There will be no shortage of talent on hand for Friday Night Lights at the wide receiver position. First we start with the five-star prospects. The top overall rated wide receiver is Julio Jones from Foley (Ala.). At 6-4,215-pounds, he runs in the 4.45 range. He has all the tools to be a fantastic talent at the next level. Jones finished his junior season with 75 receptions for 1,301 yards and found the end zone an amazing 21 times. Jones is the number three-rated prospect regardless of position in the nation. In the end, I believe it is a four-team race for his services with Alabama, Auburn, Florida and Florida State.
Next on the list is five star wide receiver Michael Floyd. Floyd, from St. Paul (Minn.) Cretin Derham-Hall High School is 6-3, 200-pounds and runs in the 4.5 range. Floyd might be the most physical wide receiver in the class of 2008 and is the top prospect from the state of Minnesota. He ended his junior season with 65 catches for 1,245 yards and 16 touchdowns. Floyd has told me on several occasions that he is doing everything he can to make sure he attends Friday Night Lights. He has Florida at the top of his list a long with Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Notre Dame, Ohio State and Southern Cal. If Floyd actually makes it in for Friday Night Lights, I believe the Gators have a good chance to land him based on what he has told me in the past.
The next five-star wide receiver that plans to attend Friday Night Lights might be the most intimidating receiver in the country. DeAndre Brown, from Ocean Springs (Miss.) is one of, if not the biggest, wide receiver prospects in the entire country. Brown is currently the fifth best wide receiver in the nation and is a huge target with great hands. He is extremely difficult to defend inside the 20 and creates mismatches wherever he lines up. While most compare Brown to Calvin Johnson, they are stating the obvious. Brown, on the other hand wants to be the next DeAndre Brown.
"Calvin Johnson is a great wide receiver no doubt about it but I am just trying to be the next DeAndre Brown," Brown said. "I think that people compare us because of our size and our body control. I think I have better body control than any other wide receiver in the nation. I can stop on a dime, change directions and have a great burst of speed."
Brown has not yet been to Gainesville but is anxious about attending Friday Night Lights.
"From what I heard it's a very beautiful campus and stadium. I want to get to Gainesville and see if I like it, which I am sure that I will. I want to see The Swamp and see how many people it holds and maybe one day I can play for the Gators."
Wide receiver Coach Billy Gonzales has told Brown that he thinks he can come in and catch 100 balls a year for the Gators.
I still believe that LSU is the team to beat for his services but time will tell. The only question mark might be his grades.
The Gators look to bring in eight four-star rated wide receivers for Friday Night Lights. Jameel Owens is from Muskogee (Ok.) and is ranked No. 60 in the nation. Owens is 6-3, 210-pounds and runs in the 4.45 range. He has an uncanny ability to use his size to his advantage. Owens averaged more than 20 yards per catch. Look for Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, LSU, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State to all battle it out for his services. All of his favorites have offered with the exception of the Gators but that could change after Friday Night Lights.
Aldarius Johnson is a wide receiver prospect from Miami Northwestern High School. He is 6-3, 195-pounds and runs in the 4.54 range. Johnson is coming off a terrific junior season with 72 receptions for 1,361 yards and 19 touchdowns. He's not afraid to go over the middle and uses his body extremely well when the ball is in the air. Florida, Florida State, Miami, LSU, North Carolina, Notre Dame and Southern Cal have offered but I believe in the end that it comes down to the in-state powers. He is currently ranked No. 71 in the country.
Next, we head to the Peach State. Wide receiver Joshua Jarboe is currently ranked No. 79 in the country according to the Scout.com's top 100. Jarboe, from Ellenwood (Ga.) Cedar Grove High School is the same size as Johnson at 6-3 and 195-pounds but is a little faster, running in the 4.45 range. Jarboe has great acceleration and is a threat to take it to the house every time he gets in the open field. He will line up all over the field his senior season, doing what Percy Harvin did for the Gators last year. Jarboe finished his junior season with 48 receptions for just under 1,000 yards and added another 437 yards rushing with two touchdowns to go a long with his 10 receiving touchdowns. Florida is at the top of his list with Georgia, Georgia Tech, LSU, Miami, Ohio State and Tennessee.
Melvin Ray checks in at No. 126 in the country and hails from Tallahassee (Fla.) North Florida Christian High School. Ray is 6-3 and 196-pounds and runs in the 4.5 range. A very physical wide receiver, Ray has been to Gainesville on numerous occasions over the last six months. Florida, Florida State, LSU, South Carolina, Alabama, Georgia and Ole Miss are all in the mix but look for a decision to come down to Florida, Florida State, LSU and South Carolina.
Chris Tolliver from Rayville (La.) at 6-1 and 185-pounds led the state of Louisiana in receiving with a whopping 76 receptions for more than 1,500 yards and 17 touchdowns. Tolliver might very well be the top prospect in the state and is looking at Alabama, Florida, LSU, Miami, Ole Miss and Nebraska.
A.J. Jenkins is one of the top wide receiver prospects from the Jacksonville area. Jenkins, 6-1 and 175-pounds, is from Jacksonville (Fla.) Terry Parker High School. He has been timed as low as 4.32 and thinks he can run faster. Jenkins finished his junior season with 32 catches for 500 yards and eight touchdowns. I have heard rumors that he has given his verbal to the Georgia Tech coaching staff recently but maintains to me that he is wide open between six schools in Florida, South Carolina, Georgia Tech, LSU, Miami and Illinois.
Harry Adams is a wide receiver prospect from Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) Dillard High School and might be the fastest prospect on the board. He is a true burner, running a 10.2 100-meter. He is very raw compared to the other wide receivers on the board but what he lacks in experience he makes up for with game changing speed. Coach Urban Meyer has stated on several occasions that he wants the fastest team in America and Harry Adams would go a long way in achieving that goal. He has been quoted as saying that he has a top five of Florida, Florida, Florida, Florida and you guessed it Florida.
Three highly rated prospects that are on the wide receiver board for Florida that are not certain if they will be able to attend Friday Night Lights are Gerrell Robinson, Deion Walker and Burton Scott. Robinson from Chandler (Ariz.) Hamilton High School is one of the most sought after wide receiver prospects in the class of 2008. Robinson is 6-4 and 215-pounds and runs in the 4.50 range. He is the No. 100 ranked member of the Scout.com top 100 and is listed as a commit to Arizona. Robinson has every intention of being in Gainesville for Friday Night Lights with teammate running back Covaughn Deboskie. I have spoken with him on several occasions and believe that if he makes it in that the Gators have a legitimate shot.
Walker is ranked No. 48 in the country and is the eighth overall rated wide receiver prospect in the land. Walker is from Christchurch (Va.) and is 6-3 and 185-pounds running in the 4.5 range. He is similar to Joe Haden III in that he could come in and play a couple of different positions. Walker recorded eight interceptions on defense and had 45 receptions for 732 yards and eight touchdowns on offense. It does not look like he will make it in for Friday Night Lights but plans a visit to Gainesville on July 10 for a two-day unofficial visit. Walker is looking at Florida, Florida State, LSU, Michigan, Penn State, Tennessee and Southern Cal.
Scott finds himself ranked No. 110 in the country and is one of the most explosive offensive players in the nation. I listed Scott in my Friday Night Lights running back preview but think he warrants being on the wide receiver list as well. Scott is from Prichard (Ala.) C. F. Vigor High School and has had the Gators at the top of his list since a recent trip to Gainesville. He amassed more than 1,000 yards rushing and passing last season.
"Coach Meyer and Coach Strong are both recruiting me for the University of Florida," Scott said. "They both told me that they want me to come down and do the same things that No. 8 did, Percy Harvin. They spread the ball out and get it to the playmakers. That's what the spread option offense does and it's the same kind of offense that we run in high school."
Scott has stated that Florida is his top school and he does not think that any other school can change that. He will be at Alabama's camp on July 22.
Davon Johnson is from Miami Booker T. Washington High School and is 5-11 and 170-pounds. Johnson has been timed as low as 4.45 and finished his junior season with 22 receptions for 422 yards and four touchdowns. Johnson is looking at LSU, Miami, Rutgers, South Carolina, South Florida and Florida. He has camped at Miami and Rutgers and is the son of former Gator great Ben Hanks. Johnson is also the teammate of cornerback Brandon Harris who will be at Friday Night Lights as well.
Keon Broxton from Lakeland (Fla.) Lakeland Senior High School will also be making the trip to Friday Night Lights. This list is not set in stone and we obviously won't know for sure which wide receivers make it to Friday Night Lights until the event, but it's a good starting point.