With the addition of Jerome Baker this week to Florida’s recruiting class, the linebacker recruiting board has one of three or four spots now taken and accounted for. While Baker was hardly an afterthought maybe a month ago, in the last two weeks we could see things heating up and come to fruition on Friday. Now the Gators turn to signing 2-3 more at the position.
Jerome Baker (6-1, 205): Pulling Baker out of Cleveland (OH), knowing that Urban Meyer and the Ohio State Buckeyes wanted him was a big time move for the Gators. With 100’s of big time athletes in Florida, a big time school like Ohio State is going to come down and grab one or two in any recruiting cycle, but the numbers aren’t even close the other way. While the Buckeyes can sell offense, the Gators can certainly sell defense at this point and they did. D.J. Durkin was huge in his recruitment and Baker is as athletic a person as you will get at the position. The Gators could point to a similar Jelani Jenkins as a success story for him to look at.
Roquan Smith (6-1. 203) The Opening Numbers:
Sparq: 97.2 (31.0 was 3rd fastest agility shuttle)
Miscellaneous: Smith had an exceptional week in Oregon, I can see his stock move up a little bit. He has been to Florida quite a few times and visited here a couple of weeks ago. He’s almost the exact same size and athlete as Baker. Georgia feels real good about Roquan and Florida feels like they have a legit shot still. Florida has shown him the absolute need for linebackers and he knows of that need. He is in no hurry to get things done.
Adonis Thomas (6-3, 219) The Opening Numbers
He has great measurable and that was represented in his SPARQ score above. Thomas is a big backer that will grow to 240-250 pounds so a much different prospect than baker or Smith. He will commit publicly on August 1st and the Gators are the overwhelming favorites at this point. Alabama is next on the list.
Jeffrey Holland (6-3, 230): Holland wasn’t at The Opening, I surmise because he didn’t attend any of the NIKE combines this year. He is a freakish athlete that doesn’t spend a ton of time in the weight room but still can do things not a lot of players can do. At 230+ pounds he can do a standing front flip. This battle is going to come down to Florida and Auburn. He is actually an Auburn legacy, but I haven’t been able to figure out who in his family played for the Tigers. But, he has visited Florida far more times. I think Florida can have three solid commits at linebacker and Holland would not care one bit. It is true that one of the bog things that originally attracted Florida to Holland was the fact that they didn’t sign anyone at the position a year ago, but he isn’t worried about anyone in this class. He has no real reason to visit Florida so many times, but he continues to do so. That cannot be ignored.
Te’Von Coney (6-1, 222) Attended The Opening, no combine stuff: Coney is another athletic linebacker that performed well at The Opening. Interestingly enough, one of the things he said on camera to Amy Campbell when asked what prospects in Oregon were trying to recruit him, he said, “Roquan Smith was talking to me about Florida.” But as far as Coney goes, he was close to committing to Florida when he visited in March, but wanted his mom to visit. He says now he will commit sometime in August or the latest in early September. He will try and visit Tennessee, Ohio State, Auburn, Louisville, and Florida again before making a public decision. This one looks pretty good for the Gators at the moment.
Derick Graham (6-3.5, 218): The Hardee County athlete has been hard to get a hold of. I think he is still a take, but have no idea what he is thinking at the moment.
Victor Alexander (5-10, 220): The Gators haven’t made a huge play for Alexander, but he’s a teammate of Holland and despite his lack of ideal size, some say he is the best player at Trinity Christian in Jax.