The offensive list is a little smaller than the defensive side for the weekend. Headlining the list is running back Antone Smith of Pahokee. Never considered a favorite for his services, the Gators will introduce Smith for the first time to new running back Coach Stan Drayton. Drayton will get his first shot at maybe the nation's best back, who rushed for over 2800 yards and 44 touchdowns as a senior.
One of Texas' finest also comes in for the weekend in running back Kestahn Moore. Moore finished the year with 1256 yards and 23 touchdowns. He sounds genuinely interested in playing in the Urban Meyer offense. He is one of two Texans visiting this weekend along with wide receiver David Nelson.
David Nelson comes in a week after finishing up his tour with the US Army All American Bowl. He held his own out in San Antonio and comes in very receptive to the University of Florida. A recent offer from the University of Texas has him talking Longhorns in the press, but we feel confident Nelson will be a Gator with the relationship he has built with the new staff. The Gators would love for him to pull the trigger this weekend and commit to Florida. On a promising note, his entire family drove down to accompany him on this visit.
Louis Murphy will not be outshined by any receiver. The strong and tall wide out has been a commitment to the Gators since mid July when he starred at the Rising Senior Camp. He never wavered on his commitment and bleeds Orange & Blue. Murphy hails from St. Petersburg and plays in an offense that did not showcase his skills. However, his play in the summer camp showed his great ability and the staff never wavered on their commitment to him as well.
The offensive line could make huge gains this weekend with three supersized visitors. Orlando Edgewater was one of the top teams in the state and two offensive linemen visiting Gainesville this weekend were a huge part of their success. Matt Hardrick is said to be a huge lean to Florida State, but the Gators would love to change his mind this weekend. The mountainous lineman comes in with four star rating from Scout.com and many accolades since his junior season.
His counterpart at the other tackle spot at Edgewater is under appreciated Quinton Brown. Brown is more of the athletic offensive lineman that thrives in an Urban Meyer offense and has been on the Gators' A-list since before the start of the football season. If not for his teammate, Brown would earn considerably more attention from recruitniks and scouts. The favorites here seem to be Florida State and N.C. State.
Brian Roche comes in from New Jersey this weekend. This new player to the Gators' board has been lured for a visit in just the last couple of weeks. With the Gators' offensive line board dwindling, Roche could be a key pick up. H told us recently that Louisville was the favorite at the moment, but didn't sound too solid as a commitment to the Cardinals. The Gators have a decent shot at Roche.
The defensive line will have one less visitor this weekend as Vlad Richard will postpone his visit until the January 28th weekend due to his need to take a SAT test. The line will still be well represented with two other all-start recruits.
James McKinney is a US Army All American defensive end and comes in favoring Michigan. The Louisville star has camped under Co-Defensive coordinator Greg Mattison and the relationship he built with Mattison has earned the Gators a chance to sway the big man. The Gators have a big uphill battle here, but are willing to take the shot.
Jeffrey Owen is probably the state's premiere defensive lineman. He comes in as a commitment to the Georgia Bulldogs. However, he just recently decided to take this trip to Florida after previously ruling out the Gators. He and Vladimir Richard were supposed to come together on this trip as they're good friends. This will be another hard battle to break him from his UGA commitment, but the Gators will certainly put the press on to change Owens mind.
The Gators will host three linebackers in the next few days. Brian Cushing hails from New Jersey and comes in as the most heralded linebacker on the board. Cushing is currently visiting Miami, but will make the ride up to Gainesville on Sunday. He has been rumored to heavily favor USC, but came away from his Los Angeles visit seemingly less enthused than one would expect. The Gators could wow him with weather and a depth chart showing that he could start immediately. Still, he is not one the Gators may be able to sway.
Georgia linebacker Kalvin "Pig" Baker was the Gators first commitment for the class and he has remained solid. Baker recently moved up in the Scout.com rankings and has earned a four star rating. Baker could be a big asset to the staff while here and help recruit the other visitors to the Gators.
Jacksonville First Coast linebacker Ryan Stamper comes in on short notice. He recently committed to Auburn, but claims to be a lifelong Gator fan. With a recent offer in hand he has told Coach Tubberville at Auburn he may make the switch. He has three high school teammates currently on the Gator roster in wide receivers Reggie Lewis, Kenneth Tookes, and Mike McIntosh. I like the Gators' chances here to sway a player at a much needed position.
The Gators look to host four defensive backs for the weekend. Tyller Roberts joins his two Orlando Edgewater teammates on the trip to Gainesville this weekend. Roberts was a defensive star in the recent Cali–Florida game with two interceptions in the Florida victory. He reportedly is very excited about a chance to be a Florida Gator and the Gators could end Sunday with his name added to the commitment list.
Dorian Munroe is an all-star recruit the Gators would love to pry from the grips of Florida State. The current soft verbal commitment to the Noles is definitely a top five defensive back in the state. The four star Miami native is highly coveted in this recruiting class as the Gators are desperately seeking help and depth in the secondary.
Eric Sledge is a wide receiver / safety prospect from Apopka. Sledge is a recent commitment to South Carolina, but is visiting Gainesville. Sledge was always on the radar for the Gators, but recently the heat has been turned up for his services because the Gators need help on the defensive side of the ball.
Jordan Hemby is a very recent addition to the Gators recruiting board. The North Carolina native and UNC commitment is another player the Gators hope could help them with their huge need in the secondary. Hemby had eight interceptions and 12 pass break ups on the season.
The Gators could do well by signing some of the scheduled visitors for this weekend. All things point to a successful weekend and the Gators could pull between 4-7 commitments by Sunday. Things are just heating up with the next few weekends having a load of visitors coming into town.