July 5, 2010

What Lies Ahead


1) Offensive Line
Losing: Lorenzo Edwards, Brandon Hicks & A.J. Jones
Need: 4-5
Current Commits: Ryan Shazier
Why it's ranked here: When you add in the three senior linebackers UF lost after the 2009 season to the three more they'll lose after the 2010 season, that will leave the Gators dangerously thin at the position. Yes there are a couple of talented youngsters who will be around in 2011, most notably Jon Bostic and Jelani Jenkins, but this is by far the position where UF needs a big infusion of talent.
Possible targets: Stephone Anthony, Lamar Dawson, Trey DePriest, Curtis Grant, A.J. Johnson, Tony Steward, Lateek Townsend & Kent Turene

2) Linebacker
Losing: Duke Lemmens & Justin Trattou
Need: 2-3
Current Commits: Jeoffrey Pagan
Why it's ranked here: Though there's high hope for a youngster such as Ronald Powell, there isn't currently a proven play maker on the squad at the defensive end position. The players returning at the position, haven't done anything to date that would strike fear into the heart of an opposing quarterback. The Gators need to sign a couple of proven pass-rushers - who won't need a couple of years of growing before they are able to contribute.
Possible targets: Todd Barr, Xzavier Dickson, Ray Drew, Aaron Lynch, Curt Maggitt, Norkeithus Otis & Ishaq Williams

3) Defensive Line
Losing: Ahmad Black
Need: 2-3
Current Commits: None
Why it's ranked here: From the sounds of it, barring injury you can all but add Will Hill to the losing category. The play of Joshua Evans (before he was injured) and Matt Elam during spring ball helps some, but UF could still use a couple of top notch prospects at safety.
Possible targets: Dondi Kirby, Wayne Lyons, Malcolm Mitchell & Damian Swann

4) Defensive Back
Losing: None
Need: 1
Current commits: Jeff Driskel
Why it's ranked here: How bad the need actually is depends on how Trey Burton progresses. If he continues to progress as well (and fast) as he did over the course of spring football practice, UF can probably get by with just one quarterback. However, if he were to regress during fall practice or during the season, then the Gators might want to play it safe and grab another quarterback, even if it is a prospect who could project at another position, but can also be a signal caller as well.
Possible targets: None

5) Running Back
Losing: Marcus Gilbert, Maurice Hurt, Carl Johnson & Mike Pouncey
Need: 3-4
Current Commits: Tommy Jordan
Why it's ranked here: This is probably the one position where the UF staff has to wonder if they've cast a wide enough net. The amount of top targets doesn't seem to live up to the need. Out of the group of top targets, UF has to feel very good about Thurman, but that's about it. You might see UF forced to go out and offer prospects such as Errin Joe, Kaleb Johnson or Zach Debell.
Possible targets: Bobby Hart, Marcus Jackson, Ryan Kelly, Trip Thurman, Landon Turner & Xzavier Ward

6) Wide Receiver
Losing: Chaz Henry
Need: 1
Current Commits: Kyle Christy
Why it's ranked here: Special teams as a whole are often overlooked, but unless they were willing to count on walk-ons to battle it out for the starting spot, UF needed to add a punter to the class of 2011.
Possible targets: None

7) Quarterback
Losing: Carl Moore & Justin Williams
Need: 2-3
Current Commits: Javares McRoy & Ja'Juan Story
Why it's ranked here: The Gators have an abundance of young talent, with a ton of upside, but very few of them have proven anything at all to this point. If young receivers such as Omarius Hines, Andre Debose and Chris Dunkley live up to potential, the need at this position goes down drastically. If they struggle as individuals or a group, the need goes up. Truthfully, the current status of the board at receiver doesn't allow for it to become a big priority.
Possible targets: Kelvin Benjamin, Jerrard Randall & Sammy Watkins

8) Tight End
Losing: Emmanuel Moody
Need: 1-2
Current Commits: None
Why it's ranked here: This is a position, that because of how the ball is spread around in the UF offense (quarterbacks and slot receivers getting carries), it never seems like a huge priority. Maybe that will change this year. If so, perhaps it becomes more of a need to keep 4-5 backs on scholarship.
Possible targets: Mike Bellamy, Mike Blakely, Quan Bray, Savon Huggins & James Wilder Jr.

9) Kicker
Losing: Moses Jenkins
Need: 2-3
Current Commits: De'Ante Saunders
Why it's ranked here: This is the position that could potentially make a move well up the board depending on how youngsters perform this season. If Joshua Shaw and Jaylen Watkins play/practice well and Jeremy Brown fully returns from his back issues, cornerback isn't much of a need this cycle. If those three things don't happen, then UF will need a couple of top tier corners.
Possible targets: Damiere Byrd, Louchiez Purifoy, Marcus Roberson, Valdez Showers & Nick Waisome

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