Florida Gators Football Recruiting: A Positional Breakdown

The summer has been good to the Gators. Since June 21 (the first official day of the season according to people that know more than I do about solstices and other fancy words), Florida has added five commits to its 2012 recruiting class. Among those was the most recent commitment in the form of five-star offensive tackle D.J. Humphries. Commitments may slow down as we approach the start to the season, but there will still be plenty of news – both good and bad – for the Gators between now and signing day.

To give you an idea of what Florida has and what the Gators may be looking for, here’s a position-by-position breakdown:

Quarterbacks – Commitments: None – With two high-profile true freshmen – Jeff Driskel and Jacoby Brissett – in the mix to go along with a redshirt freshman – Tyler Murphy, don’t expect the Gators to sign a passer this time around. 2013 is a different story though. Quarterback will be a target position in the next recruiting cycle and some have already begun to visit Gainesville ($).

Running Backs – Commitments: Mike Davis, Matt Jones – Florida is done at the position. During their recruitment, both Davis and Jones were told the Gators would take two running backs as part of the 2012 class. They’ve had their two for a while now and will do everything they can to hold on to them. With "fullback" (in quotes until we see how the position is fully utilized in the new offense) being manned by a sophomore – Trey Burton – and true freshman – Hunter Joyer – it also doesn’t seem to be a position Florida will look to recruit for 2012. 2013 brings Kelvin Taylor. If you don’t know who he is, I suggest you do your research.

Wide Receivers – Commitments: Latroy Pittman – NEED. NEED. NEED. Pittman is a great addition, but he needs classmates. It’s hard to believe, but Frankie Hammond and Omarius Hines will be in their final season of eligibility in 2012. The sophomore class is packed, but only one wide receiver came in with the 2011 class – Ja’Juan Story. Florida needs wide receivers; that can’t be expressed enough. After Friday Night Lights, things looked a better with Stefon Diggs although it’s not a slam dunk. Nelson Agholor could also be an option at the position if he ends up on the offensive side of the ball. The Gators need bodies. The only question is who those bodies will be.

Tight Ends – Commitments: Colin Thompson – Thompson may not be it as the Gators continue to take a long, hard look at Kent Taylor. With Thompson onboard and youth at the position already, it’s hard to imagine another commitment. Expect Florida to take a tight end every year, but they may have already found their one for 2012.

Offensive Line – Commitments: Jessamen Dunker, D.J. Humphries – As a Florida fan, you have to be happy with the two offensive linemen the Gators have already added. Humphries is the highest-rated member of the class, but Dunker isn’t far behind. As always, Florida needs depth across the line. This isn’t just true of the Gators; depth is never a bad thing for any football team at any level anywhere. With Dunker and Humphries likely to end up at tackle, the Gators need to be working the inside of the line. Only two offensive linemen were added in 2011. Do NOT expect Florida to make that only four over a two year period. With wide receiver, this is one of the positions to watch the rest of the way.

Defensive Line – Commitments: JaFar Mann, Dante Phillips, Quinteze Williams – That would breakdown as DT, DT, DE. The defensive tackles are solid additions that can learn behind some great talent before being thrown to the fire, but defensive end needs to be the focus going forward. While those currently on the roster will gain valuable experience during the 2011 season, there will be very little depth in 2012. Jordan Jenkins would be a huge splash, but he seems more likely to end up at the buck position if he becomes a Gator. True defensive end is a big need and one Florida will be looking for heading into the fall. Jonathan Bullard is the likely top target.

Linebackers – Commitments: Antonio Morrison, Lorenzo Phillips, Jeremi Powell – With three commitments and a push being made for Jenkins at the buck, the position may be closed. However, we have heard that the Gators could take up to four true linebackers during this recruiting cycle. There’s plenty of time left, so Florida will still look, but don’t be surprised if the Gators stick with these three in the end.

Defensive Backs – Commitments: Willie Bailey, Rhaheim Ledbetter, Marcus Maye, Brian Poole – Depending on your math skills or which reports you believe, there will be anywhere between 16 and 83 defensive backs on the roster in 2012. This is far from a bad thing. Depending on the formation, there can be between four and six defensive backs on the field on defense and a number contributing to various parts of special teams. We’ve seen transfers in the past (and players leave for other reasons), so depth is always a need to fill at the position. As with linebacker, don’t be surprised if the current commitments are the same ones we’re discussing in February, but the Gators will still go after some of the bigger names out there. Agholor also has to be mentioned here and, until he enrolls at or signs with USF, Chris Bivins will be a possibility.

Special Teams – Commitments: Austin Hardin – Expect Hardin to be it. The Gators picked up Kyle Christy as part of the 2011 class, so another player with skills of the kicking variety won’t be added. In terms of returners, your guess is as good as mine. So many star athletes return kicks for their high school team, but never sniff the position at the collegiate level. Many are given a shot every season and literally anyone could win the spot.

We hope to provide you with these breakdowns frequently right up until signing day and, of course, will be covering all the additions to the class over that time. Florida’s class has been filling quickly, but is far from finished.

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