GAINESVILLE -- There was a time not too terribly long ago when rival coaches of the Florida Gators could convince big-name running back recruits that UF coach Urban Meyer's spread-option offense wasn't designed for a consistent ground attack.
That argument isn't valid anymore, but just because UF was a run-first team this season doesn't mean the Gators will sign a wealth of talented running backs on National Signing Day in February. The Gators lose just one running back, senior Kestahn Moore, after this season and UF returns its three leading running backs: redshirt freshman Chris Rainey, freshman Jeffery Demps and redshirt sophomore Emmanuel Moody. Junior Brandon James also returns.
The crowded backfield has led to just one running back commitment for the Gators (Mike Gillislee of Deland). Ranked eighth nationally among all-purpose backs by Rivals, Gillislee is a talented player who could compete for playing time as a true freshman.
UF is still recruiting Pensacola Escambia running back Trent Richardson, a five-star recruit, but Richardson is committed to Alabama. Like Florida, Alabama returns several running backs next season, so there's still an outside possibility the Gators could nab Richardson in the final month of recruiting.
RUNNING BACK COMMITMENT: Mike Gillislee (6-1, 205 pounds of Deland).
CURRENT GRADE: C