For over two and a half weeks now this year's class seemed all but wrapped up. With players like Omar Hunter and William Green, some of the last few to make their intentions known in a public fashion to Florida, things seemed almost too easy. This past weekend took an unexpected turn when linebacker Ramon "Cookie" Buchanan decided that he would indeed take his official visit to Miami. Reports said that all was good with Cookie and that his mom went with him on the trip. I was able to confirm with her last night that she did not make the trip. I believe that Florida not only knew that he was making this trip but also was made aware that his mother would not attend - all good signs for the Gators.
It is hard to imagine that a player who was committed to the Canes for so long finally decided that it was time to go public to the Gators; something that we knew would happen for months to then less than two weeks later turn back to the Canes. Stranger things have happened in recruiting, no question. Most are beside themselves wondering how something like this could happen; in most people's minds it just doesn't make sense. I tell people all the time that you MUST take the logic out of recruiting and that anything and everything usually happens. Once you understand those two things then it can start to make sense, the truth is there is not making sense of it. The people surrounding Cookie in my opinion are Gators and in the end I believe he will be in this class.
Ricky Barnum was another currently committed player to the Gators that decided to take a visit this past weekend, he went to Michigan. I spoke with his father a couple days ago and he said he expects his son to be a Gator. Apparently Ricky just wanted to take the visit. Mr. Barnum was decked in Orange and Blue the entire week in Orlando for the Under Armour game so I think the Gators will be okay here.
I believe that this class will have 23 players when all is said and done and T.J. Lawrence will make 23. At one time I was getting strong vibes from a couple of players that are currently committed elsewhere but will get into more of that after signing day comes and goes. One player to keep an eye on is Chaz Sutton, there is a chance that he could attend Hargrave next year and be a part of next year's class. He wants to be a Gator and now we are waiting to see what the Gators will do. While he wants to be a Gator, I don't believe that he likes the plan they have in store for him and look for him to ink with the Gamecocks unless he has a change of heart.
I have mixed emotions about a signing day surprise so to speak, the fan in me wants to believe that Florida does have something up their sleeve when the realist in me says, 'no way.' Again, if it is a "true" surprise then no one will know until the fax comes in on Wednesday.
Some players that were on the board with the Gators at one time or another:
Julio Jones (Alabama, Florida State, Oklahoma)
In the end I think it will be hard to get him out of the state so I am sticking with Bama.
I believe is down to Bama, FSU and LSU and again I think that Bama is the team to beat
Seems to be OSU and Miami in my opinion but have heard for a LONG time he will not be a Cane. With that said and to be different I will say that I think it will be Ohio State in the end….
UCLA and maybe Notre Dame can slip back into the picture a bit if things open up for them.
The earliest players can fax letter of intents in is 7 a.m. on Wednesday. I will be in the chat around 6:45 a.m. and will stay in until the last player's fax has arrived. The second they come off the fax machine, we should have that information for you. I will bring the coffee if you guys bring the donuts? See you then…
Questions or comments? Contact FightinGators.com's Jason Higdon
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