Hollywood Bob's Defensive Class Predictions

Earlier in the week I shared my vision of the way signing day would break down for the Gators on offense. Two days later and I'm already off by at least one player because I felt Chris Scott would be a Gator. He committed to Tennessee Wednesday night and while that's an indication of how quickly things can change in recruiting, it won't stop me from bringing you my projected defensive class.

The visitor list will be a little smaller than expected this weekend, probably about 15 or 16 recruits which means it will be similar in size to last week. There have been a few cancellations and with each one, it becomes pretty clear that the staff feels good about most positions and is not going to take any kids who are considered a reach. This is far more important than signing a full class. With that in mind, here is my defensive class breakdown.

DEFENSIVE LINE: I never would have thought it, but it may come to pass that the Gators get shut out on the defensive line. As we said three weeks ago, the Gators only intended to sign two or maybe three players on the defensive line. I thought Vladimir Richard was a sure thing until just about a week ago but in the past week, each day has been a new twist or turn in this ongoing saga. The fact is, he has never had a firm commitment since the Zook staff was fired. If he doesn't visit this weekend --- and it looks like he won't --- he won't be a Gator. Richard Gordon seems like the safest bet at the moment but if Miami goes after him hard on his weekend visit, that too could change. Jeff Owens is another wild ride down recruiting lane. There have been plenty of rumors circulating since his visit to Gainesville last week but he continues to state that he will be a Georgia Bulldog on signing day. He is probably visiting Florida State this weekend. I've said he will end up a Nole for more than a month and I'll stick with that story. James McKinney won't answer his phone so we have no indication of what he's thinking. McKinney was an uphill battle from the beginning and I think he will be swayed from Michigan. Lorenzo Jones may or may not visit this weekend so that doesn't bode well for a commitment. The dark horse on the defensive line could be Brian Ellis from Daytona Mainland, a teammate of Avery Atkins.

Committed: None

HOLLYWOOD BOB'S TAKE: I think we get Richard Gordon, which is a huge get on the defensive line. Brian Ellis is very physically imposing player too and a very good possibility. Vlad to Tennessee. Owens to FSU. McKinney to Michigan.

LINEBACKER: It appears the Gators will meet their needs or come very close. The magic number in my book was five and they have commitments from two and a solid shot at two more. Kalvin "Pig" Baker was the Gators first commitment and he has been a solid commitment from day one. Ryan Stamper was a great pickup and steal from Auburn this last weekend. Gerald Williams: see Vlad Richard. If he doesn't come in for a visit, he won't be a Gator. Darryl Gresham and Quentin Taylor are the next most logical choices in the linebacker class. The Gators have a great shot at landing Jon Demps and he has recently stated that Coach Strong is his favorite assistant coach. Jerome Hayes still says he is interested. Brian Cushing has USC on the mind so he is probably a longshot, but he has yet to publicly rule out the Gators.

Committed: Baker and Stamper

HOLLYWOOD BOB'S TAKE: I think the Gators land Taylor, Gresham, and Demps. Jerome Hayes off to UPS, and Cushing to USC.

DEFENSIVE BACK: Ah, what once was an amazing cast of characters has dwindled to a list of about five. The Gators have commitments from Avery Atkins and Dorian Munroe. In all honesty, in the very beginning of this recruiting season I wanted both of these players in the class. Atkins may be the best player in the class when it is done and Munroe may be the most underrated. Reggie Nelson will be a Gator, but getting the words from his mouth right now is akin to me skipping a chance to go to Hooters for "lunch." Nelson was in my original projections for the class. The problem with the class is no pure corners remaining. The available list seems to be Jordan Hemby, who is facing family pressure to stay with his commitment to North Carolina, and Walter McFadden. The latter is an aggressive corner that is a tad on the light side and this weekend may determine whether he is a Gator or not.

Committed: Atkins and Munroe.

HOLLYWOOD BOB'S TAKE: Nelson should be listed as a commitment. Hemby will get the full court press this week. McFadden I believe will be on the outside looking in although I like him a lot.

KICKER: Jonathan Phillips could be the Gators best hero next year. The staff is counting on him to come in and kick field goals from the onset. He already kicks off of the ground.

Committed: Phillips and done.

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