Are Florida’s receivers finally ready to break out?

It has been four years since the Florida Gators have seen one of their wide receivers get drafted by an NFL team, an especially jarring statistic when one considers that the program had 19 total selected in the 17 drafts the league held from 1994-2010.

Combining poor recruiting with lackluster development, inconsistent quarterback play and overall uninspiring offenses, Florida has been unable to get the necessary production out of the position to win football games and propel players to the next level.

As the 2014 season fast approaches, it appears to be unanimous around the team that the Gators possess more firepower at the position than they have since the 2009 campaign.

Florida does, however, face a couple of obstacles on its way to having the position perform as well as head coach Will Muschamp and new offensive coordinator Kurt Roper both expect with Roper’s newly-installed offense.

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New Gators football players pick numbers

With the entire football team now enrolled for the Summer B semester, the Florida Gators on Monday released the uniform numbers for all the new players set to suit up for the first time next season.

TRANSFERS –
» 72 – Drew Sarvary (Tallahassee, FL), junior offensive lineman
» 83 – Jake McGee (Richmond, VA), redshirt senior tight end

FRESHMEN – SUMMER ENROLLEES
» 2 – Ryan Sousa (Orlando, FL), three-star wide receiver
» 3 – Treon Harris (Miami, FL), four-star quarterback
» 12 – Quincy Wilson (Fort Lauderdale, FL), four-star defensive back
» 14 – C.J. Worton (Homestead, FL), three-star wide receiver
» 23 – J.C. Jackson (Immokalee, FL), four-star cornerback
» 27 – Deiondre Porter (Tampa, FL), three-star cornerback
» 52 – Travaris Dorsey (Jacksonville, FL), three-star offensive lineman
» 54 – Khairi Clark (Hollywood, FL), four-star defensive tackle
» 56 – Thomas Holley (Brooklyn, NY), four-star defensive tackle
» 77 – Andrew Mike (Tucson, AZ), three-star offensive lineman
» 78 – David Sharpe (Jacksonville, FL), four-star offensive lineman
» 80 – C’yontai Lewis (Alabaster, AL), three-star tight end
» 82 – Moral Stephens (Perry, FL), four-star tight end
» 92 – Gerald Willis III (New Orleans, LA), four-star defensive lineman
» 96 – Justus Reed (Clearwater, FL), three-star defensive end

FRESHMEN – SPRING ENROLLEES
» 5 – Jalen Tabor (Washington, D.C.), five-star cornerback
» 7 – Will Grier (Davidson, NC), four-star quarterback
» 7 – Duke Dawson (Cross City, FL), four-star cornerback
» 20 – Brandon Powell (Deerfield Beach, FL), four-star running back
» 30 – DeAndre Goolsby (Derby, KS), three-star tight end
» 53 – Kavaris Harkless (Jacksonville, FL), three-star offensive lineman
» 71 – Nolan Kelleher (Mount Pleasant, SC), four-star offensive lineman
» 93 – Taven Bryan (Casper, WY), three-star defensive lineman

* Preferred walk-on kickers Brooks Abbott (Jacksonville, FL), a transfer from Virginia Tech, and freshman Jorge Powell (Coral Gables, FL) do not have numbers yet.

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2015 WR Deondre Farrier commits to Florida

The Florida Gators have a ways to go to catch up with the 2015 recruiting class numbers of some of their rivals and took a step in that direction Friday by gaining a commitment form three-star wide receiver Deondre Farrier (Orlando, FL).

Farrier (6-foot-3, 195 pounds), an incoming senior who hauled in 55 receptions for 909 yards and seven touchdowns last season for Lake Nona High School, picked Florida over Miami, according to InsidetheGators.com recruiting analyst Blake Alderman.

He is the second pass catcher from his school to commit to the Gators in as many recruiting cycles, following in the footsteps of three-star WR Ryan Sousa (Orlando, FL), Lake Nona’s No. 1 receiver in 2013 and an incoming freshman at UF this fall.

Farrier is only the Gators’ second pledge this cycle, joining three-star defensive back Deontai Williams (Jacksonville, FL), who committed to UF on Jan. 9.

Florida’s first 2015 commitment, dynamic four-star wide receiver Da’Vante Phillilps (Miami, FL), gave a verbal pledge to the Gators at Friday Night Lights on July 27, 2013 but backed off from his decision on Dec. 25, 2013 after learning that high school teammate and 2014 four-star running back Dalvin Cook would be switching his commitment to Florida State.

Farrier was offered by Florida on Jan. 3, immediately severed his commitment to South Florida and attended Junior Day in Gainesville, FL on Feb. 1 with wide receivers coach Joker Phillips serving as his primary recruiter. UM offered him Feb. 8 and became the fifth major program to do so along with Cincinnati and Kentucky.

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Will Muschamp, coaches discuss Florida Gators 2014 signees, recruiting process

National Signing Day LIVE COVERAGE page
2014 Florida signee bios | Gators flip four-star QB Treon Harris from Seminoles, add WR C.J. Worton | Three-star OT Andrew Mike flips to Florida

Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp held a press conference after his coaching staff finished inking its 24-member 2014 recruiting class on National Signing Day. Below are the most notable quotes from that session as well as player evaluations made by other members of the coaching staff.

OPENING STATEMENT

”It’s a great day here at the University of Florida, a lot of hard work put in by our staff. I don’t think people realize the contribution it takes from everybody. It’s a total team effort on campus, professors, our administration, our academic people do a fantastic job. When a young man comes on campus for an official visit, all of the people that have to contribute to make that a special experience, and our people do it the best. Our travel people do an amazing job. All of our pilots, [the media seems] to track pretty well, but they do a phenomenal job. It takes all these moving parts to make things work the right way. So we got a great staff. Our staff did an outstanding job.

“We had a miserable fall, and to have the staff come together – three new coaches in Kurt Roper, Mike Summers and Coleman Hutzler come together and change a little bit, not philosophically, but schematically offensively, adjust some things that we need to do in midstream as far as some of the guys we were recruiting and to put together this class – I’m really proud of that. I don’t know where we ended up as far as any rankings and all. You all know me, I don’t get overly concerned with that.”

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Florida Gators 2014 National Signing Day bios

National Signing Day LIVE COVERAGE page
Will Muschamp breaks down Gators recruiting class | Florida flips four-star QB Treon Harris from FSU, adds WR C.J. Worton | Three-star OT Andrew Mike flips to Gators

Courtesy of the University of Florida‘s University Athletic Association:

EARLY ENROLLEES (9)

Taven Bryan • Defensive lineman
6’5″ • 257 • Casper, WY
PRIOR TO FLORIDA: Unanimously selected as the 2013 Conference Defensive Player of the Year…Named to the All-State First Team on both the defensive line and the offensive line and to the All-Conference First Team on the offensive line as a high school senior…Honored with the 2013 Natrona County Iron Man award…Helped lead Natrona County to a 41-6 record in his final three seasons, including back-to-back state titles in 2012 and 2013…Chose Florida over Colorado, Colorado State, Nebraska, Oregon, Tennessee, Washington, Washington State and Wyoming…Coached by Steve Harshman.

Duke Dawson • Cornerback
5’10″ • 191 • Cross City, FL
PRIOR TO FLORIDA: Named to the Florida Class 1A First-Team All-State defense…Helped Dixie County to a 10-1 record during his senior season…Nominated to play in the 2014 Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl…Finished his high school career with 122 total tackles, 99 solo, and seven interceptions…Made 43 tackles, two interceptions and two forced fumbles as a junior…Chose Florida over Alabama, Florida State, Iowa and Wisconsin.

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Four-star WR commit Ermon Lane ditches Florida

Losing and gaining commitments on a daily basis, the Florida Gators got news Friday night that another top-flight offensive playmaker has left the program as four-star wide receiver Ermon Lane (Homestead, FL) officially decommitted.

“No Hard Feelings But I Just Decommitted From The University Of Florida . Not Because Dalvin Cook. No lie I love gator nation. #OneLove,” he wrote on his Twitter account. “I love the gators fans but I have to do what’s best for me.”

Lane, the 44th-ranked prospect nationally and the fourth South Florida player to decommit from Florida since Dec. 25, 2013, originally pledged to join the Gators on Aug. 12, 2013, the same day as four-star defensive backs Quincy Wilson (Fort Lauderdale, FL) and Chris Lammons (Plantation, FL).

Only Wilson remains committed to Florida; he has been one of UF’s strongest pledges.

Lammons decommitted on Thursday, following in the footsteps of four-star running back Dalvin Cook (Miami, FL) and 2015 four-star WR Da’Vante Phillips (Miami, FL).

Lane’s decision is not much of a shocker. He was seen wearing Florida State gear months ago and has long been rumored to flip to the Seminoles just like Cook did on Dec. 31, 2013. Lane has also been saying for a while that he plans to make a commitment on National Signing Day on Feb. 5 despite remaining committed.

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OGGOA Week in Review Updates: Offensive coordinator, point guards, Tim Tebow

Though Florida Gators football saw its season come to an end last Saturday and Florida basketball does not have a game until Tuesday, there has nevertheless been plenty of Gators news to cover this week.

A number of the stories covered by OnlyGators.com deserve updates now that the week has come to a conclusion, hence this special edition of OGGOA Week in Review. Some updates can be found below while others are in the appropriately linked stories.

SEARCH FOR AN OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR CONTINUES

When offensive coordinator Brent Pease was released on Sunday, OnlyGators.com published an early look at some candidates to replace him. That list has been updated throughout the week and once again on Saturday. Check out the original post – Replacing Brent Pease as offensive coordinator – for the latest information.

POINT GUARDS HEALTHIER THAN ADVERTISED

Sources close to the program and players told OnlyGators.com multiple times over the last week to expect both of the Gators’ point guards – senior Scottie Wilbekin and freshman Kasey Hill – to play on Tuesday at home against Kansas. This was information strongly hinted at during a post earlier in the week.

Florida announced on Tuesday that Wilbekin, who left Monday’s game at UConn with an ankle injury, had suffered a high-ankle sprain despite the fact that the player reportedly left the arena that night under his own power without the use of crutches or a boot. On Saturday, the Gators released a long post on their own website detailing the rehabilitation that Wilbekin has been undergoing. Hidden within the piece, Wilbekin was suddenly listed as “questionable” for Tuesday’s game despite there previously having been “no timetable” for his recovery.

Saturday evening at 6 p.m., UF relented and finally announced that Wilbekin not only practiced in the afternoon but has already been cleared to play on Tuesday. The school is now referring to his injury only as an “ankle sprain.”

Hill, on the other hand, legitimately suffered a high-ankle sprain three weeks ago, and the one-month recovery timetable provided by Florida was indeed accurate. However, he has been working extremely hard at his rehabilitation and is also expected to suit up for the Gators on Tuesday as long as he can stand the discomfort. Hill is unlikely to be at 100 percent for the game but would instead spell Wilbekin at point guard for a couple minutes each half. He is legitimately questionable.

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2014 WR Ryan Sousa flips to Florida from FSU

A team badly in need of playmakers has picked up a second wide receiver for its 2014 recruiting class as the Florida Gators on Monday gained a commitment from three-star prospect Ryan Sousa (Orlando, FL).

Sousa (6-foot-0, 180-pounds) flipped from Florida State to Florida just two days after watching the Seminoles whip the Gators 37-7 in Gainesville, FL. Nevertheless, the lifelong Florida fan decided to make the switch.

Listed as a four-star player by ESPN, Sousa finished his senior season with 100 receptions for 1,664 yards and 23 touchdowns. As a junior, he racked up 21 scores and 1,601 yards on 92 catches. He’s averaged 16.70 yards per reception for his high school career, which lasted three years as Sousa did not play during his freshman season.

The Gators did not offer Sousa until Nov. 1. At the time, he called the offer from his favorite team a “special moment” but remained committed to FSU.

Wide receivers coach Joker Phillips has been instrumental in his recruitment, speaking with Sousa every week since he camped at Florida back in June.

“Coach Phillips and I have a relationship just like I do with my head coach for my high school. We have gotten pretty close and I trust Coach Phillips with everything and I think he’s a great coach,” Sousa told InsidetheGators.com’s Blake Alderman on Nov. 4. “I have heard lots of good things about him and heard he has great character.”

Sousa joins four-star Ermon Lane (Homestead, FL) as the only wide receivers committed to the Gators at this time. He also made his pledge despite Florida firing its offensive coordinator on Monday.

247Sports first reported Sousa’s commitment on Monday evening.

He is the 16th member of the Gators’ 2014 recruiting class, which you can check out in full by clicking here.

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