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Monday, March 11, 2013
Gators 2014 recruiting needs

By Derek Tyson

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Florida signed a large class of 30 players in the 2013 recruiting cycle. The Gators finished with the No. 2-ranked class in the country and met a majority of their needs.

The Gators are off to a good start for the 2014 recruiting class and will look to solidify certain areas of their roster. Here's a closer look at five positions where Florida will likely focus its attention in the upcoming class.

Quarterback
Need: 1
Commits:Will Grier (Davidson, N.C./Davidson Day)
Targets: None

Overview: When Jacoby Brissett decided to transfer, the Gators were left in somewhat of a bind. The Gators signed Max Staver and were unsuccessful at making a late run at a few junior college quarterbacks to try and add depth to a thin position. Starter Jeff Driskel is heading into his junior year and his backups Tyler Murphy, Skyler Mornhinweg and now Staver have very limited playing experience. The good news for the Gators is that they were able to land a commitment from Watch List quarterback Grier. They needed to get a big-time quarterback and Grier has all the tools Florida is looking for. With Grier in the fold, I wouldn't expect Florida to sign another QB in this class.

Defensive end
Need: 2-3
Commits: None
Targets: Lorenzo Carter (Norcross, Ga./Norcross), Dewayne Hendrix (O'Fallon, Ill./O'Fallon Township), Justin Thornton (Prichard, Ala./Vigor), Trent Harris (Winter Park, Fla./Winter Park), Da'Shawn Hand (Woodbridge, Va./Woodbridge) and Andrew Williams (McDonough, Ga./Eagles Landing Christian)


Overview: The Gators landed only one weakside defensive end, Jordan Sherit, in this past class. The Gators will look to add more depth at the position in this class. Though the Gators don't currently have a committed defensive end, OLB Christian Miller (Columbia, S.C./Spring Valley) will likely start off at the buck position, which is a hybrid DE/OLB position that will often rush the quarterback. The Gators are in good position to land Thornton and Harris and are in the mix for Carter, Hendrix, Hand and Williams.

Tight end
Need: 1
Commits: None
Tyler Luatua
Tyler Luatua is among the Gators' targets at tight end, a definite position of need in this class for Florida.
Targets: Bryce Dixon (Ventura, Calif./St. Bonaventure), Tyler Luatua (La Mirada, Calif./La Mirada), Kevin Crosby (Bamberg, S.C./Bamberg-Ehrhardt) and Jakell Mitchell (Opelika, Ala./Opelika)


Overview: With Jordan Reed declaring for the NFL draft and the Gators picking up only Trevon Young, a three-star offensive lineman who Florida recruited to play tight end, it has become pivotal for the Gators to land a tight end in this class. The only tight ends on the roster are Colin Thompson (coming off a foot injury), Kent Taylor (who received limited playing time last year) and Clay Burton and Tevin Westbrook, who both moved to tight end from other positions. Look for the Gators to go after this position hard, especially Dixon and Luatua.

Cornerback
Need: 2
Commits: Duke Dawson (Cross City, Fla./Dixie County)
Targets: Kalvaraz Bessent (Kingsland, Ga./Camden County), Wesley Green (Lithonia, Ga./Martin Luther King), Chris Lammons (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla./Plantation), D.J. Smith (Marietta, Ga./Walton), Parrker Westphal (Bolingbrook, Ill./Bolingbrook) and Quincy Wilson (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla./University School)


Overview: The Gators already have a commitment from one ESPN Watch List cornerback in Dawson. The 5-foot-11, 188-pound athlete could play cornerback or grow into a safety on the next level. By the time the 2014 class is on campus, Florida cornerbacks Marcus Roberson, Cody Riggs and Loucheiz Purifoy will all be seniors and Jaylen Watkins will have graduated. The Gators might appear to have depth now, but landing a few corners in this class is essential.

Offensive line
Need: 3-4
Commits: Benjamin Knox (DeLand, Fla./DeLand) and Travaris Dorsey (Jacksonville, Fla./Raines)
Targets: Reilly Gibbons (St. Petersburg, Fla./St. Pete Catholic), K.C. McDermott (Wellington, Fla./Palm Beach Central), David Sharpe (Jacksonville, Fla./Providence), Garrett Brumfield (Baton Rouge, La./University Laboratory), Denzel Ward (Bradenton, Fla./IMG Academies), Andy Bauer (St. Louis/De Smet Jesuit), Orlando Brown Jr. (Duluth, Ga./Peachtree Ridge), Jamarco Jones (Chicago/De La Salle).


Overview: The Gators already have two committed linemen and are in the running for several others. By the time the 2014 class steps on campus, Jon Halapio, Jonotthan Harrison and Kyle Koehne will have graduated and Max Garcia, Chaz Green and Ian Silberman will be seniors. Landing a strong offensive line class is a priority for this class.