As of now, Florida will enter the season with only 13 offensive linemen. After taking just two linemen in each of the last three recruiting classes, the attrition is starting to show and the gators look to be five players short of a desired 18 lineman.
Two of those 13 linemen are seniors meaning just 11 linemen return to the 2013 squad, seven short of the desired amount. The following year, five seniors will leave. That is exactly why class of 2013 offensive line recruiting is so important.
The Gators seem primed to make a move along the offensive line and I would expect it to start sooner rather than later. They will undoubtedly try to add five to the mix and a mixture of guard and tackle types, but as you will hear from most line coaches, just get the best players available.
For this segment we have divided the offensive lone up in several groups. Namely guard and tackle, but then also by geographical regions that are favorable to Florida and maybe areas that haven't been as favorable.
It usually starts with the tackles and we will start in the South, where Will Muschamp has really made a push to try and land most of his recruits when possible and especially in Florida.
Number one on any list when it comes to Florida offensive line recruiting has to be Laremy Tunsil (6-6, 275) of Lake City (FL) Columbia. I can remember seeing Tunsil as a sophomore when going to visit another prospect at his school. And the kid was a man among boys two years ago. Now, he is arguably the best lineman in the country and certainly the best in the state of Florida.
Florida seems to have a few things going for them. He evidently grew up a fan of the school, he has already listed Florida among his top two schools in the last couple of weeks, he lives an hour away from Florida's campus, and there are likely more. Florida should be in this race until the end and Tunsil currently says that signing day is his target day to announce, but time will tell whether that actually happens or not.
Staying in state is something that Will Muschamp has tried to do with his recruiting and so far all ten commitments from the 2013 class play high school football in Florida. One of the newest offers on the table went out to Roderick Johnson (6-4, 280) of Delray Beach (FL) American Heritage and Florida seems to be his best offer at the moment usually indicating the staff did their homework and other big programs will trail soon. Johnson has already told the Florida staff he will visit sometime this spring.
Close but just out of state Joshua Outlaw (6-4, 290) of Lithonia (GA) Martin Luther King has an offer from the Gators. He visited Florida for Junior Day last week and left with a very good feeling about the Gators. Some believed he would almost commit to Florida, but either way, this one looks promising at this point.
Four more offers have gone to southern tackle type linemen. Believing that distance is a huge factor, we should keep on these guys that aren't too far away from a big time program like Florida… Hunter Bivin (6-7, 288) of Owensboro (KY) Apollo, Derwin Gray (6-5, 285) of Washington (DC) Friendship Collegiate Academy, and Shamire DeVine (6-7, 332) East Point (GA) Tri Cities who seems to favor three other programs at this point.
One more big time and massive lineman but in the Junior College ranks is Trenton Brown (6-7, 345) of Albany (GA) Georgia Military College. Brown just got an offer in the last week and provides an opportunity to sign an extra lineman because he will be in a different graduating class than the others.
Florida also has their strong pockets of recruiting that they hit every once in a while. Mike McGlinchey (6-8, 280) of Philadelphia (PA) William Penn Charter is in one of those areas and happens to be a friend of Florida 2012 signee Colin Thompson. McGlinchey received a Florida offer last week. Patrick Kugler (6-5, 280) of Wexford (PA) North Allegheny is in the same general area. Kugler happened to be looking hard at Boise State for various reasons and offered by Florida before the end of regular season and before former Boise State offensive coordinator Brent Pease was even a thought at Florida.
Florida has also seemed to do well in New Jersey and one of the highest on their board right now seems to be Marcell Lazard (6-5, 280) of Bloomfield (NJ) Bloomfield who plans on visiting Florida this spring. Lazard was recently quoted, "I think that coach Muschamp is going to be able to do even better things there," Lazard said. "I'm just excited where they're going to go, and they're also a good football school."
Florida also has offers out to prospects from areas that haven't been so Gator friendly, but to guys they think can help them. Poet Thomas (6-6, 295) of Beverly Hills (MI) Country Day is currently a star on defense now and Florida is first big offer. Ethan Pocic (6-7, 290) of Lemont (IL) Lemont has a recent offer and the Gators are in his top ten which is a Who's Who of college football powers. Darius Latham (6-5, 285) of Indianapolis (IN) North Central is another one that plays mostly defense, but Florida likes on the offensive side of the ball and has offered. John Montelus (6-5, 295) of Everett (MA) Everett has a recent offer and will visit Florida in the spring
Three other tackle types without offers but to watch are Joey Bloomfield (6-6, 300) of Louisville (KY) Ballard, Brad Henson (6-5, 270) of Tom's River (NJ) Monsignor Donovan, and Kyle Meadows (6-6, 275) of West Chester (OH) Lakota West HS. Meadows says that Florida is his dream school.
The list is shorter at guard right now, but certainly the Gators will need to add some inside help as well.
They may do well to start in state and try to land Joe Fennell (6-4, 300) of Fort Myers (FL) South Fort Myers. In a January 12, US Army Bowl Combine interview with Chad Simmons, the only school Fennel would name is Florida. He lists an offer from the Gators.
Joe Fennell A very recent offer went out in the Tar Heel State. Tyrone Crowder (6-3, 320) of Rockingham (NC) Richmond County resides in a state that Florida dominated in recruiting a year ago.
Back in New Jersey, Brendan Mahon (6-5, 302) of Randolph, (NJ) Randolph says he will visit Florida this spring and has an offer. Cameron Dillard (6-3, 285) of Canton (MI) Canton says he grew up a Florida fan.
Two guard prospects without Florida offers to keep an eye on moving forward are Denver Kirkland (6-4, 290) of Miami (FL) Booker T Washington who is somewhat of a Florida fan growing up, but really likes Southern Cal. Dipping into Miami is never a bad thing. Jack Kurzu (6-5, 302) of St. Louis (MO) Mary Institute and St. Louis is the son of Gator Great Bob Kurzu. Kurzu came to Junior Day and will return to camp in June.
Florida seems to really want to sign a center in this class as well. Two top targets with offers include Brandon Kublanow (6-3, 290) of Marietta (GA) Walton and Josh Cardiello (6-3, 280) Buford (GA) Buford. Cardiello's mom went to FSU and dad played at FAMU. Lots of family members were Noles and the Gators may have work to do there, but he did visit and enjoy Junior Day last week in Gainesville.
Every week night for the last two weeks it seems there has been a new offer or two going out so getting this list out now may be missing a name or two that pop up in the mean time. All that does is impress more on the fact that they really have to sign a large group of linemen in this 2013 class and one way to do that is to offer as much quality as they can and get them to visit.