All week, we'll be running down how Florida's recruiting is going and sets up for the rest of the 2015 cycle. Today, we discuss the toughest position on the field — quarterback — in the easiest post of this week.
There can be no doubt about this: Florida has its quarterback for the 2015 recruiting cycle in Sheriron Jones, and it is unlikely that the Gators will either lose Jones without a coaching change (you're going to read "without a coaching change" a lot in this series, so apologies in advance) or pursue another quarterback this cycle.
And that's a good thing, because Jones is quite good.
Depth Chart Projection
Florida appears to have its likely starting quarterback on the roster or committed through at least 2017. For simplicity's sake in this chart, we're going to assume that older and more experienced quarterbacks beat out younger and less experienced ones, that scholarship quarterbacks beat out non-scholarship quarterbacks, that Skyler Mornhinweg gets leaped at some point, and that no one transfers or leaves early; obviously, not all of that will necessarily happen, but it's a good guideline for streamlining this chart.
|Fifth-string||Jacob Guy||Sheriron Jones||Guy?||???|
If Florida signs Jones, and he pans out, the Gators should be set at both starter and backup through at least 2016 even if the loser of the Grier-Harris battle transfers or, as could be possible with Harris, changes positions.
Let's delete Jones from the above chart, and pretend it's the beginning of the 2015 recruiting cycle.
This would put Florida in serious danger of lacking two starter-caliber players at quarterback in 2016 and beyond, with their hopes of having two such players dependent on neither Grier nor Harris leaving, and whether an estimation of Mornhinweg considers him a "starter-caliber player." (Mine does not, though I do think he fits better in Kurt Roper's offense than he did in Brent Pease's.)
As such, Florida probably needed to land a starter-caliber quarterback in either the 2015 or 2016 cycle to stablize the position beyond whichever of Grier or Harris is the starter once Driskel departs. With Jones, the Gators have met that need.
Commits and Targets
In the 2015 class, having Jones in the fold likely means Florida is done for the cycle. Florida had previously been linked to Deondre Francois, and ESPN's Derek Tyson wrote ($), just two days before Jones committed, that the Gators were in communication with Florida State commit De'Andre Johnson. It is unlikely Florida would take two quarterbacks in this class, given how difficult it is to get even one elite quarterback to sign a year after taking two elite ones.
It will be as or more difficult for Florida to take an elite quarterback in the 2016 class if Jones sticks, given that any prospect would be staring at a depth chart featuring three talented quarterbacks with at least three seasons of eligibility remaining. Florida was once considered a contender for Wakulla quarterback Feleipe Franks, a top-50 player in the class of 2016, but Franks committed to LSU earlier this month. If Jones's commitment opens a pipeline to the QB-rich West Coast for the Gators, though, the board for 2016 and beyond will grow considerably, with shots at players like KJ Costello — who donned a Florida visor for Saturday's portion of this weekend's IMG 7-on-7 National Championships — who might want to leave the Golden State for college.
It's hard to say anything with certainty about Florida's offensive system or roster beyond 2014, as Will Muschamp's retention or firing would likely reshape a fair few things about Florida, but the Gators have the personnel at quarterback to put a competent trigger man at the helm of a spread offense for years to come, and landing Jones's commitment is yet more evidence that Florida will be spreading things out under Muschamp and new offensive coordinator Kurt Roper.
Jones, who hails from Rancho Verde High School in Moreno Valley, California — the same high school and city in Southern California's Inland Empire region that produced Ronald Powell — has played in a spread system with read option principles in high school, and has the mobility to "be an athlete" at QB, something that Roper has exhorted his charges to do in practices. He also throws a pretty, soft ball, somewhat reminiscent of Chris Leak or Danny Wuerffel — though, at least in this interview, he bears an uncanny physical resemblance to another former Florida quarterback.
One Last Thing
As you can hear in the video above, Sheriron's first name is pronounced "Sher-RON."
So, yes, for a guy who could be Florida's future at quarterback, the I is silent.