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September 13, 2011

Sunshine State Chat: Florida Q&A

MORE FLORIDA GATORS RECRUITING: Nation's No. 1 tight end calls Florida his leader | Top running back still has UF on top | Four-star defensive tackle sets decision date

Rivals.com Florida recruiting analyst Chris Nee held a live Sunshine State recruiting chat Tuesday afternoon. Here are the Florida Gators related questions and his answers:

Question: Does Nelson Agholor have a shot at being ranked as the No. 1 prospect in Florida?

Nee: He does have a shot, but it will be difficult to unseat John Theus. We have felt very confident and comfortable with Theus being the top overall prospect in the Sunshine State. Between their senior seasons and their participation in all-star events (Army for Theus, Under Armour for Agholor) we will have a number of opportunities to see them both again.


Question: Who are the top five running backs in Florida?

Nee: Mario Pender, Randy Johnson, Matt Jones, Dami Ayoola and Jamie Gilmore for the Class of 2012.


Question: Who is the toughest player physically you've seen in Florida?

Nee: I'd give that nod to Brian Poole. He looks to decapitate people on defense and offensively he is just as aggressive in punishing a defense.


Question: If you had one scholarship remaining for a tight end in Florida, who would it go to?

Nee: Kent Taylor, he is the best in the nation. Excellent vertical option who has the frame to develop into a blocker.


Question:Why isn't Will Muschamp doing more in recruiting so far?

Nee: I'd disagree with that assessment. Florida has been and is doing very well. They are going to compete for a top class, and are almost certainly going to finish in the top five classes. They are in the thick of it with some spectacular uncommitted players like Nelson Agholor, Kent Taylor, and Avery Young instate. The class that has already been assembled is also strong from top to bottom.


Question: Do you think UF can land both Nelson Agholor and Stefon Diggs at wide receiver?

Nee: I think they have a legitimate shot at going 2-for-2. Diggs loved his visit for FNL. Agholor has always been interested in Fla., dating back to the Meyer staff.


Question: Looking at Florida's verbal commitments, very few are from south Florida, when in the past they had good ties with the area. Have they lost some of their pull?

Nee: I don't believe so. In 2012, their focus was elsewhere and their new staff was establishing their roots in different territories. They appear determined to get back in down in So. Fla. in 2013, i.e. Greg Bryant and Kelvin Taylor.


Question: Have you heard anything new on Tracy Howard?

Nee: No. Other than FSU and Miami coaches both watching him last weekend, there's been no new news from him lately.


Question: Would you consider Marcell Harris to be the top safety in the state for next year?

Nee: Harris and Nick Washington are two early candidates for that title. Harris is a very talented, big safety who is good in the box or in space.


Question: Who do you feel currently leads for Tracy Howard?

Nee: I feel Florida State holds a lead at this time, but his recruitment is far from over it seems.


Question: How good are Florida's chances at Miramar High's cornerback Howard?

Nee: The Gators remain in the picture, but I don't believe they lead. They need to get him back on campus for a lengthy visit.


Question: Should UGA make some staff changes do you see John Theus opening things up?

Nee: He may visit another school or two, but I think the draw of playing with his brother and friends at Georgia will be tough for him to depart from.


Question: Who do think will end up with the better class UF or FSU?

Nee: It is going to be a tight race between those two down the stretch. Really comes down to who closes with what. If the Gators pull a tandem like Agholor, Diggs, and Young they could surpass the 'Noles, but if Florida State closes with a similar pull they may stay out in front. If I had to pick one today, I'd give a slight margin to FSU since they currently hold the lead.


Question: Who is the top 2013 running back in the state of Florida?

Nee: Lots of guys to see, but I really like Greg Bryant at Delray American Heritage a lot. Also Tarean Folston at Cocoa and Fred Coppet at St. Thomas Aquinas. Derrick Henry is obviously in this conversation if you consider him a running back long-term.


Question: Do you see anyone having a chance being able to flip John Theus?

Nee: Theus likes UGA for more than simply Coach Richt and his staff, so even if a change came in Athens I am not convinced he would flip.


Question: Who's the most impressive assistant coach in Florida in terms of recruiting?

Nee: Dameyune Craig at Florida State has done a very good job of going out and winning some major battles over the past two years. Charlie Weis at Florida has outstanding credentials and the respect of offensive players.


Question: Any news on Avery Young? It seems like it's back and fourth between UF and UGA.

Nee: According to his father, may visit Miami-Ohio State this weekend. Also was told the reported top six isn't really the only schools in the picture, still pretty wide open.


Question: Who would you compare Stefon Diggs to in CFB? NFL?

Nee: Mike Farrell says DeSean Jackson. From what I saw at FNL, I'd agree with that assessment.


Question: Where do u see Kent Taylor from Land O' Lakes ending up? A big tight end would help Florida quarterback Jeff Driskel a lot.

Nee: The Gators lead according to Taylor. If they are willing to wait for his commitment, he will be playing in Charlie Weis' offense in my opinion.


Question: Any chance Tracy Howard plays college ball outside of Florida?

Nee: Yes, Alabama, LSU, and West Virginia are all in the picture. I'd still wager he remains in-state though.


Question: Who do you think will have the top class when all is said and done?

Nee: It will be a battle between Florida and Florida State for the top spot when the dust clears. It depends on which one lands more Rivals100 prospects down the stretch.


Question: Does Derrick Henry stay at running back or make a move to linebacker at the college level? How does he compare to James Wilder Jr.?

Nee: He says he wants to remain at running back, but I think he would be a defensive end if he changed sides of the ball. He is different than Wilder as he is a bit bigger, runs more standing-up, and isn't as good of a pass catcher.


Question: Who are the Gators staff looking up to fill up along the defensive line? And do you see Noor Davis or Raphael Kirby making the switch?

Nee: Florida's defensive line will likely finish up with out-of-state prospects, unless Leonard Williams - who is visiting UF this weekend - begins to favor the Gators. I don't see Davis switching. Kirby is a possibility, as he intends to look around some as he recently said in an interview.


Question: Have you seen Derrick Henry in person and do you think he deserves to ranked a five-star?

Nee: I have seen him in games, camps, and of course at The Opening. I will see him again in a couple weeks. He is definitely a highly-rated prospect, but I'm not sure about being a five-star running back. I want to see more of 2013 as a whole before giving anybody that kind of designation.


Question: Does Dante Fowler Jr. stick with FSU or end up at UF? Also is he going to get back on the field for his senior season?

Nee: I think he sticks with FSU. As far as coming off suspension, it depends on him and his coach having an understanding with one another and the current situation being properly dealt with.


Question: Where do you feel Tracy Howard ends up?

Nee: As of today, Florida State. Still a lot of time to go in his recruitment though and visits to be taken.


Question: Who do you think leads for Nelson right now, and, where does he end up on National Signing Day?

Nee: I couldn't tell you. Nelson has kept his recruitment between himself and his coach. I believe Florida, Florida State, Southern Cal, and a couple others will be in the picture throughout.


Question: I realize Brian Poole is a hard hitter but do you think he is still one of the best DB's when it comes to coverage?

Nee: He is fine in coverage.


Question: What is the main difference between Brian Poole and Tracy Howard?

Nee: Poole is more an enforcer, physical defensive back who wants to play downhill, but can also turn and run. Howard is all about technique and positioning, while not allowing the wide receiver an easy path to their spot.


Question: I see Tyriq McCord is ranked a few spots above Leonard Williams despite a far less impressive offer list. What is it that Rivals sees in him that these coaches do not?

Nee: They are not anything alike, McCord is a weak-side defensive end/hybrid outside linebacker while Williams is a 3-4 strong-side defensive end, possibly a defensive tackle. They are very different players. McCord is all about speed off the edge and using his length, but also being able to drop back and play in space while Williams is about being physical and using brute strength to create disruption along the offensive line.


Question: How good can Nick Washington safety out of Jacksonville Trinity Christian be? And where do you project him playing? And who is he favoring?

Nee: Washington claimed no leader when I spoke with him this week, but I'd say Florida is leading at this time as they have done an outstanding job recruiting him. He could end up being one of the top safeties in Florida next season.


Question: Is Laremy Tunsil the top overall offensive lineman for 2013?

Nee: He is the best one I have seen so far for 2013 in the state of Florida.


Question: Have you seen Ahmad Fulwood play? If so what are your impressions?

Nee: Yes, in both his spring game and a couple of camps. He is 6-foot-4, 200-pounds - legitimately - with huge hands and a long stride. Heck of a good wide receiver, great outside option in a pro-style offense.


Question: Does Kent Taylor go to UF along with Agholor? Don't they play on the same 7 on 7 team?

Nee: They are on the same 7-on-7 team but I don't believe either's decision impacts the other. Florida leads for Taylor.


Question: Do you feel that Jessamen Dunker will have to drop weight coming into Division I play since he's already well over 300 lbs?

Nee: Gaining strength is Dunker's biggest task. He is a bit plum shaped in the upper-body and could stand to lose a bit of the extra weight in his midsection.

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