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February 17, 2014
10 Top Targets: Instate
Each year, Inside the Gators kicks off the next year's recruiting class by taking a look at the top targets both in and out of the state of Florida. With the Class of 2014 in the books, Florida is turning its attention toward next year's recruiting cycle by hosting yet another Junior Day this coming weekend. With that in mind, it's time to look at ten top instate prospects who will most likely be some of Florida's most prominent targets in 2015.
Unlike last year, the Class of 2015 is strong in areas where Florida traditionally recruits well - and the state as a whole is loaded. These following 10 prospects will definitely be among the Gators top instate targets.
Note: The below list is the opinion of ITG and not the coaching staff of the University of Florida. The prospects are listed alphabetically and are not the top 10 targets, but rather 10 targets worth keeping an eye on from instate.
Inside the Gators: 10 Top Instate Targets
6'6, 300-LB MONTVERDE (FLA) ACADEMY OFFENSIVE TACKLE ABDUL BELLO
Why He Is Included: Bello is still very raw, but his frame and athleticism pushes his upside through the roof. Bello has been impressive given his limited exposure to the game of football, but is starting to put things together. Florida has gotten involved early with Bello and have set themselves up to be a school firmly in the mix and would be a big addition to their offensive line.
Schools Involved: Florida and Florida State
The Skinny: This Nigeria native is new to the game of football, but because of his upside the Gators have him on their radar early on. Tennessee, FSU, and Missouri also have offered early on, so don't expect Bello to fly under the radar much longer. He visited Gainesville a few weekends ago for one of the Gators Junior Days and also will visit FSU this weekend for a Junior Day.
6'3, 183-LB TARPON SPRINGS (FLA) EAST LAKE WIDE OUT GEORGE CAMPBELL
Why He Is Included: Florida has not landed an elite receiver from inside the state's borders in the last several recruiting cycles. This is their chance. Campbell has elite speed and might be one of the fastest players in the entire nation for 2015 and could potentially be the playmaker UF's offense that has been lacking over the last few seasons.
Schools Involved: Clemson, Florida, and Michigan
The Skinny: Since backing off his early commitment to Michigan, Campbell has hit the restart button, going back to the beginning and taking the recruiting process more slowly this time around. He visited Florida recently for a Junior Day and is high on the instate Gators. It doesn't look like Campbell has any intention of ending his recruiting process anytime soon, but UF will likely be in it till the very end. The one concern UF should have is how long Campbell intends to stretch out his recruitment. The longer he holds out the more time other schools have to chip away at the Gators' (unstated) lead.
6'3, 248-LB SEFFNER (FLA) ARMWOOD DEFENSIVE END BYRON COWART
Why He Is Included: Florida is going to need to land an elite BUCK linebacker/defensive end this recruiting cycle and Cowart is the guy at the top of their wish list. Cowart plays for a high school that has been good to the Gators in the past and UF hopes to have their success continue with this five-star pass rusher.
Schools Involved: Auburn, Florida, Oregon, and Vanderbilt
The Skinny: The Gators were the stated leader early on from this admitted Florida fan. However, after a dismal 2013 season, Auburn and Oregon are two teams also in the conversation. Brad Lawing and Will Muschamp have a good bond with Cowart and have done a good job early on. There are serious doubts that Cowart leaves the state of Florida. He is looking to hold off committing until the Under Armour Bowl next year so the Gators will have to hold off other schools until next January.
6'6, 280-LB TAMPA (FLA) PLANT OFFENSIVE TACKLE JAKE FRUHMORGEN
Why He Is Included: Though Florida hasn't had much success at Plant in recent years, they are hoping to have their luck change this cycle when it comes to Fruhmorgen. The Gators are always in need for an elite offensive lineman and have this four-star on their radar early on. Fruhmorgen comes from a good bloodline, as his father played offensive line for the Miami Dolphins.
Schools Involved: Alabama, Clemson, Florida, Notre Dame, and Tennessee
The Skinny: The Florida staff has hosted Fruhmorgen for a few games last season and are team high in his list early on. Out of state schools are starting to get involved so Florida will need to keep their name in the mix and continue to host him on campus for visits.
6'4, 195-LB PLANTATION (FLA) AMERICAN HERITAGE ATHLETE TORRANCE GIBSON
Why He Is Included: This four-star is one of the best athletes in the state of Florida. The Gators are looking to use Gibson at quarterback, which would fit his skill set given the Gators are moving to a wide open spread offense under Kurt Roper.
Schools Involved: Clemson, Florida, LSU, Miami, Notre Dame, Ohio State, and Tennessee
The Skinny: Gibson has been told that he is Florida's No. 1 target on their quarterback board for the 2015 recruiting cycle. The UF coaching staff is still new to recruiting this south Florida signal caller, but has increased their efforts in the last month. The next step will be getting Gibson in Gainesville for a visit to campus. The Buckeyes seem to be the team sticking out early on, though he hasn't openly named any leaders.
6'2, 226-LB JACKSONVILLE (FLA) TRINITY CHRISTIAN LINEBACKER JEFFERY HOLLAND
Why He Is Included: After striking out entirely in this past recruiting cycle, the linebacker position is going to be a big need this time around, and Holland is sitting at the top of the Florida board. When on the field Holland moves from sideline to sideline and plays with the kind of attitude the UF coaches want on their squad.
Schools Involved: Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Ohio State, and UCLA
The Skinny: The Florida coaches are hoping that the Trinity Christian pipeline they have been working on will help their cause, but Holland is expected to take his recruitment the distance. Holland has taken many visits to UF in the past and has them high on his list, but Auburn is another school high on Holland's list as well.
6'5, 271-LB APOPKA (FLA) OFFENSIVE TACKLE MARTEZ IVEY
Why He Is Included: Ivey just might be the best overall player in the state in the Class of 2015 class and plays on one of the best high school teams in the state to boot. The four-star big man has the size and strength to earn his way into the rotation as a true freshman on just about any college program in America.
Schools Involved: Alabama, Florida, and Nebraska
The Skinny: Florida is sitting pretty early on for Ivey and likely are the team way out in-front at this time. Ivey has made numerous visits to Gainesville in the past and hasn't really even put a lot of thought into his recruiting process at all. Ivey mentioned wanting to take official visits down the road in his latest interview with Rivals.com so it doesn't look like a decision will come anytime soon.
6'3, 260-LB GLEN ST. MARY (FLA) BAKER CO. DEFENSIVE LINEMAN CECE JEFFERSON
Why He Is Included: Jefferson is an elite pass rusher and has been getting attention from college coaches since his freshman year. Jefferson has a mean streak when he steps on the field and has a nose for the football. Expect this Rivals100 member to continue to be viewed as one of the top high school players in the nation.
Schools Involved: Alabama, Florida, and Florida State
The Skinny: Jefferson grew up a big fan of the Gators and has taken countless trips to Gainesville over the last few years. Jefferson last visited UF a few weekends ago, but also is high on Florida State and Alabama as well. Jefferson doesn't look like he is planning to end his recruiting process anytime soon, but expect the Gators to be a finalist when that day does come.
6'3, 190-LB PLANTATION (FLA) AMERICAN HERITAGE CORNERBACK TARVARUS McFADDEN
Why He Is Included: McFadden has the size of an outside linebacker or safety, but the speed of a cornerback capable of keeping up with the fastest receiver on the opposing team. The Florida staff is known for liking bigger cornerbacks and has a defense that fits McFadden's strengths. The Gators had a nice haul at cornerback in the 2014 recruiting class, and need elite names like McFadden to add to their arsenal.
Schools Involved: Florida, Florida State, Georgia, LSU, Notre Dame, and Tennessee
The Skinny: Florida is one of the latest schools to offer this five-star defensive back, and he said it was an offer he had been waiting on. He has plans to check out Gainesville sometime soon and is starting to build a relationship with south Florida recruiter Travaris Robinson.
6'2, 225-LB ORLANDO (FLA) TIMBER CREEK RUNNING BACK JACQUES PATRICK
Why He Is Included: Patrick is the bigger running back, a downhill, between the tackles type, who Florida missed out on in this past cycle. The Gators are moving to a spread offense, but would love to use Patrick as a bruiser in between the tackles. Not only can Patrick be effective running the ball, but he also has soft hands and is a weapon catching the ball out of the backfield.
Schools Involved: Alabama, Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Miami, Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Tennessee, and USC
The Skinny: The Gators offered Patrick back when he was a freshman and have always been a school high on his list. Patrick currently has a top 10 schools, so he still will need to break things down little by little. Patrick visits Gainesville frequently so their chances are looking very good currently. It will be interesting to see if Patrick leaves the state in the end, but if any one school had a shot to pluck him away it would be Ohio State.