This weekend the biggest event on the recruiting calendar kicks off when many of the top prospects in the class of 2014 and 2015 make their way to Chicago for the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge presented by Under Armour. Inside the Gators will be at Soldier Field for this marquee event to bring members exclusive coverage of some of the top targets on the board.
FIVE STARS GALORE
There are several five-star rated prospects attending the event who have Florida on their radar early on. At the top of that list is the nation's No. 1 rated prospect, Woodbridge (Va.) Senior defensive end Da'Shawn Hand. The Gators are one of his current top five and he plans on taking a visit to see UF a week from now. Another top target who is competing this weekend is Norcross (Ga.) defensive end Lorenzo Carter. Two other five-star rated prospects with UF on their radar who will be on hand are Gardena (Cali.) Junipero Serra cornerback Adoree' Jackson and Chesapeake (Va.) Oscar Smith defensive tackle Andrew Brown. And finally there's Hinesville (Ga.) Liberty County linebacker Raekwon McMillan, who has visited the Gators and lists UF as a possibility, but Florida is on the outside looking in right now.
Northport (Ala.) Tuscaloosa County Rivals100 athlete Bo Scarbrough participated in last years first annual Five-Star Challenge and will once again showcase his talents this year in Chicago. Though he is committed to the hometown Crimson Tide, UF is still a school he has interest in, and could possibly visit this month sometime. Scarbrough is the only running back target for the Gators that will be on hand.
The wide out position is one that is littered with many Florida targets, several of which hail from the Sunshine State. Up first is Homestead (Fla.) Rivals100 wide receiver Ermon Lane, who is undoubtedly one of the Gators' top names at the position. However, West Palm Beach (Fla.) Dwyer Rivals250 wide receiver Johnnie Dixon, New Orleans (La.) Edna Karr Rivals100 wide receiver Speedy Noil, West Palm Beach (Fla.) Cardinal Newman Rivals250 wide receiver Travis Rudolph and Tarpon Springs (Fla.) East Lake Rivals100 wide receiver Artavis Scott are others the Gator Nation should watch out for.
Gallatin (Tenn.) Station Camp Rivals100 wide receiver Josh Malone is another pass catcher with a Florida offer that will be on hand, but it doesn't look as if he has very high interest in the Gators.
As for offensive linemen, Bellflower (Cali.) John Bosco Rivals100 lineman Damien Mama and St. Petersburg (Fla.) Lakewood Rivals100 offensive guard Isaiah Wynn are the only two solid UF targets at the event. The Gators seem to be in much better position with Wynn at this time than Mama.
South Jordan (Utah) Bingham Rivals250 tight end Dalton Schultz is the lone member at his position that will partake in the festivities this weekend with an offer from the Gators. With distance being a big factor, it is likely that Florida will not be a major player in his recruitment.
With Florida mostly being known in recent years as a team led by their defense, it comes as no surprise that there are many top defenders at this prestigious event with the Gators on their radar.
The defensive line looks to be one of the brightest spots as far as Florida targets. There are the three five-stars mentioned above as well as O'Fallon (Ill.) Rivals250 defensive end DeWayne Hendrix is one of the biggest names from those who make their living in the trenches that has Florida high on his list early on. Hendrix is still unsure of whether or not he will get to Gainesville this summer, but is definitely going to take an official in the fall. Plaquemine (La.) Rivals250 defensive end Davon Godchaux will also be in Chicago this weekend and also plans to trek to Gainesville sometime this summer. Detroit (Mich.) Loyola Rivals100 defensive end Malik McDowell is another defensive end who will be on hand and also visit Gainesville this summer. Oklahoma City (Ok.) Douglass Rivals100 defensive end Deondre Clark also has an offer from the Gators and will be participating in the camp this weekend.
That is just the defensive ends. Inside there's Brooklyn (N.Y.) Abraham Lincoln Rivals100 defensive tackle Thomas Holley. He will be in Chicago this weekend and then next weekend he will begin his visits to the big three colleges in the state of Florida.
Linebacker is another position where there are several top Florida targets. Headlining this group is Ponte Vedra (Fla.) Rivals100 linebacker Dillon Bates. He was one of the standouts when the Rivals Camp Series made its Orlando stop and currently has Tennessee leading Florida. Another big name on Florida's radar is Joliet (Ill.) Plainfield South Rivals100 linebacker Clifton Garrett, who has the Gators in his top five. Gardena (Cali.) Junipero Serra Rivals250 linebacker Dwight Williams, who already has an official visit to Florida planned for this fall.
The defensive back field is highlighted by Lewisville (Tex.) Hebron Rivals100 safety Jamal Adams. Like several other participants, he will be in Chicago this weekend and then in Gainesville the following weekend for the Gators huge visitor weekend.
2015 CLASS LOADED
Not only is the 2014 class loaded this weekend, but there will also be 27 of the nation's top underclassman on hand.
Several of Florida's top 2015 targets who are due in Chicago are East St. Louis (Ill.) defensive end Terry Beckner Jr., Coconut Creek (Fla.) Monarch athlete Shawn Burgess-Becker, Gardena (Cali.) Junipero Serra defensive tackle Rasheem Green and his linebacker teammate John Houston, Orlando (Fla.) Timber Creek running back Jacques Patrick, Memphis (Tenn.) University School offensive tackle Drew Richmond, Missouri City (Tex.) Fort Bend Marshall defensive back Kendall Marshall and Jacksonville (Fla.) Trinity Christian cornerback Kevin Toliver III.
Check back Friday-Sunday for insider tidbits from check-in and the practice field, photos, notebooks, player features and more.