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Small class of Gators full of talent

GAINESVILLE -- Florida received national letters of intent from 10 players on Wednesday, giving them 16 total commitments for 2009. It's a small number but of those 16 players, three are rated as five-star prospects by Rivals.com and eight are listed in ESPN's Top 150.

The stars of the class are many. Start with receiver Andre Debose of Sanford Seminole, who Florida coach Urban Meyer said could develop into the best player in the country. Debose is well known in Miami-Dade County. He caught the dramatic game-winning touchdown against Miami Northwestern in the Class 6A state championship game.

Equally as a talented as Dubose is five-star prospect Jelani Jenkins, a linebacker from Only (Md.) Our Lady of Good Counsel. Jenkins, only 16 years old, is already already 6-2, 220 pounds. He runs the 40-yard dash in 4.4 seconds, according to UF. Best of all, he is a 4.0 student. On Wednesday, Meyer said he would be disappointed if Jenkins wasn't one day a captain on the Gators' football team.

Another five-star prospect, defensive tackle Gary Brown of Quincy West Gadsden, chose Florida over Florida State. Meyer said on Wednesday that Brown still has work to do in the classroom but could contribute immediately.

In addition to Brown, UF also signed defensive tackle Edwin Herbert, a JUCO transfer from City College of San Francisco. Brown will be a junior next season and will be expected to contribute immediately. He can bench press 465 pounds.

Kedric Johnson of Palmetto was the Gators only defensive end signing of 2009. He 24.5 sacks as a senior and 19 sacks as a junior.

The Gators signed five offensive linemen, which Meyer said was great accomplishment considering the diversity of the linemen: two tackles, two guards and a center. Among the linemen is tackle Xavier Nixon (6-6, 275 pounds) of Fayetteville, N.C. Nixon's father is a Master Sargeant in the U.S. Army is currently stationed in Afganistan. Tackle Nick Alajajian of Naples, the fourth-best at his position nationally according to Rivals, is already enrolled at Florida.

Jon Halapio of St. Petersburg could play either guard or center or the Gators. Meyer said on Wednesday that he expects Halapio to flourish once in the Gators strength-and-conditioning program.

Offensive guard Jonotthan Harrison chose Florida over Miami and Florida State. The South Lake Groveland native played high school ball with UF sophomore-to-be Jeffery Demps. 

Offensive guard Kyle Koehne of Indianapolis was named the Indiana player of the year by the Indianapolis Star. He led his high school, Indianapolis Cathedral to a Class 4-AA state championship in 2008. 

Of the players already enrolled at UF,  Meyer said that linebacker Jon Bostic of Wellington appears to be the most developed. The father of a former NFL player (Jon Bostic Sr. played three seasons with the Detroit Lions), Jon Bostic Jr. was the fifth-ranked inside linebacker in the nation, according to Rivals.com.

Running Mike Gillislee of Deland (6-0, 190 pounds) rushed for 1,149 yards on 227 carries his senior year. He was also used a slot receiver in high school.

 Quarterback Jordan Reed of Connecticut (6-3, 225 pounds), unknown before he impressed coaches at the Gators football camp last summer, was injured for most of his senior season. As a junior, Reed completed 122-of-222 passes for 28 touchdowns and two interceptions. He also rushed for 370 yards and eight touchdowns as a junior.

One player to keep an eye on is defensive back Dee Finley of Auburn, who committed to the Gators in 2008 before enrolling at a prep school. Now qualified, Finley could make an immediate impact on special teams next season.

Tight End Desmond Parks of Greer, S.C., is already enrolled at UF. He was a second-team all-state selection last year and is listed among the ESPN Top 150 prospects in the nation. 

Rounding out the list is Josh Evans of Irvington, N.J. Evans played quarterback in high school but will follow in the footsteps of UF sophomore-to-be Will Hill and UF junior-to-be Joe Haden and make the switch to defensive back for the Gators.



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