The Gators have depth problems at wide receiver, personified Saturday night when Bubba Caldwell went down with a broken leg that required season-ending surgery Sunday morning. Meyer insists that the Gators need eight to ten receivers ready to go at all times to make the offense work properly so there is a premium on recruiting top flight pass catchers this year. Harvin is considered one of the very best receivers in the country, one of several who are considering casting their lot with Meyer and the Gators.
One reason that Harvin knows that he would be the perfect fit in the Florida offense is that it's practically a mirror of what he's already doing at the high school level. Harvin and teammate Damon McDaniel, a four-star rated wide receiver, are like thunder and lightning for Virginia high school opponents. They know how the offense pours on the points when it's working to perfection and they also know that when it's not, it can have a similar look to what fans saw of the Gators against Tennessee.
"We run the same offense," said the 5-11, 182-pound Harvin. "It looked just like us … when our line isn't blocking our offense runs just the same."
Harvin was amongst the 90,716 fans that attended the game, the largest crowd to ever watch a football game in the state of Florida. The Swamp was rocking before the game ever got going and the noise level only intensified as the minutes ticked off the clock as the Gators disposed of Tennessee, 16-7, in the nationally televised game.
"It was packed in there … the fans were crazy," he said. "Damon and I were sitting next to each other and we couldn't hear each other. That was the loudest stadium I have been in."
Harvin was in Gainesville for the second time. He and McDaniel made an unofficial visit back in the spring. This time, the visit was official so he got a solid look at Florida, all the way from the academics and support systems to the football program. He talked about his visit, starting with his Saturday arrival in Gainesville.
"We got there Saturday morning around 10:30 a.m.," he said. "When we first got there we went to the hotel and then went out to eat. They took us to the college we will major in. I plan on majoring in communications. I want to be on television."
After the game the recruits got a glimpse of the celebration in the locker room. Harvin got a real feel for the intensity and for Florida's "we win as a team" approach to things.
"They were all congratulating themselves (in the locker room) after beating a big rival," he said. "They were all emotional. I hung out with Chad Jackson … he's really cool. He and I went to a party somewhere. Gainesville is like a big city, probably not as big as mine. Chad treated me well and Dallas was Damon's host."
Harvin and McDaniel got some personal time with the Florida coaches both before and after the game. Even before the game the coaching staff made it abundantly clear the Gators need receivers but that need was heightened when Caldwell went down.
"We talked to the coaches before the game, and then on Sunday we chilled with the coaches for two hours," Harvin said. "They told us how bad they needed wide receivers. They needed them before Caldwell got hurt and now they will have to move a quarterback to receiver."
Harvin isn't ready to pull the trigger on a final decision just yet. He will make at least three more official visits but he isn't sure about visit number five.
"I go to USC on October 28th … November 5th I go to Miami, and on October 16th I go to Michigan," he said. "I had to switch my FSU visit to Michigan so I could see my sister at Eastern Michigan. If I take a fifth visit it will be to Florida State "
The fact that he isn't sure about taking that fifth trip is huge in the recruiting world where rumors abound that Harvin is a lock for FSU. Even Myron Rolle, who committed to FSU, predicted in the Gator chat room about a month ago that Harvin would be a Seminole on signing day. Harvin says all the rumors are simply people speculating that FSU has the inside track since he grew up a Seminole fan. He said that was then and this is now.
"[It's different now] … this is the recruiting process," he said. "Actually, I grew up a fan of Florida, Florida State, and Miami."
If selected to the US Army All American Bowl he may decide at halftime of that game or he may do it on national television somewhere else. No matter where he chooses to make that announcement, the decision will have input from several different people but the final choice will be his alone. .
"Coach (Chris) Beatty leaves it up to us," he said about his Landstown coach. "He bases his opinion on what he would do but he doesn't force his opinion on us."
Harvin already has scored 13 touchdowns in three games for Landstown in the shotgun spread option offense. He is the kind of electric wide receiver who has a habit of making big plays seem almost routine. He could be the crown jewel of Florida's recruiting class if he chooses to play his college football in Gainesville.