Recruiting Roundhouse: Grading the Florida Gators Class Thus Far

Ben SpicerCorrespondent IJanuary 31, 2009

A victor of two of the previous three National Championships, the Florida Gators have been founded upon simple principles under head coach Urban Meyer.

Those unique philosophies haven't varied annually in terms of recruiting, and things aren't looking any different a couple days from National Signing Day.

The basic fundamental in Urban Meyer's mind for producing National Championships is good defense, special teams, and speed. Speed is already prevalent in a class that already contains two 5-star players and 10 4-star players.

Although player absences diminished the 2007 Gators, a season after their first title under Urban Meyer, the situation has been reversed now. Florida returns every defensive starter, including names such as Brandon Spikes, Major Wright, and Joe Haden.

On offense, however, some concerns have arisen. Former offensive coordinator Dan Mullen bolted for the Mississippi State head coach position, and the Gators lose Percy Harvin and Louis Murphy at the wide receiver position, as well as the likes of three offensive linemen.

Of those offensive linemen, two were starters. Jason Watkins and Phil Trautwein graduate as two-time National Champions. Jim Tartt, who suffered some injuries during his Gator career, also graduates.

Coaching at a program like that of Florida has it's perks. Certainly it's tough seeing a star player such as Percy Harvin go, but you've got numerous tools and capabilities to make up for it. Andre DeBose, a versatile and shifty wide receiver, has headlined a recruiting class that's still young.

DeBose has already drawn comparisons to Harvin, and has great speed, a principal that the Gators have become known for. The Gators also added Nu'Keese Richardson, a wide receiver that could potentially bring some noise to the table. Although Richardson is 5'8", he brings a lot of speed to Gainesville along with him.

Urban Meyer may also be satisfied with quarterback commitment Jordan Reed, who has great speed and may be engineered to run the spread option offense. The Gators also received a new running back in four star speedster Mike Gillislee.

The holes on the offensive line have been patched for future perfection as well, with commitments ringing in from several four star players. Notable signee Xavier Nixon is the first of five offensive line commitments thus far. Nick Alajajian and Jonotthan Harrison are the other two four star commits.

On the defensive side of the football, a unit that needs little to no new additions, there have been some notable commitments.

The defensive line will welcome five star defensive tackle Gary Brown, as well as four star defensive tackle Edwin Herbert and three star defensive end Kedric Johnson.

With the Gators stacking up for future runs at the title, the defensive line looks to be set. Florida received a few commitments from defensive lineman last season, most notably from five star defensive tackle Omar Hunter.

Florida has received a few commitments as far as linebackers and defensive backs are concerned. The Gators signed four star linebacker Jon Bostic, as well as four star defensive back Dee Finley and four star athlete Marsalis Teague.

The commitment list thus far would normally be enough to guarantee success for the next couple seasons, but the Gators aren't done yet. The defending National Champions are still in the mix for five star linebacker Jelani Jenkins, among others.

It's safe to assume Urban Meyer and his coaching staff aren't only pleased with being the best on the field; - they want to bring in the best talent off of it. In a recruiting season that's seen it's fair share of de-commitments, there's a good possibility that the Gators can land the No. 1 overall recruiting class come Tuesday.