Despite signing one of the top overall classes in the nation during the 2010 recruiting cycle, adding four five-star rated defensive players on the defensive side of the ball - if there is a position on defense where Florida came up a little short handed, it's linebacker. Especially when you compare the linebacker class to the prospects signed along the defensive line and in the secondary.
Add in the fact that the Gators feature three senior linebackers on their roster, and it's abundantly clear that restocking the position is one of the top UF priorities for the class of 2011.
If step one of the process of filling the need is for Florida to make a positive impression on the top prospects at the position - mission accomplished!
With 39 offers already to his credit, Bennettsville (S.C.) Marlboro County High School linebacker Lateek Townsend is one of the most highly sought after prospects in the south this recruiting cycle.
He spent this past weekend in Gainesville checking out what the Gators have to offer, and walked away impressed to say the least.
"It was real good," Townsend said of his visit. "I know Florida's a good program and they win, so when I came down here I was looking for what is it like to be a player. What is the life of a Florida player? What goes on behind those closed doors? I saw what it was like off the field. I saw how the players live. How they are treated. It felt real good. I'm not going to lie, I liked everything about it."
The visit to Florida was Townsend's first of the spring. The atmosphere, coaches, players and campus made a big impression on the young man from the Palmetto State.
"Everyone I saw told me that Florida is the place for me. That's where I need to be and they would love to have me," explained Townsend. "I can see myself playing for Florida, but I want to look at some more schools. I don't want to rush it."
While UF gave him something to think about, according to Townsend, he has some more visits to take before he makes a choice.
"Right now - I like Florida. I can say I'm going to Florida, but then what if I go to one of these other schools and like it more? I don't want to be one of the guys that commits and then maybe de-commits so I'm going to go ahead and wait and look at some stuff."
Though Townsend wasn't ready to name an outright leader, he singled out four programs who are sitting pretty at the moment.
"A lot of schools that offered me, I don't [started to say like] ... talk to them that much. I like Florida, Clemson, South Carolina and Louisville. I have my likes and dislikes with all of them. They all have their positives and negatives."