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Friday, March 1, 2013
GatorNation: Recruiting mailbag

By Derek Tyson

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- It’s time to dip into the GatorNation recruiting mailbag and answer your questions. Because of the amount of questions we’ve received, we won’t be able to get to all of them today -- but we encourage you to post your questions on our Insider fan forum, The Chompions Club.

kendallland1: Justin Thornton, should we count him as a soft commit to UF?

A: With defensive end Thornton naming Florida his leader before even visiting, it appeared that he might commit to the Gators after visiting Florida in mid-February. That didn't happen, and Thornton said he will wait until August to announce his decision. It's hard to say if it was his decision to wait or Florida's. The Gators typically like to have prospects in camp and see them practice in person, before making a decision. This might be the case, or Thornton may have decided to weigh his options a little longer. At any rate, the Gators are still in very good position to land the athletic defensive end.

ryu.wada7: Judging by the amount of offers he has, Travonte Valentine seems to be an extremely talented prospect. What are our chances with him after he decommitted? Does he still have high interest in UF?

A: Florida still has a chance with Valentine, but there are some off-the-field concerns that will need to get cleared up before Florida would take him again. There is just under a year until signing day, and he's already decommitted from two schools. That certainly throws up a red flag. Valentine is a very solid prospect and has a ton of upside, so the Gators will continue to recruit him and see how things in his personal life clear up.

epowell82: Are we going to have the class pretty much full going into NSD like last year?

A: The Gators will not take as many prospects as they did last year. With six spots in the 2014 class already occupied, it appears Florida will go in the same direction as the 2013 as far as getting players to commit early. Yes, Florida lost prospects to off-the-field issues, and a player like Quinton Powell chose to open things back up, but overall Florida had a strong class and didn't get left in the dark on signing day like it did with the 2012 class. In my opinion, Florida will again have a majority of its class filled by December.

urban21178: Is this a stronger-than-normal class for offensive lineman in the state?  Seems we are hearing a lot more in-state names this year.

A: I would say it is. I believe K.C. McDermott is the top overall offensive line prospect in Florida this year, but there are several other good, quality linemen in the state such as Corey Martinez, Benjamin Knox (a Florida commit), Reilly Gibbons, Mason Cole (Michigan), Travaris Dorsey (Florida), David Sharpe, Trevor Darling (Miami), Isaiah Wynn and Denzel Ward. Florida might look out of state for a player they have targeted for a while, such as Louisiana OL Garrett Brumfield, but Florida probably could stay in-state and fill all of its need along the line for this class.

Justin32843: Ermon Lane, what are the chances UF lands him? Also, what about Sony Michel, does UF have a need at RB or are they just wanting to take one for depth?

A: Florida will have its work cut out for Lane and Michel, but the Gators are definitely still in the race for both. Lane said last weekend that Florida, Alabama and Miami are recruiting him the hardest. The Gators are in Michel's top five, but Georgia and Miami might have the early advantage. The Gators definitely want another back, and Michel could be at the top of the wish list.