Recruiting at Florida isn't supposed to look this difficult.
The Gators have seen four prospects decommit since July 19. That list includes defensive backs Jalen Julius, Marcus Lewis and Deontai Williams and wide receiver Tristan Payton.
"I just want to step back right now and open up my recruitment," Julius told the Gainesville Sun on Sunday.
It turns out that statement was part of a trend.
Williams started that party when he switched his commitment to Georgia on July 19. It's hard to tell where his recruitment is headed considering he turned around and attended Florida's Friday Night Lights camp last weekend after he had switched his commitment to Georgia.
Payton's plan looks pretty clear right now.
I've decided to decommit from the university of Florida thanks for all the love— Tristan Payton (@tristanpayton6) July 21, 2014
Payton made that decision less than a month after his trip to Southern California. It now appears USC has a strong lead for Payton as 100 percent of the 247Sports Crystal Ball predictions point to him choosing the Trojans.
But all is not lost for Florida. The Gators have received commitments from three prospects in the last week: offensive linemen George Brown Jr. and Mike Horton and receiver Kalif Jackson.
Brown's announcement at Winton Woods High School in Cincinnati drew the most attention.
That's a live baby caiman, which is a four-legged reptile of the alligator family.
So all is not lost for Florida. It just needs to find more recruits with the same level of enthusiasm for the Gators (and their reptile relatives) as they battle their SEC rivals for the nation's top prospects.
Florida State lands two Elite 11 quarterbacks
Florida State presents another major challenge for Florida.
The Gators had emerged as the dominant recruiting team in the state under coach Urban Meyer. But the momentum has shifted to Tallahassee in recent years with Florida State clearly leading the way for the state's top prospects.
Florida State signed three of the top six in-state prospects in the 2014 class, according to the 247Sports Composition Rankings. The highest-rated in-state player signed by Florida: offensive lineman David Sharpe, who was considered the state's 17th-best prospect.
What made it worse for the Gators is those three players signed by Florida State were key targets for Florida: running back Dalvin Cook and receiver Ermon Lane and Travis Rudolph.
The Gators had hoped all three players would come in and help Florida's offense immediately. Instead, they're helping the Gators' top rival.
Now Florida State has found two more quarterbacks willing to help. The Seminoles received commitments on Thursday from Kai Locksley and Deondre Francois, both of whom competed in last month's Elite 11 quarterback camp in Beaverton, Ore.
Locksley was the first to announce his pledge to Florida State on Thursday. Francois said his decision wasn't affected by Locksley's choice.
"It's another competitor that I'm competing against," Francois said at his press conference. "It's not a big deal. I'm glad to go to FSU. I'm blessed to be there."
That shows the mindset of recruits choosing Florida State. The Seminoles have three quarterbacks (De'Andre Johnson being the third) committed in the 2015 class. It's a big feat to land two talented quarterbacks in a class, let alone three.
Florida and coach Will Muschamp are already having a tough time on the recruiting trail. Florida State isn't making it any easier.
Alabama adds two more defensive backs
Alabama has been just fine in recruiting despite the rise of Florida State.
Alabama received commitments this week from defensive backs Ronnie Harrison from Tallahassee, Fla., and Rico McGraw from Ensworth School in Nashville, Tenn.
McGraw's mother, Leigh Ann Clark, told Rivals that McGraw chose Alabama because of coach Nick Saban and his history coaching defensive backs.
"He has been contemplating this decision for a while," Clark said. "This is a family decision. Alabama is an excellent program. We felt Alabama was a better fit."
Alabama has been the best at recruiting since Saban arrived in Tuscaloosa in 2007. Schools like Georgia recruit at a very high level, but it's rarely a fair fight when they go up against Alabama. McGraw's recruitment is the latest example.
"Not taking anything away from Coach (Jeremy) Pruitt or Georgia because we really think a lot about him, but you just have to look at the situation," Clark said. "Alabama was the best college for Rico."
Hall chooses Missouri
Wide receiver Emanuel Hall from Centennial High School in Franklin, Tenn., committed to Missouri on Thursday.
Proud to announce that I have have decided to commit to The University Of Missouri!!! I look forward to becoming a Tiger. #FutureSECChamps— ⚡️EHall⚡️ (@emanuelhall) July 31, 2014
Hall chose Missouri over Vanderbilt and Louisville. He also received offers from schools such as Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Cincinnati and Wake Forest.