With Jim McElwain basically having his coaching staff set, the dead period in recruiting is also upon us. That means his new staff can get out on the trail and actually see these prospects for the first time as Gator coaches. There is a lot of work to do, especially with many of these prospects that are all committed elsewhere.
Here is a look at most of the top prospects that are big targets for the staff that are currently locked in to another school.
Deondre Francois (QB, Bradenton FL, IMG Academy) This Florida State commitment will visit the Gators on January 23 and is a sharp shooter the staff really wants. He has terrific velocity and accuracy on his throws and is an athlete, but really relies on his pocket passing ability on offense. He had a terrific Under Armour All-American week and game.
Bottom Line:Francois is a high priority, but he has a lot of things keeping him committed to Florida State. He does understand the playing time possibilities at Florida and that ias a big factor and one they will try and sell him on big time when he visits.
Lamar Jackson (QB, Boynton Beach FL) This Louisville commitment would have been much higher profile if his grades were in order as a sophomore. He lit things up as a freshman and then again as a junior and senior and now the Gators are hard after him. He throws maybe the best deep ball in the class, one that would remind Gator fans of Chris Leak long passes from days gone by.
Bottom Line:He is committed to a high flying offense in Louisville, but the Gators really do have a very good shot at keeping Jackson closer to home. He will visit on January 30th, right before signing day.
Jaason Lewis (RB, Virginia Beach VA, Ocean Lakes) This monster back that is currently committed to Arizona State is a terrific athlete for his size (6-3, 241). Again, he is nothing like the Gators have on campus now, especially since Matt Jones has decided to move on.
Bottom Line: Lewis already dropped a committed from UCVLA to commit to Arizona State, so another switch wouldn’t be a shock. Still, he seems to be a west coast guy stuck on the east coast. His January 16, official visit should help us learn more of what is going on with him.
D’Anfernee McGriff (RB, Tallahassee FL, Leon)Just a load of a back that could play defense as well. This Auburn commitment had early interest in Florida during this recruiting cycle, but committed to AU pretty early. His size (6-3, 220) and athleticism could lead him to play several different positions but he would be a primo large running back.
Bottom Line: This one seems close to looking okay for Florida. Getting him on campus this month is key and that is priority one. They should go visit him 2-3 times before all is said and done.
Jordan Scarlett (RB, Ft. Lauderdale FL, St. Thomas Aquinas)This Miami commitment has been looking around for some time. Blessed with tremendous speed and quickness, he is not like any back the Gators currently have on campus. From a power house program, Scarlett is a guy that could start right away at Florida.
Bottom Line:This one appears to look good for the Gators at this point. He visits on January 23, and Florida would love to get a public answer from him on that date. The one thing looming beyond that is an official visit to Florida State on January 30.
Van Jefferson (WR, Brentwood TN, Ravenwood) This 6-foot-2.5, 172 pound dynamic receiver is currently committed to Georgia and possesses all the things college coaches are looking for in a receiver. He has good height, great speed, and great agility. He is the son of Tennessee Titan receiver coach Shawn Jefferson, so he has been around football all of his life.
Bottom Line:It appears Georgia might be on the outside looking in and there are a few connections to Florida including the fact both parents were born and raised in Jacksonville. There are more family and friend ties in Florida as well. He is a prospect that really wouldn’t look this way with all the offensive issues the previous staff was having.
Auden Tate (WR, Tampa FL, Wharton) This Florida State commitment has looked Florida’s way even before the last staff was let go. He’s a big receiver (6-4.5, 206) and he has excellent athleticism. He’s another big target for the Gators at a super need position.
Bottom Line: This one looks promising and one that could get away from the Seminoles. He has been looking for a while and will visit the Gators on January 23. One team to watch really closely is Michigan. He grew up a fan of the Wolverines and visited a couple of times in the fall up in Ann Arbor. With Jim Harbaugh at the helm, they have a little mojo going on and could make Tate a priority.
Christian Pellage (OT, Brooksville FL, Nature Coast) This South Carolina monster goes 6-foot-6.5 and 305 pounds. He’s an Under Armour All-American and doesn’t live far from Gainesville. Pellage is raw and a recent growth spurt means he needs to get used to his newfound size, but he looks to have a very promising future on the offensive line.
Bottom Line: Pellage visits this weekend and this trip will go a long way in his decision making process as a lot of people believe the Gators are right there for him. He is however still committed to South Carolina and he is saving that official visit for the last weekend before signing day.
Tyree St. Louis (OT, Bradenton FL, IMG Academy) This Under Armour All-American lineman and Miami commit had a terrific senior season and also a terrific showing at the event, even after arriving late as a substitute for injury. Teammates of Francois he would be a great get.
Bottom Line: There are people close to St. Louis that really want him to stick with Miami. As bad as it seems down there, his parents want him there from what I understand.
G.G. Robinson (TE/DE, Lilburn GA, Parkview) A recent offer from the Gators has this Louisville commitment interested. He is listed as a tight end on Scout and at 6-foot-3, 260 he could end up on either side of the ball. Terrific burst out of his stance, the offensive and defensive coaches would have to fight over this one.
Bottom Line: No doubt he was excited to get the Florida offer. He is scheduled to visit that last weekend and with a jumbo athlete of his ability I can’t imagine them not taking him then if he wants to come. It is still too early in his recruitment from Florida to know if they can turn him.
Quandeski Whitlow (DE, Opelika AL) The South Carolina commitment goes 6-foot-4 and 228 pounds and is quite different than the two main guys they are recruiting at defensive end.
Bottom Line: This is one that defensive coordinator Geoff Collins got on early after he arrived in Gainesville and someone he recruited at Mississippi State. There is a real solid chance here and we should here more as the month progresses. He visits the last weekend before signing day.
Derrick Graham (LB, Wauchula FL, Hardee County) This Arkansas commit from the Sunshine State came to camp with the old staff and the 6-foot-3.5, 217 pound athletic head hunter earned a scholarship offer. He is a sideline to sideline guy, rangy and a sure tackler.
Bottom Line: Graham is a guy that you would think we would hear more about since he was committed to Randy Shannon at Arkansas who would have been his position coach. There just hasn’t been a lot of talk here, but he is still one to watch.
Adonis Thomas (LB, Lawrenceville GA, Central Gwinnett) The former Gator commitment is currently committed to Alabama and is already physically ready to play in the SEC at 6-foot-3 and 219 pounds. Recruited as more of a SAM backer and pass rusher type early on, Thomas showed a lot of ability to play middle linebacker in his senior season.
Bottom Line: This one won’t be easy. He really wants to visit Florida, but the pressure to stay firm to Alabama and not visit will be there. I think he visits, not willing to say he flips at this point.
Carlton Davis (DB, Miami FL, Norland) This South Florida super defensive back is committed to Ohio State. At 6-foot-2, 215 pounds he can play a little cornerback as well as safety, a lot like the old staff really liked to recruit and play.
Bottom Line: Ohio State is putting a lot of pressure on Davis to not visit. He seems sold on the Buckeyes, but Randy Shannon will continue to make a push for him to visit the Gators and see everything Florida has to offer.
Jeremiah Dinson (CB, Hialeah FL, American) This Kentucky commitment now has five SEC offers and is on the rise. Shannon was recruiting him to Arkansas for his athleticism and the fact he is 5-foot-11 with that athleticism.
Bottom Line: Auburn just offered him, but Dinson is visiting Florida this weekend and the expectation is that he will switch his commitment. This would be a great find at a position that a month ago was basically dormant with realistic targets.