Fox Force Five: 2013 Recruiting Cycle Coming To An End For The Florida Gators

Florida Gators commentary in five parts, as in there’s one, two, three, four, five of them.

It all comes to an end on Wednesday. The Florida Gators will announce their 2013 football recruiting class and that will close to door on another hard-fought cycle. Commits came early and often and, as the class currently stands, things are looking up. The Gators are always a player in the world of recruiting and this year is no different. But coming off of a season when expectations were exceeded accelerates the future and has us looking for big things in 2013—on the field and off.

Jaynard Bostwick

Here are just a few of the stories still being written.

1. Mainland (Daytona Beach, FL) linebacker Quinton Powell was a Gator and then he wasn’t. In the weeks following his decommitment, he again became a possibility for the Gators. Then suddenly James Hearns was out of the picture and many thought Powell was a lock to choose the orange and blue again. That may have been the case as he was down to Florida and Southern Cal. Well, Powell is no more. Over the weekend, he was told by head coach Will Muschamp that the Gators don’t have a spot for him. Powell was disappointed, but also understands the business side of recruiting and college football. Florida has moved on and now Powell will too.

2. West Centennial (Port Saint Lucie, FL) defensive tackle Jaynard Bostwick will announce at 8:00am on National Signing Day. The DT will decide between Alabama, Florida and Miami. Bostwick’s high school coach has said that Bostwick thinks highly of all three and that nothing would surprise him. Considered an early Miami lean, some think the Gators now have the best shot. Bostwick would be a fine addition along the defensive line.

3. Also on the defensive line is Immaculata (Somerville, NJ) defensive end Tashawn Bower. Bower is committed to Auburn, but it’s considered to be a very, VERY soft verbal. He has received a Letter of Intent from the Gators and will announce a decision on Wednesday between Auburn and Florida. Behind the scenes, the Florida coaching staff if very confident they can get Bower to make the switch. Many believe he will end up in a different shade of orange and blue and come to Gainesville in the end. Don’t count out the Tigers just though as Bower never technically decommitted.

4. Might as well stick with the defensive line for one more. East Mississippi CC (Scooba, MS) JUCO defensive tackle Jarran Reed is down to Alabama and Florida. The Gators may hold the advantage and are hoping Reed will join his former teammate Darious Cummings in Gainesville. Reed isn’t a lock, but with the Gators pushing hard, the stars are aligning for Florida.

5. Also announcing on NSD will be New Smyrna Beach (New Smyrna Beach, FL) wide receiver James Clark. Clark is down to Clemson, Florida and Ohio State and will announce his decision at 9:00am. For a while, it seemed the Buckeyes posed the biggest challenge to the Gators, but that may now be the Tigers. Clark would make a great addition to an already impressive wide receiver class.

Fox Force Five: Florida Gators Look To Finish 2013 Recruiting Cycle In Grand Fashion

Florida Gators commentary in five parts, as in there’s one, two, three, four, five of them.

We’re at that critical point of the year. Critical in that National Signing Day is fast approaching and there are still some recruits on the table. From the desired to the impossible to the probable, they’re out there undecided about their next destination. The Florida Gators are still looking for a few bodies. With the class coming together nicely and nearly full, there are a few final pieces to put into the puzzle. The final set of prospects that may or may not join the Gators’ 2013 recruiting class.

Robert Nkemdiche

1. The odds that the nation’s top prospect—Grayson (Loganville, FL) defensive end Robert Nkemdiche—commits to Florida are slim-to-none. It would take the miracle of all miracles for the Gators’ coaching staff to pull it off. Because of that we have never really expected Nkemdiche to fully consider Florida an option. Yes, he recently visited Gainesville and does like the program and where it’s headed, but it’s long been thought to be a battle between LSU and Ole Miss with the Rebels holding the lead. Nkemdiche would be a VERY-nice-to-have that’s not going to happen.

2. New Smyrna Beach (New Smyrna Beach, FL) wide receiver James Clark will make one final visit before NSD and it will come on Saturday when he makes the trek to Gainesville. The 5’10”, 175-pound Clark recently visited Ohio State and only had great things to say about Columbus and the Buckeyes. He is still considering the Gators, but also mentions Clemson, Nebraska and Northwestern. Clark will announce on NSD. If he does choose the Buckeyes, take a couple of ibuprofen Florida fans and quickly move on. We can expect many more recruiting battles to come with that Urban Meyer guy and his merry band of coaches at Ohio State.

3. With Adam Lane and Kelvin Taylor headed to Florida, the Gators have done well in the running back department in the 2013 class. Despite the two already aboard, there are running backs that have Florida among their finalists. One of those is South Plantation (Plantation, FL) back Alex Collins. Collins recently visited Arkansas and enjoyed the trip, but still lists five among his finalists. He will make his decision on February 4, deciding between Arkansas, Florida, Florida State, Miami and Wisconsin.

4. West Centennial (Port St. Lucie, FL) defensive tackle Jaynard Bostwick is coming to Gainesville over the final weekend of the recruiting cycle. The 6’4″, 291-pound DT is excited for the visit, but don’t expect commitment news–he will announce his decision on NSD. The four-star Bostwick is down to his final three–Alabama, Florida and Miami–and will make his decision known on February 6. Despite being listed at 291, Bostwick is closer to 315, making him a true defensive tackle. He has had good things to say about the Gators and has developed a good relationship with the defensive coaches over the course of his recruitment.

5. Lake Gibson (Lakeland, FL) fullback Kennard Swanson wants to be a Gator, but whether that happens or not is still up in the air. Florida is waiting to see if he’ll have the grades to qualify or if he’ll have to go the JUCO route. Swanson wants to be a Gator and Florida wants him as a part of the class. We should known more about his situation next week. Rumor has it that the Gators are holding a spot in the class for him and will make their final decision on NSD.

2013 Football Recruiting: Florida Gators Part Ways With LB James Hearns

The Florida Gators have cut ties with linebacker and now former commit James Hearns. Hearns – a four-star LB from Lincoln (Tallahassee, FL) was one of the first members of the Gators’ 2013 recruiting class. Florida has pulled his scholarship offer due to concerns over whether Hearns will be able to qualify academically.

James Hearns

Hearns expressed no ill will toward the Gators, simply stating that it was time for both sides to move on. The Florida coaching staff was concerned with his academic record and Hearns was hoping to look at a few other schools before National Signing Day as it is. He got the call from newly appointed defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin, letting him know that he wouldn’t be a part of the Gators’ class.

Hearns is currently visiting a Florida SEC rival–Kentucky–and seems to favor the Wildcats. He’s also considering visiting either Houston, South Carolina or Washington over the last weekend before NSD.

Durkin and head coach Will Muschamp will now turn their focus to Mainland (Daytona Beach, FL) linebacker Quinton Powell. Powell, you will remember, was also a member of Florida’s 2013 class until recently.

2013 Football Recruiting: Caleb Brantley, Demarcus Robinson Recommit; Florida Gators (Re)Add DT, WR

Sometimes you just have to be patient. And sometimes your patience only has to last a very, very short time. After decommitting from the Florida Gators in recent weeks, both Caleb Brantley and Demarcus Robinson are back. The defensive tackle and wide receiver have both decided that once again they wish to be a part of the Gators’ 2013 recruiting class.

Brantley’s decision doesn’t come as much of a surprise. Many thought that there was a good chance the defensive tackle would rejoin the class despite his recent decommitment. After speaking to the Florida coaches, Brantley came back around, realizing there was no better option than the Gators (a good decision on his part). He claims that this is it and he will make no other visits.

In addition to Brantley, the Gators also welcomed back wide receiver Demarcus Robinson. Robinson had been back and forth between Clemson and Florida for quite some time, but made it clear it would be the Gators in the end. Very clear. He will enroll early, making him as solid as solid gets.*

The two boost (or reboost I suppose) Florida’s class and give the Gators two talented prospects at positions of need. The Gators are now ranked No. 3 according to Rivals and No. 5 according to 247Sports in the sites’ team rankings.

*I, of course, reserve the right to renege on that statement if anything at all happens to Robinson over the course of his career.

2013 Football Recruiting: Florida Gators Lose Caleb Brantley; DT Decommits Via Text Message

Never considered the most solid of commitments, defensive tackle Caleb Brantley is no longer one at all. On Tuesday, the Crescent City, FL (Crescent City) DT informed the Florida Gators via text message that he was decommitting. Although now technically a free agent, there are many that believe this might not be the end of Brantley and the Gators.

Caleb Brantley - Florida Gators

Brantley announced via his Twitter account that he had texted his decommitment to Florida coaches ($). How’s that for technology? Why pick up the phone and talk to anyone when you can just send of a quick text and then tell the world via a social network?

While Brantley had been committed to the Gators for quite some time, he had always maintained that he would take other visits. Even so, he appeared to enjoy the fact that he was committed to the orange and blue. It is rumored that he wants to play with current Florida State committ Ira Denson–someone Florida has yet to extend an offer to. Others believe that Brantley is just enjoying the ride of the recruiting process and could commit and decommit and commit again before all is said and done.

2013 Football Recruiting: Florida Gators Lose Demarcus Robinson; WR Back To Clemson

Demarcus Robinson has gone back to where he came from. The talented wide receiver’s commitment to the Florida Gators was short-lived, as Robinson found his way back to Clemson on Monday.

Robinson was initially committed to the Tigers, but an upcoming visit to Gainesville set various rumors on their course. Before he even made the visit, Robinson met with Gators’ coaches and decided Florida was the place for him. Not even a week later, he no longer believes that is the case. Robinson is back with Clemson.

With Robinson, the Gators were happy with their wide receiver class. He joined Ahmad Fulwood, Alvin Bailey, Chris Thompson and Marqui Hawkins. Without him, Florida is still pleased, but true joy may have come in sheer numbers at the position. Don’t be surprised if the Gators continue to look for a wide receiver to add to the class. And don’t be surprised if Robinson isn’t entirely done with his recruitment yet.

2013 Football Recruiting: Jarrad Davis Flips From Auburn To Florida; Gators Add OLB

Over the last week, the Florida Gators are up one outside linebacker. Last weekend, the Gators added Matt Rolin, but lost Quinton Powell. This past weekend, Florida went back on the positive side, getting Jarrad Davis to switch his commitment from Auburn to Florida.

Davis comes in a mold similar to Powell’s. He is an athletic linebacker that will need to fill out before making an impact at the next level. 247Sports lists him as the No. 30 OLB in the 2013 recruiting class. He has steadily moved up that ranking as he was at one point down at No. 59.

Davis comes to Florida from Kingsland, GA (Camden County) and is regarded as the final linebacker the Gators will take.

2013 Football Recruiting: WR Demarcus Robinson Flips To Florida Gators

The recruiting train hasn’t stopped for the Florida Gators. On Wednesday, four-star wide receiver Demarcus Robinson flipped his commitment from Clemson to Florida and instantly became one of the most important members of the 2013 recruiting class. With reports that Robinson may visit Gainesville as early as this upcoming weekend, a commitment–if coming–wasn’t expected until after that time. Robinson surprised many by making that commitment after Gators’ coaches visited him at his home.

Demarcus Robinson - Florida Gators

The 6’1.5″, 196-pound Robinson comes to the Gators from Fort Valley, GA (Peach County) and joins an already impressive wide receiver class. He joins Ahmad Fulwood, Alvin Bailey, Chris Thompson and Marqui Hawkins to give Florida five commits at the position. That number means the Gators are most likely done at WR, but have added great depth to a unit they’re looking to redefine.

Robinson’s flip from Clemson is also a satisfying one. Those of us living in the state of Florida who also complete the ideal double of being Gators’ fans have tired of Clemson over the years. There have been recruits that appeared destined for Florida. Ones that fit systems perfectly and could get immediate playing time. They excited us as prospects and Florida seemed in great position to get many of them. Then something happened and they headed to Clemson. Many had good careers and that made us feel worse. While Robinson is from the state of Georgia, his switch is still immensely satisfying. We like. We like very much.

247Sports ranks Robinson as the No. 183 prospect overall and No. 22 wide receiver.

2013 Football Recruiting: Florida Gators Lose Quinton Powell; OLB Decommits

Just one day after adding outside linebacker Matt Rolin to their 2013 football recruiting class, the Florida Gators lost another at the same position. Quinton Powell decided the numbers didn’t work in his favor and reopened his recruitment.

Quinton Powell - Florida GatorsPowell’s exit doesn’t come as much of a surprise. There were rumors that he would still look around after finding out the Gators weren’t done adding linebackers to their class. With the commitment of Rolin, the writing was on the wall that Florida would continue to find the right fits for their defense. Powell decided that he might not be one of those fits anymore.

Rolin joined Daniel McMillian, James Hearns and Keanu Neal (although Neal is also listed at safety where he will most likely play) on the Gators’ commitment list. Word had been that Powell wasn’t happy with the numbers for quite some time and wanted to take additional visits.

The 6’2”, 194-pound OLB from Daytona Beach, FL (Mainland) will now turn his attention to possible visits to Miami and USC. 247Sports ranks Powell as the nation’s No. 180 overall prospect and the No. 14 outside linebacker.

2013 Football Recruiting: Florida Gators Add OLB Matt Rolin, OT Trenton Brown, OT Roderick Johnson

The Florida Gators 2013 football recruiting class grew substantially over the weekend. The Gators added three prospects to their commitment list, including the return of offensive lineman Roderick Johnson. Along with Johnson’s return to the good guys, the Gators brought aboard outside linebacker Matt Rolin and offensive lineman Roderick Johnson (pushing me even further behind when it comes to catching up on recruiting reports).

Matt Rolin - Florida Gators

Matt Rolin–a 6’4″, 210-pound outside linebacker out of Ashburn, VA (Briar Woods)–was originally committed to South Carolina. He decommitted on Sunday, announcing the news via Twitter. Rolin stated that he had to do what was best for him. What was best came shortly after as he announced his intentions to become a Florida Gator. Rolin is a four-star prospect according to 247Sports. The site ranks him as the nation’s No. 131 recruit overall and the No. 12 outside linebacker. (Update: Just one day after Rolin committed, the Gators lost outside linebacker Quinton Powell.)

Trenton Brown comes to the Gators from Georgia Military College (Milledgeville, GA). The massive—he’s listed at 6’8”, 350 pounds—Brown is projected to play offensive tackle at the collegiate level. Brown had previously informed Florida head coach Will Muschamp of his decision, but made his commitment public on Sunday. The offensive lineman will enroll in January and have two seasons of eligibility remaining. 247 ranks him as the nation’s No. 21 overall JUCO prospect and the No. 3 JUCO offensive tackle.

The Gators’ final commitment from Sunday is no stranger to those following Florida’s 2013 football recruiting class. Roderick Johnson first committed to the Gators on March 25. He continued to make visits and receive interest from several schools and on August 12 made the decision to reopen his recruitment. It all came full circle on Sunday when the 6’5”, 315-pound offensive tackle committed to the Gators once again. Less than two weeks ago, Johnson listed Florida and Florida State as his top two. We have to be happy the orange and blue won out once again.

With about two months left in the 2013 recruiting cycle, the Gators’ class stands at 23 commitments. Look for Florida to continue the momentum it current has. The Gators currently sit at No. 3 in 247’s team rankings, just behind USC and Alabama.