Florida/LSU recruiting glance: Offense

Not many schools reel in as much talent as LSU and Florida. TigerSportsDigest.com takes a look back at the recruitment processes of the players on the two-deep roster from each school.

Florida/LSU recruiting glance: Defense


1st Team

LSU: Jarrett Lee (4-star, No. 15 QB, 2007)

Florida: Jeff Driskel (5-star, No. 1 QB, 2011)

2nd Team

LSU: Jordan Jefferson (3-star, No. 18 QB, 2008)

FLORIDA: Jacoby Brissett (4-star, No. 9 QB, 2011)


Jeff Driskel was the No. 1 QB in the country last season at Hagerty

Note: In 2008, after Ryan Perrilloux was kicked off the team and Andrew Hatch went down with injury, Lee – in his redshirt freshman year – was tossed into the fire too early and paid for it.

Now the tables are turned. With John Brantley sidelined, offensive coordinator Charlie Weis will turn to Driskel, last year’s top-ranked high school quarterback, to get the job done against one of the nation’s most efficient defenses.


Running Backs

1st Team

LSU: Spencer Ware (4-star, No. 10 RB, 2010)

FLORIDA: Chris Rainey (5-star, No. 5 RB, 2007)

2nd Team

LSU: Michael Ford (5-star, No. 3 RB, 2009)

FLORIDA: Jeff Demps (4-star, No. 36 RB, 2008)

Note: Both team’s feature backs were big-name prospects coming out of high school, with Florida taking the speedsters and LSU settling on power.

The highest rated back of the group was Ford, who is in the middle of his best season in three years with the program. The biggest steal was Ware, who Miles grabbed out of Cincinnati despite an offer from Jim Tressel to play at Ohio State.



1st Team

LSU: James Stampley (walk-on, 2009)

FLORIDA: Trey Burton (3-star, No. 22 QB, 2010)

2nd Team

LSU: J.C. Copeland (3-star, No. 43 DE, 2010)

FLORIDA: Hunter Joyer (3-star, No. 1 FB, 2011)

Note: Urban Meyer thought about waiting a year to take another fullback, but after Joyer impressed at a June camp in 2010, Meyer and assistant coach Dan McCarney offered and accepted the Tampa native’s commitment. Joyer later became the No. 1 fullback in the class. This Saturday watch for Burton, who has started games at fullback, H-back, tight end, wide receiver and quarterback.

LSU’s Stampley, a former walk-on, earned his spot in the starting lineup after climbing up through the scout-team ranks.


Wide Receivers

1st Team

LSU: Rueben Randle (5-star, No. 1 WR, 2009), Odell Beckham (4-star, No. 40 WR, 2011), Russell Shepard (5-star, No. 2 QB, 2009)

FLORIDA: Andre Debose (5-star, No. 3 WR, 2009), Frankie Hammond (3-star, No. 60 WR, 2008), Deonte Thompson (5-star, No. 3 WR, 2007)

2nd Team

LSU: Kadron Boone (4-star, No. 15 WR, 2010), James Wright (4-star, No. 44 WR, 2010), Jarvis Landry (5-star, No. 4 WR, 2011)

FLORIDA: Quinton Dunbar (3-star, No. 54 WR, 2010), Omarius Hines (4-star, No. 48 WR, 2008), Solomon Patton (4-star, No. 26 WR, 2010)


Debose was high on LSU, but stayed home at Florida

Note: Talent, talent and more talent. Randle and Shepard were both the No. 1 players at their position in 2009, the same year Andre Debose arrived to Florida as the nation’s No. 3-ranked receiver. At one time Debose was a silent commit to LSU, but Meyer did enough work in the end to sway one-third of the Seminole High trio to Gainesville (Ray Ray Armstrong and Dyron Dye ended up at Miami).

You won’t find many college teams with more top-flight prep talent than Meyer and Miles put together at wide receiver over the past five seasons.


Tight End

1st Team

LSU: DeAngelo Peterson (4-star, No. 40 WR, 2008)

FLORIDA: Jordan Reed (3-star, No. 42 QB, 2009)

2nd Team

LSU: Chase Clement (4-star, No. 14 DE, 2008)

FLORIDA: Gerald Christian (4-star, No. 3 TE, 2010)

Note: The only player in the LSU and Florida two-deeps that was recruited as a tight end was Christian, a Dwyer High graduate and one of the country’s best because of his body control and running ability at 6-foot-4, 245 pounds. But when Will Muschamp arrived, Christian was moved to strongside linebacker – and was named the starter last spring. Now back on offense, Christian is utilized in Weis’ two-tight end sets.

Peterson was recruited to LSU as a safety and wide receiver, but his athleticism at 6-foot-4, 240 pounds gave the coaches a chance to exploit defenses with Peterson playing a pass-catching tight end who can exploit mismatches on linebackers.


Left Tackle

1st Team

LSU: Chris Faulk (4-star, No. 21 OT, 2009)

FLORIDA: Xavier Nixon (5-star, No. 1 OT, 2009)

2nd Team

LSU: Greg Shaw (3-star, No. 42 OT, 2008)

FLORIDA: Matt Patchan (5-star, No. 4 OT, 2008)

Note: Landing Patchan a month short of signing day in 2008 was huge for Meyer, especially considered Patchan’s father was a standout player at Miami. But a year later, Meyer had an even bigger January surprise in store – and X marked the spot. Nixon, the nation’s top-ranked lineman, was leaving his native North Carolina and headed to Florida.

For LSU, landing Faulk from the North Shore gave Miles two years to hunt for a blind side tackle. Shaw, a Miami native with a Florida offer, saw things cool off with the Gators when assistant coach Doc Holliday went to West Virginia. On Jan. 31, Miles was in Shaw’s living room giving his final plea. A few days later, Shaw signed with the Tigers. He has served as backup at right and left tackle, earning a start against West Virginia after Faulk was injured against Mississippi State.


Left Guard

1st Team

LSU: T-Bob Hebert (3-star, No. 8 C, 2007)

FLORIDA: Dan Wenger (4-star, No. 20 OL, 2006)

2nd Team

LSU: Will Blackwell (4-star, No. 22 DT, 2007)

FLORIDA: Kyle Koehne (3-star, No. 36 OT, 2009)


T-Bob Hebert turned into a valuable OG/C combo on the LSU line

Note: You have to go all the way back to December 2005 with Dan Wenger, a Fort Lauderdale native who pledged to Notre Dame and left the Gators at the altar. At one point Irish fans had discounted Wenger, but he entered last year’s fall camp as the starting center. When Weis headed from South Bend to Gainesville, so did Wenger – with a sixth-year of eligibility.

Hebert’s bayou connection came from his father Bobby, a native of Cut Off, La., who quarterbacked the New Orleans Saints from 1985-1993. Hebert, who went to high school in Atlanta, chose LSU over offers from Florida and Georgia.



1st Team

LSU: P.J. Lonergan (3-star, No. 26 OG, 2008)

FLORIDA: Jonotthan Harrison (4-star, No. 10 OG, 2009)

2nd Team

LSU: T-Bob Hebert (3-star, No. 8 C, 2007)

FLORIDA: Sam Robey (3-star, No. 62 DE, 2008)

Note: Lonergan’s father played at LSU in the 70’s, so it was no surprise when the Archbishop Rummel left tackle made an early decision and became the second commitment to the 2008 class.

Harrison was more heavily recruited, earning offers from over 20 programs – including Florida, Florida State and Miami. In the end, Harrison credited Meyer with his pledge, pointing out that Meyer was the lone head coach to become heavily involved in his recruitment. Harrison became the fourth South Lake High prospect to commit to the Gators since 2000, joining the likes of Carlton Medder and Jeff Demps.


Right Guard

1st Team

LSU: Will Blackwell (4-star, No. 22 DT, 2007)

FLORIDA: Jon Halapio (3-star, No. 23 OG, 2009)

2nd Team

LSU: Josh Williford (3-star, No. 77 OT, 2009)

FLORIDA: Ian Silberman (4-star, No. 16 OT, 2010)

Note: Blackwell was a star on the defensive line at West Monroe, one of Louisiana’s most successful high school programs. He took his decision down to signing day, and had a strong relationship with then defensive coordinator and line coach Greg Mattison that helped push Florida to the top. But on Jan. 14, despite an in-home visit from Meyer already planned, Blackwell dialed LSU and committed to Miles.

With the Gators set to graduate three starting lineman after the 2008 season, Meyer stepped in and offered Halapio, a St. Petersburg native, early in the process, and he became the third commitment for 2009 when he committed to Florida at the end of his junior season.


Right Tackle

1st Team

LSU: Alex Hurst (3-star, No. 67 OT, 2008)

FLORIDA: Chaz Green (4-star, No. 8 OT, 2010)

2nd Team

LSU: Greg Shaw (3-star, No. 42 OT, 2008)

FLORIDA: Matt Patchan (5-star, No. 4 OT, 2008)


Matt Patchan has battled for both tackle spots at UF

Note: Miles fell in love with Hurst early in his career, in large part because Miles plucked Hurst out of Tennessee when no other SEC teams outside of the Volunteers were paying close attention. As a junior, Hurst is in his second year as a starting right tackle.

Patchan was one of the star tackle prospects of 2008, but that didn’t faze Green, who surprised some Gator fans when he signed with Florida in 2010 despite being a one-time heavy lean to Tennessee. When Lane Kiffin left Knoxville, the connection to the Vols died off. Despite Meyer’s departure a month short of signing day, Green, a Tampa native, said he was set on staying home and playing for the Gators.

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