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How many football scholarships can the Florida Gators award on Feb.3? We're projecting the field, sort of!

EDITING THIS POST AS WE GO...

GAINESVILLE -- OK, many friends of Gator Clause have been emailing the editorial board and asking many important question that revolve around one central theme: How many players can Florida sign on Feb.3, National Signing Day? In this space, I will attempt to answer some of these excellent questions. Keep them coming. Gator Clause doesn't have scheduled Q&A's like other blogs because, well, this is a blog and we try and interact with our fellow bloggers each and every day. Except for John in Pinecrest. He hates this blog now and wants nothing to do with us, our questionable methods and our punk-rock ways. (Just kidding, John.)

Understand, before we attempt to put a number on the amount of players UF can sign for the 2010 recruiting cycle, you need to keep in mind that Florida's coaching staff probably doesn't even know the exact number. The number could change if another junior turns pro, someone transfers, someone gets kicked off the team (let's hope not), etc... As Florida likes to say, it's a "fluid number." So, I've poured through the roster of returning players and it appears, as of this evening (Jan.11, 2010) that 60 scholarship players are returning. That number leaves UF with 25 available scholarships for the 2010 recruiting cycle and Florida has already received commitments from 24 players. Here is the complete list of returning players we believe are on scholarship. (We assume these players are on scholarship because, at beginning of their careers, they signed scholarships.)

1. Nick Alajajian, OL, Fr.
2. Stephen Alli, WR, Fr.
3. Brandon Antwine, DL, R-Jr.
4. Brendan Beal, LB, R-Fr.
*5. Ahmad Black, S, Jr.
6. Jon Bostic, LB, Fr.
7. John Brantley, QB, R-So.
8. Gary Brown, DL, Fr.
9. Jeremy Brown, CB, R-Fr.
10. Adrian Bushell, CB, R-Fr.
11. Andre Debose, WR, Fr.
12. Jeffery Demps, RB, So.
13. Lorenzo Edwards, LB, Jr.
14. Josh Evans, DB, Fr.
15. Dee Finley, S, Fr.
16. Marcus Gilbert, OL, R-Jr.
17. Mike Gillislee, RB, Fr.
18. William Green, DE, So.
19. Jon Halapio, OL, Fr.
20. Frankie Hammond Jr., WR, R-Fr.
21. Jonotthan Harrison, OL, Fr.
22. Chas Henry, P, Jr.
23. Edwin Herbert, DT, Jr.
24. Brandon Hicks, LB, Jr.
25. Will Hill, S, So.
26. Omarius Hines, WR, R-Fr.
27. Jaye Howard, DT, R-So.
28. Omar Hunter, DT, R-Fr.
29. Maurice Hurt, OL, R-Jr.
30. Janoris Jenkins, CB, So.
31. Jelani Jenkins, LB, Fr.
32. Moses Jenkins, CB, Jr.
*33. Carl Johnson, OL, R-Jr.
34. Kedric Johnson, DE, Fr.
35. A.J. Jones, LB, R-Jr.
36. Kyle Koehne, OL, Fr.
37. T.J. Lawrence, WR, R-Fr.
38. Duke Lemmens, DE, Jr.
39. Lawrence Marsh, DT, R-Jr.
40. Lerentee McCray, DE, So.
41. Emmanuel Moody, RB, R-Jr.
?42. Carl Moore, WR, Sr.
#43. Dorian Munroe, S., R-Sr.
44. Xavier Nixon, OL, Fr.
45. Earl Okine, OL, DE, R-Fr.
46. Desmond Parks, TE, Fr.
47. Matt Patchan, OL, So.
*48. Mike Pouncey, OL, Jr.
49. T.J. Pridemore, FB, R-Fr.
50. Chris Rainey, RB, R-So.
51. Jordan Reed, QB, Fr.
52. Sam Robey, OL, R-Fr.
53. Terron Sanders, DL, R-Jr.
54. Caleb Sturgis, K, So.
55. Deonte Thompson, WR, R-So.
56. Justin Trattou, DE, Jr.
57. Steve Wilks, FR, R-So.
58. Justin Williams, WR, R-Jr.
59. James Wilson, OL, R-So.
60. David Young, OL, R-Fr.

OK, allow me to elaborate on the symbols.

* The asterisks obviously denote the players who have inquired about their NFL Draft projection and could potentially turn pro. Let's go through each one...

CARLOS DUNLAP
Rumors are circulating that Dunlap was projected as a second-round pick. Personally, I find this hard to believe, but he did get arrested for DWI a few days before the Southeastern Conference. That never helps the ol' reputation. I don't think Dunlap returns, but if he does, that's a major plus for the Gators. Message board rumors claim Dunlap has already purchased a BMW.
GUT FEELING: He's gone.
UPDATE: It's official. He's gone. Announced on Jan.11.

CARL JOHNSON
Big Carl is most likely returning for his redshirt junior season, but I wouldn't be surprised if he leaves early. He's a talented offensive lineman and probably doesn't need another year of college ball to prove anything. Then again, Johnson might want to compete for a tackle position this spring. Tackles make more in the NFL than guards.
GUT FEELING: He stays.

MAURKICE POUNCEY
Maurkice Pouncey won the Rimington Award, given annually to the nation's best center. He should probably turn pro and I expect he will. You might recall that the Pounceys' stepfather was injured on the job awhile back and is now disabled. Don't assume that as a reason both the Pounceys will turn pro, however. According to Mike Pouncey, his stepfather is in line to receive a hefty settlement from a lawsuit.
GUT FEELING: He's gone.
UPDATE: It's official. He's gone. Announced on Jan.11.

MIKE POUNCEY
Mike and Maurkice Pouncey did not live together this year to prepare themselves for life after college. It was the first time in their lives they had ever been apart. Mike said after the Sugar Bowl that if he's projected as a third-round selection in the NFL Draft, then he will return to school.
GUT FEELING: He stays.
UPDATE: Returning, announced on Jan.11.

MAJOR WRIGHT
All indications suggest that Major is returning for his senior season. He had a down year in 2009 (for him, anyway) and needs a big season in 2010. Wright played well in the Sugar Bowl and is a three-year starter for the Gators.
GUT FEELING: He stays.
UPDATE: He's gone, announced Jan.11.

AHMAD BLACK
Yeah, he's staying.
GUT FEELING: He stays.

# I put a number symbol next to Dorian Munroe's name because he told me after the Florida State game that he plans on applying for a sixth-year of eligibility. He'll probably get it. Munroe missed two seasons due to injuries. Kids, if you want an example of a player taking full advantage of his football scholarship, look no further than Dorian Munroe. He will complete his first year of graduate school this year and if he's awarded a medical hardship in 2010 then he will leave UF with his undergraduate degree and graduate degree both paid in full by the UAA.

? Senior receiver Carl Moore was injured this season, meaning he will likely redshirt if there's a chance he can play football next season.

Now, I had originally denoted the players I thought might transfer, but that became way too messy. A shot in the dark at transfer candidates...

LERENTEE MCCRAY
A sophomore, McCray was originally recruited as a linebacker but is now listed as a 6-2, 230-pound defensive end. Perhaps McCray gets another look at linebacker with a revamped defensive coaching staff. McCray could find a spot in the rotation if UF moves toward a 3-4 defense in 2010.

T.J. LAWRENCE
A redshirt freshman receiver, Lawrence never saw the field this season. I'd expect Lawrence to stick around for another season now that UF has hired a new receivers coach. UF's receiver slots will be wide open this spring.

KEDRIC JOHNSON
With three highly rated defensive end recruits headed to Gainesville, Johnson might find himself buried on the depth chart next season. He will be a redshirt freshman. Just my opinion, it would be foolish for Johnson to transfer and I don't see it happening. He's listed at 6-4, 215 pounds and would be wise to stick around and battle for a spot in the rotation. He was a project from the beginning and probably realizes that, after Duke Lemmens and Justin Trattou graduates, the defensive end positions will be wide open.

WILL HILL
It's been rumored that Hill would consider transferring if he didn't start this season. I asked Hill straight up before the Sugar Bowl if he was transferring and he said, "No, my dad told me that you stay with the school you picked," or something like that.

OK, like we wrote earlier, UF currently has 25 scholarships available (by our count!) for the 2010 recruiting class, which is already 24 players strong. UF would like to sign 28 players on National Signing Day. That means more changes to the roster could be on the way. If Carl Moore's career is done, then UF has 26 scholarships to award in 2010. If Lerentee McCray transfers then UF has 27 available spots and so on and so on. As you can see, the number is subject to change and probably will change a few more times between now and Feb.3.

The maximum number of players UF can sign on Feb. 3 is 28, but UF cannot count 28 scholarships towards the 2010 class. Per NCAA rule, UF can only count 25 scholarships to each class. Now, the loop hole comes into play with the players who are enrolling early. As many as 12 players could enroll early. UF can count some of those players to the current class or the next class as long as the total number of scholarships does not exceed 85 or 25 for each class.

Obviously, if UF signs 28 players then the original number of 60 returning players must decrease by three and so on and so on. Stayed tuned. Hope this blog post helped clear up any questions.

-jo-

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