Sunday, May 27, 2018
Colleges

Gators hold on to strong recruiting class

GAINESVILLE — Fresh off an 11-2 season and holding tight to recruits who pledged their allegiance months before signing day, Florida coach Will Muschamp said Wednesday that he was relieved to have finalized his class of 28 recruits. Sixteen are among ESPN's top 300; eight are already enrolled.

"The coaching process is really about four things: evaluation, recruiting, developing and coaching," Muschamp said. "I think in two years on the recruiting trail (at Florida) from an evaluation standpoint, a recruiting standpoint, we've got a staff that can do it all. Very proud of the staff and the job they did."

WE'RE NO. 1: The Gators picked up two consensus No. 1 players at their positions: Wharton defensive back Vernon Hargreaves III and running back Kelvin Taylor. Taylor, the state record holder for rushing yards, is enrolled and scheduled to participate in spring drills.

Hargreaves will have an opportunity to compete when he arrives in July, Muschamp said.

"The guy has been around the game a lot, and he really gets the game," Muschamp said. "He understands the game and is very mature. … Highly intelligent. (He is) a guy that you would certainly point to that will have some opportunities as a freshman to contribute. Now, how much will be up to him."

FILLING NEEDS: Anybody who has watched the Gators play over the past year realizes they need receivers. Florida got five, including former Clemson commitment Demarcus Robinson.

"You've got to improve," Muschamp said. "When you say filling needs, you talk in terms of depth and talent. And those are the two things you've got to be able to address. I think we've taken a step forward in both situations. We've improved our depth, and I think we've improved our talent, some guys that can come in and compete."

BAILEY'S RESUME: Muschamp is high on Armwood's Alvin Bailey, particularly because the receiver also played quarterback in high school.

"A lot of times in high school you put your best athlete at quarterback because they touch the ball every snap, so they've got an opportunity to make something good happen for your team," Muschamp said. "And Alvin's a guy that's got a lot of playmaking ability.

"But I also look at all the intangibles that Alvin brings. … He's a slot receiver. He's a guy you can stick in the slot, and he can stick his foot in the ground and change direction."

ONES THAT GOT AWAY: Earlier this week, junior college quarterback Tanner McEvoy chose Wisconsin over the Gators.

Wednesday, New Smyrna Beach wide receiver James Clark stunned many when he chose former Florida coach Urban Meyer and Ohio State over the Gators and Clemson.

"It was really hard," Clark was quoted as saying to the Orlando Sentinel. "Florida is a great school. Ohio State, I felt it was the right place for me. Coach Meyer told me don't come to Ohio State unless I was ready to make grown-man moves. That's what I had to do."

Tashawn Bower, a four-star defensive end, chose LSU.

FINAL WORD: "This coaching stuff is way overrated. It's about players, at the end of the day, and they want to play with other good players." — Muschamp

Antonya English can be reached at [email protected]

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