It’s Georgia-Florida week so it seemed like a good to revisit the Peach State kids that signed with the Gators in their heralded Class of 2010.
To do that, I called Edward Aschoff, who covers football recruiting and covers the Gators for the Gainesville Sun. You can read his daily recruiting blog called “The Scout Leader” at GatorSports.com.
Of course, everybody knows that the Gators hauled in the No. 1-rated recruiting class in the country this past February. It featured an astounding number of five-star signees — six — with Chris Dunkley, Dominique Easley, Matt Elam, Sharrif Floyd, Chris Martin and Ronald Powell.
As the Gators enter the Georgia game at 4-3 overall and 2-3 in the SEC, suffice it to say that class hasn’t quite lived up to its billing.
“I’d definitely say the class is under-performing,” said Aschoff, who recently re-evaluated Florida’s entire 2010 class in one of his blogs. “Sharrif Floyd plays the most and, of course, Trey Burton has been a surprise to everybody. But they haven’t gotten what they expected out of a lot these guys.”
They haven’t gotten a whole lot out of the new “Georgia boys” so far. Three players from our state were among the recruits in Florida’s 2010 class. Here’s a little update on each:
RB Mack Brown (5-10, 193), Martin Luther King High School, Lithonia: Brown, a 2009 AJC Super 11 selection, has been a bit of a disappointment for the Gators. While they have struggled to establish any kind of consistent running threat behind the oft-injured Jeffrey Demps, Brown, hasn’t been able to step in to fill the void. He has played in three games (none since South Florida in Week 2) and enters the Georgia game with three carries for 23 yards.
Said Aschoff: “Mack Brown was a great talent coming out of high school and the coaches like his athleticism and ability to make plays. He played some special teams and a little bit at running back and I actually thought he looked really good. But he apparently is having trouble with the playbook and just remembering the plays. He’s been kind of slow to catch on. So at this point it looks like they might try to redshirt him.”
DE/OLB Neiron Ball (6-2, 222), Jackson High School, Jackson: Ball has been a pleasant surprise at Florida. A defensive end in high school, he has been a significant contributor on special teams and is getting more and more work on defense at outside linebacker. He has five tackles on the season.
Said Aschoff: “Ball is one of Meyer’s favorite special teams guys. He’s always talking about him whenever anybody asks him about special teams. He really knows football and you don’t have to teach him much. He played defensive end in high school but he’s looked really good at linebacker.”
LB Michael Taylor (5-11, 218), Westlake High School, Atlanta: Taylor, who really came on late last season and impressed a lot of people with his performance in the Under Armour All-American Game last January, has not played this season and is heading for a redshirt year.
Said Aschoff: “The coaches and a lot of the older guys really like him. He hustles, he’s a big hitter and he’s not afraid to get in there and mix it up. He’s just a little small and needs a year to bulk up and get a little stronger.”
But while the Bulldogs aren’t likely to see much out of these guys on Saturday, they will encounter a lot of the young players Florida brought in last season. The Gators have played 16 freshmen this season. In addition to the aforementioned Burton and Floyd, Powell — the No. 1 recruit in America last season — has moved from defensive end to strongside outside linebacker and has seen his playing time increase significantly. And Matt Elam, a late flip from Florida State last February, is a backup strong safety who starts in the Gators’ nickel package.
“There’s a lot of good talent,” Aschoff said. “They just haven’t reached their potential yet.”