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Gators' next goal: Finalize recruiting class

All thanks to Mike "Mike" McCall for filling in while I was away on a belated honeymoon. The Goodmans visited Lake Tahoe for a week of snowboarding. Eeeh, let's clarify that. For Mrs. Goodman, a professional rider, it was a fun week of snowboarding. For Mr. Goodman, a professional faller, it was a week of pain.

For those familiar with the Sierras, the Goodmans visited two mountains, Heavenly in South Lake Tahoe, and Squaw Valley, which is located north and west of the big lake. I offer these details only so you, the loyal reader, can revel in my suffering. I left my mark upon every square foot of those two mountains. And by mark, I don't mean snow angels. Despite the hundreds of falls, I had a great time and actually learned how to snowboard. Quite the accomplishment for a guy who had never seen mountains or mountain snow until last week.

I return to Gainesville with a slightly strained left arm. List my status as probable. Kind of like the Gators' chances of repeating as football national champs now that quarterback Tim Tebow and linebacker Brandon Spikes are returning for their senior seasons.

GAINESVILLE -- There are several things to address now that I'm back in Gainesville, but we'll start with the one thing people are probably most interested in right now: recruiting. National Signing Day is 16 days away and the Gators are hoping to finalize their 2009 recruiting class in the coming days.

The Gators' coaching staff is known for finishing strong in the final days of the recruiting cycle but this year might be an exception simply because UF doesn't have many scholarships available. After signing six players at the beginning of this month, UF only has 12 scholarships available (by my count) for National Signing Day and 10 players are already committed. Let's break down the numbers. Listed are the scholarship players returning (67, by my count. Obviously, this number is subject to change.):

[NOTE, added to this post: Scholarships are finalized in the spring, meaning there is some wiggle room here. For example, one or two players might transfer, quit the team, etc. In short, if Meyer wants to add four or five more players to this class, then he's going to have to find room.] 

1. Anderson, Markihe; jr.
2. Antwine, Brandon; rsoph.
3. Barrie, Jim; rsoph.
4. Beal, Brendan; fr.
5. Black, Ahmad; soph.
6. Brantley, John; rfr.
7. Brown, Jeremy; fr.
8. Brown, John; rfr.
9. Bushell, Adrian; fr.
10. Cooper, Riley; jr.
11. Cunningham, Jermaine; jr.
12. Davis, Torrey; soph.
13. Demps, Jeffery; fr.
14. Doe, Dustin; jr.
15. Dunlap, Carlos; soph.
16. Edwards, Lorenzo; soph.
17. Epps, Troy; jr.
18. Gilbert, Marcus; rsoph.
19. Green, William; fr.
20. Haden, Joe; soph.
21. Hammond Jr., Frankie; fr.
22. Henry, Chas; soph.
23. Hernandez, Aaron; soph.
24. Hicks, Brandon; soph.
25. Hill, Will; fr.
26. Hines, Omarius; fr.
27. Hobbs, Corey; rsoph.
28. Holliday, Cade; rjr.
29. Howard, Jaye; rfr.
30. Hunter, Omar; fr.
31. Hurt, Maurice; rsoph.
32. James, Brandon; jr.
33. Jenkins, Janoris; fr.
34. Jenkins, Moses; soph.
35. Johnson, Carl; rsoph.
36. Jones, A.J.; rsoph.
37. Jones, Bryan; fr.
38. Jones, John; soph.
39. Lawrence, T.J.; fr.
40. Lemmens, Duke; soph.
41. Marsh, Lawrence; rsoph.
42. McCray, Lerentee; fr.
43. Moody, Emmanuel; rsoph.
44. Moore, Carl; jr.
45. Munroe, Dorian; rjr.
46. Nelson, David; rjr.
47. Okine, Earl; fr.
48. Patchan, Matt; fr.
49. Pierre-Louis, Wondy; jr.
50. Pouncey, Maurkice; soph.
51. Pouncey, Mike; soph.
52. Pridemore, T.J.; fr.
53. Rainey, Chris; rfr.
54. Robey, Sam; fr.
55. Sanders, Terron; rsoph.
56. Sorrentino, Joey; rjr.
57. Spikes, Brandon; jr.
58. Stamper, Ryan; rjr.
59. Sturgis, Caleb; soph.
60. Tebow, Tim; jr.
61. Thompson, Deonte; rfr.
62. Trattou, Justin; soph.
63. Williams, Justin; rsoph.
64. Wilson, James; rfr.
65. Wilson, Paul; rfr.
66. Wright, Major; soph.
67. Young, David; fr.

Add the six players who have already signed with UF, and that leaves UF with 12 available scholarships. UF already has commitments from 10 high school seniors. That puts the number of available scholarships at two, bringing the total number of 2009 newcomers to 18.

Here are the six incoming players who have already signed:
1. Nick Alajajian (6-4, 280-pound offensive lineman of Naples)
2. Jon Bostic (6-1, 218-pound linebacker of Wellington)
3. Dee Finley (6-1, 193-pound safety of New Berlin (N.Y.) Milford Academy Prep and formerly of Auburn (Ala.) High)
4. Jonotthan Harrison (6-4, 290-pound offensive lineman of Groveland)
5. Edwin Herbert (6-3, 295-pound defensive tackle JUCO transfer from City College of San Francisco)
6. Desmond Parks (6-4, 218-pound tight end of Greer, S.C.)

Here are the 10 high school seniors currently committed to Florida (oral commitments are non-binding):
1. Gary Brown (6-3, 275-pound defensive tackle of Quincy)
2. Andre Debose (6-0, 170-pound wide receiver of Sanford)
3. Mike Gillislee ((6-1, 205-pound running back of Deland)
4. Jon Halapio (6-4, 302-pound offensive lineman of St. Petersburg)
5. Kedric Johnson (6-4, 225-pound defensive end of Palmetto)
6. Kyle Koehne (6-6, 290-pound offensive lineman of Indianapolis)
7. Xavier Nixon (6-6, 263-pound offensive lineman of Fayetteville, N.C.)
8. Jordan Reed (6-3, 235-pound quarterback of New London, Conn.)
9. Nu'Keese Richardson (5-8, 151-pound wide receiver of Pahokee)
10. Marsalis Teague (5-10, 170-pound cornerback of Paris, Tenn.)

Here are some questions or ideas to consider: 
1. If UF indeed has but two scholarships left to give, which positions need the most help?
2. Is UF looking for the best athletes available regardless of position?
3. If you were Urban Meyer, which two available prospects do you want most?

If I was Meyer, here are the two players I want most of all:
1. Jelani Jenkins, 6-2, 220-pound linebacker from Olney, Md. Jenkins is a born leader and highly intelligent. Like Bradon Spikes, Jenkins is a player you build a defense around.

2. Greg Reid, 5-9, 175-pound cornerback of Valdosta, Ga. Reid was originally committed to UF but is now considering other options (FSU, Alabama and Georgia).

2a. Orson Charles, 6-3, 230-pound tight end of Tampa. A hybrid player, Charles would fit perfectly into the Gators' offense.

-jo-

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