Four-stars Dunkley, Easley commit to Gators

By Adam Silverstein
January 2, 2010

The Florida Gators may have lost their prize commitment of the 2010 cycle in five-star safety Matt Elam (West Palm Beach, FL), but the Orange and Blue gained declarations from two of the top players in the country on Saturday during the 2010 Under Armour All-American Game. Four-star wide receiver Chris Dunkley (Pahokee, FL) and four-star defensive tackle Dominique Easley (Staten Island, NY) both put on Gators hats to the delight of Gator Nation.

Though Dunkley had long been considered a Florida lean and possible silent commitment, he had been toying with the idea of committing to the Alabama Crimson Tide and was slightly taken aback by the announcements from Gators head coach Urban Meyer this week. Instead, he said that he was a mama’s boy, wanted to stay in-state and loved the program. “I was real, real, real happy and revealed to make my decision to play for the University of Florida,” Dunkley said after the game. “There was a moment [I wavered],” Dunkley said. “I know [Meyer]’s working to take care of himself. I’ve got to do what’s right for me.”

“I’ve built a relationship with almost everybody on the team,” Dunkley told ESPN. So it’s like me going, basically, back to a home away from home. All the teammates are like my brothers, so everything feels comfortable there. I have been waiting to get this off of my chest for a long time. I fit in perfect. [Freshman WR Andre] Debose and I both do. I have gotten to know him well and we talk all the time. I talk to John Brantley all the time, too. Like I said, it’s like I’ve been on the team for a while. I am going in to compete. All the coaches at Florida know that. All of the players know that.”

Easley, who decommitted from the Penn State Nittany Lions on Wednesday, was the real shocker of the day. Named one of the game’s most valuable players after recording a sack, forced fumble and three tackles for loss, he was believed to be choosing between recommitting to Penn State or joining the Miami Hurricanes or Oregon Ducks. The Gators were not even on Easley’s list of final choices, though he was originally planning to commit to Florida during his visit to Gainesville, FL, for Friday Night Lights camp in July. “I’m a Gator, baby, Gator Nation,” Easley said, before doing one of numerous Gator Chomps on the day. Offensive coordinator Steve Addazio was Easley’s main recruiter, and his appointment to interim head coach for Florida may very well have had some pull on Easley.

“I knew that no matter what, whether it’s Coach Addazio or Coach Meyer, they’re good coaches and they coach the same way,” Easley told Chris Hays of the Orlando Sentinel. “I’ve known I wanted to be a Gator for a while now.” Easley also spoke with Rivals. “I always wanted to be a Gator,” Easley said. “I always wanted to be a Gator in this recruiting class but something happened but me and the coaches talked through it and I am back where I want to be, where I should be. We are going to do some great things.”

Also participating in the Under Armour game on Saturday were the following Gators four-star commitments: running back Mack Brown (Lithonia, GA), four-star safety Demar Dorsey (Lauderdale Lakes, FL), four-star athlete Jonathan Dowling (Bradenton, FL), four-star defensive tackle Leon Orr (New Port Richey, FL), four-star WR Solomon Patton (Mobile, AL), four-star cornerback Cody Riggs (Fort Lauderdale, FL), four-star cornerback Joshua Shaw (Palmdale, CA) and four-star offensive tackle Ian Silberman (Fleming Island, FL). Dowling nabbed two interceptions in the game, Dorsey grabbed one of his own and Patton scored a receiving touchdown.

Though he has been committed to Florida for a while, Dorsey said earlier in the week that he was only 65 percent going to play for the Gators. That has since changed. “I’m a Gator. I’m a Gator,” Dorsey told Hays. As to the part he played in convincing Dunkley and Easley to join him in Gainesville, Dorsey knew it was a done deal. “Awe we knew [Dunkley] was coming,” he said. “We knew he was going to be a Gator but we were on him hard. And Dominique and me, we became like brothers, we’d be in each other’s rooms and hanging out a lot.”

Five-star DE Ronald Powell (Moreno Valley, CA), who did not participate in the Under Armour game, was planning to commit to the Gators earlier this week on ESPN but decided to postpone his announcement after Meyer’s flip-flop so he could reconsider his options. It is unknown if Easley’s commitment is an indication that Powell is now leaning toward the USC Trojans (his other choice) or if it is mutually exclusive.



Photo Credits: Sun-Sentinel, Davide De Pas

15 Comments

  1. Cory says:

    Easley’s commit will not affect Powell. Easley may end up moving to DT before it’s all said and done. Might show us we have no shot at Jeffcoat.

  2. Daniel M. says:

    I’ll be surprised to see Powell commit at this point. Would the “coach” take four DE’s in one class?

  3. Florida is losing three defensive linemen, so bringing in four would not be out of the ordinary whatsoever. My opinion, as I notated above, is that they went hard after Easley if/when Powell started wavering. We will see what Powell decides though. It could turn out that Meyer’s back-and-forth cost the Gators two five-star commitments (Elam, Powell) when all is said and done.

  4. ReptilesRule says:

    Easley is a BEAST and will be a DT and Powell will become the next dominant DE at Florida. Boy what a difference Dunlap made in that game last night as far as a pass rush!!! He will soon be off to the Pros, guess I can’t blame him!! I was really EXCITED that Dunkley commited because of his talent and the fact that it is by far our biggest area of need. We still need to pick up another WR with brantley slinging it around the yard next year. I expect Debose and Dunk to be a dangerous tandem…

  5. ReptilesRule says:

    By the way, how are Dowling and Patton only a “3 star”, both were impressive in the UA game today.

  6. Mr2Bits says:

    Stoked about Easley, guy totally dominated the UA game today. I wouldn’t worry about Powell, Easley is not a DE but more of a tackle or interior lineman. He’ll fatten up and be our run clogger.

    Really glad to see Dunkley on board as well and glad to see Patton as both have soft hands. Mack is going to be a force at RB as well. The entire Gator class looked stellar and ready to continue the Gator domination tradition. Welcome aboard all.

  7. Cory says:

    The world is not falling. Seriously, do not be surprised if Powell commits to UF still. He’s in love with UF. As long as Meyer stays, Powell is ours to lose. We still have a shot at Henderson, Hicks, and Jeffcoat as well. We’ll probably get one of the three.

  8. Gatorfan33 says:

    I am not getting caught up in the star rating or the class ranking. As long as Urban and company can continue to bring in great talent like these mentioned in the article I will be happy. Yes Meyer’s wavering cost us one for sure and maybe two great players but look at what has committed so far and we still have roughly 6 weeks for Urban and crew to work their magic and get some more great talent on board. Last nights Sugar Bowl BLOW OUT will sway as many to join Gator Nation as Meyer’s wavering caused to not join it.

  9. Adam M. says:

    The rating system is flawed, and depends on the person doing the rankings. If you go by ESPN (who sponsors the UA game), Elam was far from our prized recruit. In fact, ESPN has Dowling (5 star, number 8 overall), Dorsey (5 star, number 11 overall) and Dunkley (4 star, number 12 overall) ahead of Elam (4 star, number 13 overall).

  10. Cory says:

    +1 Adam. And don’t be surprised if Easley becomes a 5 star shortly.

  11. Mr2Bits says:

    Adam,
    Why don’t you change the star rating to ESPN150 on the right to make it look even sexier?

  12. Sorry it took me so long to respond to everyone, been busy this afternoon.

    1) Reptiles – I agree that Debose and Dunkley are going to be disgusting together. I think Dunkley will be able to get on the field as quickly as Julio Jones did at Alabama – meaning right away.

    2) Adam M. is correct. Each ratings system is dependent on the service – nothing is universal. With Rivals, Scout and ESPNU all doing ratings, it is very difficult to decide on just one.

    3) However, over time, I have found Rivals to be the most accurate. Don’t forget, there is a difference between how these guys play in high school games against inferior competition than how they play in college when everyone is their same talent level. Same thing applies to guys going from college to the NFL.

    Some services may grade them on how they are playing now while others project how they will play on the next level. I’ve considered using a different rankings system or doing it myself, but I do not have the access to do it justice. Perhaps starting with the 2011 recruits.

  13. Theo says:

    Dowling as a 3 star is a joke full stop. Dorsey is a beast but I Have heard he is a qualifying concern? Is this true? Also UM is personally recruiting Hicks and Powell and i think they will both end up in Gainesville

  14. Aligator says:

    Hey, how is our back up QB situation shaking out next year? I beleive I heard that Jordan is moving to TE with Desmond Parks? Aside from the current guy we are recruiting, is there anyone else we are pursuing?

  15. Probably read that here – :).

    Jordan Reed is not moving to TE…yet…but he was being worked out at QB because Florida wants to utilize his athleticism while he is not playing quarterback.

    QB depth next season will likely be:

    John Brantley, Jordan Reed, Trey Burton

    Aside from Burton, we are looking at guys in the 2011 class. Though UF did put out feelers to a few 2010 recruits.

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