Florida turned its annual spring game into a productive recruiting weekend, netting verbals from WR Ahmad Fulwood, OL Joshua Outlaw and CB Tre Bell.
Fulwood heads the trio of new commits. His size and skill-set has him considered as one of the top receivers nationally and is something the Gators' offense has sorely lacked over the past two seasons. SB Nation recruiting analyst Bud Elliot, in his recap of Florida's recent recruiting coup, had this to say about Fulwood:
Fulwood's biggest asset is likely his size. There aren't many (any?) high school cornerbacks who can body with him for the ball. He is a long strider, and is more fast than quick. He'll get separation downfield, and his opportunities underneath and over the middle will largely be because of his length and his strength, which should continue to develop. I see Fulwood as a very solid four-star with a high floor, but I don't consider him a five-star recruit.
With two receivers already on board for 2013 (Fulwood and Rodney Adams), the Florida coaches will likely take a wait-and-see approach with other potential receiver commits. There are a number of talented receivers with Florida high on their list, but the coaches will wait to get them on campus, see them participate in camps and get into their senior season of high school football before extending a committable offer. Other receivers on Florida's board include Carlos Burse, Stacy Coley, Reggie Davis, Marquez North, Francis Owusu and Taj Williams.
Joshua Outlaw is another key recruit that committed over the weekend. The 6'4", 280-pound offensive tackle is a solid get at a position of need -- in both quantity and quality -- and was the first out-of-state commit in Florida's '13 class. Elliot on Outlaw:
He's an athletic prospect at 6'4 and 275 pounds. I like the way that Outlaw bends and moves. He'll need to add weight, as is the case with many offensive line recruits. I'd like to know Outlaw's birth date, because if he is a younger 2013 recruit, there is a chance that he could continue growing and potentially become an offensive tackle, which would be quite interesting because he already looks to have decent length for his frame. Otherwise, he'll play guard and will likely not see the field until the 2015 season after a red-shirt 2013 and a year of reserve duty in 2014.
Florida ideally would like to sign five offensive linemen in 2013. With Outlaw, Rod Johnson and Cameron Dillard (who just committed this afternoon, according to Scout) already committed and a spot reserved for Laremy Tunsil, the Gators' top overall prospect on the board, that would leave room for one more linemen.
Much like with the wide receivers, the Florida coaches will be able to wait and evaluate offensive line prospects and then decide which prospects to target. Offensive line is a tough position to project, so the coaches have put themselves in a great spot by snagging commits from two already-solid prospects. Others will emerge, too, and Florida has to like its chances with Tunsil.
Tre Bell's commitment may have been the biggest surprise of the day, and for different reasons than Fulwood's. With Fulwood, it was apparent how much Florida wanted him. A playmaker on the edge has been a recruiting priority for some time now. But with Bell, although he tabbed Florida as his dream school weeks before, it was surprising because it was unknown if his offer was committable or not.
With numerous talented defensive back prospects on Florida's board and only two or three spots remaining, it seemed as though UF would wait to see how some other prospects' recruitments played out. Two other cornerbacks -- Vernon Hargreaves III and MacKensie Alexander -- have Florida high on their lists. And while there will certainly be a spot for those two if they want in, it seems the coaches are snagging up commitments sooner to avoid getting burned later.
However, just because there are other elite corners ahead of Bell, it doesn't mean he's not a solid player. Elliot's take on Bell:
Bell has the size Will Muschamp is looking for in his cornerbacks. He plays both off and press coverage for St. Peter's, diagnoses and closes quickly. And Bell is definitely a willing tackler. Bell doesn't appear to have elite speed. Bell probably won't be able to play on a island, and will need safety help over the top, which means he profiles as decent No. 2 cornerback in the SEC.
With three defensive backs committed -- S Keanu Neal, Nick Washington, who can play cornerback or safety, and CB Bell -- again, Florida can be selective about which prospects to take. Marcell Harris is an obvious take at safety, along with Hargreaves and Alexander. Leon McQuay is on the fringe, and a prospect I'd like to see in Florida's '13 class, but with spots being taken, he may end up being left out.
Florida almost picked up a fourth commitment on Saturday from DE DeMarcus Walker. Walker, who is friends with current commits Washington and Fulwood, came close to committing, but decided he should take his visit to Alabama before deciding.
Many believe Walker's trip to Tuscaloosa is mere formality, and he'll commit to Florida shortly after. In fact, Washington believes it.
Demarcus walker is next #world— Nick Washington (@NickWashingtonn) April 7, 2012
Even Walker himself tweeted something that would suggest he's Florida's to lose.
Talked to coach muschamp today we're building something— DeMarcus Walker (@livinglegend_44) April 9, 2012
With Daniel McMillian, Nick Washington and Ahmad Fulwood -- all from Jacksonville -- on board, it will be hard for Walker to turn down Florida.