NCF On The Trail: C.J. Worton

National signing day is a huge day for future college football stars. It's a crazy day for fans. And it's a very important day for college coaches.

Signing days can make or break programs, as those noisy fax machines provide an early glimpse into the future.

Some coaches make a killing on signing day, some kick back because their classes are already pretty much taken care of, and others sweat and grind down those nails. On Wednesday, the SEC should yet again bathe in the glory that is a successful signing day, but there are still some coaches who need to have big days as they guide their programs forward.

Who are some of those SEC coaches this year? Let's take a look:

Bret Bielema, Arkansas: It's no secret that Bielema's first season in Fayetteville wasn't much of a success, but a strong closing on signing day could provide this program with some much-needed momentum. What Bielema needed in this class was depth up front on both sides of that ball and help at receiver, linebacker and in the secondary. Getting eight total linemen helps, and ESPN 300 defensive tackle Bijhon Jackson (El Dorado, Ark./El Dorado) could make an immediate impact.

Still, the Razorbacks are looking to secure letters of intent from ESPN 300 defensive end Solomon Thomas (Coppell, Texas/Coppell), who visited Fayetteville on Jan. 24. He'd be a major snag, as would be four-star linebacker Sharieff Rhaheed (Fort Pierce, Fla./Fort Pierce Central) and Florida State athlete commit JoJo Robinson (Miami/Miami Northwestern). Finding another receiver and getting any of these targets would certainly bolster a class that currently ranks No. 32 in the ESPN RecruitingNation class rankings and would provide Bielema with the quality players he needs to help get things going at Arkansas.

Will Muschamp, Florida: The Gators have been hot on the recruiting trail since the 2013 season ended. It's almost as if last year's 4-8 record didn't even happen. But Muschamp is still holding out hope on a handful of talented prospects who could help make an immediate impact for a Florida team looking to get back to national relevancy. Five-star defensive end Lorenzo Carter (Norcross, Ga./Norcross) would be a major get for the Gators, who need depth at the linebacker/defensive end hybrid Buck position. Florida is also looking for another playmaker on offense, and five-star cornerback Adoree' Jackson (Gardena, Calif./Junipero Serra) could be that guy. Florida would let him play either side of the ball, and the Gators' track and field program is very attractive to Jackson.

Florida also needs another receiver and is looking to add depth at quarterback and on the offensive line. Former Florida State wide receiver commit C.J. Worton (Homestead, Fla./South Dade) could join this class, while current FSU quarterback commit Treon Harris (Miami/Booker T. Washington) is seriously considering the Gators. ESPN 300 offensive tackle Damian Prince (Forestville, Md./Bishop McNamara) is fresh off a visit to Florida and would be a big addition at a position that needs help going forward. Muschamp did really well in January, but there are still guys at positions of need that Florida needs to close with.

Derek Mason, Vanderbilt: He was way behind the 8 ball before he even stepped on Vanderbilt's campus, but Mason grabbed some major momentum over the weekend with six commitments. After dipping into single digits after Mason arrived, Vanderbilt is back up to 17 verbals in this class. Mason has already done a good job of filling this class back out, but he'd like to add some more quality bodies on Wednesday.

Keep an eye on ESPN 300 defensive tackle Nifae Lealao (Sacramento, Calif./Capital Christian), who is fresh off of a visit to Vandy. He's someone who could provide early help up front. The Commodores are also still in the hunt for Tennessee ESPN 300 defensive end commit Derek Barnett (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood Academy). Grabbing another wide receiver and running back would also be a nice way to close as Mason looks to provide Vandy's fan base with a little more excitement on signing day.

Gators lose WR Ermon Lane

January, 10, 2014
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The Florida Gators have lost another member of their 2014 recruiting class.

This time it’s ESPN 300 wide receiver Ermon Lane (Homestead, Fla./Homestead) who announced on Twitter that he was backing off of his pledge to Florida.



Lane’s decision didn’t come as a surprise to many Florida fans. Lane is close friends with running back Dalvin Cook (Miami/Central), who flipped his commitment from Florida to Florida State less than two weeks ago. Lane, the No. 28-ranked player in the country, has set up only one official visit and that is to FSU on Jan. 31, the weekend before national signing day.

In the last two week the Gators have lost three ESPN 300 recruits, Lane, Cook and Chris Lammons (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./Plantation), while adding, Jalen Tabor (Washington, D.C./Friendship Academy), Brandon Powell (Deerfield Beach, Fla/Deerfield Beach), Gerald Willis III (New Orleans/Edna Karr) and Kavaris Harkless (Jacksonville, Fla./Trinity Christian) during that same time period.

It appears the Florida coaching staff suspected this could potentially happen. The Gators recently offered wide receivers De’Andre Thompkins (Swansboro, N.C./Swansboro), a Penn State commit and Florida State commit C.J. Worton (Homestead, Fla/South Dade). Worton is planning to visit Florida this month.

The Gators now have 20 verbal commitments including 11 ranked in the ESPN 300.

Summer recruit wrap: Florida State 

July, 23, 2013
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NoleNation looks at 10 themes of Florida State's 2014 recruiting class to date:

FSU recruiting: Positions of need 

July, 2, 2013
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NoleNation takes a quick look at five positions of need in this 2014 recruiting class.

Offensive tackle

Florida State enters this 2013 with only one certain starter at offensive tackle. Cam Erving, the starting left tackle, is a redshirt junior and could very well jump to the NFL draft after this season, given his high projections. Bobby Hart has played a lot in his first two seasons and could end up being the right tackle. From the Class of 2013, just Wilson Bell is capable of playing tackle, but could just as well end up on the interior depending on how things shake out.

Commitments: Ethan Frith (Summit, Miss./North Pike)

Top targets: Damian Prince (Forestville, Md./Bishop McNamara), Roderick Johnson (Florissant, Mo./Hazelwood Central)


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This weekend gave Florida State a chance to improve its standing with commitment C.J. Worton (Homestead, Fla./South Dade) amid the speculation of Miami's increased influence.


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James Coley's departure to Miami has already made an impact. Joseph Yearby (Miami/Central), a former Florida State commitment, switched to the Hurricanes since the change was made.

And now Coley is hoping it can happen again with wide receiver C.J. Worton (Homestead, Fla./South Dade). Miami recently offered the Florida State commitment and gave him something new to think about.


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FSU's six 2014 pledges all on Watch List 

September, 27, 2012
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Earning and accepting commitments of underclassmen comes with a certain degree of risk.

Coaches know more often than not how they will fill out, where they can project and what to expect of these prospects by the time they are seniors. But still, a lot can happen in a year.

Florida State has six commitments in the 2014 class. And they all come from the state of Florida.


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C.J. Worton (Homestead, Fla./South Dade) didn't wait long.

Having been offered just after the July session of the Jimbo Fisher Camp, the 2014 wide receiver jumped on opportunity to join Florida State's class.

[+] EnlargeChristopher Worton
Tom Hauck/ESPNHS2014 wide receiver C.J. Worton is the Seminoles' fifth commitment in the class of 2014.
"They said the same thing that they have been saying the whole time, that they are excited to have me," Worton said of the coaches reaction.

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