David Sharpe commits to Gators

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Florida Gators may not have an offensive coordinator or offensive line coach, but they still managed to land a commitment from the No. 2-ranked offensive tackle in the country, David Sharpe (Jacksonville, Fla./Providence), on Thursday.

The No. 18 player overall in the ESPN 300 announced his decision at a local restaurant in front of friends, family and a host of media members. Sharpe chose Florida over Tennessee, Georgia and Clemson.

The 6-foot-6, 290-pound left tackle prospect said his relationship with Florida head coach Will Muschamp was a big factor in his decision.

"Just the relationship I built with them," Sharpe said. "Coach Muschamp really needed help and I really want to help turn the program around. I think we have a special class coming in."

Sharpe admitted Florida not having two offensive coaches, including his future position coach, hurt the Gators' chances.

"It affected me a lot, but I'm a believer in coach Muschamp. He'll bring someone in that will help turn the program around."

Florida lost three offensive tackles to season-ending injuries and the lack of depth is a concern. With Sharpe's size and athleticism and the fact the Gators don't have much depth along the offensive line, the four-star prospect could very well see the field his freshman season.

"[I'm] just a hard worker who's willing to do whatever I can do to help the team," Sharpe said. "I just don't want to redshirt. I know coming in as a freshman I have to learn and get in to the program so I'm really not worried about it. They have great guys that are already there. They are going to get me better and whatever coach thinks is best at that left tackle position is best. I'm just going to work hard and do my thing."

Sharpe joins other offensive linemen Travaris Dorsey (Jacksonville, Fla./Raines), Nolan Kelleher (Mt. Pleasant, S.C./Wando) and Dontae Angus (Philadelphia/Martin Luther King) as Florida offensive line commits. Sharpe, however, is the only offensive tackle committed to the Gators.

In addition to Sharpe, Florida received more good news on Thursday as ESPN 300 wide receiver Moral Stephens Jr. gave his verbal commitment to the Gators.

The Gators, who have the No. 9-ranked recruiting class in the country, now have 18 verbal commitments including 11 ranked in the ESPN 300.