How early? Saturday the Gators are hosting their first Junior Day of the year and it will be an exciting day on campus with the College Game Day crew on hand along with these top football players for the Florida-Kentucky basketball game. The juniors will get a tour of the campus and a chance to meet Florida's coaching staff. As we saw last spring, these Junior Days can be the beginnings of a great recruiting class.
The Gators will have only one quarterback on the roster (Tim Tebow) after Chris Leak leaves at the end of the year. It is going to be scary going through the 2006 season with only two so the Gators will probably try to remedy that situation by signing two quarterbacks in the next class. At the top of the list have to be two in-state players.
Already a four-star quarterback, John Brantley (6-3, 190, 4.65) of Trinity Catholic HS in Ocala is a Gator legacy (dad John and uncle Scot played for the Gators in the 1970s). He plays in the wide open offense at Trinity and is a natural there. He has a great release and the coaching staff will most likely be hot after him. Stephen Garcia (6-3,180) of Tampa, Jefferson is not ranked yet, but will open eyes of some scouts this year. He is
Ryan Mallett (6-6, 210) of Texarkana Texas is a five-star quarterback out of Texas that is already listing the Gators as one of his favorites. Josh Nesbitt (6-1, 200) is another five-star quarterback from Greensboro (GA) Green County that has shown some early interest in the Gators. Four-star quarterback Kodi Burns hails from Fort Smith (AR) Northside and he also has shown an early interest in the Gators.
2007 RUNNING BACKS
The Gators signed two running backs in the class of 2006, but will be losing one when DeShawn Wynn leaves this year. Look for the Gators to try and sign a bruiser and a speedster in the class. Every Gator recruitnik's favorite Chris Rainey (5-8, 165) of national champion Lakeland is already leaning to the Gators. Unranked but unknown ( Raishawn Wilson 5-10, 190) of St. Augustine was a teammate of current Gator signees Brandon James and Jacques Rickerson. He's got moves and speed and he's only going to get bigger. Rumor is he also likes the University of Florida.
Trinity Catholic is loaded this year with seniors and Rudell Small (5-10, 200) has great power at the position. Another relatively unknown player he will likely get some attention this spring from high major schools. Some consider four-star running back A rmondo Allen (5-9, 180) of Miami-Hialeah Lakes to be the best running back in the state this year. North Ft Myers five-star running back Noel Devine (5-8, 180) is blazing fast and a human highlight reel.
Out of state there are some big time options at the running back position.
Caleb King (5-11, 185) is a five-star running back who stood out at the Reebok/US Army combine in San Antonio. He's most likely the best back in Georgia. King, of Lilburn (GA) Parkview, visited Florida's Friday Night Lights mini-camp last year. Also not too far away is four-star running back Jonathan Dwyer (6-0, 200) of Marietta (GA) Kell.
Looking nationally, the Gators may be able to dip into California this year if the right running back surfaces. Before all is said and done, USC may sign five running backs in the 2006 class, meaning they will likely take one or none. There are two that are already mentioning the Gators. Five-star Marc Tyler (6-0. 205) of Westlake Village (CA) Oaks Christian and four-star Raymond Carter (6-0, 190) of Los Angeles (CA) Crenshaw have the Gators as a possibility at the moment. Dale Martin (5-11, 200) a four -star running back from Bolingbrook (IL) rounds out the early interest prospects from far away.
Tomorrow look for tight ends, wide receivers, and offensive linemen.