Closing Time: Defensive Recruiting

It is pretty simple on the defensive side of the ball to close out the 2014 recruiting class. Will Muschamp needs at least one more piece up front on the defensive line to make it a stellar haul and he needs to hold on to cornerback J.C. Jackson at cornerback to end the process. Other than that, the Gators did well to add to the roster on defense.

Will Muschamp has always been able to recruit to defense. This goes back to his days when he was a coordinator or assistant. The fact is, high school players want to play for Muschamp and his bully style of defense. The class of 2014 is no different.

Let's start up front…


Khairi Clark (committed to Florida) - Clark has that rare size and quickness combination that you find on a defensive lineman. After a slow summer last year where his stock fell, he jumped back into form during his senior year and was a star in San Antonio at the US Army All-American Bowl. At 6-foot-2 and 323 pounds, he is absolute load to defend.
Recruitment: An early commitment to Miami, Muschamp and company flipped him to the good guys early in the process. He has been one of the gators better ambassadors on the recruiting trail ever since. He is 99.5% Gator because you can't say never in recruiting.

Thomas Holley (committed to Florida) – Holley seems to be highly underrated and shined well at the practice sessions at the Under Armour All-American game in early January. The 6-foot-4, 295 pound three-technique is a perfect complement to Clark in the defensive front.
Recruitment: One of the wildest recruitments out there, Holley committed to Penn State just days before head coach Bill O'Brien left for the NFL. He tried to stay true to his decision but in the end felt like Florida was where he needed to be. The Gators were oh so close in landing him when he did commit to Penn State and the changes at Florida were very minimal to that up north. He's 99% Gator, because you just never know during this process what can happen.

Overall DT: They got the desired number and quality they wanted and needed at defensive tackle. Nobody should complain about getting both Clark and Holley.


Tevin Bryan (committed and enrolled early at Florida) - All we know about bryan in terms of his prowess on the field is that the staff saw him and loved him both in game action and at camp. He's big at 6-foot-5 and 250 plus pounds and a guy that could eventually move inside, but will get a shot outside.
Recruitment: Was a surprise commitment at the time and did so shortly after camping at Florida. He's enrolled early so he is 100% Gator.

Willis was a great surprise.
Gerald Willis (committed to Florida) – A very quick rusher as a strong side defensive end. He set the state of Louisiana record with 31 sacks in his senior year. At 6-foot-5 and 270 pounds when he is at his biggest, he has the elite size to come in and play right away and prepare to start early in his career.
Recruitment: Most thought he would be LSU bound with him being from New Orleans. But, he visited Gainesville four different times in a three year span and always had the Gators high on his list of schools. It is evident that this has always been the place he wants to be. Lets call him 99%Gator, because you just never know in recruiting what can happen.

Davon Godchaux (committed to LSU) – He's a little bit of an unknown, because he missed his entire senior season after torn ACL and LCL ligaments. The 6-foot-4, 285 pound native of Plaquerine , Louisiana certainly has elite size and early game film to impress big time programs, even with the injury
Recruitment: There was a period in the last couple of weeks where he told some he was de-committing from LSU, but has backed off of that stance now. Still, that commitment is very shaky, and it appears that the Gators are squarely in the mix. He will visit Florida this weekend, the last weekend of the recruiting cycle and then have to make a choice. That choice should come fro LSU, Auburn, and Florida. Due to a few factors, we should keep the possibility of Godchaux a little limited with the chance of that changing after the weekend visit. We can give the gators a 40% chance here.


Justus Reed (committed to Florida) – Reed committed to Florida just before the season and the Gators just liked the fact that he fits the profile for the BUCK position. At 6-foot-4 and 235 pounds Reed has the ability to play with his hand on the ground or not.
Recruitment: Reed committed quickly to the Gators once the offer came. Florida was set to take the commitment of another high profile prospect but decided Reed better fit what they were looking for and pushed for the commitment. The Clearwater Central Catholic prospect is 99% Gator simply because anything can happen.

Carter would make this an elite D-Line haul.
Lorenzo Carter He's the number one target at the BUCK position because he has elite size / speed combination. The five-star prospect is 6-foot-5 and 232 pounds and is a bullet around the edge. He has to work a bit on his hand skills, but there is no denying his immense up-side.
Recruitment: This has been a Florida – Georgia battle forever. There was a time when the Gators were the public leader, but then Georgia tool the helm briefly. He has been calling Florida and Georgia his top two since midseason. The Gators, in my opinion, have a real shot here. They have special plans for his last in-home and we will have to see how that goes, but given everything going on at Florida in the last few months, he must have a real legitimate interest if the gators are still up there. This could turn in to a player vs. parents thing because they may want him to stay close to home, but mom likes the Florida staff and Will Muschamp, so at least they have that going for him. I could very well change my stance in a week, but right now I will battle low with a 40% chance of being a Gator.

Rocel McWilliams (committed to Missouri) – McWilliams is another one with the tools to play the BUCK. Again, it is a hard position to find and at 6-foot-3 and 240 pounds he can scoot around offensive tackles pretty quickly.
Recruitment: He grew up a Gator fan and committed to Missouri when they offered. He likes the Tigers no doubt, but the Florida offer would likely be too hard to turn down on signing day. This one comes down to availability on February 5th. Right now, we will keep the possibility of being a Gator at about 35% until we see what happens that day.

Overall for DE / BUCK: It is quite apparent they want to add a BUCI think numbers may dictate that they only land one more at both positions. I think if they happen to strike big with Carter, they end it there. Overall numbers in the class could dictate otherwise, but if they miss on carter, I think they very well may try and take both Godchaux and McWilliams.


Tabor had a couple of surprises in January for everyone.
Jalen Tabor (committed and enrolled early at Florida) - he is the proto-type of what they are looking for at the cornerback position. At 6-foot-1 and 185 pounds he has tremendous size and strength to compete in the SEC from day one. He will spend the spring on campus fighting for the starting job opposite Vernon Hargreaves.
Recruitment: His may be the most surprising recruitment in the country when the story is all written. Tabor grew up a Gator fan, had guys like Janoris Jenkins and Joe Haden in his ear about Florida, but in the end, wanted to travel to Arizona to play football. He was a huge Under Armour surprise when he committed to the Wildcats over Alabama, the only other hat on the table at the time. Then, less than a week later, he was enrolling at Florida because his parents wouldn't let him go that far away for school. Alabama was never really in it. He is on campus already and 100% Gator now.

Duke Dawson (committed and enrolled early at Florida) – Big and physical is how they like them and that is what you get from Dawson. He may eventually wind up at safety, but will get a shot at cornerback.
Recruitment: A life-long Gator fan, he committed to Florida early and never looked back. He is already enrolled and is 100%G.

Quincy Wilson (committed to Florida) – Another big and physical player at 6-foot-1.5 and 185 pounds, the staff actually believes Wilson will stay at corner. There is such a huge need and his size and quickness are exactly what they are looking for.
Recruitment: Wilson has been rock solid since the day he committed. He has been one of the most vocal recruiters on the recruiting trail for his team. He is the only one of the commitments that isn't enrolled that I will give a 100% committed to.

Deiondre Porter (committed to Florida) - You have to love this kid's agility and explosiveness. He really could play either side of the ball, but as it stands they really need corners. At 6-foot-1 and 185 pounds he is another with elite size for the corner position.
Recruitment: He was committed to South Florida just a week ago, but once the Florida offer came in, his decision was pretty quick. Just to be safe we will call him 99% committed.

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J.C. Jackson (committed to Florida) – As a cornerback, he is so physical. As a receiver, he is super dynamic. He could very well play either side of the ball, but he wants to play defense and that tells me something. He is tough. He was so dominant back at June camp at Florida, there was no way not to fall in love with his physical ability on the field.
Recruitment: He was first committed to Florida State. Then he flipped at the camp in June to Florida. In the last two months there has been more speculation on him than any current commit for Florida. Everybody thinks they know where he wants to go. Some speculate FSU, some say he is all Gator, some say Miami. He has been so in and out with all of it, that there is really no definitive way of calling it. In the end though, his best friend is a Gator. Duke Dawson and he are "brothers" as they put it. He likes to flirt with other schools, but at the end of the day the confidence factor for me is high and I have him at 70% Gator. That could change if he visits somewhere else this weekend, but I am not banking on that at the moment.

Overall Secondary: It is a great haul with or without Jackson, but a big time haul with him. The fact is Florida has a huge need for numbers in the secondary so they need to keep all of them.

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