Florida impresses recruits at first Junior Day

By Adam Silverstein
February 16, 2010

Recruiting contributor Zach Abolverdi takes a look at Junior Day for OGGOA…

The Florida Gators’ first Junior Day of the 2011 recruiting cycle was a successful start to the season, despite the absence of head coach Urban Meyer. By all accounts, interim head coach and offensive coordinator Steve Addazio was firing on all cylinders, doing a good job selling the program to the prospects in attendance. He emphasized how coaches, players and recruits united when uncertainty surrounded the program just over a month ago and claimed it was a testament to the resiliency of Gator Nation.

Recruiting requires many crucial components and qualities, one of which is developing relationships early in the process. Addazio and the coaching staff got that chance this past Saturday, when they saw familiar faces mixed with some brand new ones. There were no drills, workouts or whistles, just an opportunity for prospects to take in the city, campus and everything the University of Florida has to offer.

Find out who visited and what their impressions were of the Gators after the jump!

Last year, the first Junior Day hosted eight future Gators in safety Matt Elam, running back Mack Brown, cornerback Jaylen Watkins, defensive tackle Leon Orr, linebacker Gideon Ajagbe, quarterback Trey Burton and offensive linemen Ian Silberman and Chaz Green. The event has potential to influence recruits in the long-term, and Florida hopes it did just that to the following group who were in attendance last weekend.

2011 verbal commits: ATHs De’Ante Saunders (DeLand, FL), A.C. Leonard (Jacksonville, FL)

OGGOA’s Top Twenty Targets: QB Jeff Driskel (Oviedo, FL), CB Nick Waisome (Groveland, FL), DE LaMichael Fanning (Auburn, AL) and LB James Vaughters (Tucker, GA)

Confirmed attendance: RB Javorius Allen (Tallahassee, FL), RB Mike Blakely (Bradenton, FL), DE Clay Burton (Venice, FL), DE Anthony Chickillo (Tampa, FL), OL Garrett Clark (Daytona Beach, FL), DB Cortez Davis (Daytona Beach, FL), ATH Ha’Sean Clinton-Dix (Orlando, FL), RB Demetrius Hart (Orlando, FL), OL Marcus Jackson (Vero Beach, FL), OL Allan Johnson (Palm Bay, FL), DB Chris Johnson (Ocala, FL), RB Marlin Lane (Daytona Beach, FL), ATH Malcolm Mitchell (Valdosta, GA), OL Troy Pettis (DeLand, FL), OL Omari Phillips (Venice, FL), TE Jordan Prestwood (Plant City, FL), DE Anthony Rabasa (Miami, FL), S Brian Randolph (Marietta, GA), LB Tony Steward (St. Augustine, FL), OL John Theus (Jacksonville, FL), OL Nathan Theus (Jacksonville, FL), RB Kion Williams (Interlachen, FL)

Four-star athlete commit Saunders told Rivals that he learned a lot about the academics at UF. Teammate Pettis, who attended at the request of Saunders but is a Florida State Seminoles commit, enjoyed spending time with Addazio and his main recruiter, LB coach D.J. Durkin.

Fresh off a scholarship offer from Florida last week, Chickillo spoke with Rivals about his visit. Thought to be a Miami Hurricanes lock, his strong relationship with DL coach Dan McCarney gives the Gators a legitimate shot to acquire his commitment.

Thanks to program prestige and an enlightening experience over the weekend, Florida has taken the lead in the recruitment of Randolph. Another defensive back familiar with the Gators and holding them as his leader is Waisome. Although Florida was his favorite before CB coach Vance Bedford left for the Louisville Cardinals, Waisome revealed to The Gainesville Sun that his interest is still there and he has “developed a fairly good relationship with [co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach] Chuck Heater.”

Clark also had nothing but good things to say in an interview with the Orlando Sentinel: “Florida was really nice,” he said. “I liked it there a lot.”

Whether or not the event will result in any commits remains to be seen. It is safe to say that the program is in good hands under Addazio until Meyer returns as the latter’s absence has yet to discourage prospects from indulging on their interest in the Gators.

5 Comments

  1. npgator says:

    Adazio really seems to be doing a great job with everything that has gone on.

  2. O-town Gator says:

    The only way interested recruits would be discouraged from committing to UF, given the fact that Urban Meyer’s on leave until mid-March when spring practice starts, is if they succumb to rumors and false innuendo from rival camps and various websites.

  3. Gatormiami says:

    Great job with Junior Day, Addazio! Too bad you can’t coach the offense…

  4. UFGATORS says:

    Addazio’s gonna kill the offensive side this year .

  5. vsherrel says:

    Only because Loeffler will call the plays.

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