June 14, 2009

Top wide receiver picks the Gators

Solomon Patton did not make it a secret he loved everything about Florida from the style of offense to the coaching staff and everything else. So it comes as no shock that the four-star wide receiver from Mobile (Ala.) Murphy committed Sunday during a visit with his parents.

What is shocking is that Florida's class now has 13 commits, 10 being four-star prospect by Rivals.com, as the Gators continue to build one of the nation's best classes. Safety Matt Elam has a five-star rating and quarterback Trey Burton and tight end Michael McFarland are three-star recruits.

Patton, a 5-foot-10, 175-pound prospect, had already visited Florida and said last week he was "blown away by it." This trip was to allow his parents to sign off on his decision to commit, which he said he planned to do during previous interviews.

Patton backed up his words Sunday when he committed to the Gators, who continue to stockpile talent like hardly any other team in the country. Rivals.com rates Patton as the No. 34 receiver and No. 212 prospect in the class. Analysts seem to like his speed, maneuverability and playmaking ability.

Position coach Billy Gonzales did a lot of leg work to land Patton, who also had Alabama, Auburn, Florida State, Southern Mississippi and UAB as some of his other top schools. But it became clear after Patton visited Florida the first time that it had taken a significant lead in his recruitment.

Not only does Patton, who had 845 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns last season, have a good relationship with Gonzales but he believes Florida's offense fits his strengths.

He said many of the offensive sets Florida ran for Percy Harvin is what he's used to at his high school and it's that kind of ability that will allow him to be productive in the spread offense.

Wide receiver is a position of need for the Gators this recruiting cycle and Patton's commitment is a major step forward in landing some other top prospects. By the count on Rivals.com, Florida has offered 24 wide receivers including Patton, more than any other position on the board.

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