2015 WR Da’Vante Phillips decommits from Florida

Five months after becoming the Florida Gators’ first and only commitment of the 2015 recruiting cycle, four-star wide receiver Da’Vante Phillips (Miami, FL) has pulled his pledge to the team and reopened his recruitment.

Phillips, an immensely talented instate pass catcher who is also a teammate of 2014 four-star running back Dalvin Cook (Miami, FL) at Miami Central High School, told InsidetheGators.com’s Blake Alderman on Tuesday that he has more than a year until he signs and wanted to open things up this early in the process.

He originally committed to Florida at Friday Night Lights on July 27 with Cook very much in his ear about joining the Gators. Now with Cook’s commitment status to Florida up in the air – he is scheduled to make a final decision between UF, Florida State and Miami on Jan. 2 – Phillips is no longer a pledge either.

Phillips first chose the Gators over offers from instate schools as well as Alabama and other top programs. He is ranked by ESPN as the No. 11 overall player in the class of 2015 and the cycle’s top wide receiver prospect.

Scout.com‘s Amy Campbell first reported Phillips’s decision.

Florida is hoping to beef up its talent on offense after another extremely disappointing season on that side of the ball. Unfortunately for the Gators, they may have to do so without some of their top offensive recruits.

In addition to Phillips decommitting and Cook making a final decision in a week, 2014 four-star wide receiver Ermon Lane (Homestead, FL) is also wavering in his pledge.

Lane committed alongside four-stars cornerback Quincy Wilson (Fort Lauderdale, FL) and athlete Chris Lammons (Plantation, FL) in August but has been hinting that he is no longer sure where he will play college football.

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Florida Gators sign JUCO OL Drew Sarvary, add K Brooks Abbott as walk-on

The Florida Gators have added two players to the program for the upcoming season, starting with Wednesday’s announcement of JUCO offensive lineman Drew Sarvary (Tallahassee, FL) signing a National Letter of Intent to join the team for the 2014 season.

A three-star prospect out of Tyler Junior College, Sarvary checks in at 6-foot-6 and 310 pounds and played in 11 games as a true freshman tackle at Florida A&M. He transferred to Tyler and was named a First Team All-Southwest Junior College Football Conference selection last year, committing to transfer to Texas Tech in October.

He will enter school as a true junior without having used a redshirt season. Florida, which will return three upperclassmen at offensive tackle and two at guard, may not wind up needing Savarary to play next season. He would be eligible to take a redshirt if the player and team decided to move in that direction.

Sarvary becomes the Gators’ 19th commitment of the 2014 cycle. An early enrollee, he is set to join the team in January and participate in spring practice.

“Thankful for all my opportunities but I have decided to sign to with the University of Florida!” he announced on Twitter.

Florida also received good news on Tuesday from Virginia Tech sophomore kicker Brooks Abbott, who decided to transfer into UF next season.

Abbott, a Jacksonville, FL-native who served as a kickoff specialist in 2012 and did not play in 2013, went 11-for-15 on field goals as a high school senior.

He will join the Gators as a preferred walk-on next year and compete with redshirt sophomore Austin Hardin and redshirt senior Frankie Velez for the starting job.

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Gators add TE Moral Stephens to 2014 class

On the same day the Florida Gators saw a highly-rated tight end transfer out of the program, the team added a commitment from one in the 2014 class as four star Moral Stephens (Perry, FL) announced his intent to play for the University of Florida.

“I just committed to the university of Florida #GatorNation” he wrote early Thursday afternoon via his Twitter account.

Stephens (6-foot-3, 205-pounds) is ranked No. 191 overall by Rivals and No. 206 by ESPN, which also rates him as a four-star prospect.

His offer sheet was expansive including interest from Arkansas, Clemson, Florida State, LSU, Miami, Ohio State, South Carolina and others.

Though listed as a wide receiver, Stephens is expected to be a hybrid tight end in college, making him the third player at the position to join the Gators this cycle.

Florida also has pledges two other tight ends – four-star DeAndre Goolsby (Derby, KS) and C’yontai Lewis (Tuscaloosa, AL). Stephens is the fifth overall pass catcher on the Gators’ commitment list, which also includes two four-star wide receivers in Ermon Lane (Homestead, FL) and Ryan Sousa (Orlando, FL).

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Four-star OL David Sharpe commits to Florida

The Florida Gators got a big boost for their offensive line, which will be rebuilt in 2014 following the departures of two seniors, by gaining a long-awaited verbal commitment on Thursday from four-star offensive tackle David Sharpe (Jacksonville, FL).

Sharpe (6-foot-8, 295-pounds) has been a Florida lean for quite some time and was finally able to make his college decision known in his third attempt at an announcement.

His two previous tries were thwarted by his high school for undisclosed regulatory reasons, so Sharpe on Thursday decided to announce his commitment live both on the radio and in person at a local Jacksonville restaurant.

Listed as the 23rd highest rated offensive tackle and 215th overall player by Rivals, the highly-regarded Sharpe ultimately chose UF over Tennessee but also took visits to Clemson, Florida State and Georgia.

ESPN ranks Sharpe much higher than Rivals, also listing him as a four-star prospect but placing him as the No. 18 overall player – and No. 2 offensive tackle – in the nation.

Sharpe commits to the Gators even though the team is currently without an offensive line coach after Will Muschamp fired Tim Davis after the season. Defensive line coach Brad Lawing also played a big role in the player’s recruitment.

“I talked to Coach Muschamp about it and he just told me it was the time and they are great guys but they have to get the offense on board and they just had to be let go,” Sharpe told InsidetheGators.com on Dec. 1.

The fourth offensive lineman to commit to Florida this cycle, Sharpe joins four-star Nolan Kelleher (Mount Pleasant, SC), three-star Dontae Angus (Philadelphia, PA) and three-star fellow local area product Travaris Dorsey (Jacksonville, FL) as the 17th member of the Gators’ 2014 recruiting class.

Check out Florida’s entire 2014 recruiting class in full by clicking here.

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OGGOA Week in Review Updates: Offensive coordinator, point guards, Tim Tebow

Though Florida Gators football saw its season come to an end last Saturday and Florida basketball does not have a game until Tuesday, there has nevertheless been plenty of Gators news to cover this week.

A number of the stories covered by OnlyGators.com deserve updates now that the week has come to a conclusion, hence this special edition of OGGOA Week in Review. Some updates can be found below while others are in the appropriately linked stories.

SEARCH FOR AN OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR CONTINUES

When offensive coordinator Brent Pease was released on Sunday, OnlyGators.com published an early look at some candidates to replace him. That list has been updated throughout the week and once again on Saturday. Check out the original post – Replacing Brent Pease as offensive coordinator – for the latest information.

POINT GUARDS HEALTHIER THAN ADVERTISED

Sources close to the program and players told OnlyGators.com multiple times over the last week to expect both of the Gators’ point guards – senior Scottie Wilbekin and freshman Kasey Hill – to play on Tuesday at home against Kansas. This was information strongly hinted at during a post earlier in the week.

Florida announced on Tuesday that Wilbekin, who left Monday’s game at UConn with an ankle injury, had suffered a high-ankle sprain despite the fact that the player reportedly left the arena that night under his own power without the use of crutches or a boot. On Saturday, the Gators released a long post on their own website detailing the rehabilitation that Wilbekin has been undergoing. Hidden within the piece, Wilbekin was suddenly listed as “questionable” for Tuesday’s game despite there previously having been “no timetable” for his recovery.

Saturday evening at 6 p.m., UF relented and finally announced that Wilbekin not only practiced in the afternoon but has already been cleared to play on Tuesday. The school is now referring to his injury only as an “ankle sprain.”

Hill, on the other hand, legitimately suffered a high-ankle sprain three weeks ago, and the one-month recovery timetable provided by Florida was indeed accurate. However, he has been working extremely hard at his rehabilitation and is also expected to suit up for the Gators on Tuesday as long as he can stand the discomfort. Hill is unlikely to be at 100 percent for the game but would instead spell Wilbekin at point guard for a couple minutes each half. He is legitimately questionable.

Continue Reading » OGGOA Week in Review Updates: Offensive coordinator, point guards, Tim Tebow

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Gators top commit, RB Dalvin Cook, wavering

Four-star running back Dalvin Cook (Miami, FL), the Florida Gators’ highest-rated 2014 commitment, has been wavering in his pledge over the last few weeks and is no longer a certainty to remain a member of the class.

In fact, nothing about Cook’s recruitment is a certainty these days. Depending when, how or by whom he is asked, Cook provides varying answers about his commitment status and which team is currently in the lead for his services.

The only thing known at this time is that Cook remains committed to Florida but has nevertheless signed financial aid agreements with three schools. According to Rivals.com ($), he had already inked agreements with Florida State and Miami and was waiting on papers from Florida. InsidetheGators.com’s Blake Alderman reported Thursday that Cook has since received and signed the same forms from UF.

Why the Gators were not proactive in getting Cook’s signature on these documents is curious, especially considering he has been committed for eight months and actually flipped his status at that time as well.

These so-called “grant-in-aid agreements” are around for the first time this recruiting cycle after being instituted by the NCAA in October. By signing one of these agreements, a recruit is guaranteed a scholarship at that institution and can have unlimited contact with the school’s coaches. Representatives of the university can also mention the prospect by name publicly, which is otherwise prohibited under NCAA rules.

Continue Reading » Gators top commit, RB Dalvin Cook, wavering

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2014 WR Ryan Sousa flips to Florida from FSU

A team badly in need of playmakers has picked up a second wide receiver for its 2014 recruiting class as the Florida Gators on Monday gained a commitment from three-star prospect Ryan Sousa (Orlando, FL).

Sousa (6-foot-0, 180-pounds) flipped from Florida State to Florida just two days after watching the Seminoles whip the Gators 37-7 in Gainesville, FL. Nevertheless, the lifelong Florida fan decided to make the switch.

Listed as a four-star player by ESPN, Sousa finished his senior season with 100 receptions for 1,664 yards and 23 touchdowns. As a junior, he racked up 21 scores and 1,601 yards on 92 catches. He’s averaged 16.70 yards per reception for his high school career, which lasted three years as Sousa did not play during his freshman season.

The Gators did not offer Sousa until Nov. 1. At the time, he called the offer from his favorite team a “special moment” but remained committed to FSU.

Wide receivers coach Joker Phillips has been instrumental in his recruitment, speaking with Sousa every week since he camped at Florida back in June.

“Coach Phillips and I have a relationship just like I do with my head coach for my high school. We have gotten pretty close and I trust Coach Phillips with everything and I think he’s a great coach,” Sousa told InsidetheGators.com’s Blake Alderman on Nov. 4. “I have heard lots of good things about him and heard he has great character.”

Sousa joins four-star Ermon Lane (Homestead, FL) as the only wide receivers committed to the Gators at this time. He also made his pledge despite Florida firing its offensive coordinator on Monday.

247Sports first reported Sousa’s commitment on Monday evening.

He is the 16th member of the Gators’ 2014 recruiting class, which you can check out in full by clicking here.

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Four-star TE DeAndre Goolsby commits to Florida

The Florida Gators’ tight end woes may be coming to an end – next season, that is – as the team on Friday landed a commitment from four-star 2014 prospect DeAndre Goolsby (Derby, KS), its second tight end pledge of the cycle.

At 6-foot-4 and 225 pounds, Goolsby was a must-get at a position of great need for Florida. He visited the school for the second time in a matter of months on Sept. 20 and wound up choosing UF over Arkansas, Kansas State, Ohio State and Oklahoma.

Goolsby is the second tight end to join the Gators’ 2014 class as the program already has two-star C’yontai Lewis (Tuscaloosa, AL) in the fold for next season.

While he is ranked No. 168 overall and considered the third-best player at his position by Rivals, Goolsby is listed as a three-star prospect by ESPN.

He is the 15th member of Florida’s incoming recruiting class, the first to make a pledge for the Gators in three months, and expects to be an early enrollee with a plan to join the program for spring practice in January.

Goolsby’s father, Brian, was a fullback at KSU from 1995-98.

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