Florida’s offense received a boost Thursday when offensive lineman David Sharpe from Providence School of Jacksonville committed to the Gators.
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.
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