Gators Making a Connection with California

For as long as I can remember, it has been very difficult for the Florida Gators to not only land the elite players from the West Coast, but to even get them on campus for a visit. Are times changing?

Many of California's elite players talk highly when referring to the Florida Gators and rightfully so. They have won two of the past three BCS Titles and are picked to go wire-to-wire this season.

One of the nation's top defensive end prospects Ronald Powell attended camp in Gainesville last month and was not disappointed. There has been a buzz created by some of the things he told other players in the area.

Will it be enough for the Gators to break through and land some of these players? Only time will tell but one thing is for certain, clearly the interest in the Gators is much more than window dressing or a hat on the table in my mind.

Many of the top players on the West and East Coasts will be competing in a 7-on-7 tournament in the next few weeks in Orlando. Orlando will also be the home for another camp, which invites the best of the best. Many of these top players will visit the University of Florida during a 10-day stretch concluding at the end of the month.

Half the battle for Florida in years past has been to get these kids on campus. That goal will be accomplished in the coming weeks. The next goal will be to actually land some of California's best. Here are five players to keep an eye on over the next few weeks.

WR Kenny Stills, 6-1 and 180-pounds with blistering speed (4.36) is from Encinitas (CA) La Coast Canyon High School. Still is the nation's No. 6 ranked wideout and a four-star prospect.

WR Dillon Baxter, 6-0 and 205-pounds is from San Diego (CA) Mission Bay Senior High School. Baxter is currently committed to USC and is the nation's No. 27 ranked wideout and a four-star prospect.

RB Brennan Clay, 5-11 and 190-pounds is from San Diego (CA) Scripps Ranch High School. Clay is currently committed to Oklahoma and the nation's No. 13 ranked tailback.

ATH Tony Jefferson, 6-0 and 200-pounds is from Chula Vista (CA) Eastlake High School. Jefferson is the nation's No. 16 ranked safety but could play a number of positions at the next level.

RB Jordon James, 5-10 and 190-pounds is from Corona (CA) Senior High School. James is the nation's No. 8 ranked tailback.

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