Florida Gators: Stefon Diggs

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- There's no consolation prize when you lose a recruiting battle, just an empty feeling and an empty space on the big board.

It hurts even more to lose a player on signing day, when there is no tomorrow and no other players on the big board to turn to.

Under coach Will Muschamp, Florida has had its share of wins on the recruiting trail. It's also had some impactful losses.

Here's a look at some of the top players the Gators missed on in recent years.

2011
ESPN class rank: No. 12


[+] EnlargeTimmy Jernigan
Melina Vastola/USA TODAY SportsThe Gators were once a frontrunner for Timmy Jernigan, but he ended up at FSU where he became one of the nation's top defensive tackles.
It would hardly be fair to pin most of the Gators' head-to-head recruiting losses in this class on Muschamp, who was hired in mid-December 2010. He inherited a recruiting class ranked in the top 10 from then-retired coach Urban Meyer, and Muschamp was commended for keeping the bulk of the class together. For example, Muschamp had less than a week to make an impression on Nick Waisome before the nation's No. 2-ranked cornerback decommitted from Florida and flipped to FSU. Not Muschamp's fault.

But the head coach and his staff did have several weeks to take the recruiting baton and try to close with a couple of uncommitted gems from the state of Florida. The Gators were considered frontrunners at one time for DT Timmy Jernigan and LB Curt Maggitt, who ended up at Florida State and Tennessee, respectively. In both cases, Muschamp was unable to capitalize on his reputation for defense and lost the two prospects to offensive-minded head coaches.

2012
ESPN class rank: No. 4

The Gators suffered a painful loss in January when DE/LB Jordan Jenkins picked Georgia. He was a top priority and the UF coaching staff had put a lot of time and effort into his recruitment. The bad news foreshadowed what can only be described as a signing day nightmare, as Florida struck out with eight uncommitted recruits and another who made his decision shortly thereafter.

Desperate for help at receiver, Florida was spurned by two of the top prospects in the nation, Nelson Agholor (USC) and Stefon Diggs (Maryland), who have already shown flashes of brilliance on the field. The Trojans were also the beneficiary of defensive tackle Leonard Williams, who said he made up his mind on the morning of signing day. Florida was a painfully close second, and Williams made an instant impact as a freshman starter.

Muschamp also felt good about keeping offensive lineman Avery Young in his home state, but he ended up at Auburn, where he started on last season's national runner-up. Another Floridian, the nation's No. 1 cornerback, Tracy Howard, was considered a lock for the Gators until he took a visit to Miami on the last weekend before signing day and changed his mind.

And who could forget the gripping saga of No. 1 outside linebacker prospect Josh Harvey-Clemons? He announced his decision to go to Georgia in the morning on ESPNU's signing day show. His family was shocked. They wanted him close to home in Valdosta, Ga., and thought he would choose UF. The situation turned surreal when his grandfather and legal guardian refused to sign the letter of intent. It took a full day to sort out, but Harvey-Clemons faxed his letter of intent to attend Georgia the morning after signing day.

2013
ESPN class rank: No. 2


The headline in the local newspaper was "Muschamp set up for stress-free signing day". Indeed, most of the drama took place in January when Florida signed eight early enrollees, including three top-rated players who flipped to Florida late in the process. It was a strong rebound for a coach who took some criticism with the way he closed out his class the year before.

But there were some misses, recruits who could have played a big role for the Gators in what turned out to be a woeful 2013.

Cornerback Jalen Ramsey and defensive lineman DeMarcus Walker, both top-40 prospects in the ESPN 300, picked FSU over Florida. Walker, from Jacksonville, Fla., originally committed to Alabama over UF. When he wavered many thought the Gators would be the beneficiary. Instead he flipped to the Seminoles just before enrolling in January. Ramsey, who had been committed to USC for months, changed his mind when Trojans coach Lane Kiffin came under fire. Instead of choosing the Gators, where his high school teammate QB Max Staver was committed, Ramsey ended up at FSU and made a huge impact as a starter on the Noles' national championship team last season.

Offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil, ranked No. 1 at his position and No. 5 overall, was another tough loss. Like Jernigan two years before, Florida was a frontrunner at one time. Both prospects went to the same high school in Lake City, Fla, just 45 minutes north of Gainesville. Tunsil ended up at Ole Miss, where he started all but four games as a true freshman.

Top five WR comparisons 

November, 14, 2013
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Wide receivers are a dime a dozen. They come in all shapes and sizes and in Costco size amounts. It’s the one position that can provide just about any roster the necessary talent to create plays because there is such a high supply. You don’t necessarily need the highest-profile player in recruiting to succeed at the next level. This has been proven over the years with the likes of Michael Crabtree, Justin Blackmon and even Amari Cooper, who was lightly recruited. Below are our top five players at the wide receiver position and who they remind us of.

Scouts: Diggs stays home 

February, 10, 2012
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Every school prides itself on keeping the best at home and not allowing other programs to come in and take players out of their state. For this reason, Stefon Diggs (Olney, Md./Good Counsel) is a monumental signing for Maryland and we believe this is something they hope this will urge other top in-state prospects to stick with Maryland in the future.

Diggs obviously brings a wealth of versatility to the program. He’s a high profile player that brings exposure in a positive manner and one the Terrapins are hoping will produce early and often.

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Report: Diggs to sign with Maryland 

February, 10, 2012
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Stefon Diggs is expected to sign with Maryland today, according to a unnamed source cited by the Washington Post.

However, the report also stated it wouldn't be a surprise if Diggs chose any of the finalists he's considering. The four-star athlete prospect from Olney (Md.) Good Counsel is also considering Auburn, Florida and Ohio State.

Diggs was originally set to announce his decision at 10 p.m. ET on Comcast SportsNet but has backed out of that. It is unclear when he'll announce his decision, but one is expected today.

Landing Diggs would be a huge coup for the Terrapins, who signed 22 prospects on national signing day. Diggs, who is ranked as the 13th best prospect in the nation, would be the highest rated signee for Maryland since 2006, the Post reported.

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Gators hoping to add Diggs to 2012 class 

February, 10, 2012
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Stefon Diggs
William Wilkerson/ESPN.comStefon Diggs is considering USC, Cal, Florida, Auburn, Ohio State and Maryland.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- It's no secret that Florida has fallen short of what it wanted to accomplish for the 2012 class on offense. But landing four-star wide receiver Stefon Diggs on Friday would instantly provide a home run threat that has been lacking.

Just a few short months ago it looked like the Gators were in a prime position to land a few very skilled offensive playmakers. Then out of nowhere running back Mike Davis decommitted from the Gators and Charlie Weis up and left for Kansas.

The Gators, who appeared to be in the lead for Diggs and Nelson Agholor for months, had to play catch up at the offensive skill positions.

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Stefon Diggs set to decide on Friday 

February, 9, 2012
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The only thing tougher than covering Stefon Diggs on the football field my be predicting his moves in recruiting.

For months, Diggs' list of potential schools has grown and shrank like an accordion, leaving fans, media and recruiters wondering.

The wonderment will reportedly cease on Friday when Diggs, No. 13 in the ESPNU 150, announces his college decision -- nine days after national signing day.

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Diggs sets announcement time 

February, 7, 2012
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Four-star wide receiver Stefon Diggs (Olney, Md./Our Lady of Good Counsel) will announce his college decision this Friday, Feb. 10, according to his high school's twitter account.

The school, @gcfootball, tweeted: "BREAKING NEWS: #GC's Stefon Diggs will announce his college decision LIVE Friday night at 10PM on @csnwashington."

Diggs, who will choose between Florida, Ohio State, Auburn and Maryland, tweeted the following earlier on Tuesday: "Ohio state a great look Florida a great look Auburn a great look .. Although you only can pick one."

Diggs is the No. 3-ranked athlete and the No. 13-ranked player overall in the ESPNU 150.

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Post-signing day SEC Power Rankings

February, 6, 2012
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Now that national signing day is out of the way, we're going to take another look at our SEC power rankings.

You won't see any change really, but we have more confidence in some teams now than we did before:

1. Alabama: The Crimson Tide hauled in the nation's No. 1 recruiting class last week and not only did Nick Saban sign a handful of top-rated players, but he met all of Alabama's major needs with the 2012 class. There are a few freshmen who could make early impacts in Tuscaloosa, including athlete Eddie Williams (Panama City, Fla./Arnold), and wide receivers Chris Black (Jacksonville, Fla./First Coast) and Amari Cooper (Miami, Fla./Miami Northwestern).

2. LSU: The Tigers' class wasn't as highly rated as some recent ones, but Les Miles and his coaches brought in a solid group and there are a few defense players who might see some playing time early. Three starting linebackers need to be replaced and a few freshmen will get their chances. While LSU lost Torshiro Davis ((Shreveport, La./Woodlawn) flipped to Texas, the Tigers brought in ESPNU 150 linebackers Kwon Alexander (Oxford, Ala.) and Ronnie Feist (Edgard, La./West Saint John).

3. Georgia: The Bulldogs needed to get bigger up front and add a couple of playmaking linebackers. Georgia did just that with the handful of athletic defensive linemen signed and grabbed top outside linebacker Josh Harvey-Clemons (Valdosta, Ga./Lowndes), who should thrive in Todd Grantham's 3-4. Georgia's offense could be even better this fall with Keith Marshall (Raleigh, N.C./Millbrook) helping Isaiah Crowell, and the wide receiver depth returning.

4. South Carolina: Talk about underrated. South Carolina didn't make much noise at all on national signing day, but the Gamecocks brought in a very balanced class and have a few players who should contribute early to a team that will yet again compete for the SEC East title. Two freshmen to keep an eye on in 2012 are wide receiver Shaq Roland (Lexington, S.C.) and safety Chaz Elder (College Park, Ga./Benjamin E. Banneker).

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Gators not done recruiting for 2012 

February, 4, 2012
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- While Florida waits on the decision of four-star wide receiver Stefon Diggs on Feb. 10, the Gators are also in search of more offensive line help for the class of 2012.

UF is still pursuing San Mateo (Calif.) College of San Mateo's Fehoko Fanaika. The 6-foot-6, 340-pound guard prospect confirmed he will travel to Florida on Thursday for "a few days."

Fanaika holds offers from Florida, San Diego State, Fresno State, Utah and Kansas, among others.

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High four-star athlete Stefon Diggs (Olney, Md./Good Counsel), ranked No. 13 in the ESPNU 150, stuck to his plan and did not sign Wednesday.

Diggs took official visits to California (Dec. 2), Auburn (Jan. 13), Florida (Jan. 20) and Ohio State (Jan. 27). Other programs including USC, Maryland, Virginia and Virginia Tech could still be in the mix.

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Florida's NSD filled with near misses 

February, 1, 2012
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- The Florida Gators started off Wednesday hoping to build on what already was considered by most to be a highly ranked class. But as the ink on the letters of intent began to dry and faxes started pouring in, the hopes for a No. 1-ranked class faded.

Florida got off to a hot start with nine signatures from committed players before 9 a.m., ET. Outside linebacker Josh Harvey-Clemons then committed to Georgia, followed by cornerback Tracy Howard, who selected Miami over Florida.

The Gators received good news mid-morning when four-star defensive end Dante Fowler Jr., switched his commitment from Florida State to Florida. Fowler had been committed to FSU for more than a year before flipping to Florida.

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What to expect on signing day 

January, 31, 2012
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Will it be boom or bust for the Gators on signing day?

The hoopla actually gets started early, as defensive end Darius Hamilton will make his decision on Tuesday at 8 p.m., ET. He's down to Rutgers, Florida and Miami.

On Wednesday, several top prospects who have the Gators near the top of their lists will announce. Wish so many unknowns heading into signing day, here's a chronological look at announcement details for some of the top prospects.

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Florida recruiting: Hot Five trending 

January, 30, 2012
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. --Two weeks ago GatorNation released its Hot Five list of Florida's top targets remaining on the board. With only a short time remaining until signing day we will revisit that list. Here is the Hot Five prospects and where they are trending.

1. Stefon Diggs (Olney Md./Our Lady of Good Counsel) -- Trending:
Diggs visited Ohio State this past weekend and by all accounts enjoyed his visit to Columbus. He will make his announcement on Feb. 10. Diggs' mother did not make the trip with him, as she did on his Florida visit. The Gators still stand a great chance with him, but Ohio State has certainly closed the gap.We have him as trending down, not because of anything Florida has done, but more based on what Ohio State has done recently.

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Chomp Confidential: Recruiting notes 

January, 26, 2012
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- GatorNation brings you the latest installment of Chomp Confidential, a look inside Florida football recruiting for GatorNation subscribers only. As with anything exclusive, what's reported in the weekly Chomp Confidential must stay here. A few things discussed in this week's update:

• The latest on the quarterback situation
• Will a commit qualify?
• Derek's mock class

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Where UF recruiting stands on offense 

January, 24, 2012
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[+] EnlargeMatt Jones
Davide De Pas2012 running back prospect Matt Jones committed to Florida on Feb. 15, 2011.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- The countdown is on until national signing day. With just over a week left until the big day, Florida's recruiting board is taking its final shape. Here is a position-by-position look at where the Gators currently stand:

QUARTERBACK
Commits: none
Prospects: Skyler Mornhinweg, Paxton Lynch and Jacob Guy

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