Recruiting Patience

In today's world of recruiting it appears to become a race to see who can fill up the fastest. Each team's fanbase wants more, and they want it now. Everyone wants to wake up and read about the next superstar that made the pledge to his or her school the previous night, or in some cases, week's prior.

For Florida fans they might want to buckle up for the long ride as it appears the staff will be as selective as possible in determining who to offer, when to offer and which kids will be allowed to go public and at what time. In all honesty, it speaks volumes about what head coach Urban Meyer and staff have been able to accomplish since his arrival in Gainesville. This does not mean you couldn't wake up in the next few days and read about Gator commitment number five. It simply means the Gators are in no hurry unless the right potential prospect decides the time is right.

This staff will not be out worked by anyone over the long and daunting task of recruiting, which is the life-line of every major program in the country. During the spring evaluation period the Florida coaches as a group will average anywhere from 40-50 schools per day bringing the total amount of schools visited by the Florida staff to roughly 1,000 schools during this evaluation period.

Currently the Florida Gators have a total of four "verbal" commitments for the class of 2011. Pop Saunders, a 5-11 and 180-pound athlete who projects at the cornerback position. From Deland (FL) Saunders has legit 4.45 speed and is dangerous on both sides of the ball. A.C. Leonard, a 6-3 and 230-pound tight end from University Christian school has the athletic ability of a 6-0, 180-pound wideout. Quarterback Jeff Driskel is a 6-4 and 225-pound gunslinger from Ovideo (FL) Hagerty. Driskel found himself at the top of the quarterback board for numerous teams across the Southeast. Defensive end Jeoffrey Pagan decided to make his verbal known at this year's Orange and Blue game. Pagan, a 6-3 and 270-pound defensive end has the speed and quickness of a 230-pound end and will be one of the most heavily recruited players in America. With what the Florida coaches have been able to accomplish the last several years in recruiting the Florida faithful can expect more of the same in 2011. There are as many top-flight "national" prospects mentioning Florida as in years past and the Gators could be the team to beat for three of the country's very best.

At the very top of the list is defensive tackle Tim Jernigan from Lake City (FL) Columbia. Jernigan is arguably the nation's top prospect and is a man among boys when he steps on the football field. He is being recruited by every major college football powerhouse and is in no rush to make a decision.

James Wilder Junior is at the top of every board across the land and could play either side of the ball. Wilder checks in at 6-2 and 217-pounds from Tampa (FL) Plant Senior. Wilder's physical appearance has reached legendary status and has the body of a current NFL player. He can do whatever he wants on the football field and depending on what he decides will determine which side of the ball he plays. I think in his heart he wants to play running back in college but at the same time he understands his ticket in the National Football League will be on the defensive side of the ball.

Linebacker Stephone Anthony checks in at 6-3 and 220-pounds from Wadesboro (NC) Anson. Anthony has mentioned several times the Gators are at the top of his list. Anthony shows great versatility and speed but is physical enough to play inside and could also play with his hand down in certain situations when the time is right.

With so many high profile players giving serious consideration to the University of Florida the staff will be in no hurry to "fill spots" unless it's the right player. Recruiting is not a sprint but a marathon and it's hard to argue with what Meyer and his staff have accomplished. Often times these relationships start as early as the ninth grade football season. I had a call today from what might end up being the top overall prospect for the entire class of 2012 who speaks very highly of the University of Florida. While the public might not hear or read about certain prospects the relationships between coaches/prospects starts well before the media understands the situation.

The 2011 class will be very special. Will it be as special as the 2010 class? Only time will tell but every Florida fan will need to have patience while the staff puts the pieces together.


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