John Patton of the Gainesville Sun has compiled a list of nine players he thinks will rate among the state’s elite football prospects next season. Along with that, he suggested that three of them – Plant DE/RB James Wilder Jr., Lake City-Columbia DT Timmy Jernigan and Miami Northwestern QB Teddy Bridgewater, are likely to vie for the top spot in the state from the major recruiting services.
Could Wilder, recently named the national Junior of the Year by Rivals.com, actually not even be No. 1 in Florida’s Class of 2011?
Here’s what Patton had to say about Jernigan and Bridgewater:
Timmy Jernigan, Columbia DT — At 6-foot-3, 275 pounds with a 4.6 40 time, Jernigan may be listed among the nation’s best when next season arrives. He has a ridiculously quick first step, and Gainesville High School quarterback Ryan McGriff said of his team’s only regular-season loss: “We ran into the wall that is Timmy Jernigan.” So far, Jernigan says he has more than 30 scholarship offers with the Gators leading.
Teddy Bridgewater, Miami Northwestern QB/ATH — This would be a huge get for UF, which, for all of its recruiting strength, hasn’t really been able to muscle into Northwestern High School. Very athletic, the 6-3, 180-pound Bridgewater could be a quarterback or receiver in college. He counts the Gators, Miami, Tennessee and Florida International among his offers.
--KEITH NIEBUHR (firstname.lastname@example.org)