Gators May Sign Full Class

Much has been said and written about how the Florida football team will have to settle for a more restricted recruiting class this year after bringing in large classes each of the last two years. While that conventional wisdom seemed right on target, Florida's recent attrition should let Urban Meyer and his staff sign a pretty big class after all.

As of right now three players off last season's roster are no longer listed as part of the Gator program. There seems to be little, if any chance that Jon Demps, Darryl Gresham Jr. and Ronnie Wilson will be Gators this fall. That leaves Florida with just 50 non-seniors on scholarship heading into the upcoming school year.

Assuming all 18 signed freshmen enroll this fall Florida will be at least 17 scholarships below the limit heading into the next recruiting cycle. Derrick Harvey and Cornelius Ingram are two guys who will seriously consider ending their college careers if 2007 goes well, which could get the Gators up to 19 vacancies. If you add in the fact the typical attrition of losing players for reasons other than the NFL average about three or four per year and the Gators are on the edge of the 25 recruit limit for signing day 2008.

Positional Priority is Clear

Two years ago I wrote that the Gators needed to sign six linebackers and people (including fellow staffers) dismissed the idea. Last year I did the same and got the same reaction. Well guess what? The Gators need to sign six linebackers next year!

Florida has just four linebackers on the roster right now with four more coming in the fall. Of those eight, half are undersized and their ability to help a lot may be in question. You always want at least a dozen guys at this position for two key reasons. First, linebackers often end up growing into defensive linemen. Second, reserve linebackers can be key members of your special teams.

Right now it doesn't appear there is any other position that has the same urgent manpower need that exists at linebacker. That assumes all six defensive linemen enroll this fall and show that they are ready to contribute. The Gators are also a tad thin in the secondary, especially at safety.

Offensively Florida's numbers are in pretty good shape, but with three of the five seniors on offense being linemen it will be important for the Gators to bring in at least four. Otherwise Florida can recruit sorta the way the NFL claims to draft, taking the best player available regardless of position. If Meyer and his staff hit linebacker hard and do reasonably well in all other spots, the Gators will finally have a roster with age and positional balance.

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