Florida Football Recruiting: 7 Commits and Top Targets to Watch at The Opening
We are less than a month away from The Opening, and the Florida Gators will be well-represented during the event. Whether they are players who have already committed or recruits who are seriously considering taking their talents to Gainesville, Florida fans will have many reasons to pay close attention to the upcoming camp that kicks off in early July.
The Opening is a four-day football camp that features some of the top college football recruits in the country. Players will run different drills and have a chance to showcase some of the skills that they’ll soon put to use at the college level. It’s also a chance for college football fans to see future players in action for the first time.
Here are the key guys that Florida fans should be watching closely.
Marcus Lewis, 4-Star CB/WR
From: Washington, D.C. (Gonzaga)
Height/Weight: 6'1", 187 pounds
Recruitment Status: Committed to Florida in April.
Marcus Lewis was invited to The Opening on May 6, the same day he received an offer from Oregon. That's significant, given that he told 247Sports that he plans to take official visits to Florida, Ole Miss, Miami, Oregon and Maryland beginning in the fall. Don't worry, Florida fans—I don't see Lewis backing out of his commitment.
He is a versatile player who will likely play on the defensive side of the ball at Florida. He has great instincts and doesn't mind getting his hands dirty in run support. One thing to watch is if he can keep up with the speedy and talented receivers who will be participating in The Opening. A lack of lateral quickness and change-of-direction skills has been an area of weakness for him.
Ray-Ray McCloud III, 4-Star RB
From: Tampa, Fla. (Sickles)
Height/Weight: 5'9", 175 pounds
Recruitment Status: Uncommitted. He's considering Florida, Clemson, Notre Dame, Florida State and Kentucky.
Ray-Ray McCloud III received his invite to The Opening on March 31, just five days after he took an unofficial visit to check out the Florida campus. While your guess is as good as mine when it comes to his commitment, new Florida commit Sheriron Jones did tell 247Sports that he reached out to the talented running back prospect in hopes of convincing him to become a Gator. At this point, it's anyone's game.
McCloud is elusive in the open field and a big play waiting to happen. He's also an underrated receiver and could be a threat as a return man as well. He's somebody you simply want to get into space as much as possible. There are some slight concerns about his top-end speed, which makes this event a terrific measuring stick, given all these elite athletes on the field.
Adonis Thomas, 4-Star ATH
From: Lawrenceville, Ga. (Central Gwinnett)
Height/Weight: 6'4", 215 pounds
Recruitment Status: Uncommitted. He's considering Florida, Ohio State and Alabama.
Adonis Thomas has made a lot of unofficial visits over the last couple of months and received his invite to The Opening on May 6. He's expected to announce his commitment on August 1. Most believe that the Gators are still in the driver's seat.
He has the size and athleticism to be an extremely good player. He's a great tackler, is quite quick for his size and can get off the edge in a hurry. I haven't seen a ton of film from him at wide receiver, but he appears to be a natural pass-catcher and somebody who can make plays downfield.
While I think he's a better outside linebacker prospect, it's going to be interesting to see which side of the ball he prefers.
Martez Ivey, 5-Star OT
From: Apopka, Fla. (Apopka)
Height/Weight: 6'6", 270 pounds
Recruitment Status: Uncommitted. He's considering Florida, Auburn and Alabama.
There may not be another player in this class that Florida needs more than Martez Ivey. He's an elite offensive tackle prospect who could step in right away and help this football team. While he's widely been considered a favorite to become a Gator, he's not expected to make a decision until next year's U.S. Army All-American Bowl. Auburn is also heavily in the mix after just landing high school teammate Chandler Cox.
New commit Sheriron Jones, however, did tell 247Sports that he spoke to Ivey about possibly committing to Florida.
Ivey has the combination of size and athleticism to be a beast at the collegiate level. One thing he can improve on is his pad level, as he tends to get a little too high at times.
Deondre Farrier, 3-Star WR
From: Orlando, Fla. (Lake Nona)
Height/Weight: 6'0", 173 pounds
Recruitment Status: Uncommitted. He's considering Florida, USC and others.
There hasn't been a ton of news surrounding Deondre Farrier since he decommitted from Florida in February. Well, other than the fact he received his invite to The Opening on March 31. Strangely enough, he did tell the Orlando Sentinel a couple of weeks ago that he's still committed to the school.
Whatever his status may be, he needs to improve his explosiveness and quickness off the ball. He's a little too slow off the line for a receiver his size. You'd like to see that improve during workouts at The Opening. On the bright side, Farrier has great ball skills and is terrific at picking up yards after the catch.
Maybe we'll get an update on his bizarre recruiting status as well.
Byron Cowart, 4-Star DE
From: Seffner, Fla. (Armwood)
Height/Weight: 6'4", 250 pounds
Recruitment Status: Uncommitted. He's considering Florida, Oregon, LSU, Notre Dame and others.
Byron Cowart told 247Sports that he will have a Florida and Oregon hat on the table when he announces his decision next year at the Under Armour All-American Game. In hopes of possibly adding another hat to the table, he'll visit Notre Dame later this month, according to Rivals. Unless anything drastic changes, Florida is still the favorite for his services.
He is a ridiculously active and physical player; you rarely see so much energy and the nonstop motor that he brings to the table. He flies around the field, gives 100 percent effort on every play and simply punishes the ball-carrier. There's not much he needs to improve, but I'd like to see a little bit of a quicker step off the line. He needs to flash a little more explosiveness when the ball is snapped.
Regardless, Florida fans are going to love Cowart if he commits.
George Campbell, 4-Star WR
From: Tarpon Springs, Fla. (East Lake)
Height/Weight: 6'3", 184 pounds
Recruitment Status: Uncommitted. He's considering Florida, Oklahoma, LSU, Clemson and Michigan.
Former Michigan commit George Campbell seems to be digging Florida quite a bit and is expected by many to pick the school when it's all said and done. But nothing is ever a done deal when you're the top-rated wide receiver in the class and have every program in the country begging you to sign on the dotted line.
With his size and speed, the sky is the limit. The elite athleticism and skill set are all there, making the job of the coaching staff a breeze. The problem is that Campbell isn't the most polished pass-catcher in this class, almost making you wonder if a position change should be considered. He can sometimes look awkward when attacking the ball and relies too much on his body to secure the catch.
That's just about the only complaint anyone can have with Campbell. It'll be fun to see if that area of his game has improved. Either way, Florida will continue to push hard for this young man to commit.