CHICAGO, Ill. - Friday was check-in day as many of the top prospects in the class of 2014 and 2015 made their way to the Windy City in order to participate in the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge presented by Under Armour. Inside the Gators was at the team hotel as the top high school players from across the nation, and some of Florida's top targets, arrived for the event.
Five-Star to Visit
The Florida coaching staff has been searching high and low for a top tier prospect along the interior of the defensive line. They've at least gotten a foot in the door with the top overall prospect in the nation at the position.
Chesapeake (Va.) Oscar Smith five-star defensive tackle Andrew Brown is expected to be in the Swamp sometime later this summer for an unofficial visit then will return in the fall for an official visit.
"I will probably go sometime in July," said Brown of his possible Florida visit. "I am going to try to get to Florida State and Ohio State this July too. I don't have any dates set right now."
This summer's visits will be big for schools that hope to make Brown's final five, a list that he says Florida has a good shot of making.
"Right now I have seven schools that I really like right now," explained Brown. "I have a top five of Virginia Tech, Clemson, Ohio State, Florida and Florida State and then have UVA and UNC also, but I have been to them so many times. My five schools, I am making the official visits to so I can see things for myself. Alabama is also like on the outside looking in. I might visit there this summer."
The one positive that Florida has in their corner when it comes to recruiting this 6-foot-3, 298-pound big man is defensive line coach Brad Lawing.
"The main reason I like them is because their defensive line coach just got done training Jadaveon Clowney. I feel like if he taught me, then I would be ready for the next level. He told me that I could be the best D tackle that ever came out of Florida if I came there."
Four-Star Talks Official Visit
Over the course of the spring evaluation period, Joliet (Ill.) Plainfield South Rivals100 linebacker Clifton Garrett was one of the nations most visited prospects. Now with spring football in the rear view mirror, Garrett has released a list of standouts and even a leader.
"I have a top five, but things aren't set in stone or final but I have Florida, LSU, Tennessee, Ole Miss, and USC. LSU is my leader right now, but things aren't official or anything like that."
While the LSU Tigers may lead, the Florida Gators are another school catching the attention of the four-star rated prospect.
"I have a great relationship with Florida and talk with coach [D.J.] Durkin and [Will] Muschamp a lot actually. I talk to them weekly then every other week, so I am looking forward to getting to campus and seeing things more."
Garrett has even planned two trips to Gainesville in the coming months, one officially and the other unofficially.
"I am actually going to Florida when I am down that way. I am going to head out that way and meet with the coaching staff while I am close. I am also going to Florida for an official visit when they play Tennessee. I haven't set it up for sure yet but that is the one I have in mind."
Garrett also added he is familiar with a linebacker currently on the Gators roster.
"They want me to come by and play alongside Antonio Morrison," explained Garrett. "They say our game is very similar and they see a lot of him in my tape. He is a great player and I played against him in high school. So I know if I did end up down there I wouldn't have to worry about anything on the other side of me at linebacker."
Gators Make Move on Five-Star Tackle
In the latest Rivals100 rankings update Forestville (M.D.) Bishop McNamara offensive tackle Damian Prince was one of a handful of prospects to be elevated to five-star status.
His higher ranking isn't the only news to be had.
The newly ranked five-star also has started to piece together a visit to Gainesville.
"I am going probably between July 18th and July 20th, I don't have an exact date set up right now though," explained Prince. "I am going the Opening at the end of June and then going to try to mix up Alabama, Florida, Florida State and South Carolina in the same week in July."
Over the spring evaluation period a few Florida coaches made stops by his high school to keep get a foot in the door with this 6-foot-5, 292-pound big man.
"Coach [Brian] White, Coach [Travaris] Robinson, and Coach [Tim] Davis all came by this spring. Coach Davis and I have spoken on the phone also before he came by. I like the Gators' tradition and the offense that they run. So I am definitely interested in getting down there."
Currently Prince holds over two dozen offers from college programs from across the nation and said he plans on narrowing things down in the next few days. While he doesn't have anything set in stone, he did share a few schools likely to make the cut and another right on the cusp.
"The schools that are going to make it in are Florida State, Ohio State, Alabama and Maryland. I like Florida, but I want to take a visit first before I add them to my list to make sure the visit is going to be my determining factor.