Published December 8, 2010 - 5:09am
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Continuing our look at five instant impact recruits for the SEC teams, today we look at the Florida Gators. Florida has dominated recruiting in recent years, and one can argue both ways whether or not the weak 2010 season hurts or helps recruiting for the Gators – the weak season may make Florida more attractive since big time athletes can step right in and get on the field.
Here are five such recruits that can step in and make an instant impact for the 2011 Gators.
#1 – Jeff Driskel – Quarterback
Driskel is one of the top recruits in the country so if you follow the Gators, you’re no stranger to Driskel. The most interesting development in the Driskel to Florida story is how horrible the quarterback play was for the Gators in 2010. Moreover, the horrendous fit of John Brantley into the Meyer spread offense showcases how much Meyer needs an athletic QB. Enter Jeff Driskel.
Many expect Florida to go completely back to the spread option attack for the 2011 season and open up the quarterback competition completely. No longer is John Brantley the starting QB, therefore, no longer is the priority to tailor the offense to him. The priority is to find the QB who can run the spread option attack. Jeff Driskel could easily be that guy in 2010, and might be a starting quarterback as a true freshman.
I imagine Urban Meyer is salivating at the thought of Driskel’s arrival to Gainesville. He should be fun to watch.
#2 – Mike Blakely – Running Back
At first glance, Florida has depth at running back. Jeffery Demps and Chris Rainey are well known playmakers for the Gators, but in 2010, both spent significant time out, the former due to injury and the latter due to stupid text messages.
Demps is having renewed thoughts of pursuing track and Chris Rainey could easily spend time at the slot position opening up time for a Blakely to make an immediate impact.
Mike Gillislee will also get on the field, but the bottom line is no matter how crowded the position is, the top playmakers will get on the field in an Urban Meyer offense. Blakely can make plays and if can demonstrate early that he is a reliable option, he’ll see action on the field.
#3 – AC Leonard – Tight End
AC Leonard is a big time tight end that can make an immediate impact for the Gators. Playmaking ability in the passing game was lacking big time with the loss of TE Aaron Hernandez and receivers like Riley Cooper and Louis Murphy.
Look for the offensive staff to work him into the offense in a similar fashion as Aaron Hernandez in years past. Hernandez during his prime was a main go-to guy who made plays catching the ball and with athletic runs after the catch.
#4 – Ja’Juan Story – Wide Receiver
Continuing the theme of lack of playmaker at receiver, Story can easily get playing time early with Florida. Story is 6’3 and 195 lbs so he is a big target for the Florida passing attack. Story combines his size with speed with a 4.4-second 40-yard time. Story has played receiver, quarterback and defensive back in high school showcasing his range of athleticism. Various recruiting sites have Story between a three and four star recruit, but regardless, he is a big pick up for the Florida Gators and can have an immediately impact in 2011.
#5 – Loucheiz Purifoy – Athlete / Cornerback
Purifoy is a 6’0, 170 lb athlete from Pensacola, Florida. With Janoris Jenkins likely heading to the NFL, Purifoy can make an immediate impact in the Florida secondary.
If you watched the Florida State game, you saw Florida cornerback Moses Jenkins get absolutely dominated by Florida State – Jenkins was playing in replacement of injured Jeremy Brown. While Brown has had a decent year, and Janoris Jenkins is of course a stud, there are definite holes after that. Loucheiz Purifoy can see immediate action and make an impact upon his arrival in 2011.