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June 23, 2010
Camp Review: Plenty of star power
At the midway point of the month of June, Florida stood with five public commitments and though it would be overstating it to say that it had come to a screeching halt, it would be fair to say there was a noticeable lull in the UF recruiting process as far as newsworthy events taking place.
That was then, this is now.
It goes without saying that business has certainly picked up - and in a big way.
Last week the Gators earned a verbal commitment from Tampa (Fla.) Catholic fullback Hunter Joyer [Gators stay hot with Joyer | Hunter relieved process is over], the nation's No. 1 rated player at his position. Then on Monday, two more dominoes fell as UF added a top offensive line target in Tommy Jordan [Jordan pulls the trigger] and a highly coveted linebacker in the form of Ryan Shazier [4-star linebacker commits to Florida].
All three commitments have one thing in common, they were all on campus immediately prior to their commitment.
They represent just three of the many top notch prospects that have visited Gainesville over the past 10 days.
Today InsidetheGators.net will take a more in-depth look at some of the top names who have been on campus in the last two weeks.
With the impending departure of Brandon Hicks, A.J. Jones and Lorenzo Edwards after the 2010 season combined with the recent transfer of Brendan Beal, without a quick infusion of talent, the Gators will be dangerously thin at the position beginning in 2011.
That in turn puts the signing of several quality linebackers at the top of the Gators Class of 2011 wish list.
That desire has been reflected in their visitor/camper list over the last two weeks.
It is hard to imagine any program any where hosting a more elite group of talent at a position.
By the end of the day on Tuesday, UF will have played host to the No. 1 (Curtis Grant), No. 3 (Lamar Dawson) and No. 12 (Kent Turene) inside linebackers as well as the No. 1 (Tony Steward [Major development for Steward]) and No. 9 (Ryan Shazier) outside linebackers.
And that list doesn't include James Wilder Jr. [5-star Wilder enjoys UF visit], who is listed as the No. 1 athlete in the nation, but could play either offense or defense on the next level. He visited UF last Friday along with teammates - quarterback Phillip Ely and offensive lineman Tony Posada.
As impressive as that group of linebackers is, the offensive line group isn't too far behind in terms of quantity and quality.
In the last two weeks three Rivals250 linemen have camped at Florida: Tarpon Spring (Fla) tackle Zach Debell (No. 115) [Debell competes at UF camp], Indianapolis (Ind.) Warren Central tackle Kiaro Holts (No. 199) and Dover (Del.) tackle Trip Thurman (No. 225) [4-star lineman camps at UF].
Out of that group, the Gators are in very good shape with Thurman in particular. If they were to offer Debell, they would instantly become a major factor in the race to sign him too.
There were also several three-star rated out-of-state linemen in over the last two weeks that Florida is recruiting.
That group includes players such as West Chester (Oh.) Lakota West tackle Ryan Kelly [Kelly recaps visits, lays out plans], Aliquippa (Pa.) guard Zach Hooks [Florida evaluating Hooks] and new commit Ridgefield (Conn.) guard Tommy Jordan.
A couple of instate linemen who have yet to receive offers, but worked out hoping to impress were Lakeland (Fla.) Lake Gibson's Errin Joe [Joe gets one-on-one tutelage], Jacksonville (Fla.) Bolles' Nathan Theus and Jacksonville (Fla.) White's Kaleb Johnson.
Also visiting UF was 2012 top line prospect John Theus [Gators latest to offer 2012 lineman].
With Orlando (Fla.) Hagerty quarterback Jeff Driskel already committed, there wasn't any need to prove himself to the UF staff, but he took part in several camp sessions.
Because of his commitment, there's currently no room at in the Inn for another highly rated signal-caller. Hollywood (Fla.) Chaminade dual-threat quarterback Jerrard Randall [Gators top athlete Randall] has made it clear that he would love an offer from the Gators to play quarterback. However, all the Oregon commit has at this time is a verbal offer to come in as a receiver.
One of the better quarterbacks on campus last week was Clearwater (Fla.) Countryside Gray Crow - a top player in the Class of 2012.
At running back two Rivals100 members have been in town in the last 10 days.
Bradenton (Fla.) Manatee all-purpose back Mike Blakely [Blakely has a new leader] had Auburn leading until a short stop-over in Gainesville last week while on his way back home from South Carolina. By the time he left UF, he had the Gators as his leader.
Another back high on the Gators is Jacksonville (Fla.) Trinity Christian's Andrew Buie. The nation's No. 88 rated prospect overall camped at UF last week, but he has yet to receive an offer from the Gators.
One player who did receive an offer from UF last week was Joyer, who of course, committed not long afterward.
As for pass-catchers, there