SIX BITS: Prather, Grier, Phillilps, Patton, Wickline

1 » The Florida Gators on Sunday announced that senior forward Casey Prather (knee) is being listed as “doubtful” for Tuesday’s home contest against the Georgia Bulldogs as he is still dealing with a bone bruise he apparently suffered last Wednesday. Prather, Florida’s leading scorer who has posted double-digit point totals in all 14 game he’s played this season, has missed three practices already.

2 » The Independent Florida Alligator’s Adam Lichtenstein, citing an anonymous tip provided to the paper, uncovered a video posted on the Vine account of Gators four-star quarterback commit Will Grier (titled “Lax es gay”) that appears to show him using the homophobic slur beginning with “F” nine times before declaring, “[Lacrosse] is gay.” The video was posted to his account 269 days ago, exactly four months after he committed to UF. (The video linked above contains offensive language not condoned by OnlyGators.com.) As Lichtenstein correctly points out, “this is unacceptable behavior from Grier” and is something that should absolutely have been addressed by Florida. Though the school had no reason to address this publicly at that time – he was not a member of the program yet – one would think that those in charge of monitoring the social media accounts of Gators recruits would have strongly suggested he remove the video. After all, it has been hiding in plain sight for nearly nine months.

3 » According to Austin American-Statesman columnist Kirk Bohls, Florida wide receivers coach Joker Phillips is one of three men being considered by head coach Charlie Strong to serve as Texas Longhorns offensive coordinator. Phillips has spent five years in an offensive coordinator role, holding that exact position at Kentucky from 2005-08 and working as “head coach of offense” at his alma mater in 2009 when he was named Rich Brooks’s successor. Prior to that, Phillips spent 13 of 14 years coaching wide receivers and was widely considered a coach who had not been given a fair opportunity to move up in the ranks. He was head coach at UK from 2010-12 before being fired and taking over as the Gators’ wide receivers coach in 2013. Phillips is entering the second year of a two-year contract and is set to earn $265,000 this season.

Continue Reading » SIX BITS: Prather, Grier, Phillilps, Patton, Wickline

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Four-star WR commit Ermon Lane ditches Florida

Losing and gaining commitments on a daily basis, the Florida Gators got news Friday night that another top-flight offensive playmaker has left the program as four-star wide receiver Ermon Lane (Homestead, FL) officially decommitted.

“No Hard Feelings But I Just Decommitted From The University Of Florida . Not Because Dalvin Cook. No lie I love gator nation. #OneLove,” he wrote on his Twitter account. “I love the gators fans but I have to do what’s best for me.”

Lane, the 44th-ranked prospect nationally and the fourth South Florida player to decommit from Florida since Dec. 25, 2013, originally pledged to join the Gators on Aug. 12, 2013, the same day as four-star defensive backs Quincy Wilson (Fort Lauderdale, FL) and Chris Lammons (Plantation, FL).

Only Wilson remains committed to Florida; he has been one of UF’s strongest pledges.

Lammons decommitted on Thursday, following in the footsteps of four-star running back Dalvin Cook (Miami, FL) and 2015 four-star WR Da’Vante Phillips (Miami, FL).

Lane’s decision is not much of a shocker. He was seen wearing Florida State gear months ago and has long been rumored to flip to the Seminoles just like Cook did on Dec. 31, 2013. Lane has also been saying for a while that he plans to make a commitment on National Signing Day on Feb. 5 despite remaining committed.

Continue Reading » Four-star WR commit Ermon Lane ditches Florida

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Gators flip Canes four-star RB Brandon Powell

The Florida Gators on Friday filled the hole created in their 2014 recruiting class by the decommitment of four-star running back Dalvin Cook (Miami, FL) by flipping their second prospect in as many days , four-star RB Brandon Powell (Deerfield Beach, FL).

A Miami Hurricanes commitment, Powell initially hoped to enroll early at UM. According to The Gainesville Sun‘s Zach Abolverdi, who first reported the flip, things changed Wednesday when Florida, Powell’s dream school which had not previously offered a scholarship, gave him an opportunity to join the program.

Powell (5-foot-9, 167 pounds) was originally committed to Tennessee but changed his mind and joined Miami’s class on Aug. 3, 2013. Ranked No. 189 overall by Rivals.com, he is considered the seventh-best all-purpose back prospect in the country.

The Gators are also planning to try and gain a pledge from four-star RB Jeff Jones (Minneapolis, MN), who is currently committed to Minnesota. Florida offered Jones (6-foot, 198 pounds), the 92nd-ranked player in the nation, late in the process but has already scheduled an official visit with the prospect for Jan. 24.

Thursday morning, UF gained a commitment from five-star cornerback Jalen Tabor (Washington, D.C.), who immediately became the Gators’ highest-rated player at No. 24 overall. He hopes to enroll in classes next week.

Florida now has 21 total commitments this recruiting cycle including 12 ranked four stars or higher and 12 from within its home state.

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DB Chris Lammons decommits from Gators

Recruiting for the Florida Gators has been a whirlwind since Dec. 25, 2013, with the program gaining four commitments but losing three in the same time frame including one late Thursday night in four-star defensive back Chris Lammons (Plantation, FL).

A South Florida product who pledged to the Gators on the same day as good friends and fellow four-stars DB Quincy Wilson (Fort Lauderdale, FL) and wide receiver Ermon Lane (Homestead, FL), Lammons became the third player from his area to decommit from Florida in the last two-plus weeks.

When Lammons first committed on Aug. 12, 2013, he did so alongside Wilson and Lane but with four-star running back Dalvin Cook (Miami, FL) and 2015 four-star wide receiver Da’Vante Phillips (Miami, FL) already in the fold. All three of those players have left the program in the last 16 days with Lane expected (by most recruiting analysts) to follow suit on National Signing Day.

Lammons leaves the Gators the same day the program added a pledge from five-star cornerback Jalen Tabor (Washington, D.C.), who immediately became Florida’s highest-rated commitment (No. 24 overall nationally).

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2015 DB Deontai Williams commits to Florida

Two weeks after losing their only 2015 commitment in four-star wide receiver Da’Vante Phillips (Miami, FL), the Florida Gators are back on the board for that recruiting cycle with a pledge from three-star defensive back Deontai Williams (Jacksonville, FL).

A life-long Gators fan, Williams (6-foot-1, 185 pounds) was able to make a quick decision after recently receiving an offer from his favorite team. He previously had a top three of North Carolina, Purdue and UCLA.

Williams is the second safety to join Florida from Trinity Catholic Academy in as many seasons, following in the footsteps of freshman Nick Washington, who will receive a medical redshirt after sitting out the 2013 season with a shoulder injury.

Two of Williams’s teammates – four-stars linebacker Jeffrey Holland (Jacksonville, FL) and defensive tackle Kendrick Norton (Jacksonville, FL) – are also Gators targets. Both Rival250 members, Norton committed to Florida State over Florida on Thursday while Holland picked UF as part of his final six along with Alabama, Auburn, FSU and UCLA.

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Five-star CB Jalen Tabor flips to Florida

Less than a week after committing to the Arizona Wildcats during the 2014 Under Armour All-American Game, five-star cornerback Jalen Tabor (Washington, D.C.) changed his mind and has instead decided to join the Florida Gators.

The early enrollee will step foot on campus Monday, according to multiple reports.

“If You Not A Gator You Gator Bait !” he tweeted shortly after making the flip. “Following In Big Cuz Footsteps @joehaden23 ! Wearing #5″

Tabor (6-foot-1, 186 pounds), ranked the No. 24 overall player in the nation by Rivals.com, chose Arizona primarily over Alabama on Jan. 2, but his final four also included Florida and Maryland.

“Marcus Roberson [declaring for] the draft had a big part to do with Tabor’s flip, that and distance according to him,” explained Blake Alderman InsidetheGators.com.

The fourth-highest rated cornerback in the country immediately becomes the Gators’ top-ranked prospect and only five-star commitment to date this cycle.

Tabor is coming off an impressive performances both in the Under Armour game and during the week of practices leading up to the contest. Rivals.com’s recruiting analyst Mike Farrell said Taylor “provided the best coverage on defense during the week.”

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Florida flips Louisville OL commit Harkless

A Louisville Cardinals commitment since April 16, 2013, three-star offensive tackle Kavaris Harkless (Jacksonville, FL) has decided to flip allegiances and will instead join the Florida Gators as an early enrollee.

According to InsidetheGators.com recruiting analyst Blake Alderman, who cited one of the prospect’s coaches at Trinity Christian High School, Harkless will enroll in classes on Monday and join Florida for spring practice.

The Gators first offered Harkless, rated a four-star prospect by ESPN, in December and immediately became the highest-profile team to do so. Though Harkless was 100 percent committed to the Cardinals, he began considering his options at that time and has now made the switch just one day after Louisville head coach Charlie Strong decided to leave the program for Texas.

Recruited by head coach Will Muschamp and defensive backs coach Travaris Robinson, Harkless (6-foot-5, 269 pounds) is an important commitment for Florida, which needs to add quality depth along the offensive line.

He is the Gators’ 20th commitment this recruiting cycle and second in the last four days.

Harkless will join Florida along with six other early enrollees including four-star quarterback Will Grier (Davidson, NC), four-star cornerback Duke Dawson (Cross City, FL), four-star tight end DeAndre Goolsby (Derby, KS), four-star OL Nolan Kelleher (Mount Pleasant, SC), three-star DE Taven Bryan (Casper, WY) and three-star JUCO OL Drew Sarvary (Tallahassee, FL).

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Four-star DE Gerald Willis III picks Gators

Two days after losing a four-star running back, the Florida Gators added an equally highly-rated defensive end in Gerald Willis III (New Orleans, LA).

Willis (6-foot-4, 247 pounds), ranked No. 49 overall in the nation by Rivals.com, committed to the Gators at halftime of the 2014 Under Armour All-American Game, choosing Florida over LSU.

He is rated as the fifth-best player at his position nationally and sixth-best prospect from the state of Louisiana.

Willis is the second member of his family to commit to a college other than LSU, despite his mother, April Justin, being a huge fan of the hometown Tigers. His brother, 2013 safety Landon Collins, chose Alabama over LSU to his mother’s displeasure. Justin was seen on ESPN shaking her head and waving her hands at Collins’s decision; she later said in an interview that her son made the wrong choice.

The Gators’ 19th overall commitment, Willis is the fourth defensive lineman to join Florida’s 2014 class. He is UF’s third highest-rated commitment thus far in the cycle.

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