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With this week marking the halfway point of the 2014 recruiting cycle, news along the football recruiting front is starting to pick up considerably.
Hand Sets a Date
On Sunday the No. 1 rated prospect in the nation Woodbridge (Va.) Woodbridge Senior defensive end Da'Shawn Hand announced via Twitter than he will make his college commitment on November 14th. Hand will chose between Michigan, Alabama and Florida.
[Related: Hand sets decision date]
A source close to Hand told Inside the Gators that the Rivals100 member would be in Gainesville sometime this fall for an official visit, but no set date. The only known official visit Hand will take is to Michigan on September 7th for their game against Notre Dame.
Michigan is the rumored leader for this five-star defensive end, but he still has yet to visit Florida at all. The official visits will be key to Florida and Alabama making a run at the Wolverines.
August Decisions Looming
After a pretty quiet summer leading up to Friday Night Lights, and then a short burst of commitments immediately before and after the event, things are looking to pick up for the Gators in the month of August. The Gators are very much in the running for four prospects who are scheduled to make their verbal commitments in the month of August.
August 10th is when Homestead (Fla.) Rivals100 wide receiver Ermon Lane and Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) University School Rivals250 cornerback Quincy Wilson. These two prospects said that they plan on playing at the same college together and have Florida, Ohio State and Southern Cal as common denominators among their list of finalists.
A top wide out and a solid corner are both high priorities for the Gators in this recruiting cycle.
Then, three days later on August 13th Milledgeville (Ga.) Georgia Military Academy JUCO defensive end DaVonte Lambert will announce between Florida, Auburn and Tennessee. According to person close to the situation, while there is over a week remaining, the Gators are the presumed leader, thanks mostly to defensive line coach Brad Lawing. He was key in the recruitment of Lambert, who will be used as a strong side defensive end if he does indeed pick the Gators.
One other name the Gator Nation should keep an eye on in the month of August is Plantation (Fla.) four-star athlete Chris Lammons. At this time there is no commitment date set for Lammons, but he looks to make his choice somewhere before the start of his senior football season. Tennessee, Miami and Florida seem to be the three he is leaning to the most at this time. If Florida does pull Wilson and Lane, then it is likely that Lammons will join them in Gainesville.
Familiar Name at Tight End
One interesting name that has shown up lately with UF is Yuma (Az.) Arizona Western College JUCO tight end Josh McNeil, who was committed to both Alabama and LSU during the last recruiting cycle, but failed to qualify. Currently McNeil has named the Gators, Miami and Arizona State as his top three.
[Related: Former Rivals250 tight end to visit]
At this time Florida is interested in McNeil, and is monitoring his academic situation. In order for McNeil to be ready for the 2014 class, he will need to have his AA degree by the start of next fall, giving him three semesters to get his credits right. If McNeil is not ready by that time, the Gators will have to take a pass on him.
McNeil looks to officially visit Gainesville sometime this fall, and also will check out Miami and Arizona State.