The University of Florida's "Friday Night Lights" camp, while not quite as strong as it has been in the past, culminated in a successful weekend with the commitments of cornerback Vernon Hargreaves (Tampa Wharton), defensive tackle Antonio Riles (Lawerenceville Archer, Georgia), defensive end Jordan Sherit (Tampa Hillsborough) and 2014 defensive tackle Trey Valentine (Palm Bay Bayside). Hargreaves is the consensus No. 1 cornerback in the country. The three 2013 verbal commitments bring the Gators' total commitments to 20 and most inside the program project that they are nearly complete with four to five prospects they are in great shape to secure and round out their class.
The University of Miami also experienced a strong week with two defensive back commitments in Northwestern's Artie Burns and Southridge's Jamal Carter. Coach Al Golden continues to do a great job in locking down local talent despite playing with the deck stacked against him. The two commitments bring Miami's total to 10 in what is expected to be a small class of about 17-18.
We have talked a lot about recruiting in this column, but we are approaching Aug. 1, which means that college players are about to start vying for positions. Here is a look at three former Southwest Florida players that will be in tough position battles for playing time.
Florida cornerback Jaylen Watkins (Cape Coral) is entering his junior year and played great down the stretch last year. As camp opens, he is one of the two starting corners (with Marcus Roberson), but will need to hold off Louchiez Purifoy, Cody Riggs, and newcomer Brian Poole. It won't get any easier for Watkins next year with the aforementioned Hargreaves enrolling.
Ohio State junior running back Carlos Hyde (Naples) has positioned himself as the potential starter. Jordan Hall (senior) is out with an injury and Rod Smith (sophomore) has dealt with ball security issues. A pair of highly touted freshmen, Warren Ball and Bri'onte Dunn, figure to be his toughest competition. Hyde is in top shape as he has kept his weight down (235 pounds).
Miami running back Dallas Crawford (South Fort Myers) red-shirted a year ago as he changed positions from defensive back. Mike James (senior), Eduardo Clements (junior), and Duke Johnson (freshmen) are his main competition entering camp. James figures to be the physical runner (215 pounds) and Crawford is slated to be a bit of a "jack of all trades" because of his outstanding versatility. Crawford is a play-maker and it will be all about capitalizing on his opportunities.