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Friday, April 26, 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.

ga8or22: Who are the Gators most interested in at TE?  We are a little thin at that position in my mind.

A: There is no question, the Gators need to add at least one tight end in this class. Unfortunately for Florida, with the exception of Moral Stephens (Perry, Fla./Taylor County), there aren't many tight end prospects in the state of Florida, so the Gators will be forced to look out of state. Florida has already offered Jakell Mitchell (Opelika, Ala./Opelika), Jalyn Holmes (Norfolk, Va./Lake Taylor), Bryce Dixon (Ventura, Calif./St. Bonaventure) and DeAndre Goolsby (Derby, Kan./Derby). The Florida coaching staff is also showing interest in Kalan Ritchie (Goose Creek, S.C./Goose Creek) and Chase Blakley (Coeur D'Alene, Idaho/Coeur D'Alene), but has yet to extend an offer. Florida has targeted those six players, but that list could grow, especially if the Gators decide to dip in to the juco ranks to look for a tight end.

mackmclaughlin: What's the deal with Lamont Gaillard? Where do you see Travonte Valentine ending up?

A: Gaillard appears to be close with his teammate, DE, Harold Landry and the two could be a packaged deal. Florida has several defensive end targets rated higher on their board and has proven over the last three years that it will not take one prospect to get another higher rated prospect. Who know's where Valentine (Palm Bay, Fla./Bayside) will end up. He orginally committed to Louisville before backing off and committing to Florida and then decommitted from the Gators. With his proximity to Miami, that would seem like a logical choice, but there are some off-the-field concerns that several teams have.

rrush9289: Who are most realistic options for the second second RB spot?

A: Obviously stud running backs Leonard Fournette and Sony Michel are the top two options to join committed running back Dalvin Cook at Florida, but the chances of landing either are very low at this point. Florida is looking closely at Nick Chubb, Curtis Samuel, Royce Freeman, Tony James and Jon Hilliman for that second running back spot. James is from Gainesville and the Gators would have an excellent shot to land him if Florida chooses to turn the heat up. With depth on the roster and Cook already committed, the Gators can afford to be selective with who they want in that spot.

ben2rowc: What are the biggest positions of need to fill out the rest of this class?

A: Since Will Muschamp arrived at Florida, he has done a nice job of adding depth at pretty much every position. This class has started off nicely by adding three offensive linemen, a defensive tackle, an outside linebacker, a receiver, a cornerback, a running back and a quarterback. Going forward, I expect Florida to focus on offensive tackles, another playmaker at cornerback, defensive ends, a tight end and 2-3 wide receivers.

kendallland1: What's the deal with Benjamin Knox? And are the coaches letting this play out so they can take Denzel Ward and David Sharpe or would we still take those two and keep Knox?

A: Muschamp's theory has always been "if you look, we look," and Knox is no different. The more he continues to flirt with other schools, specifically USF, the less likely it will be that he ends up in Florida's class. Florida would like to take five linemen in this class, and Knox is more of a project. If he continues to look, I wouldn't be shocked at all if Florida parted ways with him. Sharpe and Ward are very high on Florida's list, and the Gators would likely not have much trouble replacing Knox if they needed to.