Midwest scout talks Gator prospects

Allen Trieu covers Midwest recruiting for Scout.com and took the time to talk about three big prospects that still remain on the recruiting board for Florida. Trieu helps rate and rank the prospects, talks to them, their coaches, and families to find out what is going on. Here is a look outside of Gatordom on three prospects UF is pursuing.

First up is linebacker Clifton Garrett. The 5-star and number two middle linebacker in the country from Plainsfield (Ill.) South HS may actually be underrated, if that is possible. The Gators have pursued him hard and he visited Florida officially for the Tennessee game in September.

"He has really improved in coverage," Trieu said of Garrett and where he has made the most gains in his senior year. "Playing the 7 on 7 circuit helped him there. He is now a full-fledged three down linebacker that I believe can play for anyone in the country. If there's anything he can still work on, I think still improving in that department and to keep working on his agility."

The Gators have been long thought to trail LSU and maybe others for Garrett's services and that appears to still be the same notion at this time.

"I think Florida is in the game, but behind schools like LSU and Ole Miss," Trieu said. "I believe he will chose LSU, and if for some reason, he doesn't, the Rebels would be his second choice right now."

Florida needs at least one linebacker and there are several on the board to look at Nyles Morgan is the #4 ranked middle linebacker on Scout.com and the Crete (Ill.) Monee HS defender is great in playing the open field.

"Contrary to Clifton, Nyles was good in coverage and space last year, but needed to add some weight and strength, which he has done," Trieu said. "He's up to 230 pounds and hitting like it. He is striking and making people feel his hits this year much more than last year."

On the recruiting front, the Gators are looking to solidify an official visit from Morgan heading down the stretch. He still has three available, but hasn't set them up yet. Trieu says two schools stand out the most for Morgan and they don't reside in the Sunshine State.

Nyles Morgan

"Like Garrett, I see Florida as having an opportunity, but still behind other schools," Trieu said. "In Morgan's case, I believe Ole Miss and Notre Dame are the schools to beat."

The need for offensive line prospects has grown immensely during the season. The Gators numbers have been low and the thought was they could make do because the quality on campus would hold out. With all the issues during the season, the staff has started reaching out to quite a few names.

In the last couple of weeks Florida has offered Southfield (Mich.) lineman Chukwuma Okorafor who is currently committed to Western Michigan. Just prior to Florida offering, Arkansas jumped into the ring with an offer. The kid's stock is rising.

"He has only played football for a couple years, so he's improved in just about every department," Trieu said of progression during Okorafor's senior season. "His technique is much better, he's more confident and less hesitant and that is allowing him to play more physically and quickly. He still has to work on his footwork and overall technique, but he has the physical tools."

In a recent update here on FightinGators.com it was explained that okorafor is a native of Nigeria and it was not a likely scenario that he would venture far fromhis new home to play football. The Gators are currently working hard to set up an official visit for Chukwuma and his mother.


"I think getting him on campus would be huge," Trieu said. "He's a kid who ideally wants to stay close, but sometimes, once those kids get out, they get more comfortable with it. That said, it's an uphill battle for the Gators, but they could make big progress if they get him to Gainesville. I see him sticking with Western Michigan unless Michigan State or Maryland were to offer."

From the same Southfield team, we have 4-star giant defensive end Malik McDowell. McDowell has an official visit with Florida scheduled and has the kind of size, if not more, Florida desires in their strong size ends.

"He's playing better competition this year, so he's shown that he can do it at a higher level than he had been playing at when he was at a different school in past years," Trieu said of McDowell. "He's improved his pad level and technique. I think he still needs to play lower, and he needs to adjust to being inside more, where he's more accustomed to playing end.


The Gators face competition from the local schools for McDowell.

Florida will get an official visit from him at the end of November. That's when they'll have their shot to really sway him. Right now, Michigan and Michigan State have to be considered the front runners… he has been to both of those places much more than anywhere else.

The Gators have their footprint all over the map every year in recruiting and this year is no different. We will continue with prospects from another part of the country in the next segment.

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