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Another talented class for the Gators; Who might play next season?

Florida signed 22...

GAINESVILLE -- Florida lost two commitments today but it did little to impact the overall success of the Gators' class of 2008. Florida signed 22 players on Wednesday, including a remarkable 12 from out-of-state.

New Jersey safety Will Hill, Seffner Armwood Matt Patchan, Georgia defensive tackle Omar Hunter and Alabama defensive end William Green headlined this year's haul. This is the Gators' third recruiting class in a row considered among the nation's best. Recruiting websites placed Florida's class of 2008 among the Top 10-rated classes.

I'm no recruiting guru, but I imagine all classes in the Top 25 are overflowing with talent. The chore for college coaches is finding good athletes who won't fail out, get arrested (for a felony), become lazy, etc.

Factoring potential alone, this is another great class for the Gators. Of course, if anyone watched the Gators' defense last season then you know either those rankings are flawed or Florida's defensive coaches aren't getting the job done in practice. Defense (the line and secondary) is where Florida needs some help and Florida hopes it found some immediate answers with the latest crop of future Gators. Here's a breakdown of some commitments who might be able to offer immediate help next season...

HillWILL HILL, Jersey City (N.J.) St. Peter's Prep
Projected position: free safety 
Vitals: 6-3, 205 pounds
Speed: 4.4 seconds in the 40-yard dash
Odds at playing time: 2-to-1; At the very least, Hill can play nickel as a freshman.
The recruiting insider: Goodbye Kyle Jackson and hello Will Hill. The Gators hope Hill will (LOL!) be the next Reggie Nelson. Hill is hoping the same thing. Florida broke out the Reggie Nelson highlight tape during the recruiting process and Hill liked what he saw. Just me, but I'm always skeptical of high school players from the same neck of the woods as Bon Jovi. Just kidding, of course. Hill played quarterback and defensive back in high school but realized early that his best shot at NFL millions is as a defender.
Random observation: A serious-minded kid in the vein of Major Wright.
Odds at starting: 5-to-1; Hill might be the DB du jour but don't forget about Major Wright, Dorian Munroe and Jamar "doghouse" Hornsby.

CarlmooreCARL MOORE, Sierra (Cali.) Community College
Projected position: receiver
Vitals: 6-4, 220 pounds
Speed: 4.5 seconds in the 40-yard dash
Odds at playing time: 2-to-1; Florida coach Urban Meyer can't wait to draw up plays for this junior college transfer.
The recruiting insider: This is the receiver with the gymnast girlfriend. If ever there was a package deal at Florida it was when the football team offered Moore a scholarship and -- Wow! What an amazing love story. -- the gymnastics team offered his girlfriend a scholarship. Moore has already enrolled at Florida and signed his National Letter of Intent. The girl is already flip'n here, too.
Random observation: His girlfriend is hot.
Odds at starting: 10-1; Sure, he's really good but that doesn't mean he's good enough to come in and start for what is probably the most talented offense in the country. Who's going to get bumped: Percy "Heisman" Harvin, Louis "He's invested" Murphy or Cornelius "I came back" Ingram?

Hunter_omar_200x255OMAR HUNTER, Buford (Ga.) High
Projected position: defensive tackle
Vitals: 6-0, 320 pounds
Speed: 4.7 seconds in the 40-yard dash
Odds at playing time: 6-to-1; As good as everyone says this kid is, he's seems pretty undersized to come in and contribute as a freshman.
Recruiting insider: They used to call Jevon Kearse "The Freak" ... wait until you see Kid Hunter. At least with Kearse, the physiology matched the athleticism. Sure, Kearse did some amazing things, but his body was just as "freakish" as his ability. With Hunter, Florida is a getting a true freak. His body resembles a frozen turkey yet he can apparently dunk a basketball and run fast. How does Florida find these people?
Random observation: Looks so unhappy in all of his pictures.   
Odds at starting: 12-to-1; Something went wrong if Hunter has to start a game next season. Florida returns defensive tackles Javier Estopinan, Torrey Davis, John Brown, Terron Sanders, Mike Pouncey (presuming he remains on defense) and some other guy whose name I forget and now I have to look it up ... Justin Trattou (Bon Jovi syndrome, all apologies).

BealBRENDAN BEAL, Bethlehem (Penn.) Liberty
Projected position: middle linebacker
Vitals: 6-4, 235 pounds
Speed: 4.5 seconds in the 40-yard dash
Odds at playing time: 6-to-1; Special teams superstar
Recruiting insider: Another New Jersey boy, Beal transferred to Bethlehem (Penn.) Liberty his senior season. By all accounts, Beal is a punisher on the football field and could rival Major Wright as the team's hardest hitter next season. Beal graduated high school with honors and is already enrolled at Florida. He's taking 18 credit hours this semester and plans on majoring in finance. His father played linebacker at Boston College.
Random observation: Was this guy in Rocky III?
Odds at starting: 12-to-1; Florida is already pretty deep at linebacker. Beal will wait his turn until Brandon Spikes turns pro after next season.

FinleyDEE FINLEY, Auburn (Ala.) High
Projected position: safety
Vitals: 6-3, 210 pounds
Speed: 4.5 seconds in the 40-yard dash
Odds at playing time: 2-to-1; Another special teams nightmare?
Recruiting insider: When Will Hill committed to Florida, everyone assumed Finley would de-commit and and side with Auburn. It didn't happen. Finley was one of Florida's first commitments and he never waivered. He had 14 interceptions his junior and senior seasons. Hill is the No.1 rated safety in the nation and Finley is No.2, according to some recruiting rankings.
Random observations: Forget the rankings, Finley might be the best player of this class by the end of fall practice.
Odds at starting: 5-to-1; Florida's coaching staff is excited about Finley's arrival. He'll get his shot but will likely have to earn his way on the field through special teams. It could happen sooner than later.

EppsTROY EPPS, Coffeyville (Kn.) Community College
Projected position: defensive tackle
Vitals: 6-1, 280 pounds
Speed: 5.8 seconds in the 40-yard dash
Odds at playing time: 4-to-1; Florida isn't bringing in Epps to sit the bench
Recruiting insider: Epps played at the same junior college that helped produce former Gators safety Reggie Nelson. Florida's coaching staff felt like it needed immediate help along the defensive line, so it went after a few junior college defensive tackles during the recruiting process. Epps qualified and now he's in Gainesville. He has already signed his Nationl Letter of Intent and is enrolled at Florida. Epps had 17 tackles behind the line for Coffeyville last season, including 9 1/2 sacks.
Random observations: Are you related to Omar Epps? He's, like, one of my favorite actors.
Odds at starting: 4-to-1; Florida needs a spark at defensive tackle. If Javier Estopinan isn't healthy -- he tore his ACL against Georgia), then Epps could play a major defensive role next season.

Projected position: cornerback
Vitals: 5-11, 180 pounds
Speed: 4.4 seconds in the 40-yard dash
Odds at playing time: 6-to-1; Might be a redshirt candidate but if Florida's cornerbacks don't improve Finley could get a look.
Recruiting insider: Jenkins is a powerful cornerback. He committed to Florida over LSU, Miami, Auburn and Clemson, among others. The Muck is a pipeline to Florida and Jenkins' commitment helps continue that tradition.
Random observations: The Sixers (click on the picture)? Janoris, you gotta be kidding.
Odds at starting: 10-to-1; A strong spring could boost Jenkins' chances further. He's already enrolled.

Samrobey3_9200SAM ROBEY, Louisville (Ky.) Trinity
Projected position: center
Vitals: 6-4, 255 pounds
Speed: He's a center.
Odds at playing time: 4-to-1; Why are the odds so high for Robey to play next season? Name another true center on the Gators' roster.
Recruiting insider: Robey is probably the guy you've never heard of among Florida's class of 2008. Don't let the lack of a Internet hype fool you, however, Robey is a talented football player and comes from an athletic family. His father, Rick Robey, was an All-American basketball player at Kentucky. Robey was torn between Louisville and Kentucky, so he took the easy road out when the Gators offered him a scholarship in December. Had Arkansas coach Bobby Petrino remained at Louisville one more year, then Robey would likely be signing with the Cardinals or Razorbacks today. Robey is best friends with Petrinos' sons.
Random observations: How did this kid get away from the Wildcats? Sounds a little like our next recruit on the list.
Odds at starting: 6-to-1; If Mike Pouncey remains at defensive tackle, then Robey's odds improve slightly. Oh, and I hope you've been practicing your long snap, kiddo.

PatchanMATT PATCHAN, Seffner Armwood
Projected position: offensive tackle
Vitals: 6-7, 265 pounds
Speed: Fast enough to play on the defensive line
Odds at playing time? 6-to-1; Patchan's presence should make the returning offensive line work a little harder to keep their jobs.
Recruiting insider: Where to begin? Florida outworked Miami for this talented offensive lineman. Patchan's father and uncle played for the Hurricanes but the latest Patchan is already enrolled at Florida and eating as much food as possible. Patchan, by the way, is somewhat of a health nut. (Kids these days.) He plays with a mean streak, so he should fit right in with the Pouncey twins.
Random observations: Does Sept. 6, 2008 mean anything to you? Will your pops be wearing orange and blue or orange and green?
Odds at starting: 9-to-1; I don't care about the recruiting stars. Florida is not lacking in offensive linemen. Could Patchan redshirt? It's possible.

Frankiehammond10_301001FRANKIE HAMMOND JR., Hallandale
Projected position: receiver
Vitals: 6-0, 155 pounds
Speed: 4.39 seconds in the 40-yard dash
Odds at playing time? 12-to-1; It ain't happen'n.
Recruiting insider: Hammond Jr. was unknown as a junior--he played mostly defense for a terrible team--but had a great senior season at receiver. A first-team All-Broward selection, Hammond Jr. had nearly 900 yards receiving and caught 10 touchdowns. Florida receiver coach Billy Gonzales and the Gators former defensive backs coach (ol' pirate-looking dude ... can't remember his name ... oh, yeah, Doc Holliday) first recruited Hammond Jr. Before Florida could even offer Hammond Jr., the kid called everyone in South Florida and told him that he committed. (Some people get worked by the system and some people work it.) Gotta give the kid credit, it was a pretty smart move. Florida later offered Hammond Jr. and there you have it. He probably won't play until 2009.
Random observations: Writes area code on his face in case he gets lost at the grocery store.
Odds at starting: In 2010?; This is the next Marvin Harrison. I KID YOU NOT!

WilliegreenWILLIAM GREEN, Hoover Spain Park (Ala.)
Projected position: linebacker or defensive end
Vitals: 6-4, 225 pounds
Speed: 4.6 seconds in the 40-yard dash
Odds at playing time? 8-to-1; special teams dynamo
Recruiting insider: Perhaps an even better athlete than Brandon Spikes. Green could play linebacker or defensive end. Either way, he is evidence that the Southeastern Conference is beginning to look for not only speed on the edges but exceptional range as well to defend against spread offenses. Green has the potential to be a special player if Florida commits him to a position and sticks with it. Moving Green around the defense would be a bad idea.
Random observations: He's from Birmingham, Ala., a.k.a. The Football Capital of the South. Nuff said.
Random observations II: Reminds me a lot of Carlos Dansby, another Birmingham, Ala., linebacker. (Woodlawn Colonels in the house!!!)
Odds at starting: Not this season. A redshirt would be wise.

Hines_2OMARIUS HINES, Corsicana (Texas)
Projected position: receiver
Vitals: 6-1, 180 pounds
Speed: 4.5 seconds in the 40-yard dash
Odds at playing time: 12-to-1; redshirt alert
Recruiting insider: It's tough to pull a player out of Texas. Hines was recruited early by Oklahoma but always had his heart set on becoming a Gator. Hines is a great route runner with soft hands. Give him a year or two and he'll be one of the Gators' best receivers. Had 23 touchdown receptions AS A JUNIOR.
Random observations: Quarterback Jonathan Brantley is going to love passing to this guy during practice.
Odds at starting: Not this season.






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