Going camping: Top recruits visit Florida in June

By Adam Silverstein
June 28, 2010

Over the last two weeks, plenty has been going on with the Florida Gators as far as recruiting for the 2011 season is concerned. Since June 10, the Gators have received in four commitments, including four-star wide receiver Javares McRoy (Lakeland, FL) [article], three-star fullback Hunter Joyer (Tampa, FL) [article], three-star offensive lineman Tommy Jordan (Ridgefield, CT) [article], four-star linebacker Ryan Shazier (Plantaiton, FL) [article].

Additionally, the team got a commitment without an official offer from three-star LB Rahim Cassell (Lakewood, CA) [article], and 2012 WR Latroy Pittman (Citra, FL) [article] is all but ready to pick Florida before his junior year of high school even begins.

However, the Gators still have plenty of work to do in order to enhance the current eight-person 2011 class, and the team made a lot of headway as recruits participated in football camps and took visits to the University of Florida in recent weeks.

Update yourself on some of the top 2011 recruits and targets…after the break!

» Five-star athlete James Wilder, Jr. (Tampa, FL)
– One of the top five players in the nation, Wilder is the best athlete available and arguably the most sought after recruit in Florida. With an outstanding offer from the Gators, he is still trying to cut his list down; Florida wants him to be the next to fit the Percy Harvin/Andre Debose mold, but will also allow him to play linebacker – it is an open offer. He happens to be recruiting friends with Joyner, who is in his ear about committing to UF, and many consider the Gators the team to beat.

» Five-star linebacker Tony Steward (St. Augustine, FL)
– Like Wilder, Steward is one of the best players in the nation and was pleased with his most recent visit to Gainesville, FL. Unlike Wilder, he has a leader – Clemson – and everyone else including FSU and Alabama are competing for second place. Coaches gave him a lot of individual attention, which he liked, of course.

» Four-star wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin (Belle Glade, FL)
– Strongly considering Florida, Florida State and Miami, Benjamin had a good time at his unofficial visit and will return for Friday Night Lights in late July. He has the Gators high on his list and speaks with WR coach Zach Azzinari quite often.

» Four-star cornerback Nick Waisome (Groveland, FL)
– Plans to make a decision in August and had a nice experience visiting UF two weeks ago. Florida and FSU are recruiting him the hardest, and the Gators want him bad. He has yet to narrow his list down, but most expect he will stay in state.

» Four-star defensive tackle Tim Jernigan (Lake City, FL)
– Some believe Jernigan wants to get the recruiting process over as soon as July, and Florida has been consistently making headway. However, anything can happen with him at this point and plenty of teams are vying for his services.

» Four-star running back Mike Blakely (Bradenton, FL)
– Like Mack Brown last year, the Gators have focused their attention on recruiting Blakely as their 2011 rusher. He named Florida his leader after visiting the campus last week and will attend FNL to get a better look at the school with his family. One of the top backs in the country, he is not ready to commit yet, but he did put UF above Auburn – his previous leader. A strong showing at FNL coupled with approval from his parents (all Gators fans) and a push from Florida could see him commit in July.

» Four-star quarterback Jerrard Randall (Hollywood, FL)
Always wanting to attend UF, Randall committed to Oregon after the Gators chose to accept the commitment of four-star QB Jeff Driskel (Oviedo, FL). Randall did not expect to get an offer from Florida as the team is only expected to take one quarterback in 2011, but he did receive one to play wide receiver after working with Azzinari during camp. “If I wasn’t already going to Oregon, I would probably go [to Florida] to play receiver,” he told Rivals. The Gators want him in the 2011 recruiting class but will not overload their quarterback position to do so.

» Three-star wide receiver Willie Snead IV (Muskegon, MI)
– The son of former Florida receiver Willie Snead III, he has yet to get an official offer from UF but had coaches eying him throughout his entire time on campus. Snead will not get an offer just because he is a legacy, but he probably did enough at camp to get one from the Gators on his own merit. Stay tuned.

» Three-star cornerback Chris Johnson (Ocala, FL)
– Received an offer from Florida after working out with the coaches recently and came away with both sides being impressed with each other. He is waiting for an official written offer to arrive and, once it does, he will likely commit – most likely before the end of July.

» [Unrated] cornerback Louchiez Purifoy (Pensacola, FL)
– Blew the coaching staff away with a 4.38-second 40-yard dash at the Gators’ camp and came away with an immediate offer from head coach Urban Meyer when he returned home. With his first big-time offer coming from UF and the fact that he grew up as a fan of the team coming into play, Purifoy told Rivals it was a “dream come true” and he “considered committing but didn’t” immediately.

» Four-star defensive end Aaron Lynch (Cape Coral, FL)
– Once known for calling Florida “arrogant” and insisting that the team should not bother recruiting him, Lynch camped with the Gators recently and came away impressed with his mind completely changed. I “fell in love with Florida,” he told Rivals. Do not expect a commitment soon with Lynch – he still has plenty of deciding to do and is awaiting offers.

» Four-star linebacker Lamar Dawson (Danville, KY),
Has the Gators even with Kentucky and Louisville – two hometown schools – at the moment but had a nice time at camp two weeks ago. Holds Florida in high regard and would probably commit to UF if he goes out-of-state.

» [Unrated] center/long snapper Nathan Theus (Jacksonville, FL)
– Has not received an offer yet from Florida because the team simply does not know if they will take someone at his position. However, if a long snapper is desired, Theus will likely get an immediate offer, likely because…

» 2012 offensive lineman John Theus (Jacksonville, FL)
– …is brothers with Nathan and received an offer from the Gators after working out in Gainesville two weeks ago. The Theus brothers would like to attend the same school, and offering Nathan may go a long way to convincing John that UF is right for him, too.

Though there were likely dozens more than we could uncover, at least 40 more recruits have been in-and-out of Gainesville over the last two weeks. Just a few of the more notable visitors: four-star LB Kent Turene (Lauderdale Lakes, FL), four-star OL Trip Thurman (Dover, DE), four-star DE Ray Drew (Thomasville, GA) and three-star CB Jordan Montgomery (Groveland, FL).


  1. Daniel M. says:

    ” but will also allow him (Wilder) to play linebacker”

    I thought he was insistent on carrying the rock? Wouldn’t they “allow” him to play RB or, require him to play LB?

    Wilder, Benjamin, and Steward would make this another stellar class.

    Excellent update Adam.

    • He wants to run the ball but most think, like Ronald Powell (who can play TE) and Matt Elam (also a great rusher), that his best chance of making it big-time is on defense. “Allow” refers to the team letting him practice and work at two positions, not the preference of the player. He wants to play offense and the Gators want him no matter what. But they would allow him to do both whereas with others they basically force them to stick to one or the other.

  2. Drew 4 Orange & Blue says:

    Good update….have to laugh at Purifoy and how laying down a sub 4.4 was worthy of an offer….you think Urban likes speed!!!!

  3. Drew 4 Orange & Blue says:

    What ever happened to that kid from Imokalee who supposedly ran in the 4.2’s…did he not qualify?

  4. alex4r says:

    Florida wants him to be the next to fit the Percy Harvin/Andre Debose

    Read more:
    ONLY GATORS Get Out Alive

  5. Mr2Bits says:

    Alex…thats a great link, I love that site. Ill make sure to add it to my favorites!

  6. SC Gator says:


  7. Cory says:

    Wilder will by no means fit a Percy Harvin role, he doesn’t have the build for that type of play. He’d be more of a traditional RB than anything on offense. Most analysts see him super talented and built for a LB, but he’s talented enough to play RB.

    • You can play the same role while having a different skill set. For example…Harvin was a wide receiver who could also run the ball. Wilder is more of a rusher who can catch passes. Both are dynamic. Both can do many of the same things. They simply have different specializations. I do not necessarily agree that he is a “traditional” RB.

  8. Drew 4 Orange & Blue says:

    this kid is too tall to be considered a traditional RB or in my mind be the ideal fit for the Percy position….my guess is he knows his surest bet to the being a top NFL pick is on the defensive side of the ball where his size and speed are sure to dominate but wants to play some on offense cause he likes it…can’t blame him

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