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Miami (OH) Dual-Sport CB Quinten Rollins Is NFL Draft's Fastest Riser

One calendar year ago, the Miami Redhawks’ basketball team was sitting at 10-11 and preparing for the final month of the season before the MAC tournament. Their point guard, a four-year starter, was putting the finishing touches on a stellar collegiate career.

As the final buzzer went off on Quinten Rollins’ basketball days, he had clearly left a positive mark on the program. Rollins’ imprint on the Miami record books is significant; ranking second in career steals (214), fourth in assists (391), seventh in games started (106), and ninth in minutes played (3,448).

After the basketball season, Rollins toyed with the idea of playing football for his final year of eligibility. In an interview with Dane Brugler of CBS Sports, Rollins decided playing football could help clarify his future.

…my senior year came around and I sat down with Coach (Chuck) Martin and we saw eye to eye. I gave spring ball a shot and it worked out pretty well. It was basically a tryout kind of deal whether or not he was going to give me a scholarship. And fortunately I was able to make enough plays for that to happen.

The last time Rollins had played football, he was primarily a running back and receiver. His experience on defense was as a roaming playmaker, or essentially a strong safety in the mold of Troy Polamalu.

Fast forward back to present day, and it’s almost unbelievable Rollins only played one season on the college gridiron. His one and only campaign resulted in 73 tackles, seven interceptions and nine pass breakups. The seven interceptions were tied for third nationally.

The NFL took notice of Rollins’ abilities and invited him to the 2015 Reese’s Senior Bowl. The Senior Bowl is a great test for small-school prospects that don’t usually get to play elite talent on a weekly basis, as every snap in practice is dissected. Almost unsurprisingly after seeing how far Rollins has progressed thus far, the cornerback held his own all week and showed the hype is warranted.

To get a better feel for what Rollins brings to the table, I went and looked at seven of his games in 2014 and wrote a scouting report based on his strengths and weaknesses. With some visual aids, let’s take a look at the dual-sport phenom’s football acumen.

 

Strengths 

When evaluating Rollins, the first thing that has to be mentioned is his frame. The NFL is filled with cornerbacks of all sizes, but some teams tend to avoid smaller cornerbacks. Rollins shouldn’t have that issue, as he measured 5’11”, 193 pounds at the Senior Bowl.

On the field, Rollins plays bigger than he is listed. He has a thick build that allows him be a physical presence in the secondary. Just to the naked eye, he looks like a dribble-drive point guard, and a bulldog-type cornerback. His frame fits his game.

His willingness to be physical with his body is one of the most impressive areas of his game. To be a strong run defender on the boundary, being effective is mostly about effort and functional strength. Some cornerbacks don’t care about this aspect of the game because effective coverage is a bigger part of their job description.

Rollins doesn’t take that liberty, though. Of the seven games I saw, he missed only two tackles he had a reasonable chance at getting. His form is nearly flawless, as he approaches the ball carrier low to the ground so that he can explode forward and deliver a blow.

He’s relentless fighting through blockers as well. Rollins is a pest for receivers that don’t want to put much effort into blocks, as he takes it very seriously. Below is a good example.

Looking at Rollins’ coverage talent, it’s clear he’s a natural playmaker. His seven interceptions were far from flukes, coming scattered throughout the season in different situations. He didn’t waste time to show his ability to read plays and stay in position, either, as he logged four interceptions in the first four games of his career.

Throughout football, collegiate and professionally, many cornerbacks have a bad habit of playing the receiver more than the ball. It’s maddening, as the ball belongs to the cornerback as much as the receiver. This results in many pass interference calls and blown opportunities for a turnover.

That’s why Rollins’ natural instinct to locate and play the ball is invaluable. A turnover is a premium result of a play for the defense and can be one of the few differences between a win and a loss. Make no mistake; it’s hard to find a defensive back that sniffs out the route as early as Rollins did.

Athletically, Rollins has the ability to stick at cornerback long term. His ability to line up directly over the receiver, mirror movements off the snap, and then turn and run downfield is crucial. Every defense in the league plays a variety of man and zone coverages to some extent, so that versatility is a major plus. Rollins has enough fluidity in his hips to smother comebacks, or go deep on post routes.

In zone, Rollins is a star. Zone coverage allows the cornerback to open his hips early and just read the quarterback and receiver. If the receiver gets into his assigned area, the cornerback acts. Rollins’ anticipation and play recognition are excellent, regardless of his inexperience.

 

Weaknesses 

Although Rollins measures and weighs well, his arm length is a bit of a concern. The premium placed on height can an overrated part of the puzzle for projection, but length isn’t. There’s a reason why the Seattle Seahawks prefer players with certain arm measurements; players with length help limit explosive plays.

Rollins’ arm length measurement of 29 3/8” could be an issue. He struggles in press coverage at times, which isn’t surprising because he is underdeveloped with technique and lacks experience. But without length, the receiver can get upfield without being touched easier. Take a look below, where Rollins loses on a slant route because he cannot recover from his length limiting him.

Overcoming this may not be a big issue as Rollins improves and gets more snaps to practice, but it narrows the margin for error greatly. Arm length can also help in jump ball situations against taller receivers and when breaking toward the ball to make a pass breakup.

Breaking down is where Rollins has the most issues; it is with deep routes. For the most part, he smothers underneath routes with impressive efficiency. His ability to trigger from his backpedal and explode forward is certainly above average.

But when going deep, either Rollins lacks straight-line speed, or he’s struggling with his footwork early in his coverage and doesn’t have necessary makeup speed. It’s hard to tell from his film because he wasn’t getting burned every game.

In the screenshot above, we see the receiver’s lead shoulder is well ahead of Rollins’, and Rollins is in a compromising position at this point. The quarterback notices his slot receiver has the leverage and targets him for a completion. By the time the ball arrives, Rollins is well behind the receiver.

At the Senior Bowl, Rollins didn’t appear to be lacking deep speed. It’s difficult to tell from television broadcast angles where Rollins is losing on deep routes, but if it turns out he is speed deficient, a move to safety is possible. For what it is worth, I think his footwork is the bigger issue than straight-line speed, or else he would be targeted deep on every play, and that isn’t the case.

Rollins should improve his technique as he receives more coaching in the NFL. His biggest issues just come from lacking experience, such as where to place hands when jamming, or when to be physical with the receiver downfield. Footwork wise, he needs to keep his lower and upper body aligned so he stays balanced, but this wasn’t a constant issue.

 

Conclusion 

The NFL is desperate for good cornerbacks and safeties. Even if a team has two good starters, injuries can ravage the position quickly, and in today’s NFL, that can spell doom to a defense. There is a premium on all defensive backs that are physical with good ball skills.

That’s a large reason why Quinten Rollins has skyrocketed in the 2015 NFL draft process. He currently ranks as the third-best cornerback and 31st-overall prospect in the class by CBS Sports. Again, one year ago, he wasn’t even committed to playing football for the Redhawks.

Everything considered, Rollins is a project at cornerback, but his innate ability to locate and play the football is special. He can become a very good and reliable starting defensive back if he’s given time to refine some of the smaller details that separate the good from being even better.

If his first year at the position is any indicator of how much he can improve, there’s no reason to think he won’t maximize his potential.

 

All stats used are from sports-reference.com.

Ian Wharton is a Miami Dolphins Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report, contributor for Optimum Scouting, and analyst for eDraft. 

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Arden Key to LSU: Tigers Land 4-Star DE Prospect

Arden Key, one of the top defensive ends in the 2015 recruiting class, has made his college decision. 

According to Ryan Bartow of 247Sports, Key will be attending LSU:

According to 247Sports.com rankings, Key is the No. 4 weak-side defensive end and 82nd-best player overall. He's been making the college rounds recently, providing an update on how things stood with his decision following a recent visit to South Carolina to John Whittle of 247Sports.com:

I’ve been here plenty of times. I know a lot of the players and it was all about catching up and talking a little football. I’ve been here plenty of times and know a lot of people. I have the inside track on what’s going on in South Carolina football. It’s always good to reconnect with the boys you grew up with. I have a couple of players I played rec ball with who go to this school, so it was all good.

However, that didn't really do much to clear up the battle for Key's services as he was set to take one final visit to Auburn prior to National Signing Day that seemed to increase his interest in the program. 

New Tigers defensive coordinator Will Muschamp could be a huge selling point to recruits, especially this year. In the end, neither team secured his services.

As far as what Key brings to LSU, Craig Haubert of ESPN.com had a detailed breakdown of what makes him such a highly-sought after recruit:

He needs to continue to fill out his lengthy and lean frame, but he has begun to add some good size since his junior year and is wiry with better-than-expected strength for his build. At this stage he is best playing on the move and getting after the quarterback. The top 25 prospect possesses excellent first-step quickness and with his length can develop into a disruptive edge rusher. 

In an era of college football where offenses are playing spread-out styles with multiple wide receiver sets and taking more chances down the field, finding a player who can get after the quarterback is essential to finding success. 

Key isn't a fully-developed edge-rusher at this point, but he's got plenty of time to get there. His raw potential stacks up alongside many of this year's top defensive linemen. Finding speed and athleticism up front on defense is something every program dreams of, but the best ones are able to make it happen. 

 

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Nebraska Football Recruiting: Predicting All the Recruits Who Will Sign on NSD

Nebraska football fans will be closely following coverage of national signing day on February 4. But as signing day approaches, Nebraska fans will be wondering what NU’s class for 2015 will look like. The contours of the class seem pretty clear, however. It is currently ranked No. 30 in the nation and No. 4 in the Big Ten, according to 247Sports.

While there are, of course, unexpected changes that can occur, it’s likely that the 20-man class of enrollees and commits that we currently know will end up as Nebraska’s 2015 recruiting class. So, absent a huge shock, here’s what the newest group of Huskers should look like.

 

The Early Enrollees

  • Eric Lee (CB, 4-star, .9414 composite)
  • Avery Anderson (ATH, 4-star, .8935 composite)
  • Aaron Williams (S, 3-star, .8610 composite)
  • Dedrick Young (ATH, 3-star, .8609 composite)

Early enrollees are the recruiting version of money in the bank. Once they’ve enrolled, you feel much more protected that the players will actually sign and become part of your class for the following year.

But this year’s early enrollees are more than just a security blanket. Lee might be the best overall player in the class, and the early enrollees as a whole could become the cornerstone of Nebraska’s secondary in the years to come.

 

The Top of the Class

  • Jalin Barnett (OG, 4-star, .9207 composite)
  • Christian Gaylord (OT, 4-star, .8882 composite)
  • Khalil Davis (DT, 3-star, .8730 composite)
  • Carlos Davis (DE, 3-star, .8891 composite)
  • Daishon Neal (DE, 3-star, .8588 composite)
  • Lavan Alston (WR, 3-star, .8832 composite)
  • Matt Snyder (TE, 3-star, .8523 composite)

The top of Nebraska’s class was the first test of new head coach Mike Riley’s recruiting acumen. Riley was able to land Barnett, Alston, and Snyder on his own. He was able to keep the Davis twins on board and Snyder and in the fold after new Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh made a run at them.

Gaylord and Austin will help to fill positions of need for Nebraska. But with only three 4-stars in the class, Nebraska fans will be hoping a full season of recruiting (along with more scholarships to offer) will help Riley pull in a bigger haul in 2016.

 

The Rest of the Class

  • Stanley Morgan (WR, 3-star, .8765 composite)
  • Devine Ozigbo (RB, 3-star, .8560 composite)
  • Michael Decker (OG, 3-star, .8544 composite)
  • Willie Sykes (CB, 3-star, .8226 composite)
  • Alex Davis (DE, 3-star, .8059 composite)
  • Tyrin Ferguson (LB, 3-star, .8312 composite)
  • Mohamed Barry (LB, 3-star, .8398 composite)
  • Antonio Reed (S, 3-star, .8026 composite)
  • Jordan Ober, (LS, 2-star, no composite)

The rest of Nebraska’s class addresses some glaring needs, particularly at linebacker with Ferguson and Barry. Missing out on junior college linebacker transfer Kaiwan Lewis was a blow, as Nebraska was hoping for adding some instant depth at the position.

The addition of Morgan should help a wide receiver corps that becomes disturbingly thin after graduation this year. Ozigbo is an interesting running back transfer from Iowa State, while Sykes and Reed should add to what looks to be a deep and imposing secondary. And Ober could very well be cover for an injury to scholarship long snapper Gabe Miller last season.

 

All rankings from 247Sports.

For a different look at Nebraska football, check out The Double Extra Point.

You can also use the Twitter machine to follow @DblExtraPoint.

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UCLA Football Recruiting: Predicting All of the Recruits Who Will Sign on NSD

With signing day less than 48 hours away, the UCLA Bruins are potentially on the cusp of closing out its 2015 recruiting class extremely well. As it currently stands, the Bruins have the No. 19 class in the country (per 247Sports). 

UCLA's in the hunt for multiple elite prospects. Landing even two or three of the recruits in question will raise the current ranking considerably.  

It's conceivable to think as many as seven prospects could announce for the Bruins on signing day. Currently, UCLA has 17 commitments. Two of the said commitments (Josh Rosen, Zach Bateman) are already enrolled in school. 

Here's a projected look at UCLA's 2015 recruiting class. Some of these predictions—especially involving out-of-state prospects—might be a big surprising. 

 

Begin Slideshow

UCLA Football Recruiting: Predicting All of the Recruits Who Will Sign on NSD

With signing day less than 48 hours away, the UCLA Bruins are potentially on the cusp of closing out its 2015 recruiting class extremely well. As it currently stands, the Bruins have the No...

Begin Slideshow

Kai Locksley to Texas: Longhorns Land 4-Star QB Prospect

Florida State's loss is Texas' gain. Kai Locksley officially flipped his commitment from the Seminoles to the Longhorns on Monday night.

Locksley announced on Twitter that he's heading to Austin:

According to 247Sports' composite rankings, he's the 23rd-best athlete in the 2015 recruiting class and ranks 336th overall. He'll almost certainly play at quarterback once he joins the Texas roster.

The Longhorns were in dire need of a QB, especially after Kyler Murray doubled down on his commitment to Texas A&M. Locksley undoubtedly fills a major void.

There's some question as to whether he'll be ready to make the jump to college football right out of the gate. In a perfect world, he'll redshirt his first year at the school in order to better set himself up for the future.

However, Locksley eliminated that as an option, per Max Olson of ESPN.com:

He remains confident that he can contribute right away, per Orangebloods.com:

While Locksley will likely have a somewhat rough adjustment period, he should grow into a great starting quarterback for Texas.

Head coach Charlie Strong is slowly building the Longhorns back up as a national power. Grabbing a player like Locksley will help the program reach the college football mountaintop once again.

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4-Star QB Kai Locksley's Flip from FSU to Texas Is Best Move for All Parties

The Texas Longhorns were in need of some good news. After 247Sports' Bobby Burton reported 5-star running back Soso Jamabo and 5-star defensive tackle Daylon Mack, two of the best uncommitted prospects in the state, are likely headed elsewhere, the Longhorns got a much-needed lift in their spirits courtesy of 4-star Maryland quarterback Kai Locksley.

The former Florida State commitment announced via social media that he has flipped to Texas, answering the ongoing question that Longhorns fans were hoping would go in their favor before national signing day. Locksley, a dual-threat quarterback, became Texas' 26th overall commit.

More importantly, Locksley became the team's first full quarterback commit. Matthew Merrick, a 3-star prospect, has committed as a grayshirt.

Locksley's decision definitely benefits the Longhorns before it hurts the Seminoles. For starters, entering Monday, Florida State had three quarterback commits in Locksley, 4-star Deondre Francois and 3-star De'Andre Johnson—who is already on campus as an early enrollee. Having three quarterbacks would have meant one of two things: talented players would be on the bench, or talented quarterbacks playing out of position, maybe at wide receiver.

Locksley choosing the Longhorns means he'll be the only full-scholarship quarterback in the 2015 class. He'll go to Texas next season looking to compete against Tyrone Swoopes and Jerrod Heard—assuming head coach Charlie Strong chooses not to redshirt him.

Texas hosted Locksley on an official visit the weekend of Jan. 23 and told Rivals' Jason Suchomel that the trip gave him something to think about. Locksley added that he noticed the other athletes there on an official visit were on board with Strong's philosophy.

I wanted to see how I would interact with the guys on the team, the guys coming in. I wanted to see what type of mindset and motivation they had. You can tell those guys are definitely on board with coach [Charlie] Strong. I saw that. The campus life, I had to see if I could see myself there for four years. Everything was natural and seemed to fit.

Locksley is a big get for the Longhorns, and with Wednesday around the corner, the Longhorns are hoping to add a couple more names to a class that includes 11 4-star athletes and one 5-star, linebacker and early enrollee Malik Jefferson.

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Damon Arnette to Ohio State: Buckeyes Land 3-Star CB Prospect

South Carolina thought they had Damon Arnette signed, sealed and delivered. Instead, the cornerback prospect decided to flip his commitment to Ohio State, breaking the hearts of Gamecocks everywhere.

He confirmed the news on his Twitter account: 

Arnette is a 3-star recruit from St. Thomas Aquinas in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, according to 247Sports. He is ranked as the No. 647 prospect in the country, the No. 84 player from the state of Florida and the No. 60 cornerback. Standing at 6'2" and weighing 185 pounds, he has the size and athleticism that coaches crave at the cornerback position these days.

He also has the competitive nature coaches want, as he illustrated on Twitter a few weeks before he made his decision:

In the modern game, taller, more physical corners are in vogue, so it's hardly a surprise that multiple schools continued to recruit Arnette despite his initial commitment to South Carolina. In today's recruiting landscape, a commitment is hardly considered sacred by opposing coaches or players.

In the end, it was Ohio State that managed to win Arnette's signature. It was a bumpy ride, but the cornerback is now headed to the school he feels gives him the best chance to develop as a successful player in the future.

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How the Versatility of 4-Star Kirk Merritt Can Help the Oregon Class

It was the versatility of 4-star Louisiana standout Kirk Merritt that made him a wanted man. Merritt, who parlayed that level of versatility into winning the 2014 Nike SPARQ Championship last summer, had 24 offers to choose from entering the week.

Monday evening, the 5'11", 206-pound all-purpose back announced his college plans—and he's headed westward.

Merritt verbally committed to Oregon during a ceremony among friends and family in Destrehan, Louisiana. He chose the Ducks over offers from Texas A&M, Auburn and Alabama and became Oregon's 22nd overall commit and seventh player rated at least a 4-star prospect.

"It all started two years ago, when I got my first offer from Louisiana Tech," Merritt said. "It's the best feeling ever just knowing that a college wants you to play at next level. At the end, you know you've got to pick a school—one school—and make sure it's the best place for you.

"My family and I, we made a decision. I'm just happy to be playing college football and furthering my education."

Merritt announced on Sunday he had trimmed his top four to two, choosing Oregon and Texas A&M as the finalists. He said he liked the fact that both teams loved to throw the ball and utilized the spread offense, which is what he was accustomed to at Destrehan High School. Merritt added that he was a fan of how athletes were used in space in both offenses.

When showcasing his skill set, Merritt sent a message to the masses with his score of 148.83 at the SPARQ national competition. Along with running the 40-yard dash in 4.46 seconds, he made jaws drop with a 45'8" leap in the vertical jump. He also showed his strength by throwing the power ball 43 feet, setting the bar for all players considered athletes according to ESPN.

Considered an all-purpose back for Destrehan, Merritt finished his senior year with 1,058 rushing and receiving yards combined and 11 total touchdowns, according to Jonathan Menard of the St. Charles Herald-Guide. Merritt was recruited to both Oregon and Texas A&M as a slot receiver.

Oregon and Texas A&M, Merritt said, had their similarities, but he said the biggest advantage involved comfort with the coaching staff and the overall environment. Merritt, who was primarily recruited by receivers coach Matt Lubick, officially visited the campus the weekend of Oct. 31.

"It was the facilities, the coaching staff, everything," Merritt said. "The coaching staff has been there for so long, and I've really built a good relationship with Coach Lubick. Plus, it's the Pac-12, a great conference.

"I enjoyed myself when I was out there. The people there are very nice. It's a loud crowd, too. I was shocked that the people knew who I was when I was there. I didn't even know they knew I'd be there. They're just cool people."

Merritt said he looks to be used similarly as Oregon used athletes like De'Anthony Thomas, LaMichael James and Josh Huff. Merritt can be put in the backfield, in the slot or as an outside receiver. He can take end-around handoffs or create mismatch problems with linebackers and safeties in multiple-receiver formations.

Merritt will join skill position players such as 4-star all-purpose back Taj Griffin and 4-star wide receiver Alex Ofodile, two athletes who are already enrolled, as well as 4-star quarterback Travis Waller and 4-star all-purpose back Malik Lovette.

"It's going to be great," Merritt said. "Knowing that all my hard work has paid off, it's a humbling experience."

Damon Sayles is a National Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. All quotes were obtained firsthand. All player ratings are courtesy of 247Sports' Composite ratings. Follow Damon on Twitter: @DamonSayles

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Kirk Merritt to Oregon: Ducks Land 4-Star RB Prospect

Oregon's offense just became a little more potent for next season after securing the commitment of Kirk Merritt.      

Justin Hopkins of 247Sports reported Merritt's decision Monday night.

Merritt, a 4-star recruit, is the fifth-best all-purpose back and ranks No. 171 overall in the class of 2015, according to 247Sports' composite rankings. Although he's ranked among fellow running backs, the site also lists him as a wide receiver, illustrating his versatility on the offensive side of the ball.

Between his college courtship and national championship-winning performance at The Opening in early July, Merritt had a busy summer, per MaxPreps' Chris Stonebraker:

The SPARQ National Championship acts as a showcase event for the best recruits in the country, much in the same capacity the scouting combine does for NFL draft prospects. His highlights included a 4.46 40-yard dash, per Advanced Digital's Gary Laney:

Merritt also had an 43-inch vertical jump that needs to be seen to be believed, per The Opening:

"It was great getting to compete against the best athletes in the nation," he said in an interview with Rod Walker of The New Orleans Advocate. "It was a humbling experience. I just have to thank my coaches and my trainers for getting me ready for it."

Upon hitting college, Merritt, who is 5'11" and 206 pounds, could transition more permanently to wide receiver. In order for that to happen, though, he'll need to become a much better route-runner. Right now, he's a little too reliant on his athleticism to make plays. He's not going to be able to beat opposing defensive backs on that alone at the next level.

With time and the right kind of coaching, he could blossom into a major threat in the passing game.

More likely, though, Merritt will spend most of his time in the backfield, occasionally lining up in the slot as De'Anthony Thomas did for the Ducks.

When he arrives Oregon, Merritt can immediately become the prototypical home-run threat when he touches the ball. He possesses great straight-line speed and can turn short slants over the middle into a touchdown.

In order to realize his full potential, Merritt will need to add a little bit of strength to become more than just a one-trick pony. That shouldn't be too much of a problem considering his frame will allow him room to grow.

The key will be avoiding adding too much muscle that it takes away from his impressive speed. If Merritt can find that perfect balance, he'll cause matchup nightmares for opposing defenses.  

He may not make a massive impact right away, but in a few years, Merritt could become one of the most explosive players in college football. He's a name fans will want to keep in mind for the future.

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Kirk Merritt to Oregon: Ducks Land 4-Star RB Prospect

Oregon's offense just became a little more potent for next season after securing the commitment of Kirk Merritt. Justin Hopkins of 247Sports reported Merritt's decision Monday night...

Read the full article on Bleacher Report...

Jordan Scarlett Commits to Florida, Gives Gators Huge Recruiting Win over Rival

Jordan Scarlett's commitment tour across the Sunshine State continued Monday evening, when the running back pledged to Florida:

Scarlett, who previously spent time committed to Miami and Florida Atlantic, chose the Gators over longtime rival Florida State. He is the first 4-star prospect picked up by Jim McElwain and a new Florida coaching regime. 

The 5'10.5", 222-pound playmaker visited Gainesville for an official visit that started Jan. 23. Scarlett spent the past weekend in Tallahassee and announced his decommitment from Miami on Sunday, leading many to believe a future with the Seminoles awaited. 

Instead, he provides a significant boost for a Florida class in dire need of improvement. McElwain inherited a decimated prospect haul and struggled to immediately gain momentum on the recruiting trail. 

However, Scarlett is his seventh addition since last Wednesday. This successful stretch gives Florida hope for a strong finish that could include 5-star prospects Byron Cowart, Martez Ivey and CeCe Jefferson.

The Gators also prevent Florida State from further loading up in the offensive backfield. The Seminoles already welcomed 4-star running back Jacques Patrick to campus as an early enrollee, joining freshman standout Dalvin Cook. 

The Seminoles lost a commitment from North Carolina speedster Johnny Frasier last month. Scarlett would've been an excellent replacement, but instead he'll spend his college career in The Swamp.

He committed to FAU as a junior but eventually backed off the surprising verbal pledge. His pledge to the Hurricanes occurred in July, while attending The Opening in Oregon.

Scarlett rushed for 1,224 yards and 24 touchdowns in 2014, his lone season at Fort Lauderdale powerhouse St. Thomas Aquinas. He is rated 12th nationally among running backs in 247Sports' composite rankings.

The Gators' recent influx of talent elevates the team to 45th nationally in 247Sports' class rankings. That's more than 30 slots better than where Florida sat this time last week.

 

Recruit info and ratings courtesy of 247Sports.

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FSU Football Recruiting: Predicting All the Recruits Who Will Sign on NSD

Florida State will finish with one of the top classes in the 2015 recruiting cycle, and national signing day on Wednesday will give the Seminoles the chance to not only finalize their signees but potentially add a few more highly touted uncommitted prospects.

Let's take a look at the predicted class for the Seminoles.

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Jordan Scarlett to Florida: Gators Land 4-Star RB Prospect

With signing day rapidly approaching, the Florida Gators added a big piece to their 2015 recruiting class.

According to Ryan Bartow of 247Sports, 4-star running back Jordan Scarlett is on his way to Gainesville after committing to Florida:

Scarlett is the 12th-best running back in the country in 247Sports' composite rankings. He's also the 118th-best player overall.

ESPN.com's Derek Tyson noted how the Gators' already strong class just got stronger on Monday:

Stewart Mandel of Fox Sports thinks Scarlett might be just the piece Florida needed to fill a major void in the backfield:

Scarlett is a pretty quick running back with enough speed to outrun the defense. He'll undoubtedly unleash more than a few highlight-reel plays over the next few years.

What's really nice about Scarlett, though, is that he's not reliant solely on his speed and acceleration. He's also a physical rusher who can be an every-down back. In short-yardage situations, Scarlett can be called upon if necessary.

Jim McElwain landed an impact player on Monday.

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