For years, the speed of Florida football has been heavily publicized. Whether it was John Capel, Percy Harvin or Jeff Demps, it seems there is always a crop of burners that have analysts drooling over Southeastern Conference speed.
But less than six months away from National Signing Day, people are talking about a new kind of speed at UF, the hastiness of new coach Will Muschamp on the recruiting trail.
With the Aug. 5 oral commitment of five-star offensive lineman D.J. Humphries, the nation’s No. 1 offensive tackle and No. 3 overall player according to Rivals.com, the Gators secured their 17th oral commitment for their 2012 recruiting class.
At Texas, early commitments were commonplace for Muschamp. But in the last eight years, the Gators have never had more than 12 prospects pledged to a recruiting class by early August.
Part of UF’s summer surge can be credited to the crop that Florida secured very early. Oral commits like Seffner Armwood High running back Matt Jones, Citra North Marion High wide receiver Latroy Pittman and Bradenton Southeast High cornerback Brian Poole have taken the role of additional recruiting coaches.
“I tell [undecided recruits] they better come join along,” Poole said. “If they want to win a national championship, I feel like they need to be at Florida. It’s just the way I feel. I feel real strong about that.”
Oral commits have not been shy about explaining how UF coaches have gotten them into the action.
“They want me to go after [four-star Palm Beach Gardens High offensive tackle] Avery Young,” UF offensive tackle commit Jessamen Dunker said.
“I’ve never really met him. This would be the first time we’ve talked.”
While the Gators are off to their fastest recruiting start in recent memory, they are hardly alone. Florida is one of 11 teams currently with 17 or more oral commitments. Schools like Michigan and Miami have already racked up as many as 21.
Barring a few technical changes, the Gators could realistically add six more players to their class by National Signing Day on Feb. 1, 2012.
A few names that likely top Florida’s remaining wish list include Miramar High four-star cornerback Tracy Howard, five-star Tampa Berkeley Prep athlete Nelson Agholor and five-star Our Lady of Good Counsel (Md.) receiver Stefon Diggs.