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Colleges

Newcomers set to help UF rebound


Published:   |   Updated: February 6, 2014 at 06:15 AM

GAINESVILLE — Florida’s first losing season since 1979 did little, if anything, to affect recruiting.

Coach Will Muschamp put the finishing touches on another top-10 signing class Wednesday, adding 24 players who could help the program rebound after going 4-8 in 2013.

“I think our staff has done an outstanding job,” said Muschamp, who replaced three assistants after the season. “We had a rough fall, but recruiting is about being here and building those relationships with some of these young men for two years, two and a half years.

“They also saw us win 11 games the year before, and they understand that. And I think they kind of understand where we’re headed with the program and they’re excited about our future.”

The class includes nine players already on campus who will contribute during spring practice. Cornerback Jalen Tabor from Washington, D.C., and quarterback Will Grier from Davison, N.C., are the most decorated of the early enrollees.

Muschamp added 15 players Wednesday, highlighted by quarterback Treon Harris from Miami, cornerback J.C. Jackson from Immokalee and defensive lineman Gerald Willis from New Orleans.

The class includes six offensive linemen, five defensive linemen and three tight ends. Florida signed one running back and two receivers, a small number of playmakers for an offense that ranked 113th in the nation last season.

Jones undergoes another surgery

Florida running back Matt Jones (Armwood High) had more surgery to finish repairing torn meniscus in his left knee. Muschamp said Jones had surgery Wednesday, adding that his knee was “90 percent healed.”

Muschamp said doctors “feel very comfortable that it’s way further along than they thought it would be at this time and feel really good about him progressing well.”

Jones, a 6-foot-2, 226-pound junior who missed most of fall practice and the season opener while recovering from a viral infection, carried 79 times for 339 yards and two touchdowns last season. He injured his knee in a loss to LSU in October.

Muschamp said Jones will sit out spring practice, but should be ready for summer workouts.

Riggs to transfer

Florida safety Cody Riggs, who started every game last season, will transfer for his final year of eligibility.

Muschamp announced Riggs’ intentions Wednesday, saying the junior from Fort Lauderdale wants a fresh start.

Riggs is on pace to graduate in May and will be able to transfer and play right away in the fall.

Riggs ranked fourth on the team with 51 tackles in 2013. He also had three pass breakups and 1½ sacks. He played in 40 games over three seasons, totaling 107 tackles, two sacks and an interception.

The Gators also lost safety Jaylen Watkins to graduation, and cornerbacks Loucheiz Purifoy and Marcus Roberson left school early to enter the NFL draft.

So without Riggs, Florida will have to revamp much of its secondary.

Florida Signings

Player Pos. Ht. Wt. School

Taven Bryan DL 6-5 260 Natrona County (Wyo.)

Khairi Clark DL 6-2 325 Chaminade-Madonnna Coll. Prep

Duke Dawson DB 5-10 190 Dixie County

Travaris Dorsey OL 6-3 310 Raines

DeAndre Goolsby TE 6-4 230 Derby (Ky.) Senior

Will Grier QB 6-2 190 Davidson Day (N.C.)

Kavaris Harkless OL 6-5 275 Trinity Christian Academy

Treon Harris QB 5-11 185 Booker T. Washington

Thomas Holley DL 6-4 295 Lincoln (N.Y.)

J.C. Jackson DB 5-11 185 Immokalee

Nolan Kelleher OL 6-6 305 Wando (S.C.)

Cyontai Lewis TE 6-5 220 Northridge (Ala.)

Andrew Mike OL 6-7 280 Sabino (Ariz.)

Deiondre Porter CB 6-1 170 Jefferson

Brandon Powell RB 5-9 175 Deerfield Beach

Justus Reed DL 6-3 220 Clearwater Central Catholic

Drew Sarvary OL 6-6 318 Tyler (Texas) Junior College

David Sharpe OL 6-6 315 Providence School

Ryan Sousa WR 6-0 180 Lake Nona

Moral Stephens TE 6-3 230 Taylor County

Jalen Tabor DB 6-1 188 Friendship Coll. Acad., Wash., D.C.

Gerald Willis DL 6-3 270 Edna Karr (La.)

Quincy Wilson DB 6-1 200 University School of Nova South

C.J. Worton WR 6-0 172 South Dade

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