We talked to FOX Sports NEXT national recruiting analyst Chad Simmons who is on hand at the festivities in Oregon to witness what the star studded camp sessions are producing. He gave us a little insight into some of the players looking at the Gators.
First up is record breaking running back and Gator commitment Kelvin Taylor who may break every national rushing record in the high school books before he is done with this year. Chad Simmons said he was impressed with how Taylor was also a pass catcher on the day. "Great feet and caught the ball well," Simmons said of the South Florida star.
Rising up the recruiting charts is Gator commitment Caleb Brantley, the defensive tackle from nearby Crescent City. Simmons thought Brantley had a very good opening day and came in ready to produce. "Energetic today … bounce in his step and was one of the top DLs on day one," he said.
Of the guys not committed, Josh McNeil was set to announce a school of choice this week and then backed out of that and has now included Florida back in bthe mix and wants to trip to Gainesville sometime soon. The tight end from North Carolina has the intangibles to be a good one.
"Great lower-body strength and caught the ball well today," Simmons said of McNeil. "He needs to work on routes."
Miami offensive lineman Denver Kirkland has had a couple of impressive camps this summer, but according to Simmons, the big man wasn't having a good day on Friday.
"Was pushed as much as he probably has been, today," he said. "He needs to work on flexibility and stamina."
Another prospect that has really been rising up the charts as well is Tampa Hillsborough linebacker / end Jordan Sherit. The gators see him as a BUCK and are as inside on his commitment as anyone it seems. He really impressed Simmons with the way he moved around in open space.
"Keeps on impressing me athletically," Simmons said of Sherit. "He will be a kid that can play in space as an OLB or with his hand down as a rush end on the next level."
Along with Sherit, Jacksonville Sandalwood defensive end Demarcus Walker is of high priority for the Gators. Simmons likes the strength that Walker possesses up front.
"He just keeps getting bigger it looks like," Simmons said of Walker. "He moves well, he has good punch, and could be an inside or outside guy depending on the system."
Five-star DT Eddie Vanderdoes out of Auburn (CA) is someone kind of new to the Gators board and he was a guy that impressed Simmons a great deal.
"I really liked what I saw in Vanderdoes," Simmons said. "He got off the ball well, he is a quick interior DL, and he stood out on day one."
Stay tuned as we bring you more coverage of The Opening at FOX Sports NEXT.