GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The Florida Gators picked up their pursuit of James Robinson in December, and it’s a good thing they did.
UF is now considered the favorite to land the 4-star wide receiver from Lakeland, Fla., even though he claims no leader at this time.
While the Gators are trending for Robinson, they’ve fallen out of the mix with other targets at the position.
Donovan Peoples-Jones, a 5-star receiver from Detroit, committed to Michigan on Dec. 15. UF also appears to be fading with 4-star wideout Henry Ruggs from Montgomery, Ala.
The U.S. Army All-American told SEC Country this week that Alabama and Florida State are his two leaders.
“Probably out of my top five, those two are my favorite,” Ruggs said. “But I don’t have a leader.”
Auburn, Florida and Penn State are the other finalists for Ruggs. However, none of those schools are in line to receive an official visit from him yet.
“I know for a fact I’ll be at Florida State (Jan. 13) and Alabama (Jan. 20),” Ruggs said. “I’ll try to my best to get where I can (for Jan. 27).”
The 6-foot, 175-pound speedster is considering a trip to UF for that last weekend. He received an in-home visit from Gators receivers coach Kerry Dixon II last month, but hasn’t visited Florida since March.
“I’ve been down there and enjoyed it,” Ruggs said. “I’m still trying to figure out if I’m going officially.”
Great Home Visit With UF Tonight? pic.twitter.com/rMWcJ0CZiu
— H.J.R III™ (@__RUGGS) December 5, 2016
Ruggs explained why the Crimson Tide and Seminoles have separated themselves in his recruitment.
“They’re the ones I’m in the most contact with,” Ruggs said. “Florida State is an ACC school, so it’s a different look. The offense is more of a passing attack, so it’s kind of eye-opening for me. I have more connection with the Alabama staff because I talk to more coaches (there). They’re pretty much selling, ‘Stay at home, you know how big it is for guys to stay in state.’ ”
West Virginia WR commit shuts down recruitment
Mike Harley has been on Florida’s radar since the summer after his dominant performance at Friday Night Lights.
However, he was committed to West Virginia at the time and the Gators decided not to offer the 5-foot-9, 155-pound receiver from Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
But after a productive senior season and his showing in the Class 7A state championship game (133 receiving yards, 3 touchdowns), Dixon and Jim McElwain reached out to Harley.
“After my state game, the receivers coach and head coach hit me up a couple times,” Harley told SEC Country.
They wanted to host Harley on an official visit, and he set one up for Jan. 27. But in late December, he shut down his recruitment and also cancelled his Jan. 13 trip to Miami.
“I’m just perfectly fit with West Virginia,” Harley said. “I got a great quarterback coming in for two years (Will Grier) and I just didn’t want to go outside of that.”
Harley’s current quarterback is Florida commit Jake Allen. Despite his efforts, Allen couldn’t convince his St. Thomas Aquinas teammate to join him at UF.
“Jake was on my butt throughout the whole month, but I shut it down,” Harley said. “He was kind of mad, but he understood it was better fit for me.”