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Florida Gators have small but impressive football recruiting class

GAINESVILLE — By the end of the day, there were only 16 names to add to his roster — and two big ones got away — but, overall, Florida coach Urban Meyer was happy with the 2009 class. Less than one month removed from winning their second national championship in three seasons, the Gators landed another Top 10 recruiting class. "We've done a great job recruiting," Meyer said. "Our staff has done phenomenal. We had a few obstacles, even when you win a national championship. However, the ones that we brought in are tremendous."

A closer look …

BIGGEST EARLY IMPACT: Five-star WR Andre Debose. Billed as the heir apparent to Percy Harvin, Debose had more than 2,000 yards at wide receiver, running back and quarterback. He is considered the No. 2 receiver in the nation by Rivals.com. "He is as good as there is," Meyer said. "I think he is the best player in America. Watching him on film, for what we do, for our style of offense, for what we need right now with the departure of Percy Harvin, that is a critical element. … Whether he likes it or not, there's a comparison. That's not a bad thing to be compared to (Harvin). That's a compliment, very much so."

LONG-TERM STAR: Five-star LB Jelani Jenkins. A huge coup for the Gators, Jenkins, who is just 16, is considered by Rivals.com as the No. 10 overall recruit in the land and is already being compared to Brandon Spikes. With an above 4.0 GPA, he is one of five national finalists for the Watkins Award, the high school Heisman. "The correlation between him and being a big-time player is pretty high," Meyer said. "He didn't ask me about weakside linebacker, strongside linebacker, middle linebacker and all this other stuff. It is very clear that he is confident in his abilities."

HOME GROWN: St. Petersburg Catholic OL Jon Halapio is the area's only player among the 2009 recruiting class, and Meyer is greatly impressed with him: "He is one of my favorite cultures. He is Polynesian. I am very experienced with Polynesians, 25 percent of my team at Utah was Polynesian. … He comes from a brilliant family, a bunch of great people. He is 305 pounds and looks like he is 260 pounds. He is a guy that will compete for playing time this year. That's how confident I am."

KEEPING THE MOLD: Having had so much success with Tim Tebow, the Gators have another quarterback in a linebacker's body. Jordan Reed is 6 feet 3, 225 pounds and is versatile enough to throw, and run over people. "He came to camp and was kind of an under-the-radar guy, and he dominated our camp," Meyer said."

ONES THAT GOT AWAY: UF's biggest disappointment was the 11th-hour loss of four-star WR Nu'Keese Richardson and athlete Marsalis Teague, both of whom chose Tennessee. Richardson had been orally committed to the Gators since the spring, but a visit to Knoxville last weekend apparently changed his mind.

DON'T CALL ME PERCY: For the record, Debose has a lot of respect for Harvin, but he has no intention of trying to replace him. "I don't want to be the next Percy Harvin," he said. "I want to be the first Andre Debose."

Florida Gators have small but impressive football recruiting class 02/04/09 [Last modified: Thursday, February 5, 2009 4:34pm]
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