Florida preparing for big weekend

Gainesville will be the top destination for many of the state's top prospects this weekend when the Florida Gators take on the Alabama Crimson Tide.

Several prospects, including ESPNU 150 defensive back Tracy Howard (Miramar, Fla./Miramar) have both Alabama and Florida on their short list of schools.

While it's unlikely the result of Saturday's game will turn a prospect one way or another, it could begin to change the way a prospect thinks.

"I think Florida could make some serious headway with their top wide receiver targets, especially Nelson Agholor," said Jeff Barlis, recruiting writer for the Gainesville Sun. "They definitely want to see him in the south end zone on Saturday night."

Florida's game plan hasn't featured the wide receivers much this season, but that could change on Saturday. And even if it doesn't, it could work to the benefit of the Gators' with those top receiver prospects.

"The common thinking is that Alabama is going to have some success focusing on slowing down Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps," Barlis added. "So I expect Florida will go to their wide receivers more. And regardless of the game's final score I could see a wide receiver prospect watching this game thinking 'I can help this team right now or I'm impressed with Charlie Weis' offense.'"

While a Gators victory will get prospects even more excited about the direction of the program under coach Will Muschamp and Weis, don't expect a commitment to come directly from the game.

"I don't think Florida is expecting to get a commitment and even if they did I don't expect it to be a public commitment," Barlis added.

Several current Gators commitments are on the list of attendees including ESPNU 150 athletes Brian Poole (Bradenton, Fla./Southeast) and Jessamen Dunker (Boynton Beach, Fla./Boynton Beach) and four-star running back Matt Jones (Seffner, Fla./Armwood).

Some of the top targets expected to attend include Agholor, Howard and ESPNU 150 athletes Avery Young (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla./Palm Beach Gardens) and Kent Taylor (Land O'Lakes, Fla./Land O'Lakes).

Taylor, who is returning to the field after suffering a broken hand, is an intriguing prospect as he and Buford (Ga.) prospect Kurt Freitag could be going for the same recruiting spot. Freitag is on an official visit to Gainesville.

"The tight end position is fascinating right now," Barlis said. "Florida might want both of them and we've heard that Freitag could be ready to make a decision but then he might have decided to slow it down. That could effect Taylor's situation but no one really knows."

Two prospects committed to other schools, Under Armour All-Americans Noor Davis (Stanford) and Dante Fowler (Florida State) will also be in attendance Saturday night.

Young happy to be back

Penscola Catholic defensive back LaDarion Young saw his recruitment come to a halt when he was sidelined for the summer and the first few weeks of the season with a dislocated shoulder.

The 6-foot, 185-pounder recently returned to the field and hopes that the right program has been waiting for him.

"It was very frustrating because I was getting so much interest in the spring," Young said. "But I'm happy to be back on the field and playing well."

Young is starting to send out his new sets of film and has several schools requesting a look.

"I know Alabama asked for a couple of games because they liked me when they saw me in the spring," Young said. "UCF and TCU have also requested film so I'm real hopeful. It's starting to pick up where it left off."

Right now, Pensacola Catholic is 1-3 but with district play ahead Young expects his team to get things turned around.

"Yeah I think we're going to win a few more and be in a position to turn some heads come playoff time," Young added.

This week, Young knows he'll be in for a test against Navarre which features wide receivers Bradley Leggett and his younger brother, 2013 Watch List athlete Jordan Leggett.

"They are both real tall and pretty athletic so I'm looking forward to the challenge of facing them," Young said.

Thompson updates his status

It's been a while since ESPNU 150 defensive back Lucas Thompson (Winter Garden, Fla./West Orange) has updated the masses on his recruitment.

The 6-foot-1, 190-pound recruit has been focused on controlling the defensive backfield for his school.

"The season is going real well, we are 3-1 now," Thompson said. "I'm doing well and playing good defense, like always."

Recently Thompson was selected to participate in the 2012 Under Armour All-America game and earlier in the summer he participated in The Opening and was named to the ESPNU 150.

"It was shocking to me at the time but I appreciate the honor," Thompson said. "I'm looking forward to the event."

Thompson has made no secret of his interest in the Miami Hurricanes and while that interest remains high, there is another program that has really caught his attention.

"My recruitment has picked back up recently, the South Carolina coaches recently came to see a game," Thompson said. "I'm going to take a visit there the weekend before Halloween. I want to see what the school is all about."

One place Thompson won't be going is to the Florida-Alabama game this weekend. Thompson will stay home simply because there isn't much interest on either side.

"Florida hasn't really been talking to me and I wasn't even invited to the game, so I'm not worried about that," he added.

As for official visits, Thompson hasn't set dates for any others, besides South Carolina, but he knows which schools will be getting them.

"My officials will be to Miami, Louisville, South Carolina, Wisconsin and East Carolina," Thompson said. "Those are the programs I want to see."


• Lakeland Lake Gibson defensive end Trent Taylor, a three-star prospect, officially switched his commitment from Miami to Tennessee Thursday. The 6-3, 245-pounder visited Tennessee in early September and decided to open up his recruitment after having questions about the status of Miami's program. He committed to Miami during the spring and wanted to set an official visit in October. Taylor was also looking at South Florida.

• St. Petersburg Lakewood defensive back Jevaris Little said that Hawaii and TCU are two of the recent programs to contact him and request recent film. "They have been calling me regularly so I think there might be a match," Little added.

• Florida State has been in contact with Cypress Bay offensive lineman Danny Isidora and Miami Norland offensive lineman Ereck Flowers in the past few days.

• Class of 2013 defensive lineman Jordan Sherit (Tampa, Fla./Hillsborough) said that South Florida, Miami and Duke have all offered.

• Class of 2013 athlete William Likely has added verbal offers from Florida and LSU. Alabama was the first school to offer the 5-9, 190-pounder.

• Four-star defensive back Chris Bivins will be taking his official visit to Arkansas next weekend, Oct. 8.

• Under Armour All-American Noor Davis has officials set up to Stanford (Oct. 22), Alabama (Nov. 5) and USC (Nov. 26). The 225-pound outside linebacker committed to Stanford in the spring.

Corey Long has been covering high school football and recruiting in the Sunshine State since 1995. He can be reached at coreyespn@gmail.com.