Florida Gators: Jalen Ramsey

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.

GatorNation signing day predictions 

February, 4, 2013
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- The Florida Gators, with the No. 1-ranked recruiting class in the country, have already filled a majority of their class. With signing day just a few short days away, the Gators will look to put the final pieces of the puzzle in place.

GatorNation: Chomp Confidential 

January, 31, 2013
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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:

" Latest on Kennard Swanson
" How many more can Florida take?
" Thursday's in-home visits

Check out the weekly Chomp Confidential.


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GatorNation chat highlights

January, 30, 2013
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GatorNation recruiting reporter Derek Tyson answered UF-related questions via Twitter -- below are the highlights. See the full chat thread here.



Top five remaining targets 

January, 30, 2013
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- One week remains until national signing day and the Gators have their sights set on roughly nine to 12 prospects. Florida has 26 verbal commitments, and with only a few spots remaining, here's a look at the top five prospects who have a chance to be a part of Florida's class.


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GatorNation recruiting mailbag 

January, 29, 2013
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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.

driverag17: Signing day is coming, and obviously we are all really excited to see how everything turns out. However we all know sometimes the recruits wait longer to sign their LOI. Do you see any of our targets going past signing day on their decisions?


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Signing day primer: Florida 

January, 23, 2013
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- There are just a couple of short weeks remaining until national signing day, and the Florida Gators have met a majority of their recruiting needs. With graduation, transfers and players leaving for the NFL draft, there are a few areas Florida head coach Will Muschamp would still like to shore up.

Key holes to fill

The Gators lost key personnel along the offensive line, wide receiver, linebacker, running back and secondary and are hoping to replenish their talent with junior college transfers and incoming freshmen.

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GatorNation recruiting mailbag 

January, 22, 2013
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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.


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Top remaining Florida targets 

January, 15, 2013
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- There is less than a month remaining until national signing day and Florida's 2013 recruiting class is almost completely full. The Gators stand at 27 commitments, eight of whom have already enrolled at UF. With only a few spots remaining, here's a look at some of the top remaining recruits on Florida's board.

[+] EnlargeElijah Daniel
Zach Perry/IntersportThe Gators find themselves in good position for Avon, Ind., defensive end Elijah Daniel.
DE Elijah Daniel (Avon, Ind./Avon) -- The 6-foot-3, 249-pound defensive end was impressive during the Under Armour week. Daniel has taken visits to Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Marshall and will visit Arizona State this weekend and Florida on Feb. 1. The Gators and Ole Miss appear to be the frontrunners for Daniel.


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GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- I was unable to get to all the questions on Wednesday’s weekly chat, but since there were so many -- and the angst from Florida’s Allstate Sugar Bowl loss to Louisville was still fresh -- we decided to answer them today.

Dave (New Jersey): Mike you say we are done with our class at 26? Don't we have 8 EEs that can date back to next year giving us another 6-7 spots open in this class? We lost a lot of bodies so the staff must get at least 31 in this class IMO. Thoughts?

The Gators will try and sign several more players, but Muschamp has gone on record before saying he’s not going to sign players just to fill out a class. I anticipate only two to three more commitments, if that. UF is still after DT Jarran Reed, Jay-nard Bostwick, Montravius Adams, Elijah Daniel, Jason Hatcher, Chris Jones, James Clark, Alex Collins, Jalen Ramsey, Kennard Swanson and Quinton Powell. If Muschamp can get some of those guys, fine, but if not, he won’t just sign guys so he can fill out the class.

RemmyR (Maple Shade, N.J.): Just want to say thanks to you for dropping UF science on us every week!!!

You’re welcome. I enjoy interacting with fans. You guys are the lifeblood of what I do so these chats are the least I can do.

(Read full post)

Gators jump to No. 1 in class rankings 

January, 10, 2013
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- There were some big changes for Florida commits in the final edition of the ESPN 300. The Gators landed 15 players on the list, including 10 in the ESPN 150. With their success on the recruiting front, the Gators moved back into first place in the ESPN class rankings.


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GatorNation recruiting mailbag 

January, 10, 2013
1/10/13
9:03
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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.


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USC commit Ramsey considers options 

January, 2, 2013
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SAN ANTONIO -- ESPN 150 cornerback Jalen Ramsey (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood Academy) has been committed to USC since July 16, but a lot has changed with the Trojans since then.


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GatorNation: Recruiting Mailbag 

December, 28, 2012
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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.

FLAGTR239: Of all the commits, from what you've seen, who do you feel will make an impact next season?

A: With the No. 1-ranked class in the country right now, there are several Florida commitments who I feel will have some sort of impact. Kelvin Taylor will have an impact on the offense. Running back Matt Jones displayed what he's capable of in the win over Florida State, but he'll only be a sophomore. Taylor, who's enrolling in January, will have a chance to learn the offense in the spring and compete for playing time early on. I still believe Jones will start, but Taylor should see plenty of carries. Defensively, Vernon Hargreaves III will be an All-American by the time he leaves Florida. He's an intelligent and physically gifted defensive back. Hargreaves has excelled at every event -- whether 7-on-7s or actual games -- I've seen him play in. Florida has depth at corner, but Hargreaves is just too talented to keep off the field early on.

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ESPN 150 CB Ramsey talks final visit 

December, 20, 2012
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Tennessee is working hard to get back in the race for ESPN 150 cornerback and USC Trojans commit Jalen Ramsey (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood Academy). Apparently, it's going to take a lot more work.

The Volunteers have put the hard press on the No. 1 prospect in the state. Ramsey said he has spoken to new UT coach Butch Jones, running backs coach Jay Graham, defensive coordinator Willie Martinez and tight ends coach Mark Elder since the group was hired this month.

Jones was hired to replace Derek Dooley, who was fired after the 2012 season, and Dooley never had a strong connection with Ramsey. Unlike Dooley, Jones has a history of success at various programs.

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