NCF On The Trail: Ryan Sousa

#AskLoogs: Instant-impact Gators

January, 16, 2014
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In order to answer this question, we are going to assume everyone currently committed will be signing with the Gators come February. With that being said, wide receiver Ermon Lane (Homestead, Fla./Homestead) is the biggest need position they have right now. He is mentally and physically capable of playing right away and developing throughout the season into a go-to guy. Obviously dual-threat quarterback Will Grier (Davidson, N.C./Davidson Day School) will have every opportunity to contribute and compete for the starting job, but it will be an awfully steep learning curve and he will have to battle and beat out Jeff Driskel. The Gators would love for offensive tackle David Sharpe (Jacksonville, Fla./Providence) to be ready, but for all his athleticism, he is also raw and would need to start out on the right side. Hopefully Florida will be past their injuries up front next season and not have a need for Sharpe just yet. Don’t count out the likes of wide receiver Ryan Sousa (Orlando, Fla./Lake Nona) and wide receiver Moral Stephens (Perry, Fla./Taylor County) as options for them, too.

Gators have needs to fill in recruiting

December, 24, 2013
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- With a 15-player senior class and seven players transferring or leaving since the end of the season, Florida has plenty of holes to fill.

Considering all seven of those departing players were from the offensive side of the ball, it's obvious where much of the Gators' recruiting efforts are focused.

Florida has 23 scholarships available with cornerback Louchiez Purifoy forgoing his senior season to enter the NFL draft.

Here's a breakdown of Florida's biggest needs in restocking its roster with talent.

Will Grier
Miller Safrit/ESPNWill Grier is the nation's No. 2-ranked quarterback.
Quarterback: The Gators have a starter in Jeff Driskel, who is expected to recover from a broken bone in his lower leg that required surgery. Their most experienced backup, Tyler Murphy, surprised the coaching staff when he decided to transfer, but Skyler Mornhinweg remains. He started UF's last three games of the season as a redshirt freshman, but it remains to be seen how Mornhinweg will fit into Florida's new offense.

The numbers are obviously low with just two scholarship QBs on the roster, but help is on the way. Florida expects Will Grier, the nation's No. 2-ranked quarterback, to enroll in early January. Now that Murphy has departed, expect the Gators to add a second quarterback to their 2014 class. A dual-threat QB who can bring a more athletic dimension and schematic flexibility to the position makes the most sense. Coach Will Muschamp will let his new offensive coordinator find the right fit.

Offensive line: Florida graduated three starters and lost reserve Ian Silberman to transfer along with two others who were buried at the bottom of the depth chart. That's six departures -- a lot for any season. Muschamp likes to have at least 15 offensive linemen on his roster, so expect a handful of newcomers. Offensive line has been a sore spot for the last two seasons, and injuries decimated Florida in 2013. The Gators return five players with starting experience, but depth must be created as only four other scholarship linemen remain. With so few bodies, at least one of the incoming prospects can expect to make the two-deep roster.

Florida needs the most help on the edges, which is why the headline OL commitment is David Sharpe, the nation's No. 2-ranked offensive tackle prospect. The Gators recently signed Drew Sarvary, a 6-foot-6, 310-pound juco OT who could also play inside. Of all the newcomers, he'll have the inside track to play first. Florida also has pledges from three of the nation's top-30 guard prospects in Nolan Kelleher (6-5, 310), Travaris Dorsey (6-3, 314) and Dontae Angus (6-5, 310).

Offensive skill positions: Florida's QBs haven't had much time to develop in the passing game in recent years, and some of the blame can be directed at the offensive line. But nothing is more obviously missing in the Gator offense than playmakers at the wide receiver and tight end positions. The Class of 2013 saw five talented freshmen WRs join the program, three of whom saw action. But with two senior starters leaving, it's imperative that UF continue to add talent and numbers to its receiving corps. The Gators' top wide receiver commit for 2014 is Ermon Lane, the No. 2 WR prospect in the country. Keeping him in the fold is a top priority.

UF also has pledges from former FSU commit Ryan Sousa and Moral Stephens. At 6-3 and 200 pounds, Stephens would give UF a prospect with some size who could play H-back or grow into a full-time role at tight end. Florida has just three scholarship TEs on its roster, but has commitments from DeAndre Goolsby and C'yontai Lewis, both three-star prospects. The Gators have plenty of talented options returning at tailback but lack a game-breaking home-run hitter who can gain the edge. That's why it's so important they hang onto the commitment of Dalvin Cook, the nation's No. 4 RB prospect. Coaches presume he would have a role as a true freshman in 2014.

Defensive line: Florida is in good shape with 10 returning scholarship players. But Muschamp's multiple-scheme defense, which uses 4-3 and 3-4 alignments up front, puts a heavy emphasis on defensive linemen making plays and disrupting the opponent's offense. Florida has three commitments -- DT Khairi Clark, DE Taven Bryan and DE Justus Reed. Bryan could end up on offense, so the object of much of Muschamp's hard work on the recruiting trail is adding another difference-maker who can rush the passer.

Cornerback: The Gators graduated two cornerbacks and are losing Purifoy to the NFL. If he is joined by fellow starter Marcus Roberson, who is projected as a first-round pick in ESPN Insider Todd McShay's first mock draft, there will likely be immediate playing time available. That's Muschamp's sales pitch. It's also why Florida is trying to load up on DB prospects. The nation's No. 10 athlete, J.C. Jackson, is committed, as are Chris Lammons, Quincy Wilson and Duke Dawson. Wilson and Dawson could end up at safety, so Florida must close strong in adding at least one more pure cornerback with the talent to contribute right away. Florida hit the jackpot last year in signing All-SEC first-team CB Vernon Hargreaves III. Few prospects enter the college ranks as technically skilled and prepared as he, but the Gators are hoping another recruiting bounty will keep the pipeline of impact cornerbacks flowing.

Gators land another ESPN 300 player

December, 12, 2013
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Florida had a big recruiting day on Thursday. ESPN 300 offensive tackle David Sharpe (Jacksonville, Fla./Providence) committed to the Gators on Thursday morning, and another ESPN 300 prospect, wide receiver Moral Stephens (Perry, Fla./Taylor County) received a phone call from Florida head coach Will Muschamp.

Muschamp called to offer a scholarship to Stephens, the No. 206 player in the ESPN 300. He jumped on the offer and committed to the Gators.

Stephens held offers from Arkansas, Clemson, Georgia, Kentucky and several other schools.

The 6-foot-4, 215-pound athlete could play receiver or tight end, but according to his father, Moral Stephens Sr., the Gators are recruiting him to play H-back and do multiple things in the Florida offense.

Another Florida receiver commit, Ermon Lane (Homestead, Fla./Homestead), has appeared to be wavering on his pledge to the Gators, which could have influenced Florida’s decision to offer the four-star Stephens.

The Gators also recently added wide receiver Ryan Sousa (Orlando, Fla./Lake Nona), who flipped his commitment from Florida State to the Gators.

With Sharpe and Stephens in the fold, the Gators have 18 commitments, including 11 ranked in the ESPN 300.

Four-star WR Sousa flips from FSU to UF

December, 2, 2013
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Despite not having an offensive coordinator the Florida Gators were able to get four-star wide receiver Ryan Sousa (Orlando, Fla./Lake Nona) to flip his commitment from Florida State to the Gators on Monday night. Sousa’s commitment was first reported by 247sports.

Sousa camped at both schools over the summer but was only offered a scholarship by FSU, which he quickly jumped on and committed to the Noles in June.

After having a strong senior season, Florida decided to offer the 6-foot, 177-pound wideout a scholarship. Sousa took an official visit this weekend and decided to go ahead and flip his commitment.

After struggling mightily in the passing game this year, the Gators have been looking to add playmakers on offense. Sousa, who totaled 4,107 receiving yards and 53 receiving touchdowns on 246 receptions in his high school career, joins four-star wide receiver Ermon Lane (Homestead, Fla./Homestead) as Florida commitments.

For Florida, the Gators now have 16 commitments, including nine ranked in the ESPN 300. Twelve of Florida’s commitments are ranked four-stars or higher.

Florida State, meanwhile, has 23 commitments including nine ranked in the ESPN 300.

Weekend recruiting wrap: ACC 

September, 30, 2013
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Clemson and Pittsburgh hog most of the headlines this weekend as each was able to get a solid amount of prospects on campus, and the Tigers even got a commitment.

More on the happenings inside the ACC here.

Summer recruit wrap: Florida State 

July, 23, 2013
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NoleNation looks at 10 themes of Florida State's 2014 recruiting class to date:


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FSU recruiting: Positions of need 

July, 2, 2013
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NoleNation takes a quick look at five positions of need in this 2014 recruiting class.

Offensive tackle

Florida State enters this 2013 with only one certain starter at offensive tackle. Cam Erving, the starting left tackle, is a redshirt junior and could very well jump to the NFL draft after this season, given his high projections. Bobby Hart has played a lot in his first two seasons and could end up being the right tackle. From the Class of 2013, just Wilson Bell is capable of playing tackle, but could just as well end up on the interior depending on how things shake out.

Commitments: Ethan Frith (Summit, Miss./North Pike)

Top targets: Damian Prince (Forestville, Md./Bishop McNamara), Roderick Johnson (Florissant, Mo./Hazelwood Central)


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FSU instant impact recruits 

June, 25, 2013
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NoleNation takes a look at 10 prospects -- committed or uncommitted -- that could make an immediate impact at Florida State next season.

LB Kain Daub (Jacksonville, Fla./Sandalwood)
HT/WT: 6-foot-3/243 pounds
ESPN 300 rank: 36
Not only is Daub one of the top prospects in the state of Florida, he's also going to be an early enrollee. He has been to Tallahassee numerous times since he committed to get familiar with the personnel and coaches. Signs point to him playing in year one.


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QB Queen impressed at Florida camp 

June, 12, 2013
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- After landing a commitment from defensive end Taven Bryan (Casper, Wyo./Natrona) on Monday night, the second pledge during Florida's camp, the Tuesday camp sessions were relatively uneventful.

The group of attendees was headlined by 2015 quarterback prospect Tyler Queen (Kennessaw, Ga./North Cobb). The 6-foot-2, 237-pound signal-caller was hoping to earn an offer from the Gators with an impressive performance.


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Tales From the Road: Florida 

June, 5, 2013
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Each week, Tales From The Road will provide news and updates about where Florida's coaches are recruiting and which prospects are making headlines.


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Lessons Learned: Orlando NFTC 

March, 16, 2013
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ORLANDO, Fla. -- The 2013 Nike Football Training Camp tour continued in Orlando on Saturday as several top players from the Central Florida area showcased their skills at West Orange High School. There were individual standouts at every position as well as several players who put themselves on the map with impressive performances.


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