Early Advantage

The University of Florida starts classes on Monday and seven prospects from the 2014 class are expected to show up early and before signing day, allowing them to be eligible for spring ball. The Gators have used this as an advantage for many years now and seem to always have a hand full or more prospects that take advantage of graduating high school early.

Florida has a quintet of prospects entering school early on the offensive side of the ball. A quick look at the positional needs and there likely isn't a better group that they could have come in and be able to compete and prepare themselves for playing time in 2014.

At the lead position is US Army All-American quarterback Will Grier. Grier comes in with the strong arm and the strong background in knowing the position. Florida was down to two scholarship quarterbacks after transfers last month and Grier's early arrival means he can get a leg up on learning Florida's new offense and will have to be prepared to play in 2014.

Grier's numbers in high school were a bit ridiculous. The Davidson (N.C.) native passed for 14,565 yards, 195 touchdowns and 27 interceptions. Florida's new spread offense seems to be a great fit for his athletic ability as well as he rushed for 2,955 yards and 31 touchdowns in his high school career.

Florida has been hard pressed to find quality personnel at the tight end position that can actually get on the field and play. That may be rectified a bit with the early arrival of Derby (Kan.) athletic tight end DeAndre Goolsby. At 6-foot-5 and 235 pounds, Goolsby has excellent size to go along with his athleticism for the position.

Florida worked hard and had a bit of luck in landing three offensive linemen that should enroll in classes on Monday. The Gators return only nine offensive linemen from last year's team and getting three in that can compete immediately for playing time was huge.

Mt. Pleasant (S.C.) offensive guard Nolan Kelleher committed to the Gators back in August and has never wavered. Kelleher is one of the more highly rated of the linemen in the class and is a physical specimen that should be able to compete for playing time in year one on campus.

Early in the month, Florida got a surprise commitment from Tyler (Tex.) Tyler Jnuir College offensive tackle Drew Sarvary. Originally from Tallahassee, Sarvary signed with Florida A&M out of high school and played well as a freshman. Not happy with the Rattlers, Sarvary went the Junior College route and graduated at Tyler in a year. Now he is a 6-foot-7, 310 pound junior tackle that should be ready to compete with the other linemen on campus for playing time.

The latest surprise for Florida comes from tehe sudden commitment of Kavaris Harkless of Jacksonville (Fla.) Trinity Christian. The 6-foot-5, 285 pound Harkless was committed to Louisville until head coach Charlie Strong moved on. Florida put itself in position to land the athletic tackle by recruiting him hard late in the process and showing Harkless what kind of need he is. Harkless flipped his commitment on Sunday and is expected to enroll in classes on Monday at Florida.

If there was one guy in the group that will have a little bit of an uphill climb to see playing time in 2014 it is Casper (Wy.) defensive lineman Taven Bryan. The Gators do have some playing time available on defense, but not nearly as much as the positions we have already mentioned on offense. Still, bryan is doing himself a huge favor by showing up early, getting into the training program, and learning the defense.

Back to a need position, Cross City (Fla.) Dixie County cornerback Duke Dawson will arrive on campus as soon as he is back from the Semper Fidelis All-American Game. The Gators lost four players that have played prominent roles at cornerback for Florida since the end of the season. Seniors Jeremy Brown and Jaylen Watkins, and juniors Loucheiz Purifoy and Marcus Roberson are all heading away from the squad.

Dawson is a physical player that has the build to play in year one. He plays the game with a mean streak and his tenacious play is just what the Florida staff loves in a cornerback.

Filling need positions is so key in recruiting and in this case, getting seven prospects in early to learn the offensive and defensive systems is huge for a program in need of a talent infusion and positive play on both sides of the ball.


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