As Jim McElwain tries to rebuild Florida football into a championship program, one of his mottos is “recruit daily or die.” Join us here on SEC Country for a daily recap of the latest Florida recruiting news, tales from the trail and perspective on what it all means for the Gators.
Top 5 from Friday Night Lights
1. CB Joe Haden (2006): Haden helped turn Friday Night Lights into the biggest summer recruiting event in the country. After 5-star quarterback Tim Tebow attended the inaugural camp in 2005, Florida attracted Haden the following year along with another 5-star QB — Cam Newton. All three would become Gators, but Haden — the nation’s No. 3 athlete according to Rivals.com — was the first big-name recruit to verbally commit at Friday Night Lights. After a three-year UF career highlighted by a 2008 national title and unanimous first-team All-American honors in 2009, Haden was the No. 7 overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft and has been one of the league’s best cornerbacks in his seven years with the Cleveland Browns.
2. CB Vernon Hargreaves III (2012): That’s right, Friday Night Lights coincided with commitments from two of the greatest cornerbacks in school history. Hargreaves couldn’t attend because of Gridiron Kings, so his pledge went public the night before the camp. The monumental moment gave UF the buzz it needed. The event produced five commitments in four days, including the nation’s No. 1 cornerback in Hargreaves. He earned first-team All-American honors as a sophomore and junior before the Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected him with the No. 11 overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. Hargreaves played in all 16 games as a rookie, recording 76 tackles, an interception and 9 pass breakups.
3. RB Mack Brown (2009): One knock on former Florida coach Urban Mayer was his inability to land a big-time tailback at UF, but he came through in the Class of 2010 with Brown. ESPN ranked him as the nation’s No. 4 running back. Brown committed at Friday Night Lights in 2009, an event was also attended by the nation’s No. 1 overall prospect (Ronald Powell) and propelled Florida’s class to the No. 1 ranking. Brown is entering his second year with the Washington Redskins.
4. RB Adarius Lemons (2016): The Gators spent months trying to land the No. 1-ranked running back in the state of Florida and it finally paid off at Friday Night Lights. Lemons not only visited for the camp, but suited up and worked out with the coaches. Afterward, Lemons made the decision to flip from North Carolina to Florida and went public with his commitment the following day. He later backed off that pledge, but rejoined the class on National Signing Day and enrolled at UF last month.
4-star RB Adarius Lemons working with Tim Skipper. https://t.co/PUBhgeO15m
— Zach Abolverdi (@ZachAbolverdi) July 22, 2016
5. WR Daquon Green (2015): Green first attended the event as a rising junior. The pressure was on first-year coach Jim McElwain to make some noise at Friday Night Lights after the event yielded zero commits the previous summer. McElwain and his staff not only landed three pledges that night, including Green, but a handful of 5-star recruits and several future Gators turned out for the camp. Green went on to become an Under Armour All-American and a key member of Florida’s top-10 class.
Honorable mention: CB Loucheiz Purifoy (2010), DE Jordan Sherit (2012), K Caleb Sturgis (2007), P Chas Henry (2006)
Miss a previous Gator Chomps notebook? Find every daily recap of Florida Gators recruiting right here.