Over a month ago Florida finished their June camps with an incredible amount of the top of their actual recruiting board visiting and most of them working out for the coaching staff. I have been at my job for ten years and I have not seen the overall quantity and quality of prospects that have come on their own dime and most work out for the staff as I have this year.
The week or so leading up to and following Friday Night Lights (FNL) , Florida saw a few prospects that were committed decide they wanted off of the Gator Nation train. While FNL was considered a drop n overall talent, there was maybe as much talent on the sidelines watching and in attendance as we have had in a long time. Overall that would be considered a success.
On Monday, it was up in the air about 4-star running back Ray-Ray McCloud. Gator nation felt pretty good about getting the talented back when he announced during the evening on local television. But, the Tampa Sickles star decided he would head a little north and committed to Clemson.
A couple of more defections from the class occurred like mentioned above and things were looking rotten in Denmark, so to speak. Things were a bit downtrodden.
But, fresh off of evaluations from Friday Night Lights, the staff was ready to make a move on another prospect they really liked, a huge target for future quarterback Sheriron Jones in Neptune Beach Fletcher receiver Kalif Jackson. Jackson owns the ball in the air and was absolutely sure that the Gators would eventually offer him. When the offer came, he drove to Gainesville the same day (Tuesday), jumped on it, and it was the first bit of really good news in a while.
Then Thursday everyone was anticipating the commitment of two-way lineman Mike Horton to the Gators. Still, he went quiet for a couple of days leading up and there was a little bit of suspense. When the bell tolled and Horton committed after practice Thursday, the Gator Nation was breathing a sigh of relief somewhat.
But, there was another big fish to fry… so to speak.
The highest rated of the three was set to make an announcement Friday night. Everyone knows that Florida has been able to recruit defense at a higher caliber than offense since the arrival of Will Muschamp, but that doesn’t lessen anything about the importance of getting the commitment of Adonis Thomas, the 6-foot-4, 220 pound outside linebacker from Georgia who spurned national power Alabama to announce for the Gators.
It really is the collection of all three commits, so close together that has changed a little bit of the tide here (see what I did there?).
Now, it is Saturday and the gators are hosting a quartet of stud prospects from both sides of the ball. It was an unexpected visit for most but 5-star defensive ends CeCe Jefferson and Byron Cowart, along with 4-star receivers George Campbell and Ryan Davis made their way to Gainesville and will get quality time with a coaching staff that would love to have all four of them make some real news this weekend.
So, the momentum seems to be swinging back in the favor of the Gators at the moment, something that was fleeting just five days earlier.
If recruiting is all about momentum, then of the three commitments, I can surely say, we ‘needed that’.