- Derek Tyson, RecruitingNation
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.
Left tackle Xavier Nixon, left guard James Wilson, wide receivers Frankie Hammond Jr. and Omarius Hines, running back Mike Gillislee and safety Josh Evans graduated, and after safety Matt Elam left for the NFL after a strong junior season.
Help is on the way
Former Nebraska right tackle Tyler Moore and juco transfer Trenton Brown should help soften the blow of losing Nixon and Wilson. With D.J. Humphries, Jon Halapio and Chaz Green returning and Maryland transfer Max Garcia eligible to play next season, Moore and Brown should at the very least provide valuable depth along the line.
The Florida wide receiving corps was heavily scrutinized last season and was a key area that the Gators wanted to address in recruiting. Though only a freshman, early enrollee Demarcus Robinson will help replace Hammond and Hines. Robinson is the highest rated of Florida's five WR commits and he is the only one to enroll early. ESPN 150 athlete Alvin Bailey will likely start off as a slot receiver and should be a weapon on special teams early in his career.
Four-star receiver Ahmad Fulwood, with his 6-foot-4 frame, could be a weapon in the red zone early in his career.
Despite having the No. 1-ranked class, the Gators would still like to add another defensive end. Jordan Sherit and Antonio Riles are committed, but Sherit is coming off an ACL injury, and Riles could eventually move inside to tackle with his 6-4, 271-pound frame.
Kelvin Taylor, the No. 1-ranked running back in the country, should help fill the void left by Gillislee. Taylor is already on campus and will compete in spring football. ESPN 300 RB Adam Lane should also help add depth as a freshman.
Other key commits
Five-star and Under Armour All-America game MVP Vernon Hargreaves III, might be the most ready-to-play recruit committed to Florida. The son of a college coach, Hargreaves has all the intangibles to get on the field early in his career at cornerback.
After losing Omar Hunter to graduation and Sharrif Floyd to the draft, the Gators needed depth along the defensive line. Junior college transfer Darious Cummings will almost certainly provide immediate depth along the interior of the defense.
Cummings and committed defensive tackle Caleb Brantley will likely compete for playing time early on.
Other key targets
Despite having the top recruiting class, the Gators are very much in the picture for several other top targets. Defensive end Robert Nkemdiche, the No. 1-ranked player in the country, is at the top of the Gators' list. Nkemdiche will be hard to pull from Ole Miss, but the Gators have a chance.
USC cornerback commit Jalen Ramsey has been wavering, and the Gators have an opportunity to get the talented corner to switch his commitment. Defensive tackle Montravius Adams is a long shot but was impressed with his official visit to Florida.
Florida is also in on defensive tackle Jay-nard Bostwick and Auburn defensive end commit Tashawn Bower. Florida recently offered wide receiver Ryan Timmons, and another wide receiver, James Clark, is still in the picture for the Gators.
4dTom VanHaaren and Erik McKinney