Four-star LB Jerome Baker commits to Florida, becomes Gators’ highest-rated 2015 pledge

Widely considered one of the top two prospects in Ohio and unanimously ranked as one of the 100 best players in the nation for 2015, four-star linebacker Jerome Baker (Cleveland, OH) announced Friday morning that he will continue his career in Gainesville, Florida, playing college football for the Florida Gators.

Baker (6-foot-1, 206 pounds) committed to Florida over Ohio State and Tennessee, spurning his state school in the process. OSU was once considered the heavy favorite for his services.

Credit Gators defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin with building a “very strong bond” with Baker that was simply unable to be matched by his other finalists.

“Coach Durkin did a great job of selling me on what I would do in their defense and that was probably the best tool that he could use. And he showed me what I would do and what position I would be used for,” Baker told InsidetheGators.com’s Blake Alderman ($).

“He showed me how my role as Will linebacker affects the defense and that was great to see. I spent a lot of time with Coach Durkin and him being my position coach, I love talking to him about football and life and everything. He is such a great person to talk to, and I can open up with him and have a conversation about anything.”

Continue Reading » Four-star LB Jerome Baker commits to Florida, becomes Gators’ highest-rated 2015 pledge

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2016 DB Chauncey Gardner flips to Florida

Though there are eight months left in the 2015 recruiting cycle, the Florida Gators proved Saturday night they also have their eyes set on the distant future, reeling in a commitment from 2016 cornerback Chauncey Gardner II (Cocoa, FL).

Previously committed to the Miami Hurricanes, Gardner flipped his pledge on Saturday by making an announcement on his Twitter account.

“I Would Like To Thank Miami For All The Opportunities They Presented To Me But I’m Taking My Talents To Gainesville #Chomp #GoGators,” he wrote.

Projected as a four-star prospect, Gardner (5-foot-11, 190 lbs.) spent Saturday taking part in a football camp at Florida. It only took him moments after receiving a scholarship offer from the coaching staff to change his allegiance, though there are still 20 months to go before he has to sign his National Letter of Intent.

Rivals.com analyst Woody Womack recently evaluated Gardner as he took part in youth football camps in March (Orlando) and April (Sugar Hill, Georgia).

“[Gardner is] very physical in coverage but does so in a way that wouldn’t draw a penalty flag. It’s clear he loves to hit – something that’s not allowed in a camp setting – but even with the limitations, him he still excelled,” Womack wrote in March.

He came away with a similar evaluation one month later: “He’s fiercely competitive, sometimes to his detriment, but once he learns to hone his emotions he has a chance to be a special prospect.”

Gardner is the third player committed to the Gators for 2016, joining two other cornerbacks in Tre Jackson (Baton Rouge, LA) and Tyler Byrd (Naples, FL).

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2015 QB Sheriron Jones commits to Florida

The Florida Gators are obviously making an effort to bring in talented and athletic dual-threat quarterbacks with its most recent addition, 2015 four-star Sheriron Jones (Moreno Valley, California), committing to the program on Sunday afternoon after spending the weekend attending a camp in Gainesville, Florida.

A versatile athlete from the same high school as former Gators defensive standout Ronald Powell, Jones is the third highly-acclaimed signal caller to make a pledge for Florida in the last two recruiting cycles and first California prospect since Powell in 2010 to decide to play college football at UF.

Five-star freshman Will Grier joined the program for spring practice in January, and four-star incoming freshman Treon Harris is set to arrive on campus in the summer.

Jones (6-foot-2, 189 pounds) was offered by the Gators in the spring and chose UF primarily over Arizona, Colorado and Tennessee. He was recruited by offensive coordinator Kurt Roper and running backs coach Brian White, who is responsible for prospects in the state of California.

Three-star offensive lineman Tyler Jordan (Jacksonville, Florida) also had a heavy hand in Jones’s recruitment; the two have grown close throughout the process.

Jones is the ninth member of Florida’s 2015 recruiting class but just the second four-star prospect to jump into the fold. He is the second-highest rated commitment overall at No. 243 on the Rivals250 behind only four-star defensive back Marcus Lewis (Washington, D.C.) at No. 84 overall.

CommitmentPos.RivalsESPNOverall
» Jacksonville, FL | Story
» Height: 6'5" | Weight: 270 lbs.
» Commitment Date: 2/22/14
OTNR | 107
» Franklinton, LA | Story
» Height: 5'11" | Weight: 175 lbs.
» Commitment Date: 5/30/14
WRNR | 145
» Atlanta, GA | Story
» Height: 6'4" | Weight: 320 lbs.
» Commitment Date: 7/31/14
O/DLNR | 246
» Warner Robbins, GA | Story
» Height: 6'3" | Weight: 332 lbs.
» Commitment Date: 8/13/2014
OLNR
» Tallahassee, FL | Story
» Height: 6'4" | Weight: 220 lbs.
» Commitment Date: 2/26/14
TENR
» Dade City, FL | Story
» Height: 6'3" | Weight: 285 lbs.
» Commitment Date: 5/29/14
DTNR
» Neptune Beach, FL | Story
» Height: 6'4" | Weight: 198 lbs.
» Commitment Date: 7/29/2014
WRNR

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Gators add commitment in 2015 WR Derrick Dillon

Still in need of playmakers, the Florida Gators added an underrated yet extremely talented prospect on Friday when the program gained a commitment from 2015 athlete Derrick Dillon (Franklinton, Louisiana).

A three-star prospect according to Rivals, Dillon (5-foot-11, 175 pounds) is rated as a four-star recruit by ESPN, which lists him as the No. 145 overall player in the nation.

He projects as a dynamic slot wide receiver in college but plays both ways for Pine High School, seeing time at quarterback and in the defensive backfield.

Dillon, who was recruited by Louisiana native and Gators tight ends coach Derek Lewis, chose Florida over a variety of quality offers from schools like Florida State, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Texas A&M and UCLA, among others.

UF offered Dillon on Jan. 9 and saw him pay unofficial visits to the campus in both March and April for the 2014 Orange & Blue Debut.

He is the eighth player to commit to the Gators for 2015, joining three-star Tristan Payton (Jacksonville, Florida) as UF’s second wideout. Florida and three-star WR Deondre Farrier, who gave a pledge to the Gators on Feb. 21, have parted ways.

Dillon’s decision was first reported by InsidetheGators.com‘s Blake Alderman.

CommitmentPos.RivalsESPNOverall
» Jacksonville, FL | Story
» Height: 6'5" | Weight: 270 lbs.
» Commitment Date: 2/22/14
OTNR | 107
» Franklinton, LA | Story
» Height: 5'11" | Weight: 175 lbs.
» Commitment Date: 5/30/14
WRNR | 145
» Atlanta, GA | Story
» Height: 6'4" | Weight: 320 lbs.
» Commitment Date: 7/31/14
O/DLNR | 246
» Warner Robbins, GA | Story
» Height: 6'3" | Weight: 332 lbs.
» Commitment Date: 8/13/2014
OLNR
» Tallahassee, FL | Story
» Height: 6'4" | Weight: 220 lbs.
» Commitment Date: 2/26/14
TENR
» Dade City, FL | Story
» Height: 6'3" | Weight: 285 lbs.
» Commitment Date: 5/29/14
DTNR
» Neptune Beach, FL | Story
» Height: 6'4" | Weight: 198 lbs.
» Commitment Date: 7/29/2014
WRNR

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DT Andrew Ivie commits to join brother on Gators

The Florida Gators on Thursday added a familiar name to their 2015 recruiting class, receiving a commitment from three-star defensive tackle Andrew Ivie (Dade City, Florida), according to InsidetheGators.com’s Blake Alderman.

Ivie (6-foot-3, 285 pounds) is the younger brother of Gators sophomore defensive lineman Joey Ivie, who like his sibling – a former and future teammate – was a standout player for Pasco High School.

Florida on Feb. 13 was the second program to offer a scholarship to Ivie, who ultimately chose UF over Ole Miss, Wisconsin and opportunities seven other schools.

Raised as a Gators fan from birth, his decision will make his family extremely happy.

Ivie is the first defensive lineman and eighth overall prospect to commit to Florida for 2015. Seven of those pledges are unranked three-star recruits, according to Rivals.com.

CommitmentPos.RivalsESPNOverall
» Jacksonville, FL | Story
» Height: 6'5" | Weight: 270 lbs.
» Commitment Date: 2/22/14
OTNR | 107
» Franklinton, LA | Story
» Height: 5'11" | Weight: 175 lbs.
» Commitment Date: 5/30/14
WRNR | 145
» Atlanta, GA | Story
» Height: 6'4" | Weight: 320 lbs.
» Commitment Date: 7/31/14
O/DLNR | 246
» Warner Robbins, GA | Story
» Height: 6'3" | Weight: 332 lbs.
» Commitment Date: 8/13/2014
OLNR
» Tallahassee, FL | Story
» Height: 6'4" | Weight: 220 lbs.
» Commitment Date: 2/26/14
TENR
» Dade City, FL | Story
» Height: 6'3" | Weight: 285 lbs.
» Commitment Date: 5/29/14
DTNR
» Neptune Beach, FL | Story
» Height: 6'4" | Weight: 198 lbs.
» Commitment Date: 7/29/2014
WRNR

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Gators add CB/ATH Jalen Julius to 2015 class

The Florida Gators on Wednesday added their third defensive back pledge of the 2015 recruiting cycle, gaining a verbal commitment from a fast-rising local product in speedy athlete Jalen Julius (Orlando, Florida).

Unranked and unrated by Rivals.com, Julius was offered by the Gators on March 23 and took just over one month to come to his decision, telling recruiting analyst Blake Alderman that he chose UF over Auburn, Ohio State and Tennessee after he and his family came to a unanimous decision.

“Florida has a great environment. My aunt knows Coach T-Rob [Travaris Robinson] on the staff and my mom likes Florida and then I like Florida,” he told Alderman at InsidetheGators.com ($). “I think the team has good chemistry and the coaches are easy going. It’s a good place for me because my connections with them.”

Primarily an offensive player during his first three years of high school, Julius (5-foot-11, 173 pounds) is considered an athlete and committed to the Gators as a cornerback. He is also a likely candidate for kick and punt returner. [Highlights]

Former Florida CB Keiwan Ratliff is Julius’s 7-on-7 coach and has been training him on the defensive side of the ball.

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Four-star 2015 G KeVaughn Allen commits to UF

Set to enroll an extremely talented 2014 recruiting class, Florida Gators basketball is also off to a hot start for the 2015 recruiting cycle after receiving a commitment from four-star guard KeVaughn Allen (Little Rock, Arkansas).

Allen chose Florida primarily over Arkansas though he also had heavy interest from Baylor, Memphis and Nebraska, according to CBSSports.com’s Jeff Borzello, who first reported the commitment.

At 6-foot-2 and 165 pounds, Allen needs to build strength over the next year in order to deal with the physicality of college basketball. He also needs to drastically improve his ball handling and jump shot.

However, Allen is considered a talented scorer with impressive slashing ability and athleticism who should be a positive contributor for the Gators if he remains committed. He averaged 21.3 points, 6.4 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 3.7 steals as a junior who this season led North Little Rock High School to its second of back-to-back state titles.

“He’s led us in scoring both years and he is the most complete, most coachable, most consistent kid that I’ve ever been around,” North Little Rock head coach Johnny Rice told the Orlando Sentinel‘s Chris Hays of Allen. “He’s the same every single day. He’s never had a bad day in practice, or has something bother him or anything like that. To be such an elite player, it’s unbelievable how coachable he is. He wants to be coached. He wants to get better. He’s really just a dream for any coach to be around.”

The 2014 Gatorade Player of the Year in Arkansas, Allen is ranked No. 82 overall by Rivals and 27th nationally by ESPN, which lists him as a five-star prospect.

Allen joins three-star power forward Kevarrius Hayes (Live Oak, Florida), a June 2013 commitment ranked No. 117 overall by Rivals, in UF’s growing 2015 class.

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Florida adds four-star CB Marcus Lewis

The Florida Gators have landed yet another highly-touted recruit to their extremely talented secondary, gaining a verbal commitment Thursday from four-star 2015 cornerback Marcus Lewis (Washington, D.C.).

Ranked No. 76 nationally and rated as the second-best player in his area by Rivals, Lewis (6-foot-1, 180 pounds) had committed to Virginia Tech in November 2013 but decommitted days later after initially making the decision without enough research or knowledge of his potential opportunities.

Lewis, who will be transferring from Gonzaga High School to IMG Sports Academy (Bradenton, FL) in June, boasts an impressive offer list with Clemson, Miami, Notre Dame and Ohio State, among others, showing considerable interest in his services.

Florida came on strong for Lewis in April and did not take long to land the top-tier prospect. The Gators – specifically head coach Will Muschamp and defensive backs coach Travaris Robinson, the team’s top recruiters – used playing time, opportunity and talent development as their pitch.

“IM 100 %COMMITTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA!!!!!!!!!!!!! #GatorNation!!!! #FloridaFamily!!!!” he tweeted.

Lewis’s commitment was first reported by Rivals.com‘s Adam Friedman.

UF may start a freshman cornerback for its second-straight season and has a history of developing talent in the defensive backfield. Three Florida cornerbacks will be selected in the 2014 NFL Draft, likely within the first two days of the event.

Lewis joins three-star safety Deontai Williams (Jacksonville, FL), the Gators’ other secondary commitment, as part of the 2015 class. He is the sixth overall pledge.

If he follows through with his commitment, Lewis will be the 19th Rivals 250 defensive back to join Florida over the last six recruiting cycles.

The Gators added four-star CB Jalen Tabor out of the nation’s capital in 2014.

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