Previewing Florida’s 2011 Friday Night Lights

By Adam Silverstein
July 22, 2011

Updated at 5:40 p.m.

Mixing pomp and circumstance with football drills and relationship building, the Florida Gators use their annual Friday Night Lights camp at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium as both a recruiting tool and means of evaluating some of the best high school football players in the country. The Gators often pull in some recruits over the FNL weekend but also find diamonds in the rough as recruits get coached up while getting to know each other.

The Swamp will once again filled with some of the top young talent in the nation on July 22, so much so that covering every player that plans to step on the field is a near impossibility. Below are a list of the top 10 players that share mutual interest in attending Florida as well as list of the top five most talented prospects who will be camping in Gainesville, FL. Neither list is sorted in any particular order.

DE Jordan Jenkins (Hamilton, GA) –
The No. 5 player at his position in 2012, Jenkins recently attended Dawg Night but has not narrowed down his list into a top-five yet. He will visit Alabama after taking his trip to Florida and has already spent time with Auburn, Georgia Tech and Tennessee.

DE Tyriq McCord (Tampa, FL) –
Slotted two spots below Jenkins, McCord visited UF with his parents in late June and is now returning one month later. South Carolina and North Carolina are also working hard to eventually win him over and earn his services, but it is believed that his final two are Florida and USC with the Gators out in front.

TE Kent Taylor (Land O’Lakes, FL) –
The top-ranked tight end in the nation according to Rivals, Taylor has a myriad of offers on the table but appears to have narrowed his choices down to Florida and Penn State. His father seems to favor UF, but Taylor grew up as a PSU fan. Other schools in contention for his services include Florida State (where he nearly committed in the spring), Alabama, Auburn and LSU.

Check out the other nine players featured in this post…after the break!

CB Chris Bivins (Gainesville, FL) –
A local product, Bivins’s stock has been rising considerably as he participates in more and more camps. He is currently committed to South Florida, but it is believed that he would easily switch if the Gators to provide him with a committable offer. Florida, which will end its recruitment of the secondary for 2012 with one more cornerback commitment, is likely waiting to find out what four-star CB Tracy Howard (Miramar, FL) decides before making a push for Bivins.
No longer attending.

RB Kelvin Taylor (Belle Glade, FL) – 2013
The son of former Gators running back Fred Taylor, Kelvin has yet to officially receive an offer from Florida but may get one Friday now that RB Derrick Henry (Yulee, FL) committed to Georgia last weekend. (Henry was previously believed to favor UF, which is expected to take two more backs in 2013.) Taylor has previously said that, if he had to commit on the spot, he would pick the Gators; should he be offered Friday, that could very well happen even though he has two years of high school remaining.

QB Cord Sandberg (Bradenton, FL) – 2013
A big-time passer who played with RB Mike Blakely at Manatee High School, Sandberg already has offers from Auburn and Clemson and is looking to pick one up from Florida as well. AU is his early leader, as he likes the spread offense and is impressed with both head coach Gene Chizik and offensive coordinator Gus Malzahn, but there is plenty of time for UF to win him over.

CB Tracy Howard (Miramar, FL) –
Leaning toward playing in Gainesville for quite some time, Howard has opened up the recruiting process and is now thought to be favoring Miami due in part to his relationship with some of their current commitments. Howard would be the Gators’ preferred choice for their final 2012 secondary commitment, but Florida also has other plans (Bivins) in case he decides to go elsewhere.
His school visited but left early.

WR Malcolm Lewis (Miramar, FL) –
Playing at a position of need for UF, Lewis is the No. 24-ranked pass catcher in the nation and also happens to be best friends with Howard. The latter has previously said the duo has an “85 percent chance” of signing with the same school, a battle which will likely wind up being Miami vs. Florida.

ATH Nelson Agholor (Tampa, FL) –
Though he has yet to officially narrow down his list, it is widely believed that the top-ranked wide receiver and No. 9 overall player in the nation will be choosing between the Gators and Southern Cal. Others analysts, however, believe that Florida State, Miami, Georgia and Auburn are also very much in the mix. Friends since he was 10-years-old with recent Florida four-star CB commit Marcus Maye (Melbourne, FL), Agholor is being recruited heavily by some of UF’s current commitments.
No longer attending.

DE Alex McCalister (Clemmons, NC) –
Heralded as an underrated prospect, McCalister is still in the process of narrowing down his list but said that it will “probably come down to Florida and North Carolina” in a fight for his services. He has previously visited the Gators and is impressed with both defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and linebackers coach D.J. Durkin, indicating that there is a legitimate shot he pull the trigger for UF.

WR Stefon Diggs (Olney, MD) –
The No. 2 wide receiver in the country, Diggs is completely wide open and has already visited top schools including Alabama, California, Miami, South Carolina and Virginia Tech. He also plans to head over to Auburn at some but is making it a point to stop in Gainesville and participate in FNL with Florida. Diggs sports offers from nearly every major program in the nation.

DT Carlos Watkins (Forest City, NC) –
A Rivals100 member who is the No. 8 player at his position, Watkins has the Gators in his top three alongside Clemson and South Carolina. Clemson is the leader for his services as of press time, but Muschamp has promised him early playing time if he picks Florida. He is friends with three-star safety and recent UF commit Rhaheim Ledbetter (Boiling Springs, NC) and four-star DE Jonathan Bullard (Shelby, NC), all three of whom have discussed attending the same school.

ATH Nelson Agholor (Tampa, FL) –
See above.

TE Kent Taylor (Land O’Lakes, FL) –
See above.

CB Tracy Howard (Miramar, FL) –
See above.

Photo Credit: Aaron Daye/The Gainesville Sun


  1. GatorNsc says:

    Great work Adam– alot more informative than Barlis’ FNL write up. I have a good feeling about tonight. GO GATORS!!

  2. CeeThree says:

    fantastic post Adam, was hoping for something good on FNL and you exceeded that. The last sentence under Kelvin Taylor got me really pumped up.. also find it interesting just how many names we are apparently connected to from the state of NC, hopefully Ledbetter leads the charge and brings his buddies.

  3. cline says:

    is this event open to the public?

  4. npgator says:

    I have seen Taylor play and he was all state when he was in 8th grade! We need to pull the trigger on him!

  5. aziatic41 says:

    Would really like for us to get Nelson Agholor. We are in need of more young explosive wrs. Also I’d like for us to land a couple of d-lineman, because as we all know the SEC is a line-of-scrimmage-league. Games are won at the line of scrimmage in our league. But Agholor would definitely be a HUGE pickup for us

  6. Gio Showtime says:

    How are we supposed to fix our depth problems when the SEC has a 25 scholly limit?

  7. John S says:

    Very nice list, crossing my fingers

  8. alex says:

    Agholor will not be attending so do not get your hopes up on him

  9. npgator says:

    Where is he assumed to be going – FSU?

  10. Ken (CA) says:

    recruiting 4 backs in one class? that seems like a lot considering who have already committed and how much line help we need, i would love to see 1-2 more O-line commits. Of course a couple of those backs could end up being D-secondary …

  11. scooterp says:

    Are we still open for another TE? I didn’t know Kent Taylor was that high on us. After getting Colin T. I thought we were done……… and Reed, A.C. and Christian – seems like we’re already loaded????

  12. scooterp says:

    …… and why don’t we hear any chatter coming from linemen. The names I always here from that are strongly consisdering us or are close to signing are from athletes. It seems like we’re stocked with speed and playmakers, but we suck as of late in getting the big uglys. Outside of Humpheries we seem to be along way from building up that line.

    • Dunker is already committed. Humphries (8/5 announcement) could be another. And Florida is in the running for another five-star. That would be three of the best OL in the entire country all in one class.

      • Ken (CA) says:

        now those are “bookends” i would like to read about….That was what I was wondering in my earlier comment, where are the linemen we really need?

  13. CeeThree says:

    do we have a legit shot at Humphries? Also, how do we stand with Avery Young and Patrick Miller?

  14. AJ says:

    Really? Georgia calls their camp “Dawg Night”? And they wonder why they are a joke

  15. zurbo says:

    good post sil

  16. aaron says:

    I saw on scout agholor wad not attending because he has an AAU bball tourney. Let’s settle down guys. Go Gators!

  17. Marc Mac says:

    Adam, if there are any commitments at FNL when will we know?

  18. aaron says:

    Go to scout and if you’re subscribed watch the top video it says he can’t make it because of an AAU tourney. I may have him confused with maye

  19. spellcheck says:

    pomp and circumstance 😉

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