On Scholarship: (7) Andre Caldwell (Jr), Chad Jackson (Jr.), Dallas Baker (Jr), Jemalle Cornelius (Jr.), Reggie Lewis (Jr.), Kenneth Tookes (Jr.), Mike McIntosh (Fr.)
Roster Analysis: At first glance it looks like the Gators have a glut of talented players at the receiver position. This is a talented group and any one of them could possibly play at a high level in the SEC. The reality is that seven receivers is not a lot, particularly on an 85-man roster. Ideally you would like to have a 3-4 deep roster all the way across the board. In a four wide receiver set, that means a minimum of twelve receivers. Add to it the fact that of the seven receivers on scholarship, all but one are eligible to leave next year, and in two years, only Mike McIntosh will still be here. When you consider that, wide receiver is indeed a glaring need. I think the Gators sign five receivers this year.
Options: (Gators want 5) Count me as one of the ones that thought Derrick Williams was going to be a Gator. The Gators had a lot going for them in the recruiting process and I thought it would be enough to get him (Derrick) over the hump of having to build a new relationship with a new coaching staff. But in spite of not landing him, the Gators will move on and should have a very fine year.
Derrick McPhearson is a re-commitment. The Maryland native spent last season at Hargrave Military Academy getting qualified for the 2005 season. McPhearson is a blazer. Some will remember the video highlights of him in 2003 burning speedster Doug Dutch, who signed with Michigan.
Louis Murphy, from St Pete Lakewood, is also currently committed to the Gators. The small school receiver hasn't had a lot of balls thrown his way in his career and his stats bare that out. He attended the UF Rising Senior Camp this past summer, received an offer and committed to the Gators. He is a big receiver (6-3) and tenacious to the ball. He is also an honor student and Eagle Scout who will have no trouble qualifying.
Next on the Gators wish list is Tampa Middleton speedster OJ Murdock. He also attended the Rising Senior Camp at UF and came away as the best receiver. He was the fastest player in the camp, timed at sub-4.4 on grass. Everyone in the country wants this lifelong Gator fan. After the recent firing of Coach Ron Zook, he lashed out at the Gators and seemed to turn away. Coach Urban Meyer met with him a couple of weeks ago and it seems that he was able to smooth things over. The Gators will have to battle Miami and Tennessee for his services. I think the Gators will have a good chance in the end.
US Army All American David Nelson of Wichita Falls, TX is new on the Gators radar. The soft commitment to Notre Dame was being recruited to the Irish by Coach Greg Mattison, recently named the co-defensive coordinator at UF. The 6-6 Nelson will visit Gainesville on January 7 on the same weekend as many other big name recruits. With Derrick Williams now committed to Penn State, look for the Gators to push hard to sign Nelson.
Jessie Hester Jr. of Glades Central in Belle Glade is also new on the radar. He was on the list early in the recruiting process but he fell downward when several of the nation's top rated receivers were favoring UF. Hester, whose father played at FSU, was highly publicized prior to the 2004 season. He should be receiving a Gator offer soon, and it's expected he will visit the UF campus. He lists Ohio State as his favorite. Ex-Glades Central star Santonio Holmes is Ohio State's most dangerous receiver. I look for the Gators to make a serious run for his services so he can stay close to home.
DeSean Jackson is another of the new names showing up on the Gators' wish list. From Long Beach (CA) Poly, he's the number seven rated receiver in the nation by Scout.com. He is talking of a visit to UF, but it remains to be seen if he can be pried away from the west coast.
Another option could be Fred Rouse of Tallahassee Lincoln. It would be a nice burr in the Noles' saddle if Coach Meyer could steal him from under FSU's nose. Beyond Rouse, the Gators may have to make up some lost ground with receivers such as Carolos Thomas or Taurus Johnson. Otherwise, Florida may not sign the number of receivers it really needs. This is probably a board that will become very fluid as January rolls in.