Despite down season, Florida pulls in highly rated recruiting class

Gerald Willis from New Orleans, La., is one of the highest rated defensive ends in the country.

Kim Klement/Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Florida’s first losing season since 1979 did little, if anything, to affect recruiting.

Coach Will Muschamp put the finishing touches on another top-10 signing class Wednesday, adding 24 players who could help the program rebound after going 4-8 in 2013.

"I think our staff has done an outstanding job," said Muschamp, who replaced three assistants after the season. "We had a rough fall, but recruiting is about being here and building those relationships with some of these young men for two years, two and a half years. They also saw us win 11 games the year before, and they understand that. And I think they kind of understand where we’re headed with the program and they’re excited about our future."

The class includes nine players already on campus who will contribute during spring practice. Cornerback Jalen Tabor from Washington, D.C., and quarterback Will Grier from Davison, N.C., are the most decorated of the early enrollees.

Muschamp added 15 players Wednesday, highlighted by quarterback Treon Harris from Miami, cornerback J.C. Jackson from Immokalee and defensive lineman Gerald Willis from New Orleans.

The class includes six offensive linemen, five defensive linemen and three tight ends. Florida signed one running back and two receivers, a small number of playmakers for an offense that ranked 113th in the nation last season.

National rankings: (Rivals 7; Scout 10).

Best in class: Jalen Tabor, CB, Washington, D.C. Already enrolled in school, Tabor is a significant addition since starting CBs Loucheiz Purifoy and Marcus Roberson left school early for the NFL.

Best of the rest: David Sharpe, OL, Jacksonville, Fla. Sharpe should help fill the team’s biggest need.

Late addition: Treon Harris, QB, Miami. Coach Will Muschamp convinced Harris to switch from Florida State to Florida, prying a gifted athlete away from the defending national champion.

One that got away: Adoree’ Jackson, ATH, Gardena, Calif. A budding track star, Jackson probably would have given Florida a top-five class. But he chose USC over Florida, LSU and UCLA.

NOTE: Muschamp finds it amusing to see other staffs celebrate signing day. "They film these staff rooms and the staffs all cheer when they get the (guy)," he said. "Most of the time, you know. You know if you’re getting them and you know if you’re not. If you haven’t talked to them in 48 hours, you’re not getting them. So that’s an indicator. If you’re on the phone that morning with mom and dad and brother and uncle, you’re probably going to sign them. But still, you never know. It’s always a little stressful, a little anxious."

Player Pos HT WT Stars rank
Gerald Willis III DE 6-4 247 5-star 28
Jalen Tabor DB 6-1 186 4-star 41
Khairi Clark DT 6-2 325 4-star 83
Will Grier QB 6-2 177 4-star 89
Duke Dawson DB 5-11 195 4-star
Treon Harris QB 5-11 180 4-star
Thomas Holley DT 6-4 299 4-star
J.C. Jackson DB 5-10 175 4-star
Nolan Kelleher OL 6-6 285 4-star
David Sharpe OL 6-8 275 4-star
Taven Bryan DE 6-5 250 3-star
Travaris Dorsey OL 6-3 314 3-star
Deandre Goolsby TE 6-4 225 3-star
Kavaris Harkless OL 6-5 269 3-star
C’yontai Lewis TE 6-5 212 3-star
Andrew Mike OL 6-7 280 3-star
Deiondre Porter ATH 6-0 163 3-star
Brandon Powell RB 5-9 167 3-star
Justus Reed DE 6-3 215 3-star
Drew Sarvary OL 6-7 310 3-star
Ryan Sousa WR 6-0 180 3-star
Moral Stephens WR 6-3 205 3-star
Quincy Wilson DB 6-2 195 3-star
C.J. Worton WR 6-0 170 3-star