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July 27, 2012
FNL Preview: Time to go under the lights
Tonight the Florida coaching staff will host their annual Friday Night Lights camp, which marks the end of the summer camp cycle. Because Florida only has a couple of open slots remaining in the Class of 2013, many of tonight's participants are from the 2014 and 2015 classes. By all but wrapping up their class early, UF is now able to get a jump on next year. Already, in a running thread in the Alley, Inside the Gators has confirmed roughly 60 big time names that will be in attendance.
We'll hit on a few of them in this Friday Night Lights preview.
The strong bond between the committed prospects of the Class of 2013 shines through with every current Gator commit confirming they will be at the Swamp for Friday Night Lights, minus the newest cornerback commit, Vernon Hargreaves III, who will be making his way to Orlando to take part in Gridiron Kings instead.
What is shaping up to be a stellar defensive back class for the Gators could possibly get even better if/when Orlando (Fla.) Dr. Philips Rivals100 safety Marcell Harris makes yet another trip to Gainesville on Friday after having already taken a few visits during the spring and summer.
Interestingly enough, he will be making the trip with current UF commit, Daytona Beach (Fla.) Mainland linebacker Quinton Powell. One of the Florida commits who has been working on Harris for a while now in order to convince him to join the Gators class.
Moving from the secondary to those they will be covering on Friday night during one-on-one drills, there are a couple of uncommitted wide outs who will be on hand that bear watching.
First up is Seffner (Fla.) Armwood Rivals250 receiver Alvin Bailey who states a recent offer from Florida. And then there's Gainesville (Fla.) wide out Chris Thompson who impressed the Florida coaches at a camp in June with his blazing speed. While Thompson lives in the Gators' back yard, another receiver is making a much longer trip to attend FNL. Rivals250 athlete Nadir Barnwell will be traveling in from Piscataway (N.J.) in order to make his first visit to UF. He plays wide receiver, but may also work out at cornerback which is another position he plays.
Two big name defensive linemen on Florida's radar will also be on hand. Jacksonville (Fla.) Sandalwood Rivals250 member Demarcus Walker will be down taking his final visit of the summer before he makes his public announcement in early August. Tampa (Fla.) Hillsborough Rivals100 defensive end Jordan Sherit who is making his second visit to Gainesville in the last two days. His announcement could come even sooner then Walker's.
One of the biggest question marks regarding the event is whether or not Detroit (Mich.) Cass Tech Rivals250 offensive guard, and Michigan commit, David Dawson will make the trip down. During his first two days in Portland, Ore., while at The Opening, Dawson was telling anyone who was listening, including other Michigan commits, that he was on the verge of decommitting and would be at UF for FNL. Then later in the week, he backed off both claims.
With Florida currently sitting at 18 public commitments in the Class of 2013, the Gators are close to filling all of their opening slots in this recruiting cycle, thus most of the attention is on the huge number of 2014 prospects that will be on hand on Friday night.
Three of the biggest names out of the Class of 2014 who are expected to be in Gainesville are actually committed elsewhere at this time.
The 2014 wide receivers are a bright spot, but unfortunately for the Orange and Blue, several top targets have already committed elsewhere. However, both Tyrone (Ga.) Sandy Creek wide out, and UGA commit, Demarre Kitt and Miami (Fla.) Coral Reef wide receiver, and FSU commit, Jacob McCrary will both be on hand.
2014 Ponte Verde (Fla.) Nease linebacker Kain Daub recently committed to LSU, but he will once again be in Gainesville this weekend and plans on participating in camp action this evening.
Tonight the trenches will feature some of the top projected prospects for the 2014 class.
Among those expected in are St. Petersburg (Fla.) Lakewood offensive lineman Isaiah Wynn, who won Offensive Line MVP honors at the Florida Rivals VTO camp in Orlando, and even gave current Florida defensive line commit Joey Ivie a challenge while there.
Facing off against him will be several big names from along the defensive line.
Included in that group are Wauchula (Fla.) Hardee 2014 defensive end Keyon Brown and Palm Bay (Fla.) Bayside 2014 defensive tackle Travonte Valentine.
Valentine, who recently decommitted from Louisville, has strong ties to the Florida program and could possibly pull the trigger for the Gators.
A couple of other 2015 prospects who are scheduled to be in attendance tonight that the Gator Nation should keep an eye on are Glen St. Mary (Fla.) Baker County defensive tackle CeCe Jefferson, who grew up a fan of the Gators, and Jacksonville (Fla.) First Coast linebacker Sherrod Pittman.
This is not meant to be a complete listing of those who are scheduled to attend. Nor will all those listed actually make it in as expected.
Follow along in the Alley as Blake Alderman, Bryan Holt, Lauren Mills, Chris Nee and Woody Wommack report live from the Swamp and then tune in after the event for the wrap-up (stories, interviews, notebooks, analysis, photos and more).