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April 21, 2014
Five to Follow: The Secondary
The 2015 recruiting cycle is in full swing and Florida currently sits with six public commitments. The next big event on the calendar as far as prospects are concerned is the spring evaluation period, which runs mid April through the end of May. This week Inside the Gators will unveil a position-by-position look at the top pre-spring targets in our Five to Follow series.
Up today is the secondary.
By signing the likes of Jalen Tabor, Duke Dawson and J.C. Jackson, Florida loaded up at cornerback during the last recruiting cycle. That isn't even factoring in Quincy Wilson or Deiondre Porter, who could play corner or another position. The year before that the Gators brought in Vernon Hargreaves III, Marcell Harris and Nick Washington. This year UF already has a commitment from Rivals100 defensive back Marcus Lewis. The premise being, when it comes to the secondary, don't worry, Will Muschamp and Travaris Robinson will deliver. As for this cycle, look for another cornerback and a pair of safeties if possible.
Here are five top pre-spring prospects to watch at the position.
Inside the Gators' pre-spring top five lists are based on national ranking and of course whether or not Florida is showing interest at this time. One player having an offer this early doesn't necessarily mean he will be a higher priority throughout the process. Therefore it doesn't mean he will be rated higher on our list. What you see here is solely the opinion of the staff of Inside the Gators and does not represent the opinion of the University of Florida or anyone associated with the Gator program.
Carlton Davis | Miami (Fla.) Norland | 6-foot-2, 178-pounds
What was Said: "I know they produce a lot of defensive backs and they always have a ton of talent up there," said Davis of the Gators. "I know they had a bad year last year but they will bounce back and have a great one this year. I am basically just waiting to see what they do."
Related: Davis talks top five
Competition: Alabama, Clemson, Miami, and South Carolina.
The Skinny: Davis became a hot commodity on the recruiting trail lately, picking up many offers from top programs across the country. Florida will have ace recruiter Robinson working his magic here in hopes of pulling another big time defensive back out of South Florida.
Watch video highlights of Davis by clicking here.
Ronnie Harrison | Tallahassee (Fla.) Florida | 6-foot-2, 192-pounds
What was Said: "I am very interested in Florida," the UNC commit told Inside the Gators. "It's away from Tallahassee and it's in the SEC and I grew up watching them and I am interested. I watched Joe Haden when he was there, Josh Evans, Matt Elam, and Louchez Purifoy. I try to model my game after a lot of them."
Related: UNC commit taking visits
Competition: North Carolina.
The Skinny: At this time Harrison is saying he is a solid commitment to North Carolina, but is very open about taking visits to other schools. Harrison is familiar with the tradition the Gators have been building over the last few years with defensive backs and is something that has his eye. Florida doesn't have a huge need for cornerback in 2015 with Lewis currently committed, but if the Gators want to get involved they would be a school Harrison would keep in mind.
Watch video highlights of Harrison by clicking here.
Mike Hughes | New Bern (NC) | 5-foot-10, 160-pounds
What was Said: "They see me as a cornerback. They play a lot of man coverage and I think I can fit in really well in that system."
Related: Hughes being patient
Competition: Clemson, North Carolina, N.C. State, and South Carolina.
The Skinny: Florida is a school that has stuck out for Hughes since he picked up his offer last spring. Defensive line coach Brad Lawing has really used his connection to the Carolina's to his advantage here and has a strong bond with this four-star. Florida could use this Carolina athlete at cornerback, safety, or even on the offensive side of the ball as a receiver.
Watch video highlights of Hughes by clicking here.
Jaquan Johnson | Miami (Fla.) Killian | 5-foot-10, 172-pounds
What was Said: "Basically I can come in and they are going to give me the opportunity to play," said Johnson of the UF coach's message. "They see me like a Matt Elam safety sticking the little slot receivers."
Related: Florida impresses four-star
Competition: Florida State and Miami.
The Skinny: The Gators see this South Florida athlete on the defensive side of the ball at safety and think he fits into their scheme perfectly. Though Johnson is high on UF, at this time he is open to other programs as well and is in no hurry to make a commitment.
Watch video highlights of Johnson by clicking here.
Tarvarus McFadden | Plantation (Fla.) American Heritage | 6-foot-3, 198-pounds
What was Said: "I'm 6-foot-3 and I play corner, so I'm pretty sure I can play at any program," McFadden said. "That's my goal, to play early."
Related: McFadden talks recruiting
Competition: Auburn, Florida State and LSU.
The Skinny: The Gators are going to have their work cut out for them if they plan on landing this five-star cornerback. Florida State is the team currently leading for McFadden, but he doesn't plan on making a commitment anytime soon. Florida has tried to get this Rivals100 cornerback on campus, but has failed to do so. Expect Robinson to make a stop by McFadden's school this spring.
Watch video highlights of McFadden by clicking here.