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July 21, 2011
On Friday evening, the University of Florida will host its premier recruiting event - Friday Night Lights - in the Swamp. The Gators are expected to play host to upward of 200 prospects from around the nation, some of whom are considered the best of the best. The camp, which has been hugely successful in recent years for helping the Gators make in-roads with top-tier prospects, is once again loaded with top talent.
1. Sunshine State representation
The Gators recruit on the national level but they make sure not to neglect their backyard. More than half of their 15 commitments come from the Sunshine State and they are primed to land even more in-state talent.
Commitments such as Boynton Beach (Fla.) offensive tackle Jessamen Dunker, Melbourne (Fla.) Holy Trinity Catholic safety Marcus Maye, Seffner (Fla.) Armwood running back Matt Jones, and Citra (Fla.) North Marion wide receiver Latroy Pittman - all of whom are Rivals250 prospects - are among the in-state prospects set to participate.
Other in-state targets who are expected inside the Swamp on Friday evening include the nation's top cornerback Miramar (Fla.) defensive back Tracy Howard and his teammate, standout wide receiver Malcolm Lewis. Top tight end Kent Taylor from Land O'Lakes (Fla.) is another expected participant. Five-star athlete Nelson Agholor from Tampa (Fla.) Berkeley Prep is another possibility to make his way to Gainesville. Also, Hilliard (Fla.) athlete Marcus Allen is also attending in hopes of landing an offer. They mark a few top in-state targets that the Gators are hoping to leave a positive impression.
Neither Howard nor cornerback commitment Brian Poole from Bradenton (Fla.) Southeast are expected to compete.
2. Loaded backfield
No position may encompass more talent on the field than the running back spot. The list is led by a pair of current Gator commitments - Seffner (Fla.) Armwood's Matt Jones and Stone Mountain (Ga.) Stephenson's Mike Davis.
While the Gators may be done in the backfield for 2012, they will have a plethora of options in 2013 as the Sunshine State and beyond are loaded at the spot. Some top 2013 running backs include Delray Beach (Fla.) American Heritage's Greg Bryant, Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas' Fred Coppet, Cocoa's (Fla.) Tarean Folston and Belle Glades (Fla.) Glades Day's Kelvin Taylor.
In addition to those talented backs, recent Georgia commitment Derrick Henry from Yulee (Fla.) has been listed as a possibility to make his way to Gainesville. Henry was very high on the University of Florida prior to his pledge to the Bulldogs at Dawg Night.
3. Filling needs
The Gators already have 15 commitments, but only one of those is up front on the offensive line - Boynton Beach (Fla.) offensive tackle Jessamen Dunker. It is no secret that adding talent and depth up front is a major priority for offensive line coach Frank Verducci. The Gators will look to land a class of four to five big uglies.
Disappointingly, Palm Beach Gardens (Fla.) offensive tackle Avery Young will not be able to make it. Young remains a major target for the Gators after visiting them during the spring.