Sharpe, who’s ranked the nation’s No. 2 offensive tackle by ESPN RecruitingNation, committed to Florida despite growing concerns about the program’s future. Gators coach Will Muschamp fired offensive coordinator Brent Pease and offensive line coach Tim Davis last week after Florida finished the season with a 4-8 record.
“Coach Muschamp really needed help and I really want to help turn the program around,” Sharpe told ESPN. “I think we have a special class coming.”
That’s to be determined, but Florida took a nice step on Thursday. Along with Sharpe, Florida picked up a commitment from wide receiver Moral Stephens from Taylor County High School in Perry, Fla.
The two additions gave Florida 18 commitments for the 2014 class, which is ranked No. 9 in the nation by Rivals.com.
“Considering the down year on the field and some of the changes to the coaching staff, this Florida class is shaping up very well,” recruiting analyst Craig Haubert wrote on ESPN.com today.
Now Florida needs to finish with a strong close. The Gators are recruiting several highly-touted prospects, including athletes Jamal Adams and Adoree’ Jackson, defensive end Lorenzo Carter and wide receiver Travis Rudolph.
Florida is also in good position with receiver Eric Lauderdale from Saddleback Community College in Mission Viejo, Calif. It appears Oregon, which recently offered Lauderdale, will likely be Florida’s top competition.
“I like that the quarterback (Marcus Mariota) there is coming back, and you know I like that style of offense,” Lauderdale told Rivals. “I’d say they are on the same level as Florida with me.”
There are plenty of questions regarding Florida’s future. Can Will Muschamp return the Gators to their 2012 form when they won 11 games?
Muschamp is trying to convince recruits that Florida will be back to competing in the SEC next year.
“It’s still the University of Florida,” he said last month. “I think there’s some obvious reasons why we are where we are. We’re a team that won 11 games last year, and I don’t think that happened by accident. We have a really good football staff. We have some good players on our football team. We’re going to have a good football team moving forward. So at the end of the day, this is a great education and it’s a great place to come compete.”
Garrett expected to be a Tiger
Highly-touted linebacker Clifton Garrett from Plainfield South High School in Joliet, Ill., will announce his decision on Tuesday.
It would be a major upset if Garrett chooses any school other than LSU. All 45 predictions at 247Sports have Garrett committing to the Tigers.
Garrett, who’s ranked the nation’s No. 3 outside linebacker by 247Sports, took official visits to LSU, Florida, Ole Miss and Tennessee. Florida is the only school no longer in the running.
Garrett, who has already made his decision, told Rivals this week that his family helped him evaluate each school during his visits.
“We just kind of kept a checkpoint when we were on official visits, just things we liked and things we didn’t like,” Garrett said. “At the end we compared all three schools and things we liked and didn’t like. The school I’m going to be going to is definitely the place for me and I feel like I’m definitely looking forward to going there and playing.”
Alabama, Ohio State lead for McMillan
Linebacker Raekwon McMillan from Liberty County High School in Hinesville, Ga., appears to be focused on two schools as he nears his college decision.
Liberty County coach Kirk Warner told 247Sports that Alabama and Ohio State are his top two schools “in no particular order.” Auburn has also entered the mix. Tigers coaches visited McMillan in his home earlier this week.
Alabama head coach Nick Saban and defensive coordinator Kirby Smart visited McMillan on Thursday.
“I think all of them have made a good selling point to (McMillan),” Warner told 247Sports. “It’s just going to come down to how he’s related to them. The things I tell him is you’ve got to weed through the smoke and mirrors and then look at each coach and see how you feel about each coach and the players you’ve bonded with on visits.
“The academic portion – those are the things I’m stressing to him. He’s just going to have to weed through that stuff and get down to what I say is what’s important.”
Monday will be an important day – that’s when McMillan will announce his decision. The announcement could play a key role in the decision of Lorenzo Carter, a defensive end from Norcross (Ga.) High School.
Carter, who’s also considering Alabama along with Florida and Georgia, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in August it would be a “major plus” if McMillan were to choose a school he’s considering.
“I feel comfortable with him behind me,” Carter said at the time. “Me and him, we’ve seen each other at camps. We know what each other can do. I think if both of us got together, it could do some damage to the offense.”
Alabama has a “64 percent” chance of landing Carter, according to predictions made at 247Sports. Ohio State (78 percent) is a heavy favorite to land McMillan, according to the site.
Missouri ‘team to watch’ with Booth
Wide receiver Dominique Booth from Pike High School in Indianapolis will visit Rutgers this weekend.
Booth, who recently decommitted from Tennessee, told 247Sports this week he’s most strongly considering Indiana, Rutgers and South Florida.
“I think when you take into consideration the timing, who’s going to have mid-year guys and spots available and scholarships available, those are probably the ones,” Booth told the website.
Don’t rule out Missouri. The Tigers have kept in touch with Booth and could sign him if they have room for another early enrollee in January.
“If the Tigers find room for him, he’ll be headed to the Tigers,” Steve Wiltfong wrote for 247Sports.
“Room” is the reason Booth won’t be headed to Tennessee. He committed to the Vols in July but decommitted when coaches told him last month they no longer had a spot for him to enroll next month.
Tennessee has received commitments from two early enrollees – receiver Josh Malone and lineman Charles Mosley – since Booth decommitted from the Vols. He’s continued to keep up with their class despite the split.
Just looked Down the list of vol commits and at least 6 I convinced to go there smh
— Dominique Booth (@D1Bound721) December 9, 2013