Football Camp To Open On Sunday at UF

As the Florida Gators open their football camp on Sunday, there is a sense that momentum is gathering which could lead Florida to one of its best recruiting classes ever. The early commitments of quarterback Jevan Snead of Texas and running back Chevon Walker of Ft. Myers have the Gators off to a very good start on the Class of 2006.

Quite a few of the players who have been offered scholarships won't be showing at the Florida camp. They've been told they don't need to come to camp to show off their talents to the coaching staff. There are others, however, who need the camp to prove they are the kind of players Coach Urban Meyer and staff want to recruit. There are also quite a few players who came to Gainesville this weekend on their own dime to check out the university, facilities and the Gator coaches.

For the players who have offers in hand who decide to take an unofficial visit, they will be given the royal treatment. By the time they leave the campus, they will have a good idea about what it's like to be a member of the "Champion's Club" and what campus life is all about. Of course, they have to pay for any cost that may incur, but they will understand when they leave what it is like to be a University of Florida football player.

While the campers this year aren't names that will knock your socks off right now, the Gators are hoping to find a few diamonds in the rough or get a good look at players that have been on the cusp of getting the offers. We have documented players form Pompano Beach Ely, Palm Beach Lakes, Pahokee, and Glades Central that are planning on being here in the two weeks to get the attention of the Gator coaches. There are certainly players from everywhere around the country coming in, but for the most part, they are players looking for that magical offer from the Gators.

Here is a pre-camp look at those that don't have to camp to get an offer that have shown a legitimate interest in the Gators. We will start with the offensive backfield.


We start with Stephenville (TX) quarterback Jevan Snead (6-3, 195), the second public commitment for the Gators for the 2005-06 class. As a junior, Snead completed 184-305 passes (60 percent) for 3025 yards and 28 touchdowns. He threw only nine interceptions. In addition to the big time arm, Snead showed he can take off and run with the ball, gaining 525 yards (4.9 per carry) on 108 carries good for 14 touchdowns. He has a 4.379 weighted GPA and has already recorded a qualifying ACT score. He told Franz Beard of Gator Country, "I think it's a good place for me to be," he said. "I like everything about the University of Florida. I really like Coach Meyer. He's a great guy. I've been following Coach Meyer since he was at Utah. Ever since last season I have kept track of him and how he's doing. He's got a great record and he and Coach Mullen have a great record for developing quarterbacks." Offered by OU, Texas A&M, Auburn, Baylor, Houston, Kansas, Miami, Okla. State, Purdue, SMU, TCU, Texas, Texas Tech, and Tulane.

Tim Tebow (6-3, 225) is on a course to break several state and national records at St Augustine's Nease HS. He threw for a state-record 4,286 yards and 46 Touchdowns and rushed for 1,266 yards and 24 touchdowns for an 11-2 team as a junior. One constant for Tebow on any list he has announced has been the Florida Gators. He recently told Don Hoekwater from Go Blue Wolverine that Snead's commitment won't faze him in the least. "I know I'll have to compete wherever I go," he said. "So it really doesn't matter who's where." Current offers include UF, FSU, Miami, UGA, Alabama, Michigan, Ohi State, South Carolina, Nebraska, Hawaii, UConn, Ga. Tech, Vanderbilt, Oregon, Kansas State, Purdue, Syracuse, Indiana, Louisville, and more.

Jarred Fayson (6-1, 195) of Tampa (FL) Hillsborough HS may be the last of three quarterbacks still left on the board. The Gators are planning on signing two quarterbacks and Fayson could fit the bill. He is an extraordinary athlete. He finished his junior season with 900 yards passing and 11 touchdowns compared to just three interceptions. He added 800 yards and 24 touchdowns on the ground. Fayson told Jamie Newberg, he is all about competition. "Florida is my leader. They are No. 1," he said. "They have told me they are taking two quarterbacks and that doesn't bother me at all. I love the competition. It's all about the competition. If you don't, then why play? No one scares me. I really like the Florida coaching staff. They are so down to earth and have been truthful with me. I also like the offense, facilities, and the people in Gainesville." Current Offers include, UF, FSU, Miami, UGA, Duke, Maryland, Iowa State, Kansas State, Houston, Illinois, UCF, USF and more.

Redman Reaction: I believe this is the rest of the complete board for the 2005-06 recruiting season. The staff at Florida has already shown they can make a first pick in the draft out of someone that only plays two years. All three of these guys are willing to compete and they will have to if they come to Florida. The staff wants to find a way to get all three in the Orange and Blue. Signing all three will definitely be the best group of quarterbacks in the country, if not ever.

Running Backs:

Chevon Walker (5-11, 185) of Ft. Myers (FL) Riverdale was the first commitment of the class for the Gators and a great running back prospect. He does play on both sides of the ball and that lends itself to wonder just where he will play as a collegian. Still, Walker wants to play running back and will be given the chance at Florida. He rushed for over 1500 yards and nine touchdowns as a junior. He told me in an interview after his commitment. "We (Walker and Meyer) sat down and had a little talk about being a Gator," Walker said. "He was the best coach I have seen so far. They have good academics, good coaching, and good facilities," he said, clicking off some of the things that factored into his choice.

C.J. Spiller (5-11, 185) resides only 20 miles away from Gainesville in the small town of Lake Butler. The Union County HS speedster ran the fastest 40 time (4.28) for a running back at any combine this year. He ran for 1415 yards and 20 touchdowns while averaging 11 yards a carry in his junior season. Spiller has been a childhood fan of Florida State but had a change of heart in mid May when he told Mike Bakas, "I have a top five but it changes all the time," he said. "It might be different tomorrow. Florida is the top one. My grandma (who passed away) loved the Gators and she'd love to see me there, I'm sure. Florida State is two, USC is five, Georgia is three, and Tennessee. Miami would be in there too if they offered but I haven't gotten that yet." Two weeks later he told Jamie Newberg, "Florida has come on very strong. I like the environment and the coaches. Gainesville is only 30 minutes away and I love the way they play football under coach (Urban) Meyer. I talk with him about once a week." Offers include UF, FSU, Tennessee, Nebraska, Duke, Ohio State, Illinois, North Carolina, Kansas State. Ga. Tech, Oregon, UGA, Ok. State, Mississippi, and more.

DeMarco Murray (6-0, 185) of Las Vegas (NV) Bishop Gorman is one of the more highly recruited players in the land. In his junior season he ran 139 times for 1271 yards and 12 touchdowns. As a receiver, he caught 21 passes for 235 yards. One constant in his list of schools he is looking at from the beginning has been the Florida Gators. He refuses to make a favorites list but is reported to have been a fan of the Gators as a child. He has offers from Oklahoma, Florida, Wisconsin, Arizona, Arizona State, Nebraska, Michigan, LSU, Texas A&M, Oklahoma State, New Mexico State, UNLV and Michigan State, and more.

Stafon Johnson (6-0, 200) is a two way star running back/safety at Los Angeles (CA) Dorsey. As a junior, Johnson rushed 209 times for 1,879 yards and 18 touchdowns. On defense he had 25 tackles and three interceptions. Johnson seems genuinely open about his recruitment and where he might land. He had this to say to me a couple of weeks ago about the Meyer offense and the Gators, "I love the type of offense they run. It is more of an NFL style of playing. I love the coaches out there … Coach Drayton and Coach Meyer. I like the way they spend time with their players with barbeques … they called me from a barbeque and that is really bringing the team together and that really shined a light in my head. They take time out (with the players) not just on, but off the field." He told the Go Blue Wolverine website on June 2, "Right now Florida is the school that's recruiting me the hardest. They keep in touch with me a lot and they send me some great letters and stuff like that." His offer list includes most of the Pac-10, Tennessee, Michigan, Miami, and more.

Mon Williams (6-1, 190) of Mesquite (TX) Horn surprised a bunch of people when he said the Gators were his leader in the last two weeks. As a junior he led his district in rushing with 1,498 yards on 252 carries and 11 touchdowns and caught 13 passes for 150 yards. Williams spoke with me last week and had this to say about the Gators. "Florida is recruiting me hard and has already offered me. Yes sir, they are my favorite. I just liked them ever since I was small and I still like them now. I just liked them and 'The Swamp.' I want to come down there and see what the campus is like. More than likely, I will come by and visit this summer." He maintains an offer list of UF, Kansas, Kansas State, Iowa, Iowa State, Utah, Miss. State, Texas A&M, Texas,

Brandon Minor (6-1, 210) of Richmond (VA) Varina carried the ball 196 times for 2,091 yards and 32 touchdowns as a junior. He claims to favor Miami in the process but has some high praise for the Gators. Ten days ago, Brandon Cavanaugh of the Big Red Report, the Nebraska affiliate of wrote, "Right now, though, it appears that a commonly-known SEC team is putting up the hardest fight when it comes to the recruitment of Minor. 'I'd have to say Florida. They've been contacting me, they're sending me stuff almost every day,' Minor said." Earlier in the month Allen Wallace of interviewed Minor, "I really like coach (Urban) Meyer at Florida. I saw a lot of games on TV last season when he was with Utah, and I really like the way that he runs things. I've spoken with coach (Billy) Gonzalez (wide receivers) before. He told me that they'd like to have me over there for a visit and to camp. Offers include UF, Michigan, NC State, Penn State, Nebraska, and Tennessee, Miami, Georgia, and Oklahoma.

Redman Reaction: It is a who's who at the running back position. If they sign three of this list (including Walker), look for one of the three to move to defense or at least another position. Otherwise, I think they want two tailbacks in this class. Signing three of this group will make it the best in the country at that position.

Tomorrow look for the wide receiver board.

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