Recruiting Roundtable: Taking an in-depth look at Class of 2017
With just over three months remaining until Signing Day it's time to take a more in-depth look at Florida's progress in the 2017 recruiting cycle with this Roundtable. Inside the Gators staffers Blake Alderman, Justin Johnson, Fernando Juncadella and Mark Wheeler share their thoughts.
1) What is the biggest position of need remaining to be filled with just under four months remaining?
Alderman: I think adding depth at offensive tackle is a glaring need Florida still needs to address. They have a commitment from Miami native Kadeem Telfort, who I think is a top three offensive tackle in the state of Florida. However, the hometown Miami Hurricanes are a threat to flip him. The Gators desperately need to hold onto Telfort, as well as add at least one and perhaps two of these other tackle targets they have their sites set on. This position going forward is the biggest question mark of Florida's 2017 recruiting class.
Johnson: Without question, offensive tackle is the biggest position of need for the Gators. After only signing one tackle in the 2016 class, Florida needs to find at least two tackles this time around. David Sharpe and Jawaan Taylor should lock down the starting spots next year, but the need for depth at the position is crucial for Florida down the line. If either starter goes down, there isn't a proven player on the roster at the position.
Juncadella: Although Florida will be returning plenty of bodies up front, you can never have enough talented offensive linemen in the SEC. As of right now, they only have one committed in the 2017 cycle in Telfort. If they could add a couple of more guys in the next couple of months, there is going to be some major competition come next year for the starting five, and that is exactly what coach Jim McElwain wants.
Wheeler: Games, especially those in a big boy conference such as the SEC, are won in the trenches. For the past couple of cycles Florida has struck out badly when it comes to recruiting top tier defensive tackles. Over these last couple of games with Joey Ivie sidelined entirely - when Caleb Brantley is out injured or taking a breather – has offered a glimpse into the future. It's scary. The Gators best player inside has been 250-pound CeCe Jefferson, whose best when he is on the end of the line and only somewhat utilized on passing downs inside. Instead of hoping to grow defensive ends into a player capable of having a presence inside, the Gators desperately need a couple of top flight tackles in this class.
2) Rate Florida's top five current commits 1-to-5 based on talent, need and ranking.
Alderman: 1. Kadeem Telfort (OT) / 2. Elijah Blades (CB) / 3. Fred Hansard (DT) / 4. Zachary Carter (DL) / 5. Ventrell Miller (LB)
Johnson: 1. Elijah Blades (CB) / 2. Marco Wilson (CB) / 3. Kadeem Telfort (T) / 4. Fred Hansard (DT) / 5. Zachary Carter (DE)
Juncadella: 1. Elijah Blades (CB) / 2. Fred Hansard (DT) / 3. Kadeem Telfort (OT) 4. James Houston (LB) / 5. Jordon Scott (DT)
Wheeler: Fred Hansard (DT) / 2. Elijah Blades (CB) / Marco Wilson (CB) / Kadeem Telfort (OT) / 5. Kemore Gamble (TE)
3) Who is the top uncommitted offensive and defensive targets remaining on the board considering need, the Gators chance of getting them and national ranking?
Alderman: For offensive target I would love to have picked an offensive lineman, but many of Florida's targets are committed elsewhere and it is an uphill climb if the Gators are going to flip them. So, I am going to go with five-star Donovan Peoples-Jones. The Gators have done a solid job rebuilding their wide receiver stable under McElwain, and Peoples-Jones could contribute early. On defense I am going with safety Devon Hunter. The Gators are going to lose All-American Marcus Maye after this season, and would love to replace him with a top 100 player like Hunter.
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