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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2014 RB Dalvin Cook flips from Florida to FSU

A year filled with devastating news for the Florida Gators ended in a similar fashion as the program lost its highest-rated 2014 commitment, four-star running back Dalvin Cook (Miami, FL), to the in-state rival Florida State Seminoles on the final day of 2013.

ESPNU casually broke the news of Cook’s flip with a graphic and simple mention on Tuesday evening during a taped show emanating from practices ahead of the 2014 Under Armour All-American Game.

Though he first made a pledge to continue his career at Florida back on April 6, when he decided to flip his commitment from Clemson, Cook began wavering as the Gators fell apart throughout the season.

Florida finished 4-8 while the team Cook ultimately committed to, Florida State, is 12-0 and playing for a national title next week.

He told Scout.com‘s Amy Campbell that he came to the final decision to play for FSU two months ago. Cook has spent much of that time claiming he was “100 percent” committed to UF. Dozens of pictures of Cook doing the Gator Chomp have found their way on social media over the last few days.

The Gators now only have three commitments participating in the Under Armour All-American Game, set to air live on ESPN at 4 p.m. on Thursday, a number that could decrease in the coming days or weeks.

A pair of four-star Florida pledges – wide receiver Ermon Lane (Homestead, FL) and cornerback J.C. Jackson (Immokalee, FL) – are also wavering in their commitments. Lane has said he plans to attend school with Cook and has an official visit scheduled at FSU, while Jackson is heavily considering Miami.

2015 four-star WR Da’Vante Phillips (Miami, FL), Cook’s teammate at Miami Central High School, decommitted from UF on Dec. 24. He had made a verbal pledge on July 27.

Cook, the 30th ranked player in the Class of 2014, was considered a must-get prospect for the Gators this recruiting cycle. His innate playmaking ability was sorely needed by Florida, which would likely have found a way to get him on the field right away.

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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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