Simmons Talks Gators' Recruiting

Every couple of weeks or so we are going to spend some time with FOX Sports NEXT National Recruiting Analyst Chad Simmons on the state of Florida recruiting. Simmons is in charge of the southeast rankings of our network and spends countless hours each week doing his job. This week we touched on a couple of commitments that moved way up the newest rankings and

1. What can you tell us about Marqui Hawkins that you don't know? Is he going to be one that is hard to hold on to for Florida given the school he goes to?

Chad Simmons: "I think Florida is in very good shape to hang onto Hawkins. He has always liked UF, they offered him fairly early, and he feels good about the staff at Florida. As far as a prospect, he has a lot of raw talent. He is long, he could play multiple positions on the next level, and he is athletic. He is one I liked coming out of middle school and had high hopes for as a prospect. He has shown flashes of what was expected, but he has not made that jump just yet to be that top prospect in the Peach State. He still has a senior season ahead of him and he has a lot of tools I like in a skill player. There is no doubt his best football is ahead of him."

2. Caleb Brantley moved up almost 100 spots or so in the new Scout300... what do you see in him as a player that puts him near the middle of that list now?
Chad Simmons: "The biggest thing I like about Brantley is his first step off the ball. He really gets off the ball quickly and he does it with good leverage. He has very good lower-body strength and he is only going to get stronger up top. Seeing prospects in person is so important for me, so seeing him at NIKE was great. He is at least 6-feet 2-inches tall, around 300 pounds, and he is athletic. He did have a tough time with Ira Denson in the 1on1 session, but everybody did. He showed good agility in the drills and I left feeling good about Brantley is a mid level four star for us on Scout."

3. Quinton Powell also made a huge jump in the rankings. Certainly he has had a good camp circuit, what do you think of his skills?
Chad Simmons: "Powell has been on and off for me this spring, but he has shown a lot of athleticism each time I have seen him. He was much better in his drops and moving in space at the NIKE Camp in Orlando than I had seen him in the past. He is very long, he has a frame that can add another 20-25 pounds, and he blazed through the drills showing quick feet and the ability to change direction. He plays a lot on film with his hand down, so seeing him at linebacker a few times in person this spring has been very valuable."

4. A lot of folks want to know about Demarcus Robinson. Talk about him as a player and even more, what you know of a possibility of Florida landing the talented receiver?
Chad Simmons: "As a player, Robinson is a wide receiver that does a lot of things well. He is not the fastest wideout and he needs to work on his speed down field, but he is one of the best blockers and route runners I have seen. When he wants to, he can take over a game at that position on the high school level. He still needs to add strength, but he catches the ball very well, he uses his body to his advantage, he is a great blocker on the edge, and he is a go-getter in jump ball situations. On the recruiting front, it is tough to get a great read on Robinson. He is a quiet kid from a country town in Georgia and he does not give away too much. Florida has always been in his top two though – Sometimes with Alabama and sometimes with Georgia. I expect Florida to be there to the end if they choose to be."

5. Florida is off to a quick start this recruiting cycle and ranked number four nationally on Scout / FOX Sports NEXT. What are the strengths of the class as you see it?
Chad Simmons: "There class is pretty balanced at the moment, but if I had to pick out a strength, it would be in the skill guys on the offensive side of the ball. Kelvin Taylor, Ahmad Fulwood, and Rodney Adams all are play-makers. Taylor will carry the ball often for Florida as soon as he steps on campus. I am not sure there is a more college-ready RB out there than him. Fulwood gives UF that big target and redzone weapon and Adams is a sneaky fast receiver that can stretch the field. That stands out to me the most at this time."

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