreaves here, and though he will likely see plenty of action, there is depth at the cornerback position. Linebacker Daniel McMillian (Jacksonville, Fla./First Coast), at 6-foot-2, 220 pounds, already has the size to contribute, and with the loss of Jelani Jenkins and Jon Bostic to the NFL, the No. 3-ranked outside linebacker will likely see plenty of action early on. Like Taylor and Robinson, McMillian enrolled early and will compete in spring practices.
Sleeper of the class
Twenty-two of Florida's 28 signees were ranked four-stars or higher, so it's difficult to classify someone as a sleeper. The Gators signed four linebackers, three in the ESPN 150. The other linebacker, Jarrad Davis, impressed the Florida staff enough to earn an offer late in the process. At 6-2, 220, the three-star linebacker has the size and athletic ability to compete for playing time as a freshman.
Most pro potential
Might start noticing a trend with Hargreaves, but the five-star corner looks like a future first-round draft pick. He has the size (5-11, 185) and speed (4.37 40 time) to be a big-time player in the SEC. Cornerbacks are a premium position in the NFL, and he has all the tools necessary to play on Sundays. A case could also be made for Robinson, Taylor and McMillian.