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Friday, January 27, 2023

Early enrollees look to make quick impact for reeling Florida

<p>Offensive line coach Mike Summers at a press conference in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.&nbsp;</p>

Offensive line coach Mike Summers at a press conference in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. 

National Signing Day is fewer than three weeks away, and despite Florida currently having 20 commits — including nine early enrollees on campus — there is still a lot of work to be done on the recruiting trail.

In the past month, the Gators lost the top running back and wide receiver prospects from their class — Dalvin Cook and Ermon Lane, respectively. They replaced the loss of Cook by swaying running back Brandon Powell away from Miami, and he arrived on campus on Friday — just in time to enroll early.

Lane decommitted from UF on Friday evening. The best replacement for him would be JUCO wideout Eric Lauderdale, who also has offers from Arizona State and Oregon.

The two Pac-12 Conference schools may have the upper hand in the four-star prospect’s decision. He will visit Tucson, Ariz., this weekend and Eugene, Ore., the following week.

Another replacement, three-star wide receiver Isaiah McKenzie, will take his official visit to Gainesville this weekend.

Of the nine early enrollees currently on campus, a few could make an impact immediately in 2014.

Three offensive linemen — Drew Sarvary, Kavaris Harkless and Nolan Kelleher — have already enrolled.

With the Gators returning just five players with starting experience along the offensive line, the young linemen may need to take reps early.

“We have what we have, and we’re going to make the best out of those guys,” offensive line coach Mike Summers said. “I just came out of a situation where we didn’t have a lot of depth and were able to be fairly successful.

“I’m concerned that at some point we need to build depth, and we need to develop young players into experienced players, but I’m also encouraged by the players that are on this team.”

As a JUCO transfer, Savary adds maturity and experience to the line. The 6-foot-5, 310-pound lineman finished the 2013 season at Tyler (Texas) Junior College, but he originally hails from Tallahassee.

The offensive linemen in UF’s 2014 class have a mix of versatile and one-position guys.

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Summers said that in his 30-plus years of coaching, sometimes moving players around the line sometimes pays off but doesn’t work in every case.

“I’ve been in years where we haven’t had very much depth, and tackles have had to play guard, and centers have had to play tackle and we’ve had to mix and match,” he said.

“But certainly, I think our development happens faster if we can find the best position for each guy and we can develop them in that position.”

Prospects of note: Five-star athlete Adoree’ Jackson out of Gardena, Calif., is still considering Florida.

He is more likely to choose USC or UCLA so he can stay closer to home.

However, he could end up at Florida and make an immediate impact playing either defensive back or wide receiver.

Offensive tackle Damian Prince, from Forestville, Md., is one of the most talented tackles in the 2014 class. He was offered by Florida as well as Maryland and South Carolina.

Florida could have the upper hand here. Prince will take his final official visit to Gainesville on the Jan. 31 — just five days before National Signing Day. His friendship with cornerback Jalen Tabor, another early enrollee, could also be a factor.

Coaches on the move: It was announced Tuesday afternoon, per various sources, that Florida State defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt would join Mark Richt’s staff as defensive coordinator.

Pruitt is an excellent recruiter and could make four-star defensive end and UF target Lorenzo Carter to a lock to go to UGA. Pruitt may also attempt to grab some recruits from Florida State’s highly ranked class.

In addition, longtime PSU assistant Larry Johnson will reportedly be joining Urban Meyer as the defensive line coach at Ohio State University.

That could swing four-star defensive tackle Thomas Holley, a PSU commit, to the Buckeyes as well.

Follow Morgan Moriarty on Twitter @Morgan_Moriarty

Offensive line coach Mike Summers at a press conference in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. 

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