As we roll into the official-visit stage of the college football recruiting season, it’s time to gauge what the state schools have accomplished building the class of 2013.
Florida second-year head coach Will Muschamp and his staff have pulled off a bit of a coup, hauling in a few in-state stars. They landed a pair of Tampa Bay commitments that have the rest of the state in envy.
Landing CB Vernon Hargreaves III of Tampa Wharton was huge peg in the board for Muschamp’s recruiting staff, and Hargreaves’ buddy DE Jordan Sherit of Tampa Hillsborough followed suit.
The Gators 2013 class is rated No. 5 in the country by 247Sports.com — behind USC, Michigan, Alabama and Ohio State — and Florida’s 18 commitments have addressed most every need. There’s no such thing as peace of mind in college football recruiting, but the Gators have a bit of a luxury in that they can now zero in on players about whom they are very serious.
That focus will shift to the offensive line.
UF lost a couple of O-line commitments recently in Roderick Johnson (6-foot-6, 315 pounds) of Delray Beach American Heritage and Joshua Outlaw (6-4, 290) of Lithonia (Ga.) MLK, but there are bigger fish still up for grabs.
The biggest is Lake City Columbia OT Laremy Tunsil (6-6, 295), and if the Gators can land him, they might be OK with a three-man take on the line. Michigan prospect Cameron Dillard (6-3, 280) and Octavius Jackson of Moultrie (Ga.) Colquitt County are both guards committed to the Gators. Florida will likely take one more offensive lineman and Joey Fennell (6-5, 320) of South Fort Meyers sure would fit the bill, but a Tunsil commitment would carry this class to a higher level.
Tunsil, the No. 2 overall prospect in the Sentinel's 2013 Florida Top 100. The Seminoles, at this point, has stuck with a list of Alabama, Florida and Georgia as his top three, and he will not commit until National Signing Day.
After FSU’s flourishing start to the recruiting season, Jimbo Fisher’s crew, it would appear from a rankings standpoint, have tapered off a bit. As a person who doesn’t take much stock in the star rating system, however, I wouldn’t say the Seminoles have fallen that far behind.
FSU, ranked No. 13 by 247Sports.com, also has 18 class of 2013 commitments. While the group may not include supposed “five-star” players — Florida has one in Hargreaves — the Seminoles have gained pledges from players who fit their system and, when it comes to playing for Fisher, those are the types of players he’s eyeing.
July commitments RB Ryan Greene (5-10, 195) of St. Petersburg Catholic, WR Isaiah Jones (6-4, 195) of Milton and LB Freddie Stevenson (6-1, 220) of Bartow are not only those kind of players, but they are also extremely talented. FSU had three other July pledges who didn’t exactly set your twitter scroll into a frenzy, but they’re still solid additions.
Recent commitments from Orlando Jones speedster Kermit Whitfield (5-9, 165) and Atlanta Chamblee speed rusher Davin Bellamy (6-5, 235) bolstered the bunch and the ’Noles have to be pleased with their overall class so far.
FSU, too, can start to zero in on key targets, but both defensive ends and down linemen remain a concern in this class. Bellamy is the only D-line prospect committed to FSU, and he is likely to play more of a hybrid role in college.
Miami will be hampered by lack of scholarship numbers as the Miami Hurricanes await penalties from their reported recruiting wrong-doings. UM currently has just 10 commitments to the 2013 class, and coach Al Golden and company may be in a holding pattern for a while.
Nonetheless, the 'Canes do have a few impressive commitments from South Plantation RB Alex Collins (5-11, 204), Tampa Jesuit WR Travis Johnson (6-4, 225) and New Orleans Edna Karr TE Standish Dobard, as well as legacy commits Kevin Olsen, a quarterback out of Wayne, N.J., and the brother of former UM TE Greg Olsen, and Lake Mary Prep ATH Ray Lewis III, son of former Hurricanes, current Baltimore Raven and sure-thing Pro Football Hall of Famer Ray Lewis II.
Miami-area DBs Artie Burns (6-1, 180) of Northwestern High and Jamal Carter (6-2, 193) of Southridge have also shown their lack of concern over the pending NCAA sanctions by committing to the hometown 'Canes. UM is ranted No. 36 by 247Sports, just ahead of USF at 39.
USF has a leg up on UCF in the 247Sports.com rankings 39 to 55, with the Bulls big catch of the recruiting season so far being Winter Park QB Asiantii Woulard (6-3, 205). DeLand RB JoJo Kemp (5-10, 189) is also a nice pick-up for the Bulls. The only Big East team ahead of USF is Pitt at 37.
Numbers will be low this year at UCF as the Knights deal with NCAA penalties, but UCF has had its own Tampa coup this summer in landing East Lake QB Pete Dinovo, Tampa Bay Tech WR Richard Benjamin, St. Pete Lakewood’s DB Griffin twins — Shaquem and Shaquil — and Bradenton Manatee LB Blake Keller.
UCF, with 12 commits now, could use a few more corners, a defensive tackle and another receiver, but the NCAA scholarship reductions will have UCF narrowing its focus to the best available athletes from this point.
The state’s other Division I-A schools FAU and FIU are traditionally slow starters, but FIU has 13 commits and is ranked No. 66. FAU has just three pledges under new coach Carl Pelini, so the Owls better get rolling.
FIU’s big catch so far was Saturday’s commitment from Fort Lauderdale Boyd Anderson OT Sandley Jean-Felix (6-5, 290). The Panthers also have solid defensive secondary cast for the 2013 class in S Simeon Thomas (6-3, 173) of Miami Gardens Carol City, CB Troy McCollum (6-0, 170) of Miami North, and S Xavier Hines (6-0, 175) of Miam Belen Jesuit.
Chris Hays is the Sentinel's recruiting coverage coordinator and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow us on Twitter at @Os_Recruiting and Facebook at Orlando Sentinel Recruiting and now on Pinterest at Orlando Recruiting.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times