Projecting Recruiting Needs For Class of 2007

Probably the most difficult task in recruiting is projecting needs in advance. Graduation, attrition, injuries and early entry into the NFL draft all factor in the recruiting plans for every college football staff. Ideally, there is so much depth that losses seem minimal and it is possible to red-shirt all or at least most of the incoming class of recruits. The Florida Gators aren't at that ideal situation yet, so projecting the recruiting class of 2007 is all the more difficult.

The 2007 recruiting class will require Florida's staff to compensate for the loss of a large class of seniors but there could be other losses as well. Here is my best guess at the moment to what the Gators will be looking to sign in next year's recruiting class:

2007 Quarterbacks (1): Tim Tebow (*SO) (* means projected class or possible)

Tim Tebow is still an unknown factor. He projects as the prototype quarterback for Coach Urban Meyer's spread option offense but he has yet to take a collegiate snap. All signs indicate he'll be an outstanding quarterback, but he's also going to be the ONLY scholarship quarterback.

(Need 2): With only Tebow on the roster, the Gators really need to sign two quarterbacks. In the Meyer offense with the way the quarterback is asked to run the ball it is absolutely scary to go without capable bodies backing up in case of emergency. It will be very difficult if not crazy to take two great ones, so look for the staff to try and land a great quarterback prospect and one that may be somewhat of a project.

2007 Running Backs (5): Markus Manson (JR), Kestahn Moore (JR), Mon Williams (*SO), Chevon Walker (*SO), Brandon James (*FR)

Assumption: All these players will remain at running back. Much could change but it's too early to tell so assume all five will still be running backs.

The Gators would seem to have a healthy stable of backs for the 2007 season. Manson flashes quickness and speed, Moore brings power and toughness. The three freshmen bring different attributes that can all be used by the staff.

(Need 1): With no seniors on the 2007 squad and five likely at the position, there is no real need to take more than one at the position in the recruiting class. However, with so many outstanding backs in the state of Florida and the south, it might be worth taking a second back.

2007 Wide Receivers (9): Nyan Boateng (JR), Louis Murphy (JR), Mike McIntosh (JR), David Nelson (SO), Percy Harvin (*SO), Jarred Fayson (*SO), Jamar Hornsby (*SO), Riley Cooper (*SO), Justin Williams (*FR)

Assumption: Bubba Caldwell will skip his senior season. If not for the season-ending injury in game three of 2005, I believe he would be gone already.

Starting in 2006 and going into 2007, the Gators look really deep at wide receiver. None that will be here in 2007 are currently experienced enough to know how they will perform on Saturdays, but you have to like the five US Army All-Americans (Boateng, Nelson, Harvin, Hornsby, and Fayson) in the mix.

(Need 3): Although wide receiver looks like a loaded position and it may seem strange to say the Gators need to take three, I think two or three from the position will be elsewhere by the time the 2007 season rolls around. We have seen nothing at all from McIntosh in two years and between Hornsby, Cooper, and Williams, their athletic ability could land them on the other side of the ball and on the field earlier before 2007.

2007 Tight Ends (3): Tate Casey (SR), Cornelius Ingram (JR), Trent Pupello (*SO)

Assumption: I am assuming someone like Eric Rutledge doesn't move to the position in lieu of linebacker.

The tight end position in 2007 looks fairly strong and will be the same as 2006 only a year of maturity being the difference. Again the position brings a lot of diversity.

(Need 1): I think it is good to think a year ahead and since Casey will be a senior in 2007, get another one here on campus and ready to go.

2007 Offensive Tackles (6): Phil Trautwein (SR), Carlton Medder (SR), (JR) Jason Watkins, Simon Codrington, (SO), Carl Johnson, (*SO), Marcus Gilbert (*FR)

Assumption: I am assuming that Jim Barrie goes to guard because of numbers.

As much as Meyer and company have downplayed the backup offensive line I think by 2007 it will be a real team strength. This year they will be young and inexperienced, but by 2007 two from the above list should be entrenched as starters and a couple of more should have game experience.

(Need 1): With six still on the roster and only two seniors, I believe the Gators only need to take one offensive tackle in 2007, two if they can get really good ones.

Offensive Guards (5): Drew Miller (SR), Jim Tartt (JR), Ronnie Wilson (SO), Maurice Hurt (*SO), Jim Barrie (*FR)

Assumption: In an effort to get the best five on the field in 2006, Miller could get moved to tackle and succeed.

In 2006 the interior of the offensive line seems to be the strong point. Miller and Tartt have already played significant time and both have their moments with accolades. Wilson is another big body they really like. I am not sure if Barrie is a guard or a tackle, but he plays mean like they like them. Hurt will have two springs under his belt by the time the 2007 season starts.

(Need 2): Rissler is the only interior lineman gone from the 2006 squad, but he will most likely start at center. With Miller being a junior and the lack of centers on roster I can see them bringing in two guards and maybe one will double at center for the 2007 class.

2007 Centers (1): Eddie Haupt (SO)

Assumption: I assume Haupt is healthy. I have heard nothing to make me think otherwise.

Haupt will need to get some reps in this year if he is planning on taking over the position in 2007. He has the body type and the mental capacity to handle the position.

(Need (1): With the assumption that they get a center/guard combo type also or convert another player over, getting a true center prospect would be imperative for this class in my opinion.

2007 Defensive Tackles (6): Clint McMillan (SR), Javier Estopinan (SR), Branden Daniel (SO), Brandon Antwine (*SO). Corey Hobbs (*SO), Terron Sanders (*FR)

This is a solid but not spectacular group at the moment. The incoming 2006 class will need to step up, but the depth is nice.

(Need 2): Two seniors will leave after 2007. The Gators are probably at a point where they should try and take the two best defensive tackles every year if possible.

2007 Defensive Ends (5): Jarvis Moss (SR), Derrick Harvey (JR), Darryl Gresham (SO), Lawrence Marsh (*SO), Jermaine Cunningham (*FR)

Assumption: I am assuming that Jarvis Moss will stay for his senior season. I realize statistically he hasn't done much for his short career but if he has a full junior year like he did the last half of 2005, he may be primed for high draft status. This bunch is packed with star power unlike the tackles. Speed is everywhere and this is the kind of group this staff will love.

(Need 2): With Moss a senior in 2007 two sounds like a good number for the end position. They could get by with just one.

2007 Linebackers (9): Brandon Siler (SR), Eric Rutledge (SR), Jon Demps (JR), Ryan Stamper (SO), Kalvin Baker (SO), Eric Sledge (SO), A.J. Jones (*SO), Brandon Spikes (*SO), Dustin Doe (*FR)

Assumptions: Siler stays for his senior year, which I expect. Rutledge remains at linebacker and Sledge gets moved there which was his original plan. There is at least a solid two deep going in to 2007 in this group. That is something they haven't had in a spring for a while.

(Need 3): Siler and Rutledge will be gone after 2007. The incoming class will be replacing Everett and Crum and a third linebacker would make the depth exceptional for the position.

2007 Safeties (5): Kyle Jackson (SR), Tony Joiner (SR), Reggie Nelson (SR), Dorian Monroe (SO), Bryan Thomas (*SO)

Assumption: This should be a great group in 2006 and 2007. They technically signed only one in 2006, but I think this is where they gain a player over the course of the season from a position switch.

(Need 2): They will graduate three after 2007 and will lose Holmes after 2006. I think two is the right number.

2007 Cornerbacks (4): Avery Atkins (JR), Jacques Rickerson (*SO), Markihe Anderson (*SO), Wondy Pierre-Louis (*FR)

Assumptions: This is assuming that Derrick Robinson goes pro baseball which is very likely. It is also assuming that Pierre-Louis gets into school and on time. Outside of quarterback, this is the scariest position on the roster as far as numbers go. They really needed one more that would come to school, so derrick Robinson could help them a lot.

(Need 3): Reggie Lewis is the only one leaving, but he will be a big hole to fill. The starters should be solid for 2007, but three more would get them out of panic mode and worried about injuries.

2007 Kickers (2): Chris Hetland (SR), Jonathan Phillips (JR)

They are fine at kicker at least through 2007.

(Need 0)

2007 Punters (0): none

Eric Wilbur is the lone punter on scholarship and he will be gone after 2006. They will most likely sign a punter.

(Need 1)

Doing the Math:

2007 Roster Numbers Before Attrition and Signing Day: 1 QB, 5 RB, 9 WR, 3 TE, 12 OL, 6 DT, 5 DE, 9 LB, 5 Saf, 4 CB, 2 K = 61 on roster

2 QB, 1 RB, 3 WR, 1 TE, 4 OL, 2 DT, 2 DE, 3 LB, 2 Saf, 3 CB, 1 P = 24 signees; Total = 85


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