Recruits to watch through National Signing Day

By Adam Silverstein
January 31, 2011

Updated: Feb. 1 at 9:45 p.m.

Sixteen members strong, the Florida Gators 2011 recruiting class could look totally different – or exactly the same – at the end of the week. With the vast majority of uncommitted high school football players announcing their decisions on National Signing Day this Wednesday, a handful of others may wait a few days to make their intentions known. Below OGGOA breaks down who Florida is still waiting to hear from, when they might learn of their decision and some of the latest insights on each player.

Linebacker Curtis Grant (Richmond, VA)
Accolades: No. 2 player in the country (No. 1 linebacker) according to Rivals; No. 46 player in the country (No. 3 linebacker) according to ESPNU
Leaders: Florida, Ohio State
Contenders: Virginia, North Carolina
Skinny: Though his hometown school and a regional choice are both in the picture, it is believed by most that this is a two-horse race between UF and OSU. The Gators have sent head coach Will Muschamp (two weeks ago) as well as defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, linebackers coach D.J. Durkin and tight ends coach Brian White (last week) in-home to see him. With Florida’s staff only coming together recently, Grant may feel more comfortable elsewhere. Then again, the press put on by UF may have impressed him and he would likely have the opportunity to play relatively early.
Announcement: NSD at 1:50 p.m.

Linebacker Stephone Anthony (Wadesboro, NC)
Accolades: No. 1 linebacker (No. 32 player in the country) according to ESPNU; No. 3 linebacker (No. 24 palyer in the country) according to Rivals
Leader: Clemson
Contenders: Florida, Virginia Tech, North Carolina, North Carolina State
Skinny: It appears that Anthony is favoring Clemson and Virginia Tech with the Tigers edging. In fact, almost every recruiting analyst predicting where Anthony will eventually declare tabs Clemson.
Update: Anthony eliminated UF on Monday.
Announcement: NSD at 11:30 a.m.

Defensive tackle Tim Jernigan (Lake City, FL)
Accolades: Consensus No. 2 defensive tackle in the country, listed at No. 17 on the ESPNU 150 and No. 29 on the Rivals 100
Leaders: Florida State, LSU
Contenders: Florida, Tennessee
Skinny: As OGGOA has previously reported, the Gators have put a full-court press on Jernigan. Assistant defensive line coach Bryant Young visited him in-home during his first day on the job, and he has also met personally with Muschamp and Quinn. Florida was thought to have a legitimate chance, but Rivals affiliate VolQuest reported that Jernigan loved his visit to UT over the weekend and it may have supplanted UF in his top three. Always in the back of Jernigan’s mind, however, may be that he and his family have been long-time Gators fans and his home is just 45 miles from The Swamp.
Update: The Orlando Sentinel reports that Jernigan is no longer considering UF.
Announcement: NSD at 10 a.m. on ESPN

Learn about eight more 2011 recruits…after the break.

Defensive tackle Jonathan Jenkins (Perkinston, MS)
Accolades: No. 6 JUCO recruit according to Rivals
Leaders: Florida, Georgia
Contenders: Oklahoma State, Auburn, Miami
Skinny: One of a handful of players to take their last official visit to UF, Jenkins – by all accounts – had a good time. He was committed to Oklahoma State but decided to open things up and has since been really interested in Georgia, which is considered to be his most likely destination. That being said, the trip to Gainesville may have swayed him.
Announcement: TBD – Saturday, Feb. 5

Defensive back Marcus Roberson (Fort Lauderdale, FL)
Accolades: No. 2 cornerback (No. 37 player in the country) according to Rivals; No. 9 safety (No. 112 player in the country) according to ESPNU
Leaders: Florida, USC
Contenders: Auburn, Texas Tech
Skinny: A lot has changed for Roberson over the last week. Originally committed to Texas Tech (his uncle is the cornerbacks coach there), he changed his mind and switched his pledge to Auburn on Monday. That is why Roberson was not on this original list. Tuesday news broke that Roberson either decided not to play for Auburn or AU pulled their offer. Either way, Roberson is now available and Florida has been in the mix from the beginning. Rivals reports that he took a “surprise” visit to USC over the weekend, so they are very much in play as well. It would be strange for him to re-commit to either of his previous choices but not entirely impossible.
Announcement: NSD

Linebacker Curt Maggitt (West Palm Beach, FL)
Accolades: No. 3 linebacker (No. 63 player in the country) according to ESPNU; No. 12 linebacker (No. 198 player in the country) according to Rivals
Leaders: Florida, Tennessee
Contenders: Wisconsin
Skinny: Maggitt has long been expected to eventually pick the Gators, and he gave the team the benefit of the doubt by scheduling his final official visit there over the weekend. With three former teammates already enrolled (safety Matt Elam, tight end Gerald Christian and wide receiver Robert Clark committed in 2010), he seems to have always favored Florida and may be the most likely player to commit this week. Then again, Tennessee and Wisconsin have both made strong pushes for him recently.
Update: Maggitt committed to Tennessee on Tuesday.
Announcement: TBD – Thursday, Feb. 3

Defensive end Jermauria Rasco (Shreveport, LA)
Accolades: No. 8 defensive end (No. 168 player in the country) according to Rivals; No. 17 defensive end (unranked nationally) according to ESPNU
Leader: LSU
Contenders: Florida, Florida State, Texas
Skinny: Murmurs coming out of Rasco’s weekend visit to Gainesville, FL are that the Gators may have done enough to turn him away from his hometown Tigers. That, however, is going to be difficult considering how well LSU (like Texas) hangs on to in-state recruits. Muschamp has been recruiting Rasco for years and has developed quite a relationship with the young man. That is why Florida, which was not recruiting Rasco heavily to begin with, received the visit and remains in the hunt for his services.
Announcement: NSD at 2 p.m.

Quarterback Jacoby Brissett (West Palm Beach, FL)
Accolades: No. 3 quarterback (No. 75 player in the country) according to Rivals; three-star recruit and No. 25 quarterback according to ESPNU
Leaders: Miami, Wisconsin
Contenders: Florida, Washington
Skinny: Originally offered a (insulting) greyshirt by then-head coach Urban Meyer, no other player has been more heavily pursued by new offensive coordinator Charlie Weis. After one visit, Weis called Muschamp and offered Brissett a scholarship. Since then the coaches have visited him on at least two other occasions and even convinced him to come up to Gainesville for an unofficial visit. However, it appears as if Brissett is further along with other programs and will likely be headed elsewhere…probably Miami. It should be noted that he is best friends with Elam and does want to play basketball in college.
Announcement: TBD – Friday, Feb. 4

Wide receiver/tight end Junior Pomee (Moreno Valley, CA)
Accolades: No. 23 wide receiver (No. 194 player in the country) according to Rivals; No. 13 tight end (unranked nationally) according to ESPNU
Leader: USC
Contenders: Florida, Utah, UCLA, Arizona
Skinny: A former UCLA commit, Pomee was also teammates with Gators defender Ronald Powell at Rancho Verde High School. Believed to be a serious USC lean who recently took an official visit, Florida and Utah have emerged as legitimate options for him. The Gators flew across the country to visit him in-home over a week ago.
Update: Pomee’s father said Monday night his son has committed to USC though, according to Rivals, Pomee himself denied his father’s statement.
Announcement: NSD

Defensive tackle Elkino Watson (Miami, FL)
Accolades: No. 23 defensive tackle according to Rivals; No. 75 defensive tackle according to ESPNU
Leaders: Florida, Louisville
Contenders: Miami
Skinny: Formerly teammates with Gators freshmen Lynden Trail and Quinton Dunbar, Watson is giving Florida plenty of consideration. Always interested in Miami, their former defensive line coach recently joined Charlie Strong’s staff at Louisville and is doing his best to pull Watson. According to various reports, it may be working.
Announcement: NSD at 9 a.m.

Defensive end Tevin Westbrook (Coconut Creek, FL)
Accolades: No. 45 defensive end according to Rivals
Contenders: Florida, South Florida, Connecticut, Purdue, North Carolina
Skinny: The best thing the Gators have going for them in Westbrook’s recruitment is, simply put, they’re the biggest name. Muschamp has been after him recently and, like some of the others above, Westbrook gave UF his final official visit over the weekend. Whether or not he will pull the trigger for the orange and blue remains to be seen.
Update: Westbrook committed to UF on Tuesday.

Offensive tackle Jacob Fisher (Traverse City, MI)
Accolades: No. 42 offensive tackle acc. to Rivals; No. 82 offensive tackle acc. to ESPNU
Leaders: Michigan, Michigan State
Contenders: Florida, Oregon
Skinny: A Michigan commit, Fisher decided to open up his recruiting process after head coach Rich Rodriguez was fired. He checked out UF a week ago and took his final official visit to Oregon. Nevertheless, with both Michigan and Michigan State firmly after him, it will take a lot to pull him out of the state.
Announcement: NSD at 8 a.m.

OGGOA PREDICTIONS: Last year we were perfect on our commitment projections in this very post [Ten recruits to watch on National Signing Day]. This year things are not as clear-cut with Florida trying to overcome a coaching change and playing catch-up to some other big programs. In fact, a lot of commitments may depend on the decisions of other players. Maggitt, for example, is considering declaring after NSD. He could be waiting to see what Grant and Anthony decide to do. Westbrook may be the 2011 version of Kitchens, someone UF pulls if they do not get Rasco. OGGOA prognosticates Maggitt, Watson and Westbrook wearing orange and blue when the dust settles. Grant, who may be an undisclosed silent commit, is the most likely (if any) of the top three on the Gators board to head to Gainesville.

44 Comments

  1. Mr2Bits says:

    Nice writ-up, I have been waiting for this all morning 🙂

  2. John S says:

    Very nice summary. I am foolishly getting my hopes back up, Stewart’s commitment was a glimmer of hope. If we could get two more I’d feel monumentally better. Does anyone know if Story is doing a signing day announcement, or is he now solid with his verbal?

  3. g8ter27 says:

    If we could get Grant and rasco that would be a huge day and vault us back into the top 12 I think. Maggit and Brissett would also be a great get..if we can get 2 of those 4 we are doing great.

  4. npgator says:

    Nice job Adam – unfortunately we aren’t going to get any of those guys.

    • Mr2Bits says:

      Please try to not talk out of your rear as it makes you appear really foolish!

    • g8ter27 says:

      I honestly don’t see Brissett or Jernigan here. Brissett will likely not play in this system unless Weiss has some idea of running a new system that he has never done before. Jernigan can look at Floyd, easely, Howard, Hunter and pretty much know he won’t start next year..and maybe not for 2 or 3. But, that isn’t to say he will at FSU or in Knoxville either. So his parents won’t be too happy driving to Rcoky Top to see him sit the bench…he should stay at home and compete for a starting spot here…but he won’t. Any linebacker could come in here and have a legitimate chance to play now, we have some good ones, but they could be beat out of a starting spot.

  5. Matt says:

    Another site says that Tevin Westbrook is to commit Monday has that since changed?

    http://hsflorida.scout.com/

  6. Aligator says:

    i don’t get why weis is so high on briskett. he is not a drop back passer and we have all seen how trying to make a dual threat qb into a drop back on has worked out? look at the qb’s in the SEC who just sucked? Jefferson, shockley, martin and etc. maybe he is trying to look busy?

  7. dlatham says:

    Are we after any “pro style” running backs?

    • g8ter27 says:

      hat shipped sailed a while ago. We will have to start recruiting one for next year now!

    • Ken says:

      You are aware Mack Brown will be back from injury and Blakely enrolled early? Along with Gillislee, Demps, Rainey, that is one of least concerning skill positions in a long time

      • g8ter27 says:

        I dont think we need a running back this year. I am saying none of those guys (Brown perhaps the exception) are the prototypical pro style running back. If we run an I formation, demps and rainey are not going to do well IMO.

    • John S says:

      We got a great full back. Gillislee and Brown could work in a pro style system. I just hope our line/backs can pass block we were awful this year.

  8. Drew 4 Orange & Blue says:

    Thanks Adam…this is good stuff…it’s amazing how much we have riding on Signing Day…one thing about Urban is he spoiled up by locking up much of his class before signing day and the few that were not decided were usually just icing on a really nice cake…I think with Maggitt, Watson & Westbrook would probably put us around the top #10 on Rivals….maybe adding Grant and Jernigan would get in the 7-8 Range…I think that would be a solid finish during a coaching change…I really hate to see Jernigan go to one of our rivals

    • g8ter27 says:

      People forget we had a low rated class (21 or so) in 2009. We will stay in the top 20 maybe hit the top 15, next year we will be back in the top 5.

      • Drew 4 Orange & Blue says:

        You are right but I was doing some fuzzy math…we actually have the 7th best avg star rating on Rivals but with only 16 committed where as most of the teams above us have 22-25…if we get to 21 or 22 and keep our avg star ranking I am thinking top 10 is possible…doesn’t some computer geek out there have a program that can give us a ranking based on Adam’s predictions?

      • SC Gator says:

        Not exactly. We ended ranked 11th in 2009 but with only 16 commits. You have to go all the way down to Clemson with 12 ranked 37th before you find a school that had less. Most the schools ahead of us that year signed in the 25-30 range.

  9. Ken says:

    It’s a good thing we have had such great classes the past couple of years, this will be a decent class, but it doesn’t sound particularly promising on amazing news on NSD this year. As long as next year we crank it up again shouldn’t be a major problem

  10. dlatham says:

    I wouldn’t put blakely rainey or demps in the pro style running back category…

  11. Gatorbuc15 says:

    Man I really hope that Curtis Grant signs with us. I’ve seen this guy play and I can tell you that he is an absolute BEAST!

    • John S says:

      Grant would be huge, especially with the defense Muschamp says he wants to run. We need a general in the linebacker corps.

  12. SC Gator says:

    Great writeup Adam.

    I knew there were miles of differences between the Rival and the ESPN/Scout rankings but this shows just how large that difference is, and never in our favor either. I find that very interesting.

  13. OmeyGator says:

    Our most important recruits are already on campus. If add all the redshirts from last year to this years class I’d say we’re looking pretty good. Muschamp is gonna kill on the recruiting trail next year.

  14. Marc Mac says:

    Although this year’s class looks subpar I try to keep in mind that last year’s class was one of the best ever. We will see the impact of that class next year and we will be set up on the depth chart to show needs of early impact recruits from 2012 class. In my opinion we shouldn’t take recruits just to fill spots, which is what I see happening here. If we can’t get the top recruits, save room for them next year.

    I am very encouraged by the quotes of a graduting senior you posted a few weeks ago about how good last year’s freshmen are going to be. Bring on Mack Brown….Floyd has already shown he is a beast, Patton needs the ball…

  15. Ken says:

    you have to remember the rankings are relative, and based on different things. For example, ESPN doesn’t just take into account the level of the recruit and numbers, but also how well a team fill its “perceived needs” according to what ESPN feels it most needed filled. So a 16 person 3-4* class can rank very high whereas a 25% 4-5% class may rate about the same because while they got the studs, they may just be stacking positions that they were already deep at

  16. Mr2Bits says:

    Looks like Anthony just eliminated Florida from contention and Maggitt is falling further away from UF and closer to Tenn. Yesterday was not a good day for UF’s chances thats for sure.

  17. Alex says:

    I think we should all just relax. We’ve got some players with great potential already on campus, we’ve plenty of good commitments coming in, and we had a great class last season. The first class with a new staff is always tough, but outside of a few positions we’re really just recruiting for depth this year. We’ll be back with a vengeance next season and the cycle will continue.

  18. Drew 4 Orange & Blue says:

    So is the Grant announcement being shown? ESPN? Thanks

    • Mr2Bits says:

      Here are some updated times and Adam, just saw you posted that Westbrook committed. This is a solid pickup despite Rivals/Scouts sorry ratings for him.

      Watson 9am
      TJ 10am
      anthony 11:30am
      Grant 1:50pm
      Rasco 2pm
      Fisher 8pm (from Mich site)

      Feb 10th
      Maggitt 530pm

  19. John S says:

    Is Westbrooks commitment official?

  20. Mr2Bits says:

    Appears we are back in the mix with Marcus Roberson as well. Not sure if AU pulled his offer or he dropped them but he is decommitting is what I am hearing/reading. Says it’s down to UF and USC. Funny how USC is going to end up with 30+ recruits this year. I’d say UF lands him when this whole mess settles.

  21. SC Gator says:

    I’m shocked – shocked! – to hear that Kiffens would vastly oversign a class. He must be counting on all the bonus scholarships the NCAA is going to give him for being so brave and honest.

  22. Mr2Bits says:

    Well there goes Tim Jernigan. Just announced that UF is not in his Top 3. We have been replaced by The Vols with FSU and LSU up top.

  23. PC Gator says:

    Maggitt’s gone.

  24. John S says:

    Well we knew this would be ugly. We must have really messed up on Jernigan. Crossing fingers on Grant and Roberson, but keeping realistic expectation that we’re done. Go Gators.

  25. Jesse C says:

    The kids that snub us this year will soon find out the hard way… If you’re not a gator, you’re gatorbait.

  26. dp says:

    Adam….anyone else we should hold hopes for? Or are we done?

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