RECRUITING: Breakdown of recruiting needs for 2006

Yesterday, we broke down the roster to show the players on scholarship (already in school and signed) for the 2005 season, barring attrition and the possibility that one or two in the signing class won't be admitted. Today, we take a look at how the signing class of 2006 should break down. This prediction will take into account that attrition of around 10-11 players after a coaching change is considered normal.

By my count the Gators should have 67 or 68 scholarship players on the roster at the conclusion of the next football season even without any attrition. The lone ambiguous roster spot belongs to Dallas Baker and whether he completes enough school work to graduate and earn his fifth year of school. If there is the normal attrition of 10 that would leave the Gators with 58 on scholarship allowing the Gators to sign a class of 27. Due to the high number of seniors in 2006 (more than 20), it is very important for the Gators to sign a large class to compensate for the loss.


QUARTERBACK: The Gators will have four on the roster after the 2005 season providing that Gavin Dickey remains at quarterback. However, there is that possibility that he could sign a pro baseball contract or even move to another position. If he remains at quarterback, there will be two seniors on the 2006 roster, Dickey and Chris Leak. We expect the Gators to sign the best available quarterback next year. Nease quarterback Tim Tebow should be Florida's top target.

RUNNING BACK: The Gators will have two seniors (DeShawn Wynn and Skyler Thornton) for the 2006 season which makes it imperative that the Gators sign at least two next February. This is usually a very deep position in both Florida and Georgia so the Gators won't have to go far to find one. Breakaway threat CJ Spiller from nearby Union County should rank among the nation's best in the preseason recruiting lists.

WIDE RECEIVER: The Gators took four wide receivers this year but there will be four or five seniors on the 2006 roster, so three or perhaps four wide receivers will likely be signed. The Urban Meyer offense runs a four wide receiver set so it's imperative to have 10-12 receivers on scholarship at all times. Watch for Earl Everett's younger brother Carlos to rise steadily on the recruiting charts in the fall. He's already caught the eye of the Gator staff.

TIGHT END: The tight end position won't be used much in the new system and since the Gators have three good young ones, I don't see the Gators taking a tight end in the class next year.

OFFENSIVE LINE: The offensive line will lose 5 seniors after 2005. This was a big need this year and the Gators probably came up two short. With only nine or 10 on scholarship after the 2005 season look for the Gators to sign as many as six in February. Don't be surprised if they dip into the junior college ranks for one or two for early enrollment. Sam Young of St. Thomas Aquinas in Fort Lauderdale is already showing up on the Gator wish list.

DEFENSIVE END: There will probably be some jockeying along the defensive line. Based on the projected numbers from yesterday, the Gators should have eight defensive ends on the roster in 2006 with two seniors. Because the Gators whiffed on defensive lineman in the class of 2005, the next class will need at least two new players. One of the players who is high on the early list for the Gators is 6-4, 260, John Paul of Immokalee.

DEFENSIVE TACKLE: The defensive tackle situation is similar with seven returning players for the 2006 season, three of whom will be seniors. The Gators need to sign two at the position. Charles Deas, the 6-5, 320-pounder from Fort Lauderdale Broward Christian is on everybody's wish list.

LINEBACKER: Although the Gators signed four linebackers in the 2005 class, this will be a position of need again in the next recruiting class. Going into the next signing class, the Gators will have eight, two of whom will be seniors in 2006. An early frontrunner is Bennie Alexander's younger brother, Kevin Alexander, just up the road in Union County where he is a teammate of CJ Spiller.

SAFETY: The safety position looks a little better this time around as the Gators will have six on scholarship next season. Because the Gators will have two seniors Florida will need to sign two more. Jacksonville Sandalwood's Jamar Hornsby, who is also a talented wide receiver, should be a target.

CORNERBACK: The Gators landed a great corner in Avery Atkins in the 2005 class but they came up short in terms of quantity. The Gators will return six corners for 2006, four of whom will be seniors, meaning Florida needs to sign a minimum of four cornerbacks. Dodge City Community College's McIntosh Nicholas, a sign and place for the 2004 class, is probably priority number one.

KICKERS: The Gators should only sign a kicker when they need to replace one on the roster. Eric Wilbur will be a senior in 2006, but won't need to be replaced until the 2007 recruiting class.

SUMMARY: My high end totals are one quarterback, two running backs, four wide receivers, six offensive linemen, two defensive ends, two defensive tackles, four linebackers, two safeties, and four cornerbacks for a total of 27. They should try and sign at least two junior college offensive linemen and maybe Nicolas at corner in December which would allow them to bring in 24 in February. Of course, these numbers are based on an attrition factor of ten.

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