Florida had a down season on the field, but that hasn't prevented the Gators from putting together a strong 2014 recruiting class. The Gators have a group that ranks among the top 10 nationally, per the 247Sports composite, and sixth within the SEC.
Florida has commitments from 21 players, including one consensus five-star prospect and seven four-star players.
Updates, Feb. 5: Florida keeps four-star receiver J.C. Jackson from flipping to Florida State or Miami and adds three-star receiver C.J. Worton, a former FSU commit. The Gators also flipped four-star quarterback Treon Harris from the Noles.
Biggest potential additions still to go.
Nine members of the class enrolled for the spring semester, allowing them to participate in spring drills with the team and get a head start on their development. The most notable of the bunch is cornerback Jalen Tabor, who is the top-rated player in the Gators' class. The 6'1, 182-pounder out of Friendship Academy in Washington, D.C., is considered a top-20 overall prospect and the No. 4 prospect at his position. SB Nation recruiting analyst Bud Elliott had this to say about him in May:
Tabor is a press corner. He uses his length and strength to press receivers at the line of scrimmage, disrupt and re-route them. Tabor should immediately be able to play press man coverage in college.
Some other parts of his game, however, do need work. Tabor does not profile as a cornerback who is set up to excel in off-man coverage. His hips are good for his size, but not great overall. And his top-end speed is nothing special.
Tabor can be an excellent pass defender if asked to press or play in short zones, but he does need help over the top. He contests balls very well, and should be a great asset in the red zone, with his height, length, strength and leaping ability.
Davidson Day (N.C.) quarterback Will Grier might be the Gators' signal-caller of the future, and he's also getting a head start. The consensus four-star player is regarded as the second-best pro-style QB in the 2014 class and a top-50 player overall.
Signing day highlights
The portion of Florida's class that the Gators hope to land on National Signing Day includes an impressive group of talent up front on both sides of the ball. Among them is four-star defensive tackle Gerald Willis, who the Gators plucked out of LSU's back yard. Willis is the No. 2 defensive tackle in the nation and the No. 34 overall prospect. He opted to go to UF over offers from Alabama, LSU, Texas A&M, Florida State, Texas, USC and many more.
He'll be joined by Brooklyn (N.Y.) Abraham Lincoln High School defensive tackle Thomas Holley, a recent flip from Penn State. Holley is also regarded as a consensus four-star recruit and a top-five player at his position. He's ranked 77th overall, and had plenty of other options, including Ohio State, Penn State, Alabama, Baylor, Florida State, Notre Dame and Clemson.
On the other side, there's offensive tackle David Sharpe from Neptune Beach (Fla.) Duncan U. Fletcher High School. The talented 318-pounder is a consensus four-star prospect and a top-10 player at his position. He chose the Gators over the likes of Tennessee, Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Florida State, Georgia, South Carolina and USC.
Line prospects like those three represent a significant portion of Florida's class — the Gators are bringing in a total of 10 offensive and defensive linemen, five on each side of the ball. And given the numbers, it's clear that both offensive and defensive tackle were priorities for Florida's staff; they addressed those needs with some impressive talent.
The Gators are still pursuing several top recruits.
Five-star offensive lineman Damian Price remains a top target. The 6'5, 295-lb. tackle from Bishop McNamara High in District Heights, Md. has 36 reported scholarship offers. Florida likely has to hold off the in-state Maryland Terrapins to get his signature. Florida got the last word, with an official visit on the final weekend of the recruiting period.
Florida also likes its chances of landing five-star defensive end Lorenzo Carter. The 6'5, 232-lb. pass rusher out of Norcross (Ga.) High School has said he is down to four programs: Georgia, Florida, Florida State, and LSU. Georgia hosted Carter on the final weekend of January, and the home state Bulldogs might have a slight edge entering Signing Day. Carter is the top player in the Peach State and second-ranked weakside defensive end recruit nationally.
Florida is also strongly in the mix for five-star athlete Adoree' Jackson, out of Gardena (Calif.) Junipero Serra High School. He could play receiver or corner for Florida, and is very high on the Gators as well as LSU and USC.
Finally, Florida is trying to flip Treon Harris, a four-star athlete/quarterback committed to FSU out of Miami (Fla.) Booker T. Washington. FSU is trying to hold on to Harris, while Auburn and Miami also try to flip his commitment.