RECRUITING: Gators Take Aim At Hot 100

The Florida Gators are currently ranked third in the Scout.com team recruiting rankings and with as many as 10 commitments still ahead, the Gators have a very good chance to finish with the top class in the country. Florida already has four of their 24 commitments that are listed in the top 50. There is a very good chance Florida will finish with the most recruits from the Scout.com National Hot 100.


NOTE: Stay tuned to GatorCountry.com's hyperactive message boards and chat room to find out the latest scoop on Percy Harvin, Damon McDaniel, and Jared Odrick this afternoon!

When St. Augustine Nease quarterback Tim Tebow (#29, 6-3, 225) committed to the Gators on Tuesday, he joined five-star commitments Carl Johnson (#24, 6-6, 345) of Durham (NC) Southern, Tampa Hillsborough wide receiver Jarred Fayson (#27, 6-0, 195) and Jacksonville Sandalwood athlete Jamar Hornsby (#20, 6-4, 195) as the top names in Florida's recruiting class. This impressive start makes it crunch time for the remaining players interested in being Gators to have a spot on the Urban Meyer express at Florida.

There are still plenty of players on the Hot 100 still uncommitted and Florida will likely get its share of them. A look at the uncommitteds on the board shows more than 10 players still showing genuine interest in being a Gator.

Carl Johnson has stated that he wants to be a part of the greatest offensive line ever assembled at the University of Florida. There are a whole lot of 'big-uns' left in the Scout.com Hot 100 still interested in the Gators so that could be more than just wishful thinking on Johnson's part.

Three of the nation's top 11 offensive linemen are still showing a keen interest in the Gaotrs including Sam Young (#7, 6-8, 300) of Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas. Young has made several unofficial visits to Florida and he is scheduled to take an official visit in January that will help him decide a battle that is likely to be Florida and Notre Dame to the very end.

The nation's number one offensive lineman, Andre Smith (#2, 6-4, 315) of Birmingham (AL) Huffman is still considering the Gators. He's considered an Alabama lean but there is a nasty (to Alabama fans) rumor that Smith and Tebow have become such good friends that Smith is seriously considering leaving home sweet home for Gainesville. A similar rumor exists that Tebow and Young have become close friends and that will be the deciding factor for Young.

Antonio Logan-El (#39, 6-5, 310) is a 6-5, 310 pound monster from Forestville (MD) who is considered a Penn State/Maryland tossup. He still lists the Gators, though, and will visit Florida January 13.

With one wide receiver in the Hot 100 (Fayson) already in the fold, the Gators stand to take another big jump in class standings Monday if the nation's number one receiver, Percy Harvin (#3, 5-11, 180) of Virginia Beach (VA) Landstown commits to Florida. He will announce his choice from Florida and Southern Cal Monday afternoon. Florida commitment Damian Williams is not in the Hot 100, but would help form a threesome that might be as formidable as any in recent college football recruiting history.

Florida's only commitment at running back is the underrated Chevon Walker of Fort Meyers. Florida will probably lose two players from that position which may open the door for the three Hot 100 running backs who still have the Gators on their minds.

C.J. Spiller (#13, 5-10, 185) of nearby Lake Butler (FL) Union County has Florida, Florida State and Miami on list of top schools. This is another situation where the friendship of Tim Tebow may factor in. Spiller is deeply religious and Tebow is the son of a missionary who goes on mission trips to The Philippines with his dad. Most experts say it will come down to Florida and FSU. The Tebow factor could be exactly what is needed to bring Spiller into the Florida fold although conventional wisdom is that he winds up at FSU, his favorite since he was just a kid.

If Florida decides to go big at tailback, Keiland Williams (#33, 6-0, 225) of Hargrave Academy in Chatham (VA) and Lafayette, Louisiana, would be a nice coup. He visited Florida December 10 and came away with a favorable impression. It is considered a Florida/LSU battle for the all-time leading rusher from Hargrave.

Knowshon Moreno (#56, 5-11, 205) of Middleton (NJ) South has made his way back onto the Florida radar. There was a cooling off period where both Florida and Moreno seemed to have no interest, but things are starting to heat up again..

On the defensive side of the ball the Gators have only safety Jamar Hornsby among current commitments listed on the Hot 100. That could change dramatically because there are six on the Hot 100 listing Florida among their favorites.

The Gators have five commitments from defensive linemen in the recruiting class, but none currently in the Hot 100. Jared Odrick (#65, 6-6, 285) of Lebanon, Pennsylvania will announce his commitment Monday, probably to Penn State although there is a slim chance he could pick UF. He is a strong side defensive end with size and speed.

After years of coming up shot in recruiting linebackers, Florida finds itself needing to rectify a lack of warm, able bodies at the position with this recruiting class. Florida has two commitments already, including junior college middle linebacker Larry Grant. Florida stands a very good chance to land the three linebackers in the Hot 100 who have the Gators listed among their favorites.

Jarrell Miller (#63, 6-3, 235) is the highest rated in the Hot 100 of the three but the odds are the greatest against him joining the Florida class. He had a great visit to Gainesville December 3 but even though things went better than expected, he is still considered a longshot to choose Florida over home state teams Virginia and Virginia Tech.

Brandon Spikes (#88, 6-4, 230) of Shelby (NC) Crest rarely does interviews but all signs point to Florida as his final destination. He is considered a natural to play the strong side linebacker. He took his official visit the weekend of the Florida-Florida State game and he is very close to several of the Gator commitments. Most people would be surprised if he selects another school other than Florida.

A.J. Jones (#94, 6-2, 190) of Tampa Middleton draws a lot of comparisons to former FSU great Derrick Brooks, like Jones, an undersized linebacker who used his speed to hit like a ton. Jones has visited the Florida campus many times and he's not made it much of a secret that he favors the Gators. He is another one who would surprise people if he chose a school other than UF.

There two remaining Florida targets in secondary that are Hot 100 members are Jai Eugene (#30, 5-11, 185) of Destrehan, Louisiana and Allen Walker (#73, 6-2, 210) of Olive Branch, Mississippi. Eugene attended the Friday Night Lights minicamp on the Florida campus back in July where he showed tremendous quickness and cover skills as a corner. He has a favorite threesome of Florida, Miami and LSU and though conventional wisdom says he will stay in the state, there are some hot recruiting rumors that the Gators are becoming a bigger blip on his radar. Walker is a safety who lists Florida and Ole Miss as his favorites. He hasn't visited the Florida campus yet. He has three highly regarded teammates who have all at one time or another listed Florida as one of their favorites.

The Gators have 24 commitments and a class that is filling up very quickly. Don't be surprised if the remaining 10 or so spots are filled by quite a few of the Hot 100. It's the kind of year for the Gators that it's hard to find someone willing to say no to Urban Meyer.


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