Florida Gators lose Baker and Thomas, two top-rated 2015 linebacker commits

For the second time this week, a highly-rated 2015 linebacker commitment has decided to part ways with the Florida Gators.

On Thursday, two days after four-star Jerome Baker (Cleveland, OH) decommitted from the program, four-star Adonis Thomas (Lawrenceville, GA) followed suit.

Baker and Thomas are the highest-ranked players in the Gators’ 2015 recruiting class according to Rivals and ESPN, respectively.

Baker is ranked as the No. 36 overall player in the country by Rivals (No. 68 by ESPN), while Thomas is rated as the No. 68 overall player by ESPN (unranked by Rivals).

Continue Reading » Florida Gators lose Baker and Thomas, two top-rated 2015 linebacker commits

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FOUR BITS: Parsons, McDonald, Baker, Haden

1 » Dallas Mavericks forward Chandler Parsons has every intention of living up to his new three-year, $46 million contract, and he plans to do it by improving his defense. “We’ve got a great staff that really emphasizes defense,” he said, according to ESPNDallas.com. “Where I’m coming from, offense was always our main goal. Now we’ve got to win games and championship on the defensive side. I’m totally locked in and dialed in to do that.” Parsons was a solid defender for the Florida Gators but was ranked 190th overall in the NBA by Synergy Sports after the 2013-14 season.

2 » San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle Ray McDonald is no longer scheduled to go to court to face arraignment after being accused of domestic abuse. McDonald, who has yet to be charged with a crime, had his hearing canceled; it will not be rescheduled until or unless the state actually brings charges against him, according to USA Today. The 49ers coaching staff and ownership has been very supportive of McDonald over the last month, claiming they believe his side of the story and want to let due process take its course before acting. Obviously McDonald’s long-term status with the team will affect 2015 Super Bowl betting online, especially as far as San Francisco is concerned.

Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: Parsons, McDonald, Baker, Haden

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PF Noah Dickerson commits to Florida, Donovan

Updated at 5:30 p.m.

Going back to the Montverde Academy pipeline for the third time in the last four recruiting cycles, Florida Gators head coach Billy Donovan landed a big verbal commitment on Sunday when four-star power forward Noah Dickerson (Montverde, FL) announced his intention to join the program next season.

At 6-foot-8 and 245 pounds, Dickerson is rated as the No. 56 overall player in the Class of 2015 by Rivals. A one-time Georgetown commitment, he changed his mind in June and reopened his recruitment, listening to pitches from a number of schools including Florida.

In the end, Dickerson decided to play for Donovan and the Gators.

Continue Reading » PF Noah Dickerson commits to Florida, Donovan

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OG Brandon Sandifer commits to Florida

Continuing to add mass to their already-sizable offensive line, the Florida Gators on Wednesday received a verbal commitment from 6-foot-4, 335-pound offensive guard Brandon Sandifer (Warner Robins, GA).

Unanimously rated as a three-star prospect, Sandifer committed to Florida over Alabama and South Carolina, announcing his decision on his Twitter account at 7:30 p.m.

“I am proud to say that next year I will be playing at the University of Florida. #GatorNation,” he wrote.

Sandifer visited Gainesville, Florida, for the Gators’ Friday Night Lights camp on July 25 but did not participate in the workout. Instead, he chatted with the coaches, players and other prospects before heading up to see what the Gamecocks had to offer in Columbia, South Carolina, that Saturday.

Originally prepared to make a decision after those visits, Sandifer instead pushed back his commitment date. In the end, UF was the choice with offensive line coach Mike Summers playing a major role in pulling in the big prospect.

Sandifer is now the 11th member of Florida’s 2015 recruiting class and either the third or fourth offensive lineman commit depending where three-star Mike Horton (Atlanta, GA) lines up once practice begins.

Only four of the Gators’ 11 verbal commitments are from the state of Florida; all are three-star prospects. UF’s other seven pledges hail from Georgia (three), Ohio (two), California (one) and Louisiana (one).

Four Gators commitments are rated as four-star prospects with the other seven listed as three-star athletes. Florida does not have a prospect rated above three stars from within its home state.

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Four-star Adonis Thomas picks Gators over Tide

The Florida Gators recruiting roller coaster reached another peak on Friday when four-star linebacker Adonis Thomas (Lawrenceville, GA) became the program’s 10th verbal commitment of the 2015 cycle.

Thomas (6-foot-3, 219 pounds), a unanimous four-star prospect and the No. 63 overall player in the nation per ESPN, chose Florida over Alabama during a ceremony at Central Gwinnett High School. Notre Dame was a semi-finalist for his services.

The Gators first offered Thomas back on Nov. 23, 2013. He visited Florida’s campus three times since, attending Junior Day on Feb. 1, stopping by unofficially on March 29 and spending three days in Gainesville, Florida, starting June 9.


Since losing four commitments in a 10-day span in July, the Gators have filled each slot, adding pledges from four-star offensive lineman George Brown, Jr. (Cincinnati, OH) on July 25, three-star wide receiver Kalif Jackson (Neptune Beach, FL) on July 29 and three-star OL Mike Horton (Atlanta, GA) on July 31.

Florida also gained a pledge from four-star Jerome Baker (Cleveland, OH) on July 11, giving the Gators a pair of big-time linebackers in their 2015 class.

The additions of Thomas and Baker are especially important for Florida, which did not sign a linebacker during the 2014 recruiting cycle.

Thomas’s commitment was first reported by Woody Wommack of Rivals.com.

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Three-star OL Mike Horton commits to Florida

Still replenishing its 2015 recruiting class after losing four commitments in a 10-day span earlier this month, the Florida Gators on Thursday received a verbal pledge from three-star offensive lineman Mike Horton (Atlanta, GA).

Horton (6-foot-4, 320 pounds), a big-bodied blocker sporting an impressive offer list, was being pegged by most schools as a guard but will also have the opportunity to play defensive tackle for the Gators.

“[Head coach Will Muschamp] tells me every day that he wants me in the program. Before, he said they were recruiting me for offensive line, but then, we got a chance to talk,” Horton told Jake Reuse of UGASports.com back on June 9 ($).

“He said, ‘We’ll take you on defense, too.’ I told him I didn’t know exactly where I wanted to play yet, but he said he just wants me in. The biggest thing he’s emphasizing is that they have slots open, and I will have a great opportunity to play early.”

Horton, who ESPN rates as a four-star prospect and the No. 246 overall player in the 2015 class, chose Florida primarily over Georgia, though he also had scholarship offers in his back pocket from Alabama, Auburn, Florida State and LSU, among others.

Continue Reading » Three-star OL Mike Horton commits to Florida

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Three-star WR Kalif Jackson commits to Florida

The Florida Gators ever-changing 2015 recruiting class added a member on Tuesday when three-star wide receiver Kalif Jackson (Neptune Beach, FL), a Friday Night Lights attendee, made his commitment official.

Jackson (6-foot-4, 195 pounds) received a scholarship offer from the Gators on Tuesday and accepted it almost immediately. He chose Florida over a previously-stated top five of Duke, Georgia Tech, Missouri, Rutgers and Vanderbilt.

“Just received an offer from the University of Florida … Moral of the story is hardwork pays,” Jackson tweeted at 12:04 p.m. Just over seven hours later, he added: “I also just committed to the University of Florida.”

“[He] has all of the physical tools in the world to be a solid contributor as a big bodied receiver,” wrote Mike Singer of FlaVarsity.com on June 24 ($). “Jackson made several jaw-dropping catches on the field at the IMG [7v7 National Championship] tournament.”

Jackson also has the frame to play tight end, though he would need to gain some weight to be a better fit for the position.

Continue Reading » Three-star WR Kalif Jackson commits to Florida

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FOUR BITS: Rainey, Hill, ESPN 300, Demps

1 » Just a couple days after voicing his belief in the talent and potential of former Florida Gators running back Chris Rainey, Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano was forced to waive the player for non-football reasons. “You can see the athleticism, the burst, the speed,” he said Saturday. “He puts a foot in the ground and gets north and south.” Pagano is expected to address the situation after training camp on Monday, though it is doubtful that he will detail what specific conduct rule that Rainey violated. It will be the second time in as many offseasons that Rainey will be released by a team for non-football reasons. Just one year ago, Rainey was cut by the Pittsburgh Steelers after an arrest for domestic violence, a charge that was later dropped and expunged from his record. The Steelers also had concerns about Rainey’s off-field activity including a gambling habit that affected him during his rookie season.

2 » Updating an item from Friday, former Gators safety Will Hill spoke with the media about being signed by the Baltimore Ravens, claiming once again that “everything is behind me” in terms of his marijuana use. “[I was] just being irresponsible,” he said, according to the Baltimore Sun’s Aaron Wilson. “Yeah, I feel like I’ve learned. I’m ready to play football. [The Ravens] talked to the [New York] Giants and they had nothing but good words to say about me.” Apparently Baltimore general manager Ozzie Newsome sat down with Hill and was assured that the player’s drug use – which has been an issue since he started playing at Florida – is now in the back window. “It was just getting comfortable with each other and letting him know that the things that happened before won’t be happening here,” Hill added. Though he will be able to practice with the team and play in preseason games, Hill will not be activated for the 2014 regular season until Oct. 13 as he must first serve a six-game suspension, his third for drug use (second for a substance of abuse) since being signed by the Giants three years ago.

Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: Rainey, Hill, ESPN 300, Demps

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