Florida Gators 2015 spring practice: Brandon Powell held out, recruiting with depth issues

Head coach Jim McElwain took the field with the Florida Gators for the sixth time on Friday as the 2015 spring practice session rolled along. After practice, he met with the media to discuss some of the early goings on with the team.

Opening statement (Tuesday)

“It was really important to get today’s stuff [installed], which are a lot of situations that are going to be executed [Saturday] when we do some scrimmage work – things like coming out, obviously a couple of the two-minute situations. We’ll work basically four different two-minute situations [Saturday] as an introduction. We want to make sure we hit that today, and I thought they handled that well. Also, work some different areas in the red area as well as some last play ideas, so in other words, no time on the clock, you’re not wasting it you’re actually working the situation. The kids know the exact play that you’re going to work and then obviously the defense might get caught into a personnel group that might not fit necessarily the formation that they’re seeing. Defensively understanding situations.

“It was some really good stuff that I thought occurred today. The guys, I’ll tell you what, this group is willing participants, man. It’s great to see. They’ve really grasped the idea of helping each other get better. That’s really what it’s all about. It’s good to see.”

Continue Reading » Florida Gators 2015 spring practice: Brandon Powell held out, recruiting with depth issues

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Three-star RB Tyrek Tisdale commits to Florida

Three-star running back Tyrek Tisdale (Orlando, FL) announced Friday on Twitter that he has verbally committed to the Florida Gators.

“I’ve Officially Committed To The University of Florida,” he wrote.

Tisdale (6-foot-1, 199 pounds) received an offer from Florida on March 1, took part in the Gators’ Junior Day two weeks ago and returned to Gainesville last weekend for an unofficial visit. He was also on campus Friday to watch spring practice.

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Florida Gators add commitments from 2016 WR Isaiah Johnson, DB Spencer Perry

Shortly after the Florida Gators‘ third spring practice of the 2015 offseason, the team added a pair of three-star 2016 commitments in wide receiver Isaiah Johnson (Palm Beach Gardens, FL) and safety Spencer Perry (Bradenton, FL).

Johnson, whose commitment was first reported by Blake Alderman of Rivals, chose Florida eight days after being offered, six after visiting UF for Junior Day and five days after decommitting from Miami. He also holds offers from Louisville and South Carolina.

Perry, who was offered by and took an unofficial visit to Florida in February, made his announced on Twitter: “I have verbally committed to THE University of Florida IM A GATOR.” He also has standing offers from Auburn, Mississippi State and Notre Dame.

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Four-star CB Chauncey Gardner II, three-star DE JaQuan Bailey commit to Florida Gators

Nine months after originally committing to the Florida Gators – and three months after decommitting from the program – four-star 2016 cornerback Chauncey Gardner II (Cocoa, FL) recommitted to the team on Saturday.

A one-time pledge to Miami, Gardner (6-foot, 194 pounds) is listed as the No. 114 player overall and No. 10 cornerback in the nation by 247Sports.

“Proud To Say That I Will Be Committing Back To THE University Of Florida,” he wrote on his Twitter account.

Gardner originally committed to the Gators moments after receiving a scholarship offer from the old staff last June, 20 months before 2016 National Signing Day. Now still 11 months away, there is plenty of time for him to change his mind yet again.

Tthe fifth player committed to Florida in the Class of 2016, Gardner joins three-star pledges including wide receiver Rick Wells (Jacksonville, FL), defensive end Eric Mitchell (Miami, FL), linebacker Vosean Joseph (Miami, FL) and DE JaQuan Bailey (Jacksonville, FL), who also committed to UF on Saturday.

Bailey (6-foot-2, 230 pounds), who is currently teammates with Wells at Raines High School, chose Florida primarily over offers from Cincinnati, Miami and North Carolina. His commitment was first reported by Blake Alderman of Rivals.

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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.”

Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: Okine, McElwain, Noah, Arnold

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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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