2014 Football Recruiting: The Florida Gators Look to Build on Strong Class as Summer Approaches

The 2012 football season has long been over. And now with the 2012-13 basketball season coming to an end as well, we turn our attention to football recruiting.

Will Grier - Florida Gators

2013 was kind to the Florida Gators, as the football team put together the type of recruiting class we’ve come to expect. 2014 should be no different and has already produced a group that forms a solid base to build upon.

Before we get knee deep in the entire world of recruiting, player rankings, video analysis, scouting reports and discussions of wants and needs, let’s take a quick look at what the Gators, Will Muschamp and the rest of the Florida coaching staff are working with at this point.

Will Grier, QB, Davidson Day (Davidson, NC) – Grier is not only one of the top quarterback prospects in the nation, but one of the top players overall. While the level of competition is a concern for some, Grier has the tools and talent to succeed at any level and in most systems. He may already be the Gators’ quarterback of the future.

Dalvin Cook, RB, Miami Central (Miami, FL) – Another Florida commit that is among both the top prospects at his position and overall is Cook. There are those already comparing Cook to former Gator great Percy Harvin, but let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. Let’s let Cook become the first Dalvin Cook and not put a label on him as the next Harvin before he is even assigned a locker. All of that said, Cook is an intriguing prospect that can be used in a variety of ways.

Ryeshene Bronson, WR, Dunbar (Ft. Myers, FL) – The Gators are constantly looking to reload at wide receiver. It doesn’t matter what the previous year may have brought, Florida will look for capable pass catchers in each class. Bronson is the first committed for 2014 and has enough height to get fans excited about his arrival. He’ll have to add some bulk to his frame before he can fully compete at the college level, but he should be a contributor once he learns the ropes.

Travaris Dorsey, OL, Raines (Jacksonville, FL) – Dorsey has been working hard to get himself in shape for his senior season and beyond. He’s a true guard and excels at the position. Dorsey has been working on his athleticism and has proven that he is more than just a big body. He will take visits over the summer and is still being recruited by North Carolina and Tennessee, but he remains solidly committed to Florida.

Benjamin Knox, OL, Deland (Deland, FL) – A tackle, Knox is where many high schoolers are at this point in their development. He has the height, but needs the bulk. He’ll have plenty of time to do just that and looks like he could contribute sometime around 2016. Knox has mentioned that an offer from the Gators was a dream and that he is solidly committed.

Joseph Paul, OL, St. Augustine (New Orleans, LA) – While Knox needs to bulk up, Paul–also a tackle–has the size to play at the college level today. He’ll need to develop his game and learn the intricacies of a college offense, but from a size standpoint, Paul has it. Paul was down to Florida and Texas and after picking the Gators has said that the recruiting process is over for him.

Anthony Moten, DL, St. Thomas Aquinas (Ft. Lauderdale, FL) – Do we like players from St. Thomas Aquinas? Yes we do. Thomas is listed as a defensive tackle even if he does has the frame of a defensive end at this point. That doesn’t mean he won’t play DT at the next level though. Moten is hoping a few others from south Florida will join him in Gainesville, among them cornerbacks Chris Lammons and Quincy Wilson.

Christian Miller, LB, Spring Valley (Columbia, SC) – A top-100 linebacker, Miller projects to play on the outside at the college level. He’s one of those that talks academics as much as he talks football and was looking for the right fit from both sides of the equation. Miller has mentioned that his focus will now shift to recruiting for the Gators, but he still may take visits for the experience.

Duke Dawson, DB, Dixie County (Cross City, FL) – Dawson, a cornerback, chose the Gators over in-state rival Florida State. Although much of his family cheers for the Seminoles, one cousin – 2013 Gators’ signee Marcell Harris – may have pushed him toward Florida. When Dawson committed, he mentioned the Gators had always held the lead, but that doesn’t mean the pressure from FSU will stop.

2014 Football Recruiting: Duke Dawson Commits To Florida Gators; CB Pulls The Switch

Dixie County (Cross City, FL) cornerback Duke Dawson has made his college choice and it’s very good news for the Florida Gators. On Tuesday, the 2014 recruit committed to the Gators over the Florida State Seminoles after pulling the wardrobe switch. Dawson arrived at his announcement decked out in ‘Noles gear, only to pull off an FSU shirt to reveal a Florida one.

Duke Dawson - Florida Gators

I’ve never been a huge fan of the clothing or hat switch, but Dawson’s situation seemed to be more of a playful joke between him and his family. With the exception of his cousin–2013 Florida commit Marcell Harris–Dawson’s entire family is made up of FSU fans. This was probably just a playful jab at the family before he made his true choice known.

The decision wasn’t necessarily an easy one for Dawson, but being able to play with Harris weighed heavily. Dawson also mentioned his relationship with Gators’ head coach Will Muschamp and academics as draws for him.

There is plenty of time left before Dawson signs his letter of intent, but, for now, he seems confident he has made the right choice.

2014 Football Recruiting: Duke Dawson Commits To Florida Gators; CB Pulls The Switch

Dixie County (Cross City, FL) cornerback Duke Dawson has made his college choice and it’s very good news for the Florida Gators. On Tuesday, the 2014 recruit committed to the Gators over the Florida State Seminoles after pulling the wardrobe switch. Dawson arrived at his announcement decked out in ‘Noles gear, only to pull off an FSU shirt to reveal a Florida one.

Duke Dawson - Florida Gators

I’ve never been a huge fan of the clothing or hat switch, but Dawson’s situation seemed to be more of a playful joke between him and his family. With the exception of his cousin–2013 Florida commit Marcell Harris–Dawson’s entire family is made up of FSU fans. This was probably just a playful jab at the family before he made his true choice known.

The decision wasn’t necessarily an easy one for Dawson, but being able to play with Harris weighed heavily. Dawson also mentioned his relationship with Gators’ head coach Will Muschamp and academics as draws for him.

There is plenty of time left before Dawson signs his letter of intent, but, for now, he seems confident he has made the right choice.

2014 Football Recruiting: Travonte Valentine Becomes 2nd Commit For 2014; DT Chooses Gators

Ryeshene Bronson is no longer alone. On Sunday, defensive tackle Travonte Valentine joined him as a member of the 2014 recruiting class. The 6’3″, 283-pound DT from Palm Bay, FL (Bayside) recently decommitted from Louisville before pulling the trigger and committing to Florida. He keeps the trend of recent defensive line commits alive.

Valentine attended Friday Night Lights and upon returning home from the event realized where he wanted to be. He contacted head coach Will Muschamp and told him the good news. Muschamp, of course, welcomed Valentine with open arms.

The standout defensive tackle claims that his recruitment is over. He won’t take any additional visits and says he’s solid to Florida. It’s a very long time until the 2014 class signs, so we’ll take those statements for what they’re worth, but Valentine seems to be comfortable with his decision.

2014 Football Recruiting: Ft. Myers Wide Receiver Ryeshene Bronson Commits To Florida Gators

That’s not a typo up there. The year is 2014. The Florida Gators have received their first commitment as part of the 2014 recruiting class. On Thursday, Ft. Myers, FL (Dunbar) wide receiver Ryeshene Bronson became the first 2014 recruit to announce his commitment to the orange and blue.

The 6’3”, 183-pound receiver is a welcome addition at a position that constantly needs numbers. The Gators have been looking for not only go-to receivers, but also depth at the unit. Although it will be some time before we see Bronson in a Florida uniform, this is a great way to start off the class.

Bronson wanted to be done with the recruiting process early and he definitely accomplished that. He chose Florida over offers from Auburn, Florida State, North Carolina and South Carolina. Bronson mentioned comfort with the coaching staff as one of the main reasons he committed to the Gators.