New Florida Gators Jersey Numbers for 2010

Florida released their full roster for the 2010 season last week and along with it came the newest jersey numbers.  We already knew about some of the freshman – those that have been around since the spring – but now the rest have numbers as well.  Don’t think these are definitely what they will wear once they hit the field one day (jersey numbers have been known to change), but for most of them, this is it.
And for fun I’ve added some memorable former Gators that have worn those numbers. Well, memorable according to my standards. You may have a different view entirely.
7 – Ronald Powell – DE – Jesse Palmer, Danny Wuerffel, Lorenzo Hampton, John Reaves
8 – Adrian Coxson – WR – Carlos Dunlap, Chad Jackson, Rex Grossman, Don Gaffney
10 – Tyler Murphy – QB – Jabar Gaffney, John Capel, Eric Kresser, Monty Grow, Chan Gailey
13 – Trey Burton – QB – Alex Brown, Ray Criswell
14 – Jaylen Watkins – CB – Bart Edmiston, Shayne Edge, Ernie Mills, Bruce Bennett
22 – Matt Elam – S – Terry Jackson, Willie Jackson Jr., Emmitt Smith, John L. Williams, Willie Jackson Sr., Steve Tannen
25 – Gideon Ajagbe – LB – Brandon James, Elijah Williams, Stacey Simmons, Lee McGriff
27 – Chris Dunkley – WR – Neal Anderson
29 – Joshua Shaw – CB – Mike Peterson
30 – Jonathan Dowling – S – Earl Everett, James Jones
31 – Cody Riggs – CB – Johnny Lamar, Carlton Miles
32 – Gerald Christian – TE – Dustin Doe, Eugene McCaslin
33 – Mack Brown – RB – Kestahn Moore, Ran Carthon, Teako Brown, Errict Rhett, Larry Smith
37 – Brandon Sanders – CB – Reggie Davis
38 – Phillip Bellino – RB – Matt Piotrowicz
39 – Jordan Haden – S – Chris Hetland
48 – Neiron Ball – NT – Dexter Daniels
49 – Darrin Kitchens – LB – Jermaine Cunningham, Jeff Chandler
51 – Michael Taylor – LB – Brandon Spikes, David Little
58 – Dominique Easley – DT – Johnny Rutledge
68 – Leon Orr – DT – Mike Degory, Rhondy Weston
73 – Sharrif Floyd – DT – David Williams
75 – Chaz Green – OL – Phil Trautwein, Shannon Snell, Donnie Young, Lomas Brown
77 – Ian Silberman – OL – Max Starks, Cheston Blackshear
81 – Robert Clark – WR – Aaron Hernandez, Dallas Baker
83 – Solomon Patton – WR – Dwayne Dixon
84 – Quinton Dunbar – WR – Ben Troupe, Harrison Houston
85 – Lynden Trail – DE – David Galloway
88 – Michael McFarland – TE – Kirk Kirkpatrick, Wilber Marshall, Jim Yarbrough
An interesting number assignment to note: Dunkley.  The receiver has been rumored to be getting #5, but is listed at #27.  No one on the roster is currently listed at #5, so Dunkley could still get it, but as of right now he has something else.

Breaking Down the Florida Gators’ 2010 Recruiting Class – Part 3

Previous breakdowns: Part 1, Part 2
Jordan Haden
DB – 6’0″, 198 lbs. – Fort Washington, MD – Friendly
With the bevy of talent coming in at defensive back, Haden almost seems forgotten at times.  For the last few months everyone has wanted to talk about Matt Elam, Joshua Shaw, Jonathan Dowling, Cody Riggs, and ever Demar Dorsey.  Many tend to forget Haden is already enrolled and adjusting to life at Florida.  Don’t sleep on the latest Haden to suit up for the Gators.  He could make a big impact sooner than many think.  And hopefully the Haden-to-Florida line doesn’t stop with him.
Darrin Kitchens
LB – 6’3″, 215 lbs. – Homestead, FL – Homestead
Along with Adrian Coxson and Chaz Green, Kitchens was one of the Signing Day commits.  Take a look at his rankings and you might not be all that impressed, but Kitchens in an extremely athletic linebacker that could see time at a few other positions as well.  He’s one of those never stop going guys that is every coach’s dream.  A redshirt is most likely in his immediate future, but he should provide solid play for years after that.
Michael McFarland
TE – 6’6″, 230 lbs. – Tampa, FL – Blake
McFarland was headed toward a grayshirt season before Dorsey dropped/was dropped.  It also didn’t hurt that Auburn started to put the full-court press on the Tampa tight end.  McFarland’s grayshirt future lasted only a few short days and he will instead now join his fellow classmates as a freshman in the fall.  McFarland is a project who won’t see the field for a while, but should be more than ready when he does.
Tyler Murphy
QB – 6’2″, 190 lbs. – Wethersfield, CT – Wethersfield
Murphy is the question mark of the class.  Rivals.com rates him as a two-star dual-threat quarterback and the tenth-best prospect from the state of Connecticut.  To many that doesn’t sound like Florida Gator material, but Murphy is a QB who can run effectively with the ball and may have a better arm than you think.  Having run a spread offense in high school helps his transition to Florida.  Murphy may not end up spending his entire career at quarterback, but is an intriguing prospect nonetheless.
Leon Orr
DT – 6’4″, 300 lbs. – New Port Richey, FL – Gulf
Orr gets a little lost in the shuffle behind those other defensive linemen ranked near the top of most recruiting lists, but he shouldn’t.  A great overall talent for someone his size, Orr will most likely play defensive tackle for the Gators.  He should make the adjustment well given his strength.  Orr may also be used to provide depth along the offensive line.  Think of him as the Matt Patchan type that could be used a variety of different ways.
Solomon Patton
WR – 5’10”, 175 lbs. – Mobile, AL – Murphy
Although Chris Dunkley is the one everyone mentions, Patton may be a step ahead of the other receivers because he enrolled early.  Patton possesses above average speed, but his biggest strength may be his field vision.  He has that ability to find open space similar to what Percy Harvin had.  Not that I’m comparing Patton to Harvin, but he does have a great ability to know where to run and how to get into the open field.  Patton could see time early depending on how the depth chart shapes up.
Ronald Powell
DE – 6’4″, 230 lbs. – Moreno Valley, CA – Rancho Verde
The star of the class, Powell gives Florida the top prospect in the nation.  Whether it’s at defensive end, outside linebacker, or tight end, Powell will make an immediate impact.  He has all the tools to star at any position and according to coaches could play multiple.  Although that’s said much more often than it actually happens.  Expect Powell to be one of the top contributing players for years.  And expect Florida coaches to use his success to pluck a few more future Gators out of California.
Come back tomorrow for the final part.

Breaking Down the Florida Gators’ 2010 Recruiting Class – Part 2

Previous breakdowns: Part 1
Jonathan Dowling
ATH – 6’3″, 178 lbs. – Bradenton, FL – Southeast
Throughout most of the recruiting process there was talk Dowling would end up at receiver once he got to college.  After a stellar performance at safety at the Under Armour All-American Game, thoughts may have shifted.  Dowling is a ball-hawk who has his mind set on making the big play on defense.  Although he could still end up on the offensive side of the ball, he seems to lean slightly to playing safety for Florida.  Expect him to see some time on special teams and late in games during the upcoming season.
Quinton Dunbar
WR – 6’3″, 170 lbs. – Miami, FL – Booker T. Washington
Dunbar has the chance to be a very good receiver when all is said and done, but it may take him a year or two to fully develop.  There’s nothing wrong with his skill-set, but when you only weigh 170 pounds at 6’3” you need to put on some weight.  Where Dunbar can contribute early is in the red zone.  He’s tall and has superior leaping ability.  Look for him to be able to out-jump nearly anyone covering him.  Expect Dunbar to redshirt in 2010 while he builds some muscle.
Chris Dunkley
WR – 5’10”, 164 lbs. – Pahokee, FL – Pahokee
Dunkley is the most anticipated of the new wide receiver group.  Fans waited and waited and waited for him to finally commit to Florida and when he did immediately penciled him in as a major contributor in 2010.  Dunkley has great hands and is surprisingly quick and has the best chance of any of the new receivers to crack the lineup.  Barring unforeseen circumstances, expect to see him on the field this season.
Dominique Easley
DT – 6’3″, 258 lbs. – Staten Island, NY – Curtis
Easley was easily (yes, I did that on purpose) the biggest surprise of the recruiting class.  Virtually no one expected him to put on a Florida hat when he committed during the Under Armour All-American Game.  Most impressive was his work during that week and the game which skyrocketed him up the recruiting rankings.  Easley ended up as the #7 prospect overall according to Rivals.com and put himself in a great position to see the field early in his college career.
Matt Elam
DB – 6’0″, 205 lbs. – West Palm Beach, FL – Dwyer
Elam was the one Gator fans wanted all along.  When he committed, everyone was ecstatic.  Then he decommitted after Urban Meyer announced his resignation/leave of absence and suddenly he was the outcast no one wanted anything to do with.  Not long after, Elam came back and fans were thrilled again.  Is he that good?  Yes, he is.  Elam can, and will, make a big difference at Florida.  He will play early and often.
Sharrif Floyd
DT – 6’3″, 310 lbs. – Philadelphia, PA – George Washington
Want a great story, look no further than Floyd.  A huge (literally) get for Florida, Floyd should see early time with Easley in the middle of the defensive line.  For those of you keeping track, that’s five five-star defensive tackles in the last four years for the Gators.  Four are still on the roster.  All of which are expected to contribute in 2010.  Floyd should make an impact from day one.
Chaz Green
OL – 6’6″, 290 lbs. – Tampa, FL – Tampa Catholic
The last member to join the class may be one of the most important.  Florida has brought in some big names across the offensive line in recent years, but depth may start to become a concern in a year or two.  Getting Green to sign on the line on National Signing Day was big.  Green has the chance to start for the Gators for a number of years and will probably see time during his freshman year in hopes of getting him good experience for the future.
Come back tomorrow for the next part.

10 to Know, 4 Florida Gators

When it comes to recruiting rankings, it’s hard to know who to follow and what to believe.  Around these parts, Rivals.com is typically the site utilized the most.  Call it what you want, but for whatever reason it’s the one I prefer.  However, it’s always good to look around and see what the others are saying and where they differ.  For instance, Rivals ranks Jonathan Dowling in at #176 overall.  ESPN believes he’s #10.  Quite a difference and one that has me leaning toward the ESPN ranking.  It may be the orange and blue glasses, but Dowling at 176 is a big “HUH?!?”  How he didn’t make the Rivals100 is nothing short of amazing.  Although I will admit #10 may be a little high.
Regardless, Dowling made ESPN’s top 10 and so did three other future Florida stars (Ronald Powell, Dominique Easley, and Matt Elam).  Ignore some of the comments – Elam may have a hard time staying committed (he’s already enrolled), he has switched between Florida and FSU four times (didn’t he only switch twice?), and Dowling is the third member of the top 10 committed to Florida (there are four) – and focus on the fact that there are 120 FBS programs, but 40% of the prospects ESPN believes to be the 10 best in the entire nation are committed to Florida.
Considering three others had the Gators very high on their lists before deciding to commit elsewhere and the one who hasn’t declared yet has Florida among his finalists, it’s a good time to be a Gator fan.  And in case you’re already looking ahead to next year, don’t worry, Florida is in good position with at least two recruits – Christian LeMay and James Wilder Jr. – who will most likely be a part of most top 10 lists.

Dunkley and Easley Pick Florida; Two Huge Gets for the Gators

For most of the recruiting cycle Pahokee (Pahokee, FL) wide receiver Chris Dunkley was thought to be a Florida lock, so his commitment during the Under Armour All-American Game was no real surprise.  Despite some rumors he may be leaning elsewhere, Dunkley did what was expected all along and became a Gator.  But for those who enjoy a little shock and awe, they got it on Saturday in the form on Dominique Easley.  The Staten Island, NY (Curtis) defensive end was expected to choose between Miami, Oregon, and Penn State, but when it came down to it, Easley shocked everyone following his recruitment and put on a Gator hat.
Starting with the offensive side of the ball, wipe of the drool.  The thought of Dunkley and Andre Debose in the Gator offense will do that to you (if possible, please refrain from nicknaming them the Double Ds).  Measuring in at 5’10”, 165 lbs., Dunkley is small in stature, but plays big on the field.  He’s quick, fast, speedy, acceleratory, agile, fluid, swift, fleet of foot, and oh yeah, not slow.  When he has the ball, good luck trying to actually tackle Dunkley.  He possesses a variety a moves sure to make defenses nauseous.  Although he may be worked into the passing game a little slower (as most true freshmen not named Percy Harvin are), Dunkley could get an early chance to return kicks, especially punts.  Everything about his game points to him being a dangerous punt returner.  Then again, if Friday night is any indication of the future of the Gator pass offense, Florida will need each and every receiver on the roster to contribute.
Across the line of scrimmage, Easley is one of the best surprises for Florida in quite some time.  Before the Under Armour game started, he was talked about as one of the most impressive prospects during the week of preparation.  During the game, he didn’t disappoint.  He ended the day with a sack, forced fumble, and fumble recovery.  Add those numbers to too many hurries to count and you could see why he was the topic of conversation.  At 6’3”, 258 lbs. Easley is already a good size for the college game and should be able to continue right where he left off in the UA game.  No one had any idea Easley would end up a Gator so feel free to boast about this one for the foreseeable future.  He will contribute early and often and could continue a strong line of recent Florida pass rushers.
Saturday definitely brought some momentum heading toward National Signing Day.  In addition to the commitments of Dunkley and Easley, other future Gators had big days.  Jonathan Dowling and Solomon Patton both scored and Dowling, Demar Dorsey, and Joshua Shaw combined for four interceptions.  It was a great display of future Florida talent.
 

Florida Recruits Climb Up (and Fall Down) the Rankings

I’m a Rivals.com junkie. There’s no better way to put it. I think for the most part you’re either a Rivals fan or a Scout fan. And I’m a believer that it all spends on where you went first. There’s nothing wrong with Scout, I personally, just prefer Rivals. So it’s where I go to check out recruit rankings and of course, the Rivals100.

Rivals.com released a new set of rankings today and of course some future Florida stars moved up (and down) the list. No need to worry about the crown jewel of the class. Matt Elam did fall a couple of spots, but still remains in the top 10, keeping his title of highest ranked commit. A few others – Jonathan Dowling, Ian Silberman, and Jaylen Watkins – all remained in the Rivals100 and had minimal movement.

The biggest moves involved Gerald Christian, Victor Hampton, and Leon Orr. Christian and Hampton both fell out of the Rivals100 and there were reasons behind both moves. Christian has been labeled a tight end this time around (he was a defensive end). While he’s a good tight end, it can be assumed the rankings had previously focused on his defensive skills and he will be evaluated differently from this point forward.

Although Hampton’s drop was expected, it was for very different reasons. Hampton is moving from Independence (Charlotte, NC) to Darlington (Darlington, SC) for his senior year and there is some speculation as to the reason why. I won’t get into what at this point is only conjecture, but possible off-the-field issues could be the reason behind his fall in the rankings.

The big surprise came in the 300 pound package that is Orr. The defensive tackle has exploded up the rankings after his performance at a 7-on-7 tournament. Orr went from not even being considered one of the best 250 players in the nation to settling in comfortably in the Rivals100.

So there you have it. The Gators among the top 100 players in the nation. Remember though, for every Eric Berry (shameless plug to a previous TBG post), who was ranked third overall in 2007, there’s a Fred Rouse, sixth overall in 2005.

Jonathan Dowling Might Not End Up at Florida

Apparently Southeast (Bradenton, FL) defensive back Jonathan Dowling is having second thoughts about his commitment to Florida. The Gators have gotten out to a great start on the recruiting front which includes six athletes likely to play in the defensive backfield. And Dowling knows it. According to sources, he’s having second thoughts due to depth and may be considering Alabama, Miami, and…wait for it…USF. It’s hard to argue with Dowling about this. Although he would look great in the orange and blue, the Gators seem to be accumulating defensive backs at warp speed.

Dowling is currently rated by Rivals.com as the 52nd best player in the nation. He committed to Florida back in March.

Rivals100 Released; 3 Gators Among Top 58

Florida appears to be poised to stay near or at the top of the college football world. Fans, love it. Haters, deal with it.

Rivals.com released their first Rivals100 list of the 2010 football recruits and although Texas leads the way with six commits, Florida has three among the top 58. For comparatory purposes, the Gators finished with four among the top 58 in the final Rivals100 in both 2008 and 2009. In 2007, Florida had eight (!!!) in the top 58 and Joe Haden was just on the outside at number 59.

All-world athlete Matt Elam leads the way as the highest ranked committed player at the moment. Elam is the top athlete and the fifth best player overall. The hard hitting Elam will likely play safety in college, but like fellow freak of nature Will Hill, the possibilities are endless and he could play anywhere. Only 12 recruits received five-star status on this first version of the list, and Elam is one of them. Expect him to stay near the top of this list throughout the year.

Coming in at number 47 on the list is safety Jonathan Dowling. The ball-hawk is currently ranked as the fourth best defensive back on the list, but when position rankings are released, he should be one of the top two safeties.

And just in case you weren’t sick of defensive backs yet, Victor Hampton comes in at number 58. Hampton recorded 10 interceptions as a cornerback last year and is the seventh best DB at the moment.

To top position is currently help by Seantrel Henderson. An offensive lineman?!? Not that linemen aren’t important, but these lists are usually a little flashier, especially at the top spot. And yes, Henderson – from Saint Paul, MN – has Florida on his list.

Looking to the Future; Florida’s 2010 Recruiting Class Coming Together Early

One year ago yesterday, Gary Brown verbally committed to the orange and blue. In doing so, he became the second member of Florida’s 2009 recruiting class, joining Greg Reid. Over the recruiting cycle, Brown and Reid became two of the most sought after recruits in the nation. 11 months later, Reid would sign his letter of intent to play for FSU, while Brown stayed the course and became a Gator. While many may have been shocked at Reid’s defection, it might actually be more surprisingly that Brown honored his commitment. Not because of him necessarily, but because there aren’t a whole lot of recruits who commit that early in the process and stick with their first choice. In fact, Brown has the earliest commit date of any played signed under Urban Meyer.

But in 2010, all of that could change. As of this moment, the Gators have picked up six verbal commitments. And good ones at that. Here’s a look at how Florida’s 2010 recruiting class is coming together.

Trey Burton – QB – 6’3”, 205 lbs. – Venice – Venice, FL – Burton is a dual-threat quarterback who has dangerous speed if he gets to the outside. He needs to put on some bulk to effectively run Florida’s offense in the future, but he’s a good prospect who could climb the rankings during his senior year. He also had offers from FAU, West Virginia, and USF.

Demar Dorsey – CB – 6’1”, 175 lbs. – Boyd – Lauderdale Lakes, FL – Dorsey’s speed has coaches everywhere drooling. His coverage skills may be a little raw, but scouts believe he has the ability to play safety if he bulks up a little. Dorsey also had offers from FSU, Miami, UNC, and Wisconsin.

Jonathan Dowling – S – 6’1”, 180 lbs. – Southeast – Bradenton, FL – Dowling is already regarded as one of the nation’s best safeties – if not THE best. He is a ball hawk with a huge list of offers, including: Alabama, FSU, Georgia, Miami, and Notre Dame. Dowling has said he doesn’t plan on taking any visits other than to Florida.

Matt Elam – ATH – 6’0”, 205 lbs. – Dwyer – West Palm Beach, FL – Elam is the crown jewel of the class at this point. He can play on either side of the ball, but safety appears to be most likely. Elam is a big hitter who has exceptional field intelligence. Some of his offers include: Boston College, FSU, Georgia, LSU, and Miami.

Victor Hampton – CB – 5’10”, 170 lbs. – Independence – Charlotte, NC – Charlotte Independence should sound familiar to you. Chris Leak went there. Hampton is a physical corner with good ball skills. He also had offers from Clemson, Georgia, UNC, NC State, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

Ian Silberman – OL – 6’5”, 260 lbs. – Fleming Island – Fleming Island, FL – Silberman gets the title of First Commit, giving his verbal to the Gators back in July. He’s an athletic lineman who is getting bigger, but still needs to put on some weight. Silberman also had offers from FSU, Michigan, and Tennessee.