Weekend Visitors Guide: Spring Edition

Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit and Lee Corso won't be the only visitors coming into Gainesville this weekend for the annual Orange and Blue game. The Swamp will play host to not only thousands of fans, but some of the top prospects in this year's class.

First up are two prospects that all Gator fans are familiar with - linebacker Mike Gilliard and offensive linemen Antonio Foster from Valdosta High School. They recently visited Georgia Tech and most recently the University of Georgia this past weekend. Both have told me that they could be ready to make a decision after the visit to Florida this weekend. Gilliard is riding with current Gator commitment Greg Reid from Lowndes High School as the two are very close friends. With limited ships available this year, I wouldn't expect the Gators to take commitments from either of these two prospects at this time unless they get some bad news on some other players at the same position. As to date, I don't believe that has happened and it won't happen this week. Gilliard and Foster might be held off until Florida's came scheduled for June to see how they stack up with other players that they are looking at.

Mike Gilliard:
Gilliard made 112 tackles, eight sacks and two interceptions in 12 games.

Antonio Foster:
Foster is a player that was originally slated for offensive tackle but when he came to Florida he was closer to 6-2 and not the 6-4 listed height. But I believe the Gators still like him at the guard position.

Maybe the top recruit in this year's class for the Gators is quarterback Aaron Murray. Murray will once again head to Florida Field with teammate tight end Orson Charles. Many believe that Murray is the Gators to lose and I agree with that. He has just returned from his trip out west to UCLA, a trip in which his mother wasn't able to attend. Then this past weekend, he was in Athens for the G-Day Game with Charles. He has stated in the past that he felt that after he made these three trips that he might be able to make a decision but that remains to be seen at this time. Many believe that Charles will end up with the Miami Hurricanes, but he has maintained to me many times that he is 100 percent open at this time but we will have to wait and see if Murray's decision will or could impact Charles' decision.

Aaron Murray:
Murray completed 201-of-329 passing attempts for 4,012 yards with a 78 long, seven interceptions and 51 touchdowns. He holds 52 offers to date.

Orson Charles:
One of the top tight end prospects in the greater Tampa area, Charles played his junior season at Riverview High where he had 12 catches for 325 yards and two touchdowns. He transferred to Plant where he will play with Aaron Murray.

Murray is the top quarterback in the state and Charles in my opinion is the top tight end prospect in the state of Florida. Both were selected first team at the 7-on-7 events with Murray being the overall MVP of the tournament.

Jonotthan Harrison is also expected in this weekend and there has been a swirl of speculation that he could pull the trigger. As of right now Harrison tells me that he isn't sure what he will do as far as committing. The Gators are certainly the team to beat especially with Mrs. Harrison canceling his visits to Auburn and Southern Miss a couple of weeks ago.

Jonotthan Harrison:
Talented offensive line prospect who has played all five line positions during his high school career. He's athletic for his size and will only continue to get better. Teammate of current Gator commitment Jeff Demps.

We have seen plenty of hype surrounding the big three from Seminole High School and it is well warranted. Andre Debose, Ray Ray Armstrong and Dyron Dye are three outstanding looking prospects who recently visited for a Florida practice and all three came away very impressed. Enough so that Debose will return to Gainesville this weekend for the game. Dye will not be able to attend and it is unclear at this time if Armstrong will attend or not. Dye told me that he wasn't thrilled about missing the game but he needs to concentrate on this test moving forward.

Andre Debose:
DeBose is a quarterback, receiver, running back, cornerback, safety, kick returner, punt returner, and punter at Seminole High School. He is blessed with blinding speed and athleticism and has got to be considered one of the most explosive athletes among the Class of 2009. He recently ran a 10.6 100-meter.

Arguably the top linebacker in the state of Georgia Jarvis Jones said he plans to attend the Orange and Blue game this weekend as well. Jones is 6-4 and 210-pounds and has great closing speed and instincts.

Jarvis Jones:
Clemson, Florida, Georgia, Miami, Southern Cal and Texas are recruiting Jones the most right now.

Another out of state linebacker that will be in town this weekend is 6-2, 225-pound Carlo Calabrese from Verona (N.J.) High School.

Carlo Calabrese:
As a junior, Calabrese notched 104 solo tackles and six sacks. As a sophomore, Calabrese missed four and a half games with a broken wrist, but still managed 53 solo tackles, 2.5 sacks and four fumble recoveries. He also had roughly 200 yards on offense and caught four touchdown passes. Calabrese was also the kicker, punter and punt returner for Verona High School. The Star-Ledger named him first-team All-Conference at linebacker, second-team All-State Group I, Essex County third-team defense and the Essex County Sophomore Defensive Player of the Year. He was also named the All-Purpose Player of the Year, the Essex County Comeback Player of the Year and was a member of the Essex County All-Sophomore team at linebacker.

As a freshman, Calabrese led his team in tackles with 58 solo tackles, three sacks and a blocked point after attempt. He was also the team's kicker and converted on all point after attempts. He was named Essex County Freshman Defensive Player of the Year by The Star-Ledger. Calabrese runs a 4.7 40-yard dash, a 4.35 short shuttle, benches 300 pounds, squats 400 pounds and can do 35 reps of 150 pounds on the bench press. He is also an honor roll student.

Miami Gulliver Prep linebacker Frankie Telfort will be in Gainesville for the Orange and Blue Game. It will be Telfort's tenth trip to Gainesville.

Frankie Telfort:
Telfort missed half of his junior season because of a torn right thumb ligament, yet still managed to have 66 tackles, four forced fumbles and two fumbles recovered. He played the remainder of the season in a cast.

Another South Florida linebacker that will be making the trip is Wellington (FL) Palm Beach Central High School backer Jon Bostic. Bostic is a 6-2, 220-pound linebacker, and I believe it's between Florida, Miami and LSU.

Another in-state offensive lineman, Jeff Hartung, is no stranger to Gainesville. Hartung has made a couple of trips over the past month and is excited about returning for the spring game. He will also participate in the Nike camp on Sunday in Gainesville.

Jeff Hartung:
Hartung is from Orange Park (FL) Ridgeview High School and is 6-4, 292-pounds and will be making his fifth trip to the University of Florida this weekend. His family followed the Gators growing up. I believe the Gators could end this one at any time if they wanted. He is big, fast and athletic and would be a good fit for the system in which Florida runs.

One of the fastest players in the state is Denard Robinson. Robinson from Deerfield Beach High School is 6-0 and 180-pounds and runs sub 4.4. He is the cousin of Patrick Robinson but insists that he is wide open as does his coach and will look at everyone that is looking at him.

Denard Robinson:
Robinson was named Third Team All-State Quarterback by the FSWA (6A) his junior season, 2007. He was also named First Team All-Broward by the Miami Herald. The junior passed for 1,936 yards and rushed for 428 yards. 17 total touchdowns. Robinson led his Deerfield Beach team against the talent laden USA Today's No. 1 and Florida 6A Champion Miami Northwestern (2007) in 19-14 loss in the state semi-finals. Robinson was stopped just short of the end zone on a fourth down play.

Arguably the top defensive end in the state of Florida is scheduled to be in town this weekend in Armwood's Ryne Giddins. Giddins is 6-4, 240-pounds and has a motor that never stops. One situation to keep an eye on at this point with Giddins would be the recruitment of linebacker and teammate Petey Smith, Smith is being recruited heavily by the Auburn Tigers at this time. It is unclear at this time if Smith will attend this weekend or not.

Ryne Giddins:
Giddins recorded 97 tackles and 21 sacks during his junior season. He was named Catch 47 Defensive MVP of the Year, first team All-Conference, first team All-State and first team All-Sun Coast.

Maybe one of the state's fastest players is running back Jaamal Berry who was scheduled to come to a Florida practice last week but his mother was sick and they had to postpone the trip. It may have worked out better in the long run so Berry can see first hand exactly how the staff will utilize the running backs in the fall. His mother is very excited about making the trip this weekend.

Titusville (FL) wide receiver Wille Haulstead will also be in Gainesville this weekend.

Willie Haulstead:
"I've been to Florida three times so this will be my fourth trip. I love Coach Billy Gonzales. He is always joking around and stuff and I enjoy talking to him. I am staying over for the Nike Camp on Sunday and my top five is Florida, LSU, Miami, Georgia and South Florida.

Jamaal Berry:
One of the state's top running back prospects, Berry rushed 140 for 1,033 yards and 14 touchdowns as a junior in 2007. He also had five receptions for 30 yards. Berry is a threat to take it to the house every time he touches the ball. Berry made first team at the recent 7-on-7 event in Miami.

A couple of players that are looking at Florida that will not be able to attend this weekend's game due to prior engagements are Dyron Dye, Nu'Keese Richardson, Victor Marc, Ricky Dixon, Marlon Brown, Chad Bumphis, Brandon McGee and Kayvon Webster. Webster has prom, Brown has a basketball tournament and the rest are taking the ACT this weekend.

Dyron Dye:
One of the most talented pass rushers in the entire state, Dye finished his junior season with 65 tackles and 13 sacks. Dye has recently stated that Florida and Florida State are his top two teams with the Gators out in front.

Nu'Keese Richardson:
One of the top wide receiver prospects in South Florida this year, Richardon finished his regular junior season with 26 catches for 452 yards and six touchdowns. He also had 274 yards and four touchdowns passing. He may be the most explosive player in the state of Florida this year. He is a member of the 7-on-7 all tournament team despite missing the championship game with a sore hamstring. He has a good relationship with current Gator corner back Janoris Jenkins. The two to beat in my opinion are Florida and South Carolina.

Ricky Dixon:
Dixon is a very aggressive cover corner. Sometimes it hurts him as he will over run the play. At times he is a lockdown cover guy. He will be stride for stride with his guy 30 yards downfield. Not real thick physically, but that never stops him from putting his hat on a body and making a play. Very solid special team's player. He can be a return man, cover kicks and punts and can also block punts and kicks. Great closing speed.

Marlon Brown:
Marlon Brown had 41 receptions for 861 yards and six touchdowns during his junior season. He added 58 carries for 629 yards and 10 touchdowns; Brown admits he wants to work on his overall speed and strength (benches only 215 pounds, squats 420).

Kayvon Webster:
Webster could play a number of positions at the next level. South Florida and South Carolina both have offered and talks have picked up with the Gator staff over the last month or so. Talented safety prospect who plays on both sides of the ball at Pace. As a junior, he had 7 catches for 71 yards and one score. He finished the season with 90 tackles and two caused fumbles on defense.

Brandon McGee:
Talented dual-threat quarterback prospect who threw for 934 yards, nine touchdowns, and seven interceptions as a junior. He also added 262 yards on the ground. He'll also play corner as a senior, the position he'll likely play in college.

"I won't be able to attend the UF spring game. I am taking the ACT, but I wish I could be there."

Another player that won't be able to make the game this weekend because of the ACTs is running back Trent Richardson. Richardson, 5-11, 215-pounds has been receiving a lot of attention from the Gator staff and is returning the interest at this time. He is from Pensacola (FL) Escambia High School.

One player to keep an eye on is maybe the biggest player in the country, offensive tackle Chris Freeman who stands at 6-9. He told me earlier today that he is trying to get a flight into Gainesville and could stay as many as three days. No need to worry though if he isn't able to attend this weekend he will take a trip in the very near future to Florida.

Chris Freeman:
Freeman is 6-9, 315-pounds and has only played football for about a year. A basketball player, Freeman has seen his stock sky rocket and is gathering offers from some of the top teams in the nation including the Gators. Coach John Hevesy informed Freeman of the offer and he was very excited to say the least. Three of his high school teammates are playing with Michigan and that could have an impact before it is all said and done but he is going to spend a couple of days in Gainesville to show the staff that he is seriously going to give them a hard look.

Two players are scheduled in for practice on Wednesday, April 9 and both of them have serious talent. First up is running back Rodney Scott. Scott is from Cross City (FL) Dixie County High School and grew up a fan of the Gators. He does not have an offer at this time but that could change in the near future. I believe he would need to come to camp to get his offer but this kid can play. Scott is 5-10, 190-pounds with 4.43 speed and should be up to 200 for his senior season. Auburn, Ole Miss and Mississippi State all have offered at this time and Auburn is recruiting Scott very hard at this time.

Rodney Scott:
Scott carried the ball 250 times for 2,017 yards and 20 touchdowns. He also caught 11 passes for 151 yards and two touchdowns. He had five straight games of more than 200 yards during the middle part of the season.

The only other player scheduled to come to practice on Wednesday, April 9 is defensive linemen Demonte McAllister. McAllister is 6-3, 245-pounds and states that Florida State is the team to beat. He will attend the Florida State spring game on Saturday, April 12 and if he doesn't decide that's good for the Gators. He is a player that is going to receive a lot of attention this week and then we will see what he thinks. Clearly the Gators have some ground to make up here, and in this case, I think it is good that he will get the focus of the entire staff at practice versus getting lost in the shuffle during the Orange and Blue Game on Saturday.

Demonte McAllister:
McAllister is listed at 245-pounds currently but will maintain a playing weight of around 260 for his senior season and try to be around 275 before he heads off to college.

These are just a few names to keep an eye on as the Orange and Blue Game approaches. All of the players that are not able to attend due to the ACT and are disappointed that they are missing the game.

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

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