FOUR BITS: Okine, McElwain, Noah, Arnold

1 » Former Florida Gators defensive lineman Earl Okine signed with the Indianapolis Colts this week after spending time in both the Arena Football League and Fall Experimental Football League last season. Okine, who was picked up as an undrafted free agent by the Houston Texans last May, did not make the team’s regular-season roster. He picked up 28 tackles and 5.5 sacks for the AFL’s Orlando Predators.

2 » Florida head coach Jim McElwain made a statement with his 2015 recruiting class, proving that the Gators were not only able to close strong but also add some out-of-state commitments to the fold. Overall, UF locked up five players from the state of Georgia – including rising athlete Chris Williamson – last cycle after not grabbing a single Peach State prospect in 2014. McElwain this week told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution‘s Michael Carvell why he has made Georgia such a priority. “I think [it was due to a] couple things,” McElwain said of why UF had success recruiting the area. “There were pre-existing relationships with some guys on our staff who recruited the area in the past. That obviously helps. But for us, our thought is [to lock down] a five-hour radius around Gainesville. And with that being said, that goes up into Georgia, and that will be something that we’ll try to continue to make Gator Country.”

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Gators nab ’16 DE Eric Mitchell from South Florida

The Florida Gators‘ attack on South Florida continued with a vengeance on Wednesday as the program gained commitments from a pair of 2016 prospects with defensive end Eric Mitchell (Miami, FL) becoming the second recruit to make a verbal pledge to the program.

Mitchell (6-foot-2, 223 pounds) committed to Florida four days after being offered by co-coordinator and linebackers coach Randy Shannon.

The Miami Central High School prospect became the eighth player from South Florida to commit to the Gators, two of which are 2016 prospects as linebacker Vosean Joseph (Miami, FL) announced his commitment just hours earlier. Mitchell was a former teammate of Joseph’s at Miami Norland Senior High School.

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2016 LB Vosean Joseph makes pledge for Florida

Linebacker Vosean Joseph (Miami, FL) committed became the second member of the Florida Gators‘ 2016 recruiting class on Wednesday when he made a verbal commitment to the program via his Twitter account.

“Just committed to the University of Florida #GatorNation #Florida #GoGators,” he tweeted Wednesday morning.

A three-star prospect on Rivals who is not yet universally rated, Joseph (6-foot-1, 210 pounds) chose Florida over a short offer list that included Bowling Green, Cincinnati and Oregon State.

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One week later: Breaking down the Florida Gators’ efforts through 2015 National Signing Day

Pessimism and an overall sense of foreboding were fair states of mind to have as the Florida Gators approached 2015 National Signing Day.

That’s what happens when a former top-of-the-mountain team goes 11-10 over two seasons, its fired head coach (a top-notch recruiter) joins a conference rival going head-to-head with his former team on the recruiting front, and the skeleton signing class said coach left behind was ravaged by decommitments from its four best players over the final months of the season.

But something changed 48 hours before National Signing Day. That lingering pessimism turned to optimism as it started becoming apparent to recruiting analysts that pairs of four-star running backs and five-star linemen were likely to commit to Florida. It was very possible that the Gators’ run of gaining commitments from talented and somewhat underrated three-star prospects would not be the best their signing class had to offer but rather a solid foundation for what would occur over the ensuing two days.

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Florida Gators receive National Letter of Intent from five-star DE CeCe Jefferson

Five days after announcing his verbal commitment to the Florida Gators on National Signing Day, five-star defensive end CeCe Jefferson (Glen Saint Mary, FL) officially became part of Florida’s 2015 recruiting class by faxing his National Letter of Intent to the Gators.

Jefferson submitted his letter, which was signed live on national television last Wednesday, on Monday, finally ending speculation about his commitment status. The Gators subsequently confirmed receipt and

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Five-star DE CeCe Jefferson appears to be headed to Florida but letter of intent still not submitted

Updated on Saturday at 6:15 p.m.

Though his National Letter of Intent is still not in the hands of the Florida Gators, five-star defensive end CeCe Jefferson (Glen Saint Mary, FL) continues to give every indication that he will remain committed to and ultimately sign with the program.

Jefferson not submitting his signed letter on Thursday, one day after National Signing Day, raised a number of eyebrows, especially considering his dad, Leo Jefferson, told different stories to a number of media outlets. But while the father’s story changed, CeCe Jefferson has never appeared to waiver from his commitment, even in light of defensive line coach Terrell Williams being hired away by the Miami Dolphins.

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DE CeCe Jefferson’s letter of intent not with Florida, possibly due to father or coaching change

Updated at 7:15 p.m.

Though still less than 24 hours after he committed to the Florida Gators live on ESPNU during National Signing Day, five-star defensive end CeCe Jefferson has yet to send his National Letter of Intent into the program, a necessity so he can be cleared by the compliance office and added to the Gators’ Class of 2015.

Though all indications are that Jefferson still plans to join the Florida football team, the letter has not been sent via fax machine or otherwise.

According to Gator Sports Network sideline reporter Brady Ackerman, who reported on the status of Jefferson’s letter during an interview on Thursday with Bill King on 94.9 The Game in Nashville, Tennessee, Jefferson’s father is refusing to sign the letter that will allow his son to officially join the Gators.

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Four-star athlete D’Anfernee McGriff adds to Florida Gators’ big haul on National Signing Day

The Florida Gators closed National Signing Day strong on Wednesday, adding four commitments in a 30-minute stretch, the last of which was four-star athlete D’Anfernee McGriff (Tallahassee, FL).

A talented and versatile prospect, McGriff (6-foot-1, 230 pounds) is rated as the No. 273 overall player in the nation and 21st best running back, according to the 247Sports Composite.

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