Tuesday, July 16, 2013
2015 ESPN 300 targets: Florida
By Derek Tyson
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- The Florida Gators might not have any players committed for their 2015 recruiting class, but don't let that fool you. The Gators are in good position to land several players listed on the initial 2015 ESPN 300. Obviously, this list will likely change from now until signing day in February 2015. But as of now, here's a closer look at 10 prospects the Gators have a good shot at landing.
1. ATH George Campbell (Tarpon Springs, Fla./East Lake) 6-4, 185 ESPN 300 rank: 3
This tall and speedy athlete won the fastest man competition at The Opening earlier this month when he posted a 40-yard-dash time of 4.36. Campbell could play receiver or even safety on the next level, but the Gators like him as a wide receiver. He remains open at this time, but he has visited Florida several times and the Gators have always been near the top of his list. He is teammates with wide receiver Artavis Scott, who recently committed to Clemson, and the Tigers are another team he is strongly considering.
Athletic tackles with length are hard to come by, and Ivey is one of the best in the country. Ivey's stock skyrocketed after a productive sophomore season. Like Campbell, Ivey remains open, but he admittedly grew up a Florida fan. This athletic prospect has offers from schools such as Alabama, Clemson, Florida State, Nebraska, Ohio State and Oklahoma.
Phillips is the teammate of 2014 ESPN 300 running backs Joseph Yearby and Dalvin Cook and sometimes gets overshadowed by their production. Phillips, however, is far and away the best receiving threat on Central's team, which won a state championship last season. Miami and Florida are the teams to beat, and Phillips even tweeted recently that he may commit to Florida. Whether he does commit early or not is almost irrelevant at this point -- Florida and Miami will battle it out to the end for Phillips.
This ultra-athletic prospect plays running back, linebacker, tight end and even a little wide receiver at his high school. Holland said most schools like him as a linebacker, and that is what he is planning to play in college. This Under Armour All-American grew up a Florida fan but has ties to Auburn. His recruitment remains wide open, but with Florida being close to his home, the Gators have a good shot at landing this talented prospect.
5. DE CeCe Jefferson (Glenn St. Mary, Fla./Baker County) 6-3, 248 ESPN 300 rank: 48
Jefferson lives close to Gainesville and has visited Florida on several occasions. It's still early on in the process but Jefferson said Sunday on Twitter that Florida was his No. 1 school right now. Florida State and Louisville are also receiving considerable interest from the talented prospect, but Florida is clearly the team to beat early on.
Jacques Patrick will be one of the most coveted running backs in the 2015 class.
6. Jacques Patrick (Orlando, Fla./Timber Creek) 6-2, 190 ESPN 300 rank: 231
Patrick is a big, athletic back that is being heavily recruited by almost everyone in the Southeast. At one point Patrick referred to Florida as his leader, but he has since backed off that statement. The Gators are one of many schools Patrick is considering, including Florida State, Tennessee, Miami and Vanderbilt. Patrick will likely let his recruitment play out for a while before making a decision.
Florida has had some success with Armwood prospects, including offensive tackle Matt Patchan, running back Matt Jones and wide receiver Alvin Bailey. Cowart could be next in line. With his impressive frame, Cowart looks like he's already in college. He's strong enough to play defensive end but athletic enough to drop in coverage. Cowart visited Florida recently and admits the Gators impressed him. He has not named a leader, but the Gators have positioned themselves nicely for Cowart.
Will Muschamp has made no secret about the fact that he likes big cornerbacks. McFadden is 6-3, exactly what Florida is looking for on the perimeter. Along with Quincy Wilson, McFadden was one of the standout cornerbacks for the South Florida Express 7-on-7 team. McFadden has offers from Clemson, FSU, LSU, Notre Dame, Ole Miss and South Carolina, among others.
Though Cole doesn't have the size of McFadden, he has proven to be a lockdown corner in just about every event that he has participated in during the spring and summer. The 5-11, 161-pound defensive back comes from the same high school that produced four-star defensive back Tracy Howard. Cole and McFadden will be two of the highest-rated defensive backs on Florida's recruiting board next year.
Burgess-Becker made the switch to wide receiver after having played safety as a sophomore. He's still raw as far as his route running, but he is extremely athletic and his ball skills are very evident when he plays. The Gators offered Burgess-Becker just a few months ago and he, along with Campbell and Torrance Gibson (Plantation, Fla./American Heritage), will be among the most highly recruited receivers in the state for 2015.