Heading Down the Stretch

As the Florida staff nears the end of another recruiting season I thought it might be a good time to take a look at who might be in and who might be left out. Anything can and normally does happen in regards to recruiting but this is based on what I believe will happen on National Signing Day.

The Gators have a total of 18 verbal commitments with the recent additions of Matt Patchan, Jeff Demps, Ricky Barnum and now T.J. Pridemore. I first want to clear up a couple of things on Pridemore. While I do fully expect Omar Hunter to be in the class with his teammate, this was in no way shape or form some sort of package deal. Pridemore fills a need at the H-Back spot, a spot in which he will be given the chance to come in and win the job. The defensive coaches also like what he can do from the linebacker position. He is a big, fast and physical type of player that has a nasty attitude about him and loves to hit people.

With that said here is a list of guys that I think will be added to the class.

I believe that UF fans have nothing to worry about with regards to Omar Hunter. He is set to come next weekend and there will be more than a few guys that are Gators that he will spend a lot of time with. Hunter spent an entire week in Orlando with guys like Burton Scott, Ricky Barnum, Janoris Jenkins, Jamie Harper and Ramon Buchanan and as of now, all are scheduled to be in next weekend. I will put out an official visitor list later this week once it is all confirmed.

Jeff Demps, Chaz Sutton and Lerentee McCray are also both scheduled to be in this weekend as well so there will be a lot of Gator love going on this weekend from the guys that are Gators and from the guys that want to be Gators. Omar Hunter will make 19. Omar Hunter is the No. 2 ranked defensive tackle in the nation and a five-star player. He is just under 6-2 and 297-pounds.

It is no secret that Lerentee McCray visited Florida State last weekend and had a great trip to Tallahassee. When he left he had them equal with the Gators but will be taking his visit to Florida this weekend. He did not give any of the coaches at Florida State a silent commitment. He attended the UF/FSU game with Jeff Demps and the two were together before, during and after the game and have a good relationship with each other. As of now I still expect that McCray will be in the class. Lerentee McCray in my opinion will make 20. McCray is a four-star weakside linebacker from Dunnellon (Fla.) that is 6-2 and 200-pounds and runs in the 4.5 range.

The nation's No. 1 ranked weakside linebacker and current Miami commit Ramon Buchanan will visit as well. "Cookie" as he is often referred to hails from Melbourne (Fla.) Palm Bay and is 6-2 and 200-pounds and runs in that 4.5 range. He was one of the more impressive looking athletes on the field all week in Orlando. He has tremendous sideline to sideline speed and loves to hit. There is lots of smoke surrounding Buchanan and in the end I do expect to see him jump ship, so to speak, and sign with the Gators. In my opinion Cookie will make 21.

A couple of teammates from De Soto (Texas) De Soto, cornerback Adrian Bushell and running back Cyrus Gray were in this past weekend. Gray is 5-11 and 190-pounds and runs 4.45 and I believe plenty fast enough to work out of the spread offense. He is a four-star running back that is the No. 9 rated back in the country.

Bushell is the same height but a bit lighter at 175-pounds but a bit faster at 4.40. He is a three-star kid that can play wide receiver or cornerback. Both Bushell and Gray have committable offers and Florida would take commitments from both, but like I said, anything can and normally does happen in recruiting.

We need to keep close watch on both of these players down the stretch. I am scheduled to speak with Bushell later tonight and maybe I will be able to get a feel for his thought process on Florida as we enter the stretch run for recruiting.

Many Gator fans thought that in addition to Pridemore, T..J Lawrence from Lakeland (Fla.) Kathleen might have the best chance to go public after the weekend. Not only did Lawrence not go public for Florida, but he left saying that all his teams are equal (Florida, Virginia Tech and South Carolina). Interestingly enough, he will make his scheduled trip to South Carolina on the January 18 and it looks like he will visit Michigan the following weekend. I am not sure that the staff will be willing to wait on him when it is all said and done.

David Young is a two-star ranked offensive tackle from Edwardsville (Ill.) but is exactly what the staff likes from its outside offensive linemen, which is tall and lean. Young is 6-6 and 280-pounds. Things could be cleared up early this week, or they could be put on hold until the final weekend before signing day because of some outside factors. Make no mistake about it, David Young wants to be a Gator.

William Green from Hoover (Ala.) Spain Park is another one that is a hot topic on the message boards. He is listed as the No. 12 rated strongside linebacker and a four-star prospect. It has been a battle between Florida and Alabama since the beginning. Green told me late last week that Florida still maintains a slight edge over Alabama and that's good news with him coming in this weekend.

Rod Davis from Houston (Texas) Eisenhower, in my opinion, was a silent commitment to the Gators but with his recent trip to Texas A&M I believe that he could end up sticking with the Aggies. It remains to be seen if Meyer will make an in-home visit with Davis in the upcoming weeks. If he does, then the Gators have a good shot to land the four-star No. 11 ranked defensive tackle. Davis is listed at 6-3 but is closer to 6-1 and the 295 seems about right.

Keith Wells was all set to be a Gator at Friday Night Lights. Things did not work out for the 6-5, 240-pound four-star defensive end from Gainesville (Ga.), and he gave his verbal commitment to Florida State the following weekend. Now things have come full circle for Wells. It doesn't appear that he will be a Seminole and he will officially visit the Gators the weekend of the January 25. I believe that Chaz Sutton will make it in the class, but if William Green decides to stay home and attend Alabama then Keith Wells could find himself in this class.

Others to consider that are still on the board:

Brandon Harris
Greg Shaw
Jamie Harper
Julio Jones
Milton Knox
T.J. Bryant
Burton Scott

As of now, both Julio Jones and Jamie Harper are scheduled to visit. There was some talk that Harper may not attend based on his recent trip to Clemson. We will know by Tuesday night if he will visit Gainesville this weekend. Despite recent reports that Burton Scott was sent home for trying to recruit players to Alabama while he was on his visit to Auburn this past weekend, he is still scheduled to attend this weekend. I can tell you with 100 percent certainty that those reports are false.

In summary, I believe that Hunter, McCray and Cookie will be in to bring the total number of commitments to 21. I still believe that Florida will look to sign 24 players. That leaves three spots open for a bunch of different players.

The Gators do have one big trick up their sleeve and have a great opportunity to pull it off down the stretch run. If that were to take place, then they have only two spots open to fill between now and signing day.

Questions or comments? Contact FightinGators.com's Jason Higdon

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