SEC: Joshua Shaw

Florida's 2010 class loses two more

October, 26, 2011
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Maybe all the glitter really isn’t gold.

Just take a gander at Florida’s 2010 recruiting class.

Praised by many as the greatest recruiting class ever, Florida watched as two more from that group walked away Tuesday.

Even after both players practiced during the bye week, Florida coach Will Muschamp announced that tight end Gerald Christian and Robert Clark will transfer from Florida.

“Both of these players have expressed a desire for more playing time and felt that it would be in their best interests to transfer,” Muschamp said. “We wish them both the best of luck and appreciate their contributions to the program.”

Neither one had done much in their Florida careers, as Christian redshirted last year and spent time as both a linebacker and tight end. He caught four passes for 72 yards, including a 45-yard touchdown. Clark has touched the ball twice this season on punt returns, and muffed one. Last year, he caught seven passes for 69 yards and a touchdown.

That makes eight players who have left the team in the past year from that vaunted class – a class that featured 18 ESPNU 150 members (wide receiver Adrian Coxson signed with Florida, but transferred to Maryland before the 2010 season and is listed as a Maryland signee).

Attrition aside, this class has yet to make the kind of impact many expected it to. Yes, they are sophomores or redshirt freshmen, but even former Florida coach Urban Meyer said he expected this class to come right in and make significant contributions.

We’ve seen some here and there. Trey Burton, who was one of Florida’s least heralded members from the 2010 class, led Florida with 12 total touchdowns last season. Matt Elam has become one of Florida’s most trusted defenders at the strong safety spot. Chaz Green is starting to get more reps on Florida’s offensive line in his second year.

After that, this class has had mixed results. When you look at Florida’s defensive line haul from that year, we’re still waiting to see what it can really do. Defensive end Ronald Powell, who was the No. 1 recruit in the country, had a tough freshman year, but hasn’t made much improvement in 2011. Sharrif Floyd had a solid freshman year at tackle, but after moving to end this year he hasn’t made much of an impact at all. Dominique Easley has shown flashes here and there inside, but just isn’t consistent.

Cornerback Cody Riggs had a handful of good moments last year, but has had coverage issues this season. Joshua Shaw was the No. 3 corner coming out, but has moved to safety, and running back Mack Brown can’t seem to crack the depth chart.

Outside of inconsistency on the field, this class was ravaged by attitude problems that caused a major rift with the upperclassmen last year. With a new coaching staff and a fresh start, the thought was that wouldn’t be an issue, and maybe it hasn’t been, but the hype surrounding this class has been damaging from the start.

The interesting thing about Christian and Clark wanting more playing time is that the positions they were at didn’t exactly have playmakers wowing everyone with their numbers. Florida’s leading wide receiver is senior Deonte Thompson, who has 12 catches for 152 yards and no touchdowns. Tight end Jordan Reed has 12 catches for 91 yards.

Regardless, this class has yet to live up to its billing. Twelve of the 26 who made it on campus for the first game played in six or more games, with six playing in all 13 games, so it’s not like this class hasn’t had the chance to get some on-field development.

There is certainly time for this class to get things together, but the moniker of “best ever” is long gone.

SEC post-spring superlatives

May, 4, 2010
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Everybody has wrapped up spring practice in the SEC, and it's time to look at some of the superlatives of the last two months:

Best spring game performance: It's hard to pick just one. Alabama defensive end Marcell Dareus had two tackles for loss, including a sack, and two quarterback hurries. Florida quarterback John Brantley was 15-of-19 for 201 yards and two touchdowns. Arkansas receiver Jarius Wright had seven catches for 118 yards, including a 47-yard touchdown. Ole Miss backup quarterback Raymond Cotton was 5-of-7 for 178 yards with touchdown passes of 80 and 61 yards, while LSU running back Stevan Ridley rushed for 104 yards and a touchdown.

[+] EnlargeCameron Newton
AP Photo/Todd J. Van EmstCameron Newton moved himself to the top of Auburn's QB depth chart with an impressive spring.
Best performance by a freshman: Florida went all the way out to California to land prized cornerback Joshua Shaw, and he didn't wait long to make his presence felt. Staking a claim to the starting job opposite Janoris Jenkins, Shaw had a team-high eight tackles in the spring game to go along with an interception.

Best performance by an offensive newcomer: Quarterback Cameron Newton arrived at Auburn with a lot of hype. But he was all substance during the spring in playing his way to the top of the depth chart.

Best performance by a defensive newcomer: Ole Miss defensive coordinator Tyrone Nix can't wait to turn safety Damien Jackson loose in the Rebels' defense. Jackson was everywhere this spring after coming over from junior college.

Best position battle: The race to fill Joe Haden's vacated spot at cornerback will extend into the preseason at Florida. Senior Moses Jenkins got most of the first-team work in the spring, but sophomore Jeremy Brown would probably get the nod at this point, assuming his back problems don't flare up in the fall. Shaw may have the most upside. He just needs experience. Sophomore Adrian Bushell also remains a possibility if he can get everything squared away off the field.

Best position move: LSU's Russell Shepard has given up the quarterback thing and is now concentrating fully on receiver. The Tigers need to be concentrating on getting him the ball.

Best spring game atmosphere: Maybe there will come a day again when Alabama doesn't draw 90,000-plus to Bryant-Denny Stadium for an A-Day spring game. But that day doesn't figure to be anytime soon.

Best blowup: The runaway winner was Urban Meyer's "You're a bad guy" lambasting of Orlando Sentinel beat reporter Jeremy Fowler, whose "crime" was correctly quoting receiver Deonte Thompson concerning the differences between Tim Tebow and John Brantley as quarterbacks. Meyer later apologized and said he was simply protecting one of his players.

Best swan song: Georgia redshirt freshman Zach Mettenberger threw a pair of touchdown passes in the Bulldogs' spring game and looked good doing it, but was gone eight days later when coach Mark Richt dismissed him from the team.

Best camera work: Thanks to all of my volunteers on the road this spring who did a little camera work for the video interviews of players and coaches. Showing what a Renaissance man he truly is, even Julio Jones got into the act in Tuscaloosa.

Best quote: "You look at coach [Nick] Saban's first year at Alabama, and he didn't win against us, and now all of a sudden, they've won two years against us, and you hear all sorts of things, like they're going to own Auburn the next couple of years. I'm telling you … that's not going to be the case." -- Auburn linebacker Josh Bynes

Lunchtime links: Tweets tweak recruiting

February, 10, 2010
2/10/10
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Some of what's going on around the SEC:

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