Experts chime in on Gators in-state prospects

With signing day less than three months away we continue a look at the Gators' top 2014 prospects as they are viewed by our experts. These folks have their hands on the pulse of the areas they cover. Today we take at look at Florida and big time prospects like WR Travis Rudolph, RB Bo Scarbrough, OT David Sharpe, and athlete Moral Stephens.

Four-star receiver Travis Rudolph is an electric receiver from West Palm Beach (Fla.) Cardinal Newman HS. National recruiting analyst Jamie Newberg deals with Rudolph and knows about his game.

"Travis is still underrated and underappreciated," Newberg told "This kid is so good on both sides of the ball. Seriously, he could play wide receiver or safety at the next level. But I think you have to play him on offense, just too good and too much of a weapon in the passing game. He has strong hands and runs good routes for a high school kid. And he has deceptive speed. He can make a lot of things happen."

Travis Rudolph

The Gators have been in it with Rudolph for quite a while now, but the relationship has taken its twists and turns over the year.

"Rudolph has had a couple of visits already and he talked up Ohio State pretty good," Newberg said. "I do believe though in the end this former Miami commitment will stay in-state - three team battle between the Gators, Seminoles and 'Canes. But don't sleep on Ohio State."

The Gators are finding out the hard way about the need of depth at running back. With the starter out and the back up a little injured, the gators have played four different players at the position so far this year.

With that in mind, the talented Bo Scarbrough has elite size and speed for the position and someone the Gators covet. The Bradenton (Fla.) IMG Academy senior is having a terrific senior year after transferring from Alabama.

"Bo is just a freak," Newberg said. "There is no other way to say it. I kind of compare him to Derrick Henry from last season only he's a little more athletic. They have a similar frame and structure. I certainly believe he can play running back in college. I thought the same last year with Henry. But I believe Bo has a little more athleticism and versatility to switch to another position. Having said that, I would first start him out at running back and see where that goes."

Bo Scarbrough

Currently committed to the Crimson Tide, Scarbrough will be making official visits to other schools and has already done so.

"It remains to be seen what will happen with his recruitment," Newberg said. "Everyone keeps saying he won't sign with Alabama, but he remains committed. Florida, FSU, and others are in hot pursuit." added analyst Patrick Burnham to the mix in their scouting and recruiting coverage. Burnham comes by way of USF where he was a player personnel director. He has hand in football for years.

One of the prospects he has seen in person and knows a lot about is prized four-star offensive tackle David Sharpe of Jacksonville (Fla.) Providence HS. The 4-star prospect is massive and has a basketball background. He is an intriguing prospect.


"As a player he obviously has all the athletic tools that you would want in an offensive left tackle, he is tall with extremely long arms and can bend and has great feet for a guy his size," Burnham said. "He is obviously very athletic and runs well and can block out in space. He is a better pass blocker at this point I believe. While he possesses all the physical tools colleges are looking he needs to play with a lot more consistency and with sustained effort. In the game I was saw him in he played very well the first two series of the game and then got tired and started playing with bad fundamentals and was very average the rest of the game. He needs to get stronger in his lower body and come off the ball lower in the run game. He has shown on highlight film the ability to finish blocks but I did not see that in person. If he plays up to his ability and he decides football is for him, the sky is the limit."

Sharpe remains a huge target for the Gators. Florida is still heavily in the mix and teams like Ohio State and Tennessee have recently entered the fray.

Perry (Fla.) Taylor County HS receiver / tight end Moral Stephens waited it out and got an offer from Florida just this week. At 6-foot-3 and 205 pounds, people are split deciding where he will line up at the next level.

"Another kid who is tall, long and athletic," Burnham said of Stephens. "Moral has great hands and catches most everything thrown his way. He is a strong kid who almost exclusively lines up as an outside receiver and of course he creates huge matchup problems at the high school level. He is a very good prospect but he also has a tendency not to play very hard at times. He is a kid that could be a tremendous player. Most people are recruiting him as a TE/H-back/Hybrid type kid from what I gather. He has the athletic ability and can certainly add more weight to his frame to make the transition to the inside. The big question is will he like the physical part of the game?"

Moral Stephens

The Gators like their standing with Stephens and the recent offer. He will be visiting Gainesville this weekend for the Florida-Vandy game and the staff will get another up close and personal look at him.

Stay tuned to as we continue our talks with the national experts that are covering the prospects that the Gators covet.

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