The Opening: Gator Defensive Targets

Khairi Clark is newest commitment for UF

With the premiere collection of prospective college athletes about to take place in Oregon, The Opening will be covered like a blanket by the Scout.com / FOXSportsNEXT recruiting team. With that in mind, here is a list of the defensive stars that are being recruited by the University of Florida and will participate in the events this week.

The Gators have done well at defensive end, but they really haven't signed numbers at the end and BUCK position. With that in mind, they are after the best players possible and all of the top three defensive ends in America according to Scout.com are both participating in The Opening and on the recruiting board for Florida.

The top defensive end in the country is from Woodbridge (VA) and Da'Shawn Hand is a beast by any measure. The 6-5, 262 pound do everything end is scheduled to visit Florida sometime soon and has the Gators in his top three along with Michigan and Alabama.

If you are looking for the definition of a BUCK, it would be the lengthy Lorenzo Carter of Norcross (GA). The number two rated defensive end in the country has unreal speed off the edge and the 6-5, 235 pounder has long arms which are highly desired among defensive linemen.

The third rated defensive end in America has visited Florida the last two years and will likely visit again. Gerald Willis of New Orleans (LA) Edna Karr is huge (6-4, 270) and still very athletic for the position.

The question is still out there whether or not Florida will pursue any more defensive tackles. They already have two committed and both are participating in the nation's premiere event this week.

Nationally second ranked DT Khairi Clark of Hollywood (FL) Chaminade is the latest commit for Florida and the 6-2, 323 pounder is expected to recruit hard on defense for Florida while in Oregon. He is also looking to take back that number one spot.

One guy he won't have to convince is fellow commitment and South Floridian Anthony Moten of Ft. Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas. The four-star prospect is a legacy whose uncle played for the Gators and is a big part of Florida's recruiting effort this year.

If the Gators land another DT it will likely be out of state. Both four-star Garrald McDowell (6-2, 254) from Covington (LA ) and Thomas Holley (6-4, 290) of Brooklyn (NY) visited Florida lately and liked what they saw. Both will be on hand this week in Oregon.

One of the more loaded positions in terms of prospects on the Gator recruiting board is at linebacker. One player expected to make a decision this week and it won't likely be Florida is Ponte Vedra (FL) Nease stand out Dillon Bates. Tennessee looks to be the destination and bates is a Vol legacy.

Three other middle linebacker types are involved starting with the nation's number two middle linebacker, Clifton Garrett (6-2, 227). The Plainfield (IL) beast recently visited Florida and came away very impressed. The Gators will have to fight off LSU hard for this one.

The Gators got a surprise visit from the fifth rated middle linebacker in the 2014 class when Raekwon McMillan (6-2, 230) paid a surprise visit a couple of weeks ago. That surprise turned into a pleasant one for McMillan and the Gators are said to be somewhat in the mix now. Ohio State is the team to beat according to the popular theory out there.

The last middle backer to talk about is fourth ranked Nyles Morgan (6-3, 220) of Crete (IL). Morgan has always maintained somewhat of an interest in Florida and so it will be interesting to see how he does in Oregon compared to others the Gators want.

Outside linebackers are represented very well and the Gators are hard after three of them. Former Gator commitment Christian Miller (6-3, 215) of Columbia (SC) is the first four-star of the bunch and is as athletic as any of them. Although he dropped the commitment, the Gators remain high on the list for his services.

Ft. Lauderdale University School standout Richard Yeargin (6-4, 225) is yet another South Florida prospect the Gators are in on this year. Yeargin has been high on Florida for quite some time, but says he will wait until signing day to make an announcement for where he plans to attend. Notre Dame Is in the thick of the race for Yeargin as well.

Florida is in on a few California prospects and Gardena (CA) Junipero athlete Dwight Williams (6-1, 212) is one of them. Depending on who you talk to the Gators may or may not be the front runner for Williams.

There is a little state of Florida flavor at cornerback in the event this year as well. Florida commitment Duke Dawson (5-11, 185) hails from Cross City (FL) Dixie County and is one of the more physical players at the position you will see.

Yeargin's teammate Quincy Wilson (6-2, 195) is a super athletic player that could play a lot of positions. This is a real dark horse to move up the standings in this man's opinion.

One player that has shot up the rankings a little and could do so even more is Chris Lammons (5-9, 173) of Plantation. He may lack ideal size, but he flat cover anything he lines up against.

A possible mirror image prospect but on the west coast is the second ranked CB in America. Adoree Jackson (5-10, 170) of Gardena (CA) Junipero is another one that depending on who you ask, the gators may be in the lead for. It will be interesting to hear who he is becoming friends with while in Oregon.

Last but definitely not least at corner is four-star and the nation's fifth ranked at the position is Jalen Tabor (6-2, 195) of Washington (DC) Edison Friendship. Tabor has liked Florida for quite a long time and his size is exactly what Florida likes at the position making him a high priority for the staff.

Finally we get to the safety position and the lone player the gators are looking hard at. Jamal Adams (6-0, 190) of Lewisville (TX) is a five-star and second ranked safety in the country. Adams visited Florida a couple of weeks ago and happens to be the God son of Gator assistant Joker Phillips.

Over 30 prospects in Oregon for The Opening that are also on the Florida recruiting board. It should be an interesting week.

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