The biggest ongoing story is that of quarterback Sheriron Jones. The Moreno Valley (Calif.) 4-star gun slinger actually showed up late when he missed a connecting flight from the west coast. But, when he arrived he immediately lit the skies up with sharp passes and some deep connections as well.
Jones is a very good talent and there were reports of blisters on the hands of some of the coahing staff trying to catch the ball from him. He's an excellent athlete and a great fit for what offensive coordinator Kurt Roper likes to do on offense.
Every once in a while the ball does sail on Jones, but when watching him it appears he presses when that happens. When he is more relaxed, the ball comes out of his hand great and he can put it wherever he needs to put it.
On one occasion that the ball flew way off target sailing out od his hand, Roper yelled at him, "I can make that throw". The two laughed and carried on.
We really expect Jones to get the push to commit on Sunday and we expect him to pull the trigger, but crazier things have not happened I guess.
Big defensive tackle shows up and likes what he sees
He didn't work out but spent most of his day helping defensive line coach Brad Lawing move blocking dummies and just getting into the defensive line drills that lawing was teaching. That was the half of a day that former Florida State commitment Kendrick Norton spent on Saturday.
Kendrick is one half of the defensive tackle combo that Florida has offered in-state. With Andrew Ivie being the other, Norton is the Jacksonville Trinity Catholic star that had the earliest offer from Florida. He recently de-committed from FSU citing the issue of him wanting to visit other college programs. The Gators certainly appear to be deep in this one, but Auburn is not out of the question.
Another Trinity Christian star also showed unexpectedly. Gator commitment Deontai Williams came in swinging. A safety by trade, in this camp setting he was asked to play man coverage and do so in their face. That isn't the strength if Williams' game, but he held his own. Put pads on Williams and he is a beast. Again, not what we had on Saturday.
Great day of offensive linemen
Gator commitment Tyler Jordan was a one man recruiting crew and we got that from all the guys we talked to that have real offers from the staff. Jordan sat a long time with the offensive linemen and watched the training they were getting, but also made sure that Abdul Bello and Jalen Merrick both understood that he wanted to be playing next to them in his college career.
Bello has played six high school games in his career and has 20+ offers. Merrick has played 10 games in his high school career and has 30+ offers. They are a pair of amazing raw potential beasts that the staff spent a great deal of time with.
Bello (left) Merrick (right)
The two also took very well to the teaching from senior Gator linemen Chaz Green, Trenton Brown, and Max Garcia. There was a long period of time in the afternoon where the three Gators were having a great time teaching their craft to these guys that have such a long way to go. The three are allowed to do so because of a new rule that allows football programs to pay players to help with camp.
A pair of receivers to watch
The best two receivers on hand didn't have offers, but will be watched closely and the staff wants them back at camp to work them out and evaluate them some more. Cam Stewart (6-foot-3.5, 190) of Snellville (Ga.) Shiloh is committed to Central Florida and is a big target for quarterbacks that can move very well. Antwan Dixon (5-foot-9, 165) of South Ft Myers is a slot receiver, but is as quick and fast as they get. They will have to think long and hard about Dixon because of who the Gators already have committed, but they just want to see these guys some more to get a better feel for them.
Defensive back doesn't finish the dayBog things were expected from Mobile (Ala.) defensive back Jalen Thompson, but that didn't happen when he didn't come out to finish drills in the second half of the day on Saturday. Thompson showed glimpses earlier in the day but had some issues staying up on the day. Thompson was supposed to commit on August 7, and a week ago most thought it would be a commitment to Florida. Now that doesn't seem like a possibility and he has moved up his commitment to this Monday. He claims it is down to Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi State.
A couple of really young guysOne local prospect to look for is Mayo (Fla.) Lafayette offensive lineman Julio Castillo. The man-child lineman clocks in at 6-foot-5 and 344 pounds. He carries the 340 pounds really well and oh I forgot to mention, he is a 2017 prospect and only 15 years old. "It was very educational," Castillo told us after the camp session. I learned a couple of drills that can help me with my feetwork and things like that." Castillo was expecting more of a combine running cone drills and the like, but instead got position drills and coaching much more than he expected. "It turned out better than I thought," he said. "I love competing with other linemen and things like that." Castillo lives in a town not too far from Gator country where the players and program at Florida are revered. He got to interact a great deal with the Gator linemen on hand and really appreciated them. "They are the best guys in the world," he said of the current Gator players." He also appreciated the coaching from the staff. "The coaches just bond with you," he said before stating what he came away with from the camp. "If you do your job, you will get to a place like the University of Florida." The other newcomer to talk about is even younger. Jack West has yet to play a high school football game. The middle school star a year ago will now move to the high school roster and will actually be a backup because of a returning senior starter at the position. The Saraland (Ala.) freshman already has his first offer (Tulane) and appears to have a huge future ahead of him. We will have more on West, but he spent time with Florida offensive coordintor Kurt Roper following the camp session on the day.