New Gators bring versatility

New Gators bring versatility

Florida went into Georgia and pulled commitments with over 20 scholarship offers late last week. Each prospect is versatile and could play different roles for the Gators...

Florida got good news last week and it started on Thursday when Mike Horton committed to the Gators.

At close to the same time a day later, Adonis Thomas did the same.

Horton and Thomas played together in high school for two seasons at Atlanta (Ga.) Lakeside, so they now plan to reunite in Gainesville, Fla.

The two are good friends, both are from Georgia, they have things in common off the field, they had many of the same scholarship offers, and in the end they chose the same school to commit to about a month before their senior season kicked off.

There is more -- both can do a lot on the field.

Lets take a look at the new Gators.

Mike Horton | 6-4/320 | OG | Atlanta (Ga.) Lakeside
Size is the first thing you cannot help but see in Horton. He is a big young man with broad shoulders, big hips, and just a wide frame. What surprises you most is how nimble he is for someone his size. Horton has good mobility and flexibility is above average. Some schools offered him as a defensive tackle/nose guard while most offered him to play offensive guard. He is most comfortable on the defensive side of the ball. He has played more there, he understands the position better, and he knows how to use his size and skill-set more. Florida is one of the schools that talked to him about defense when it offered him, so he could start out there. He is more of a plugger and space eater than someone who will be regularly disruptive and getting penetration. His game should develop over time though as he adds strength, improves technique, and plays with more consistency. Horton is still raw and someone who can get by on leaning on his opponent due to his size, but with his size, ability to move in short-space, and desire to learn, he could surprise some down the road.

Adonis Thomas | 6-3/215 | OLB | Lawrenceville (Ga.) Central Gwinnett
This is one of those kids you want to get off the bus first or second when you play road games. Thomas has a great frame and he is still adding good weight to that. He is in the 215-220 pound range now and will likely get up to 235-240 pounds down the road. Thomas is natural with his hands and he could easily convert into a hybrid, athletic tight end on the offensive side, but with today's game, you want athletes like him on defense. Thomas will be a three-down linebacker and he has the ability to be moved around quite often. The Gators can rush him off the edge standing up, they can drop him into the flats or down the field in coverage, and they can move him inside to linebacker when it wants to bring in a rush specialist on passing downs. Thomas has great length, he closes well, and he has a lot of natural ability. To get better, he needs to continue to attack and to play with more aggression. Some see him as more of a finesse player right now with tackles on the side and not successfully shedding blocks. As he develops more as a defensive-minded player, watch out. He has so much upside as an every down linebacker due to his ability to do so much in different roles.

The Gators hope they are not done in the Peach State this cycle. Roquan Smith, a Scout 100 linebacker is a big Florida target and he is good friends with Thomas. The Montezuma (Ga.) Macon County native will visit UF officially and the Gators are at worst, the No. 2 school on his list. Florida is right there at the top.

Florida loves to recruit the state of Georgia. It has two on the 2015 commitment list now with ties to the Peach State and it signed half a dozen with roots there in 2013. Linebackers Mike Taylor and Jarrad Davis are key components to the Gators' defense in 2014 and both played high school football in the state of Georgia.

To talk more Florida recruiting, check out Fightin' Gators Recruiting Insiders.

The Opening Highlights: Adonis Thomas

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