Gators New Number One

Matt Elam

SAN ANTONIO, TX -- What a difference a week makes for the Florida Gators. Just last week after Urban Meyer stated that he was stepping down due health reasons it appeared as though the wheels were falling off the wagon.

The Florida Gators are on one of the most impressive recruiting runs in recent memory. In the past seven days the Gators have landed four five-star players. Last week, at the Under-Armour All-American Game wide receiver Chris Dunkley announced his intentions to be a Gator, as did game MVP Dominique Easley. Today, the late charge to the top of the Scout.com Team Rankings continued as three more five-star players announced they will attend the University of Florida. Ronald Powell, Sharrif Floyd and Matt Elam become the 22nd, 23rd and 24th prospects to announce for the Gators. Florida started the day as the No. 3 ranked team in the team rankings, but leaped over Oklahoma and Texas.

"We got a great class coming in with players like Sharrif Floyd and Matt Elam." Ronald Powell told Scout.com "We are going to win the title! We are going to come in and play as true freshman and we are going to win the SEC championship and after we get that we are going to win a national championship!"

"The 2006 class had players like Tim Tebow, Brandon Spikes and Percy Harvin," said FightinGators.com recruiting analyst Jason Higdon. "The end of one era means the beginning of another and for players like Powell, Floyd and Elam. The trio welcomes the challenge of creating their own history and obtaining more success than this year's outgoing seniors."

The Gators started off Saturday with a commitment that surprised many as Floyd picked Florida over local favorite Ohio State.

"Florida just seemed like a home away from home to me," Floyd said of his commitment. "It came down to Florida and Ohio State, but Florida was just a better fit for me. I spoke to my mentor, Andre Odom, and we talked about both schools, but in the end the SEC was where it's at for me."

The run could continue as a number of the nation's top ranked players are considering the Gators. The most prominent name to be mentioned is Hillside (Ill.) Proviso West five-star wide receiver Kyle Prater. Prater, upset that Pete Carroll is leaving USC, mentioned briefly that there has been contact with Florida. Prater was supposed to enroll at USC on Jan. 11, but that may not happen.

"I have talked with Florida," Prater said. "I just want to go home and sort this all out right now."

Scout.com spent a lot of time this week watching Tampa (Fla.) Catholic four-star wide receiver Christian Green who is also considering the Gators and will visit next weekend.

"I'm down to three schools right now," Green stated. "I'm looking at Florida, Georgia and Florida State right now. I visited Georgia earlier and I have two visits left to go. I'm heading up to Florida next weekend, and then I go to Florida State on Jan. 29"

With twenty-four commitments on the board, Higdon believes the Gators could continue with even more major names on the board in addition to Prater and Green.

"The Gators will continue to ride the recruiting success and close with a fury over the last few weeks until National Signing Day," said Higdon. "They are squarely in the mix for the nation's number one prospect offensive tackle Seantrel Henderson and five star linebacker Jordan Hicks. Jackson Jeffcoat and Matt James are both scheduled to take official visits to Gainesville over the next few weeks and wide receiver Adrian Coxson has the Gators as one of his finalists."

Whether Urban Meyer comes back or not this has been a very impressive charge by the Gators. All week long there was a lot of Florida talk from future Gators like Jaylen Watkins. The talk became more prevalent on Saturday when the Gators reeled in three of the nation's best.

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