Gators win big: RB Mike Blakely picks Florida

By Adam Silverstein
October 26, 2010

One way or another, four-star running back Mike Blakely (Bradenton, FL) decided he would be wearing orange and blue in college next year. He made it clear on Tuesday that he would be donning those colors for the Florida Gators rather than the darker shades for the Auburn Tigers by verbally committing to the University of Florida.

“I think it was the best decision for me and my family and friends, for everybody,” he said. “It’s an exciting day for me. In my heart I felt like I made the best decision.”

Blakely, who is listed as the 34th best player in the country (No. 7 running back) by Rivals and the 69th best player (No. 6 running back) by ESPNU, fills a position of need for the Gators who will go into next season with only RBs Jeff Demps, Mike Gillislee and Mack Brown on the roster. With almost 40 Division I college scholarship offers to his credit, he becomes Florida’s fourth-highest rated recruit of the cycle thus far.

ESPNU describes him as “an electric runner and one of the more elusive to come out of the Sunshine State in 2011” who is “on the shorter side but very well-built with some compact muscle.” Blakely is also “the ultimate space player with his elusiveness and great hands out of the backfield” who “if used creatively in an open spread offense could emerge as a major weapon at the next level.”

Dealing with a nagging ankle injury, Blakely is averaging 7.44 yards per carry this season with 15 touchdowns on the ground. He has also completed all three of his pass attempts with two of them going for touchdowns. As a high school junior in 2009, he carried the ball for almost 1,400 yards and amassed a total of 23 touchdowns.

Photo Credit: Thomas Bender/Sarasota Herald-Tribune

19 Comments

  1. zurbo says:

    great but verbals mean nothing if we continue on our path

  2. Mitch says:

    Time to let freshman running backs play. Mack Brown should be getting a lot of snaps this year but he’s not. Why is UF so special that freshman backs can’t play. They seem to do well at other schools.

  3. npgator says:

    HUGE NEWS! As well as Burton and Phillips it is great to be a Gator!

  4. GatorGracedByGod says:

    Can we recruit all those offensive linemen too… Blakely had some nice holes to run through. lol Welcome to the
    Gator Nation and Go Gators

  5. John S says:

    That is great news, welcome Blakely. I’ve heard nothing but great things. Moving forward with him and Brown, we will have an excellent 1-2 punch. Good job Gators.

  6. Aligator says:

    I hope and pray that we sign some studs at running back. I know moody is a nice guy, but come on and I have no idea why they are not playing mack. Why is it that other schools who have comparable recruits at running back, can put them in and they run all over the place, but not here?

  7. Daniel Mabie says:

    His ability to shed tacklers reminds me of a guy who wore #22 at UF. Does he EVER go down on first contact? I didn’t see it.

  8. G8trpls says:

    Great News

  9. Gatorbuc15 says:

    Fantastic news!
    Welcome to the Gators Mike!

  10. El Meester says:

    I think we need to remember that Demps came in as a true freshman and wowed us as a major contributor to a national championship team. And RS freshman Chris Rainey played a key role as well.

    Gillislee came in last year as a true freshman, and when he touched the ball, we were excited about the future. There simply weren’t enough touches to go around for him last year, being behind Demps, Rainey, and Moody.

    This year, I can’t really explain why Mack Brown hasn’t received the touches we THINK he deserves, but I’m sure there’s a reason. But what we do know is that Moody and Gillislee were healthy and eating up reps this spring. Where was Brown?

    Basically, over the last 3 years, freshman running backs at Florida DO play, except for Brown this year. Let’s not get too carried away with calling this year a trend just yet.

    Welcome aboard Mike!

  11. PGator says:

    Adam, there are some rumors out there about FSU starting to change their stance with James WIlder as purely a RB. Any confirmation on this?

  12. Escambia94 says:

    @ El Meester: I hope this year is not a trend for anything.

    After this year, I am going to start paying more attention to the offensive line commitments. I didn’t realize how much I took those guys for granted.

  13. PGator says:

    Got ya, I was just wondering because James has stated in the past that if he wanted to be a LB in college, he would attend UF. If the rumors are indeed true, I would imagine things could change for Florida and his recruitment.

  14. npgator says:

    I wouldn’t get my hopes up on Wilder. FSU will allow him to start at running back and if necessary move him to defense. They did the same thing with Anquan Boldin in giving him a chance at QB before moving him to reciever.

  15. npgator says:

    Zurbo writes -great but verbals mean nothing if we continue on our path.\

    True but conversly it can present earlier playing time for a top program.

  16. Drew 4 Orange & Blue says:

    I would take this kid over Wilder any day at RB…he has great vision and patience and also cuts at the right time and seems to have a great burst….assuming this kid is not playing against terrible competition it’s crazy he’s not ranked higher and should be a great addition….Wilder will make a lot more money and go a lot higher in the draft on the defensive side of the ball…I think he will figure that out soon enough.

  17. KP says:

    definitely not not not bad competition manatee is a known great program every yr in FLA with great coaches

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