Rebuilding plan under way for Florida Gators with incoming class


Player, Position, Height, Weight, School

Duke Dawson, DB, 5-11, 195, Dixie County

J.C. Jackson, DB, 5-10, 175, Immokalee

Quincy Wilson, DB, 6-2, 195, Davie University School

Justus Reed, DE, 6-5, 235, Clearwater Central Catholic

Khairi Clark, DT, 6-2, 325, Hollywood Chaminade

Deiondre Porter, ATH, 6-0, 215, Tampa Jefferson

Tavern Bryan, OL, 6-5, 250, Natrona (Wy.)

Nolan Kelleher, OL, 6-6, 285, Wando (S.C.)

Travaris Dorsey, OL, 6-3, 314, Jacksonville Raines

Gerald Willis III, DE, 6-4, 250, Edna Karr (La.)

Will Grier, QB, 6-2, 177, Davidson Day (N.C.)

Kavaris Harkless, OL, 6-5, 270, Jacksonville Trinity Christian

Brandon Powell, RB, 5-9, 167, Deerfield Beach

C’yontai Lewis, TE, 6-5, 212, Northride (Ala.)

Deandre Goolsby, TE, 6-4, 225, Derby (Kansas)

David Sharpe, OL, 6-8, 275, Jacksonville Providence School

Ryan Sousa, WR, 6-0, 180, Orlando Lake Nona

Moral Stephens, TE, 6-3, 205, Taylor County

Drew Sarvary, OL, 6-7, 310, Tyler Junior College (Texas)

Jalen Tabor, DB, 6-1, 186, Friendship Academy (D.C.)

Thomas Holley, DT, 6-4, 299, Abraham Lincoln (N.Y.)

Treon Harris, QB, 5-11, 180, Miami Booker T. Washington

C.J. Worton, WR, 6-0, 170, Homestead South Dade

Andrew Mike, OL, 6-7, 280, Sabino (Ariz.)

Miami Herald Writer

Florida, the laughingstock of college football in 2013, couldn’t convince dynamic five-star talents Adoree’ Jackson (athlete), Lorenzo Carter (defensive end) or Damian Prince (offensive tackle) to come to Gainesville next season, but coach Will Muschamp capped National Signing Day with a consensus top-10 class dominated by defensive standouts and UF’s quarterback of the future.

“It’s still the University of Florida,” Muschamp said. “It’s one of the few places in the country where you can realistically win a national championship on and off the field. You’re going to get a great education, and you can win big on the field as well … We’re talking about [one bad] season, not talking about seasons.”

The Gators poached Booker T. Washington duel-threat quarterback Treon Harris from Florida State, while holding the pledge of four-star Immokalee cornerback J.C. Jackson, who flirted with Miami before officially announcing his final intentions Wednesday morning.

Florida also added three-star offensive tackle Andrew Mike, who flipped to UF from Vanderbilt on the eve of National Signing Day, while South Dade wide receiver C.J. Worton, formally committed to FSU, also signed with the Gators.

According to Rivals, Florida’s 2014 class ranks No. 8 nationally with 24 signees, but Muschamp was more pleased with filling needs than securing stars.

“Somebody said Tom Luginbill [ESPN’s national director of recruiting] was the No. 1 junior college quarterback when he came out, but I intercepted Tom Luginbill so that will tell you how important those rankings are,” Muschamp quipped.

The Gators had their worst season (4-8) since Jimmy Carter was president, but Muschamp’s newly minted staff did an excellent job filling needs at quarterback (Harris, Will Grier) and offensive line (six signees headlined by four-star tackle David Sharpe). Florida also reloaded in the secondary and improved its depth up front.

Grier, the two-time North Carolina Gatorade Player of the Year, is considered the crown jewel of the class as UF’s prospective quarterback of the future. The early enrollee tossed 77 touchdowns as a senior and set the national record for most passing yards in a single game (837).

“We had a rough fall,” Muschamp said. “But I think recruiting is building those relationships. … Some of those young men saw us win 11 games the year before. They understand where we’re headed with the program, and they’re excited about the future.”

Missing on Jackson — an electric game-changer for UF’s putrid offense — could hurt Florida for seasons to come, but UF fought an uphill batting trying to pry the prospect from Southern California’s backyard.

The same could be said for Carter and Prince, who stayed in state to play for Georgia and Maryland, respectively.

The Gators also missed out on South Florida duo of Dalvin Cook and Ermon Lane, two FSU signees and former Gator commits, but Muschamp refused to dwell on missed prospects.

“We’ll talk about the guys who are here,” he said. “They’ll all have successful careers, but we’re going to talk about our players.”

• Muschamp announced that redshirt junior safety Cody Riggs, who started all 13 games last season, is transferring. According to Muschamp, Riggs “wanted a fresh start,” and is on track to graduate in June. … Junior tailback Matt Jones underwent his second surgery on his torn left meniscus Wednesday and will miss spring practice.

Read more UF stories from the Miami Herald

 <span class="cutline_leadin">Leaping for more: </span>Florida running back Matt Jones jumps over teammate Clay Burton during the second quarter of Saturday’s game. Jones scored the game-winning touchdown in the third overtime.

    UF 36, Kentucky 30 (3OT)

    UF narrowly escapes at home as Gators struggle with Kentucky Wildcats

    Kentucky — losers of 28 in a row against UF — nearly stunned the Gators, but Florida’s electric sophomore receiver Demarcus Robinson single-handily shredded the Wildcats’ secondary for 15 catches, 216 yards and two touchdowns as UF escaped 36-30 in triple overtime Saturday night in The Swamp.

Head coach Will Muschamp of the Florida Gators yells during the second half of the game against the Kentucky Wildcats at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on September 13, 2014 in Gainesville, Florida.

    UF football

    Florida Gators’ tough win reveals problems in defensive backfield

    Florida’s inexperienced defensive backfield was shaky, getting burned repeatedly during a triple-overtime victory against Kentucky.

  • Recap: Florida vs. Kentucky

    Matt Jones scored on a one-yard touchdown run in triple-overtime to lift the Florida Gators to a 36-30 win over the Kentucky Wildcats in a SEC thriller at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

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