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May 26, 2007

Insider Blog: Ranking the instate prospects



During spring practice InsidetheGators.net unveiled a new feature - a blog updated periodically by members of the staff. Included will be tidbits, rants, raves, opinions, etc… on the athletic programs at the University of Florida as well as recruiting and sports in general.

This Blog will be updated continuously throughout the week. Make sure to hold the shift key when you hit the refresh button in order to see the latest additions.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

2:02 p.m.Taking a Closer Look at Jacksonville

As has been discussed several times already, the Jacksonville area is down somewhat talent wise this year with only a couple of prospects who have been extended offers by the University of Florida.

Before the release of the Rivals100 on Tuesday, I thought I would give my two cents worth on my top prospects instate, starting with northeast Florida.

Fortunately, unlike when I give my thoughts on the prospects in the entire state, I have been able to see each of the prospects below in person. However, I'm not just going to base the ranking on my own evaluations, but rather take into consideration those whose jobs depend on getting the best players to their schools – college coaches.

Therefore scholarship offers (those that I believed) did play a part in the final list.

1. Nigel Carr – To the top with a bullet, and actually it isn't even close. I have been equally impressed seeing him both practice and play. He's already thick, but looks as though he can get to the 240-lb range and still maintain his speed and quickness. Athletic enough at his size to be able to cover backs out of the backfield down the field. I would have liked to of seen him at a NIKE Combine to get a legitimate forty time on him. By far the top player in the area, and the only one who should be guaranteed inclusion on next week's Rivals100. (Gator offer, FSU commitment)

2. Jamie Harper – Just a good all around player from one of the area's top programs year in and year out. I had always thought of him as strictly a running back (and that is the position he wants to play), and was a bit perplexed about the talk of him being a linebacker on the next level. I had seen in action as a junior on both sides of the ball, but until the Tallahassee NIKE Camp, I had never seen him without pads on, and after seeing his frame, I can see where he might recruited on that side of the ball as a outside linebacker type. Though I still think he'll be toting the ball in college. Could be included in the Rivals100, but looks more likely to be a Rivals250 member at the moment. (Gator offer to an admitted Seminole fan)

3. Alfred Jenkins – A week ago, in the spring jamboree notebook, I mentioned that the only question mark concerning Jenkins was his speed. That question was of course answered when he took a screen pass for a 40-yard touchdown against an athletic Raines defense. Not only did weave his way around a couple of potential tacklers near the line, he showed incredible burst when he got to the second level and was gone. Still haven't seen enough of him running routes, but for now I would say he should be pegged as a four-star Rivals250 type. (Claims a Gator verbal offer)

4. Jermaine Thomas – After seeing him two weeks ago, I thought he showed great hands and might be better suited as a receiver. Then after seeing him in his spring jamboree, I'm as convinced of that as ever. He wasn't able to do anything on the ground – especially between the tackles – at practice, but I credited that to an attacking First Coast defense. However, then in two quarters during the jamboree, his only play (which was a nice run where he showed some burst when he got to the edge) came on a sweep off the left side. He is as athletic as anyone in the area. I would say another top fifty kid instate, high three-stars at least, maybe even four-stars. (No Gator offer)

5. Patrick Nixon – When I went to Ed White last year to get pictures and tape on running back Eric Baker, it was Nixon that Commander coach Terry Gilliam was talking up big time. He raved about his speed, but then when Nixon didn't make it down to the Gainesville NIKE Camp that year, he sort of fell off my radar. Now that he has been reclassified to the class of 2008, he has a chance to make some noise. He is legitimately in the 5'11 range with very good top end speed. He's claiming some big offers, we'll see how that pans out. (Claims a Gator offer)

6. Xavier Brewer – If I'm the one offering scholarships to the players in the area, Jenkins, at No. 3 above, is the Mendoza Line at the moment. I know Brewer claims as impressive of an offer list as any player in the southeast, but after seeing him in a game and at the Tallahassee NIKE Camp, I'm not sure he's even four-star worthy. He certainly looks the part in drills, but then when he has to go one-on-one, he loses a little bit of his luster. I would say he is more along the lines of a borderline top fifty type instate, high three-stars to start. If I'm Florida, I want to see how he progresses this summer and into next fall. (Claims a Gator offer)

7. Kyle Parker – He's one of those guys that when you see him at a combine (as I did at the Tallahassee NIKE), every single flaw he has is magnified tenfold. He's not that tall, he has a good but not great arm, he's athletic, but there are definitely more athletic kids out there at the position. Then you see him in uniform, actually playing the game and you wonder if it's the same person. In uniform, in Bartram Trail's offense, he looks the part. Some of that may be because of the offense he plays in allows him to highlight his stronger points, but the good news for Clemson fans is that they run a similar offense up in the Palmetto State. (No Gator offer)

Notes: I haven't had a chance to see Englewood offensive lineman Elmedin Gojcik this spring. I saw him last year against Forrest and he looked the part. He's got the height and carries enough weight. We'll have to see him this year on the field again and then see who is actually after him. ... I'm not as convinced as some others on Avis Commack. He's got size for sure, but does he have the rest of the package? Two years ago as a sophomore he looked like he would be a top player, but I don't know if I would put him in that category yet. The Buccaneers ask him to do one of two things, bubble screens or fade patterns. During the jamboree, the screen he caught, he was dropped for a loss, and on the fade's, he wasn't able to get separation (against either team they faced). ... One player who we haven't heard from but is worth keeping an eye on is Andrew Jackson running back Antonio Lenton. He's a between the tackles type i

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