GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Florida’s 2017 class had some movement this week at the running back position.
The state’s top prospect, Clearwater’s Adarius Lemons, decommitted from the Gators following his second suspension from school.
Lemons vowed to get his act — and his grades — together in the coming months, and many fans have asked me if he could end up back in this class.
That is still to be determined. The ACT test and qualifying academically is not the only concern with Lemons. With two suspensions this year, he obviously has some issues off the field and I know Florida is trying to help him address those.
If he shows significant progress in that area and also makes the necessary grades, I think the UF staff would consider taking Lemons. But that’s a lot of if’s.
Here are the top five questions from this week:
Because there’s many backs, if you were to see one of them leaving, which would it be?
(@__Gators, @JJFamilyman, @MarQuel810)
This seems somewhat inevitable with all four scholarship backs returning next year, another one coming in (new commit Malik Davis) and 5-star recruit Lorenzo Lingard lurking for 2018.
The obvious candidate to me would be Jordan Cronkrite. He’s been the least productive of the four this season, though he was slowed by an injury against Missouri.
But Jordan Scarlett and Lamical Perine, in my opinion, are the best of the bunch and Mark Thompson is a bruising, physical runner who can wear out defenses in the second half after Scarlett and Perine have done their damage.
And to Cronkrite’s credit, he’s too talented to be the outlier in a four-man rotation. But with the Gators going with a running back by committee, there was bound to be an odd man out.
Where does Florida stand with Xavier McKinney?
The Gators are in the running for McKinney, a 4-star safety from Roswell, Ga.
The former Alabama pledge decommitted from the Crimson Tide on July 14 and his recruitment has picked up since then. He received a new offer from Ohio State and has visited Auburn and Clemson, his presumed favorite.
But UF has been in the mix for a while and McKinney plans to officially visit the school. Defensive line coach Chris Rumph went to see him on the first day of Florida’s bye last week.
That being said, I think the Gators’ chances are better with Devon Hunter, a 4-star safety from Chesapeake, Va. He could visit UF twice before his decision and thinks highly of the secondary.
“It’s amazing how those guys are playing,” Hunter said last week. “I’ve been watching them and they’re aggressive. They’re just making plays out there and getting turnovers. That’s why they call Florida ‘DBU.’ Coach (Torrian) Gray has those guys putting on a show. I love it a lot.”
With the play of Teez Tabor and Quincy Wilson, do you think 5-star Shaun Wade would potentially flip to UF?
This is a great question. When you hear about Tabor and Wilson as it relates to recruiting, the conversation is always about them leaving early and prospects having a chance to play early.
While that’s certainly a selling point for the staff, it’s not the only appealing aspect of Florida’s secondary. The performances by Tabor and Wilson are also attractive to recruits (see Hunter).
They see these two corners playing extremely well, and guys like Wade want to reach that level in college. Wade is well aware that Florida’s system is tailored toward defensive backs and he’ll receive the best coaching money can buy.
“They play a lot of nickel and there’s a fifth defensive back on the field at all times. So that’s big,” Wade said last month. “They’re thin on cornerbacks. That means I can get on the field right away if I work hard and do what I got to do.”
UF coach Jim McElwain is still trying to flip Wade from Ohio State and attended his game last Friday in Jacksonville, Fla. The Gators have a great shot following his most recent visit, but Alabama and Notre Dame are also threatening the Buckeyes.
What are the chances we land enough 4- and 5-star recruits and finish with a consensus top 10 class?
It’s certainly doable for Florida. The Gators currently have the nation’s No. 16 class following Lemons’ departure and a team score of 211.79 in the 247Sports Composite, an industry-generated ranking.
Looking at previous recruiting classes, the major number for finishing in the top 10 seems to be 271.
For UF to hit that mark, it would need to add Hunter, 4-star cornerbacks Brad Stewart and C.J. Henderson, 4-star linebacker Rahyme Johnson, 4-star defensive end Jarez Parks, 4-star offensive tackles Navaughn Donaldson (Miami commit) and Kai-Leon Herbert (Michigan commit) and 3-star defensive tackle Tyrone Truesdell.
I think the Gators are capable of landing all those recruits, and according to the 247Sports class calculator, that would put them at 266.48 points. Add to that one more top receiver — whether it be Donovan Peoples-Jones, Henry Ruggs or James Robinson — and they would exceed 271.
Now I don’t know if that would result in a consensus top-10 class, but it’d be a damn good finish.
One recruit mentioned that Florida was breaking ground on its new football facility in January. Is that true?
(From @bchristopher91, @GatorsVino)
That’s the plan. The stand-alone football complex is part of a $100 million facilities initiative announced by the University Athletic Association on Sept. 16.
The school will be finished with its current facility upgrades by the end of this year and then begin on the next project. There hasn’t been a target date given for completion of the football complex, but the ball will get rolling in January.
And the recruit you mentioned is 4-star linebacker Anthony Hines, who officially visited Florida for the Missouri game.