Florida is in the top two for five-star cornerback Jalen Tabor (Washington D.C. Friendship Academy) along with Maryland, but I believe the Gators will be the one to secure a commitment from the 6-1, 182-pound defender.
Tabor announced his top two schools while competing in Nike’s The Opening in Oregon and confirmed what many had speculated for the past few weeks. The Gators have what I believe to be a sizable lead for the No. 4 ranked cornerback recruit in the nation prior to taking his official visits.
Florida stands to lose starting corners Loucheiz Purifoy and Marcus Roberson to the NFL Draft following the 2013 season, so adding the uber-talented Tabor would alleviate the concerns in the defensive backfield. Tabor would join the Gators’ top recruit in the class of 2013 and former No. 3 overall recruit Vernon Hargreaves III to give Florida a pair of potential lockdown corners.
Tabor has made it known he has grown up as a fan of Florida, and former Thorpe award winner Joe Haden was one of his favorite players. He has visited Florida twice even though he has not been to Gainesville since Oct. 6 for the LSU game. He maintains a healthy relationship with the coaches. Most important for Florida fans is that he tells Luke Stampini Florida “feels like home.”
In addition to Florida and Maryland, Alabama, Vanderbilt and Florida State stand to receive official visits that currently are not scheduled. The Seminoles could make things interesting where Tabor’s former high school teammate Eddie Goldman is a defensive lineman.
Tennessee did not make his top five after at one point being considered a sleeper destination for him after Tabor’s high school teammate D’Andre Payne committed to the Vols in April. Maryland may be scoffed at by SEC fans, but don’t discount the lure of playing for his local program.
Ultimately, I believe Tabor commits to Will Muschamp and the Gators where he potentially can start as a freshman in an environment that feels like home in the best conference in the country.
Tabor had 27 tackles and eight interceptions last season as a junior, returning one for a touchdown.