Remember when you were a little kid and the day before Christmas produced a kind of jittery feeling inside? So much anticipation and excitement, and the joy of unwrapping That Thing You Always Wanted was just hours away. Well, National Signing Day is that emotion for grown-ups who follow college football.
Consider me Jewish for the purposes of this discussion, but I certainly understand why NSD matters. There are high school football players out there who still haven't settled on a college, and some of them will have the same impact on their future schools that guys like Tim Tebow and Percy Harvin had on UF. There's no denying that it's a huge deal.
So who do the Gators still have a shot at? Below are five top prospects who are still considering Florida, and the addition of any one of them would be a big help to the legacy of Will Muschamp's first recruiting class, as discussed in my story last week: LINK. Here we go (rankings from Rivals.com):
LB Stephone Anthony
(6-3, 220 pounds, Wadesboro, N.C.)
-Competition: Clemson and North Carolina
-Why He'll Sign: The nation's No. 3 OLB has a good relationship with UF linebackers coach D.J. Durkin and was happy when Durkin was retained, and with the departures of A.J. Jones, Brandon Hicks and Lorenzo Edwards, there are openings on the depth chart.
-Why He Won't: People in the know seem to think he's headed to Clemson.
-Meaningless Percentages: 40% Clemson, 35% UF, 24% UNC, 1% Tulsa Welding School
QB Jacoby Brissett
(6-5, 225 pounds, West Palm Beach)
-Competition: Miami and Wisconsin. He just eliminated Washington, which is a shame because Seattle is a lovely city.
-Why He'll Sign: The No. 3 dual-threat QB would be a great fit for Urban Meyer's spread offense! Oh, right. Well, Meyer only offered Brissett a grayshirt, but Charlie Weis has been all over Brissett like a...OK I'll skip the fat joke since it made y'all mad last time. Weis is supposed to be a great recruiter, and he's giving Brissett the full court press, so there's smoke here even though it looks unlikely on paper. He also has former Dwyer High teammates Matt Elam, Gerald Christian and Robert Clark in Gainesville already, and he wants to play basketball as well.
-Why He Won't: He's only a two-star fence-climber, so experts fear he won't be able to escape Al Golden's State of Miami and flee north. Also: Jeff Driskel.
-Meaningless Percentages: 65% Miami, 30% UF, 5% He Freezes His Ass Off For 3-5 Years
LB Curtis Grant
(6-3, 222 pounds, Richmond, Va.)
-Competition: Ohio State
-Why He'll Sign: The biggest fish in the pond for UF, Grant is the No. 2 overall recruit in this year's class, making him a stone cold lock to be the greatest thing since sliced bread. For real though, this kid is a baller and would seem a natural fit at the coveted middle linebacker spot. He kept the Gators in his sights despite all the turmoil of Meyer leaving, so he must like Florida quite a bit.
-Why He Won't: The Buckeyes are the leaders, and part of that is surely due to the fact they don't have a new coach and a few years of uncertainty ahead of them.
-Meaningless Percentages: 70% Ohio State, 20% Florida, 10% Culinary School
DT Timmy Jernigan
(6-2, 275 pounds, Lake City)
-Competition: Florida State
-Why He'll Sign: Timmy is one of the top-rated players at his position, and he grew up a Gators fan just a short drive from Gainesville. Now, he has a chance to make his dreams come true, but he finds himself considering a school he once hated. Sound familiar? Jernigan even played for the same HS coach as Tim Tebow, Craig Howard. He's a priority for UF, as defensive line coach Bryant Young was meeting with Jernigan before even being announced as hired.
-Why He Won't: The 'Noles are putting together one hell of a recruiting class, and they're the leaders for Jernigan's signature. In cases like this, I won't believe anything til ink hits paper, but Florida appears to be the underdog.
-Meaningless Percentages: 55% Jernigans Roast Marshmallows Over A Bonfire Of Their Old UF Gear, 45% I Get To Make A Tebow Comparison In My NSD Story
WR/TE Junior Pomee
(6-3, 210 pounds, Moreno Valley, Calif.)
-Competition: USC, Utah and Arizona
-Why He'll Sign: He played with Ronald Powell in high school and the two are close friends.
-Why He Won't: Pomee's dad said Monday that he's headed to USC, then Pomee came out and denied it. I say he's just trying to keep some suspense for NSD.
-Meaningless Percentages: 100% USC, 100% That's A Total Guess
Which one of these guys do you want the most? Think any will sign with UF?