Gators lose Salt, miss out on Jenkins, Birch

By Adam Silverstein
January 10, 2012

Two days after the football team got arguably their second-best prospect of the 2012 cycle, the Florida Gators‘ two major sports programs suffered a trio of recruiting losses.

Early in the evening it was announced via the major recruiting services that four-star JUCO defensive tackle Visesio Salt (Walnut, CA), who decided on Dec. 18 that he would transfer and play for Florida next year, instead chose to remain closer to home and join the Utah football program. Salt wanted to commit to Utah out of high school but was unable to qualify due to his poor grades.

“It’s just the fact that it’s good to be at home with my family,” he told InsidetheGators.com. “They can come out and see every single game, every home game. It’s right down the street. It was going to be tough for them to come see me play at Florida. There was going to be a lot of money being spent. This is better for them. This is all about them.”

The Gators coaches, though dismayed to lose Salt from their recruiting class, understood the difficulty of his choice and stood behind his change of heart.

“They were really sad about my decision, but they supported me 100 percent,” Salt said. “They really wanted me to come up there. I loved everything about their program, but I had to make a decision about what was best for me. They respected me for putting family first.”

Florida was dealt another recruiting loss shortly thereafter when five-star power forward Khem Birch (Fitchburg, MA), who enrolled at Pittsburgh this year but decided to transfer and narrowed his list down to UF and UNLV, chose the latter program. Birch had a whirlwind recruitment that lasted just about a week and always appeared to be favor UNLV considering the basketball team’s penchant for recruiting Canadians like himself.

Unfortunately for the Gators, Birch is quite close with five-star PF Anthony Bennett (Henderson, NV), who Florida is hot after to round out its 2012 recruiting class. Bennett also has UNLV in his final five along with Kentucky, Washington and Oregon.

The Gators hoped to end the day with a commitment from a player the coaches had put a full-court press on this cycle, four-star defensive end Jordan Jenkins (Hamilton, GA). Announcing his decision live on FOX Sports South, Jenkins chose Georgia over Florida, Alabama and Auburn, a surprise because UF felt good about their chances.

11 Comments

  1. DGlockUF says:

    Did this all really happen today? Ouch.

  2. Ken (CA) says:

    Ugly news cycle…I was just reading about Anthony Bennett, sounds like would be a perfect fit for our needs. I didn’t realize he was close to Birch (Or that we were even recruiting Birch). Hope we still have a shot with him. If he doesn’t come to UF we are running out of options on big men.

  3. jay d says:

    the juco player is the only one who actually deserves to come to FLA by showing his commitment to his family….we want that family atmosphere here in Gainesville again….thats what takes a team to the next level….keep recruiting hard and we will forget all of their names in a month or two….blip on the radar….future looks a little brighter with a win over ohio state and a solid defensive core to build on….all we need is a completely different offense and we are golden!!! the cordinator hire will decide if muschamp makes it past his second season as cammander n chief of the gators…..

    • ncgator says:

      Muschamp has made it clear, whoever he hires as OC is going to run a pro-set offense. He wants exactly what you saw last night in Alabama. Obviously it works if you have the backs.

  4. ziggy says:

    Adam – I heard that Pease accepted the OC position last night for the Gators. Any truth to that rumor?

    • If you read our story from Friday, he accepted it last week and suddenly needed time to think. So really it’s just a matter of him being solid and if/when UF will announce.

    • GG says:

      I heard he was going to accept the Bama position if offered?? How about some recruits from Texas?? Seems like we should be pulling at least a few this way.

  5. Mr2Bits says:

    Uhhh oh Adam, you used the word “latter”, Marcy Marc is going to blow his lid 🙂

    How the eyes feeling after the night under the 3d hood?

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