The Gators have to sign a quarterback and whether that means they go in-state or out-of-state, they have to get at least one in the 2016 class. With that in mind, we have three prospects in the state of Florida that the Gators will likely target hard.
Feliepe Franks will likely be a huge target for the Gators. A strong armed quarterback with great tools and height, Franks was a big target under the old staff before the change in philosophy in the last season. Since then Franks committed to LSU and they will have their work cut out for them trying to undo that commitment, but he should be recruited very hard by the Florida staff.
Xavier Gaines has great size as well at 6-foot-3 and 207 pounds and from lake Wales. He is a strong armed passer, but they will need this year to evaluate that arm. He is a terrific athlete that could be recruited for another position.
Rex Culpepper is the son of Gator great Brad Culpepper and is the quarterback of state powerhouse Tampa Plant. At 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds he is another good sized quarterback. He is a tough runner, but wouldn’t really consider him a dual threat guy. He does have six power-five conference offers already and someone that Florida will continue to pursue.
After the three signed in 2015 I would expect just one running back in 2016. The list of in-state big time running backs is small this year and we have two that we feel will be on the radar as of now.
Trey Sneed is a really versatile back that will likely see his sock increase significantly. A year ago he played in the 5-foot-9, 180 pound range and now he is 5-foot-11 and 198 pounds. He is very fast and very intelligent with the way he plays the game. I think he is big time and should be getting a Florida offer before all is said and done.
Tony Jones is a super four-star back from IMG Academy in Bradenton. He’s been to Florida numnerous times and tyhere is mutual interest. This is one to watch for sure.
The Gators landed two in 2015, and I expect them to take at least three in 2016. The receiver class in Florida is just about ridiculous this year. I imagine there are guys on the roster that won’t be around next year to make room for some of these special players.
Lucky for the Gators, Rick Wells is already committed. He is a good sized receiver and extremely humble, but plays like he is on fire. He is raw, but super athletic and talented and will not waver from his commitment.
Nate Craig (6-2, 200) of Tampa Catholic is the highest rated receiver in the state and currently committed to Auburn. There isn‘t much this kid hasn’t done on the football field., he is a human highlight reel. Florida is definitely interested in him and he has been showing a returned interest in the Gators as well.
Binjemin Victor (6-4, 170) of Coconut Creek is one of six other four-star receivers that the staff will recruit hard this off-season. He is on the tall side of things as well as Tavares Chase (6-2, 170) from the IMG Academy, but just committed to Clemson.
Other prominent four-star receivers in-state that we need to watch for are Elijah Stove (6-1, 170) of Niceville, speedy slot receiver Sam Bruce (5-8, 165) of FT. Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas, Dredrick Snelson (6-0, 190) of American heritage, Tre Nixon (6-1, 170) of Viera, and Freddie Swain of nearby Citra North Marion.
It will be a wait and see at tight end. The Gators have signed five at the position in the last two years, so something has to happen there. There are two in-state prospects that we should be watching at this time.
Jordan Giberti is the local kid and a scoring machine for the Gainesville Purple Hurricanes. He is athletic and plays both ways. He’s kind of raw at the tight end position, but he is intelligent and is catching on quickly.
Jacob Mathis is the big name at the position in-state. The Tampa Berkeley Prep prototype comes in at 6-foot-5 and ss5 pounds before his senior season. He’s a four-star prospect that will be recruited big time.
The Gators signed six OL in 2015, but they still need a hand full more just to keep up. Four to five in the 216 class should do it unless there is a lot of attrition from a position that normally doesn’t see that much attrition.
Parker Boudreaux was finally offered by the Gators this past week and the kid literally has over 60 offers already. He is a big gator fan and is coming to visit this weekend. He has some favorites, but you have to believe that the Gators will get their turn to make an impression on him. I would say he is definitely the top in-state target on the offensive line right now.
West Orange offensive tackle Stone Forsythe (6-6, 300) is a guy that is familiar with the Florida program and has been in touch with the new staff, including head coach im McElwain. He’s a mountain of man on the edge and one to watch.
Finally, massive (6-5, 343) offensive tackle Jawaan Taylor from Cocoa has shown interest in the Gators and is one that will draw interest from a lot of programs including the Gators.
This certainly isn’t the entire offensive board, but these are 20 of the bigger names you will hear throughout this recruiting cycle.