SIX BITS: Tebow, Broncos, Haden, Noah, Addazio

1 » With just over two days to go until the start of the 2010 NFL Draft, 17 eligible players have already accepted invitations to join the league for the event at Radio City Music Hall in New York, NY. The 18th slot is seemingly reserved for former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow, who continues to keep the NFL in limbo in regards to whether or not he will attend. Tebow was supposed to make a decision last Friday but has yet to choose one way or another.

2 » Perhaps one of the reasons Tebow is going back-and-forth on his draft day decision is because he has been keeping busy with speaking engagement and private workouts/interviews. A contingent from the Denver Broncos – including head coach Josh McDaniels and general manager Brian Xanders – visited Tebow in Gainesville, FL, Monday in what is believed to be his last meeting of the kind before the big day.

3 » And while Tebow is the subject, who better to give him a ringing endorsement than…ESPN college basketball analyst Dick Vitale? Vitale points out that teams “shouldn’t overlook [Tebow’s] heart and desire” because “people don’t understand what is in the heart of a competitor.” Read the rest of his musings for yourself.

4 » One former Florida football player who will be in attendance at the draft Thursday is cornerback Joe Haden – expected to be a top-15 pick. As Haden moves on to the NFL, his younger brother Josh Haden is still a topic of conversation with Gators fans who hope he chooses UF as his transfer destination out of Boston College. Expect a decision to made shortly after the draft as the attention moves away from Joe. Josh will pick between Florida, Louisville (head coach Charlie Strong) and other undisclosed schools.

5 » Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah has been the star of the 2010 NBA Playoffs…that is if special recognition was given to players’ mouths. Noah has been running his plenty recently, calling Boston Celtics forward Kevin Garnett a “dirty player” and saying quite simply that “Cleveland sucks.” (Noah’s Bulls are playing the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round of the playoffs.) Garnett’s response? “Tell Joakim Noah to keep it in Cleveland and worry about Shaq,” he said. Noahdid back up his tough talk Monday, grabbing a double-double while leading his team in points (25) and rebounds (13). The effort fell short as Chicago is now down two games to none to Cleveland after losing game two 112-102.

6 » Special congratulations to offensive coordinator Steve Addazio, whose son and tight end recruit Louie Addazio announced his commitment to Syracuse to play college football. Louie also had an offer from South Florida but decided to become the Orange’s first commitment of the 2011 recruiting cycle instead.

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Florida basketball adds commit PF Will Yeguete

Just a day after securing the services of former four-star recruit and Rutgers transfer guard Mike Rosario (Jersey City, NJ), Florida Gators head basketball coach Billy Donovan added a fourth commitment to the 2010 class in three-star power forward Will Yeguete (Melbourne, FL).

Coming out of Florida Air Academy (the same high school as former Gators guard Walter Hodge), Yeguete is a big body at 6’7″, 210 lbs. He averages 15 points and 15 rebounds a game and chose Florida over Georgia Tech.

Born in France but raised in Côte d’Ivoire, Yeguete adds even more size to a Gators’ front court that is also bringing in two other forwards in four-stars Patric Young (Jacksonville, FL) and Casey Prather (Jackson, TN).

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Top 2011 QB recruit Jeff Driskel commits to Gators

With Tim Tebow headed to the NFL and redshirt junior John Brantley firmly entrenched as the starter, the 2011 recruiting cycle was targeted by head coach Urban Meyer as the next in which he would lure a top-rated quarterback recruit to the Florida Gators. Meyer has accomplished that goal perhaps earlier than even he expected as Jeff Driskel (Oviedo, FL) committed Monday to wear the orange and blue next year.

Driskel, who originally planned to make his decision at some point over the summer, has formed a budding relationship with quarterbacks coach Scot Loeffler that no doubt had a strong influence in his commitment.

He is known for throwing accurate balls with tight spirals and impressed Florida at the Gainesville Nike Camp over the weekend. He named UF his leader shortly after the conclusion of camp and apparently took just a day off before committing to the Gators.

At 6’3″, 225 lbs., Driskel also has aspirations to play baseball, and it is believed that Meyer and head baseball coach Kevin O’Sullivan had previously agreed to let him participate in both sports. However, it is currently unknown whether or not the high school center fielder will pursue his interests on the diamond while at Florida.

Photo Credit: ESPN

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2010 basketball recruiting far from over for Gators

Florida Gators basketball fans are not the only ones who recognize the team needs an influx of young talent next season. Head coach Billy Donovan is also well aware of this and is working around the clock to recruit more student-athletes before the 2010 class’ late signing period concludes on May 19.

Over the weekend, Donovan locked up former four-star recruit and Rutgers transfer guard Mike Rosario (Jersey City, NJ). Though Rosario will not be able to compete until he is a redshirt junior in 2011-12, he fills a third spot in the team’s 2010 class alongside four-star forwards Patric Young (Jacksonville, FL) and Casey Prather (Jackson, TN).

Below are players who the Gators remain publicly hot after for this signing period:

» Three-star PF Will Yeguete (Melbourne, FL) – 6’7”, 210 lbs.
– Averaging 17.5 points and 15 rebounds
– Same high school – Florida Air Academy – as Walter Hodge
– Will choose between Florida, Georgia Tech and Indiana
– Leaning towards the Gators, will make announcement Monday

» Three-star PG Chris Denson (Midland, GA) – 6’2”, 180 lbs.
– Will choose between Florida, Western Kentucky, Buffalo and UNC-Greensboro
– Took an official visit to Gainesville, FL, this past weekend

» Three-star PF Cody Larson (Sioux Falls, SD) – 6’9”, 225 lbs.
– Averaging 20 points, eight rebounds and four assists
– Previously committed to Iowa
– Visiting Gainesville on Monday

The lowdown on five more high school basketball recruits…after the jump!
Continue Reading » 2010 basketball recruiting far from over for Gators

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Rutgers transfer Mike Rosario commits to Florida

Various sources have now confirmed OGGOA‘s Saturday report that former Rutgers Scarlet Knights shooting guard Mike Rosario (Jersey City, NJ) has committed to join the Florida Gators. Rosario, who scheduled a weekend visit with the team after receiving his conditional release from Rutgers, will have to sit out the 2010-11 season due to NCAA transfer eligibility rules.

“[Florida] is a great school, a great atmosphere, a great college town,” Rosario told the Newark Star-Ledger. “You have people around you that care. It’s just unbelievable. That was exactly what I was looking for. And Florida had exactly what Mike Rosario was looking for. It’s my decision. I’m happy I made the decision to come here.

“The biggest thing that Florida offered me was, ‘We’re going to win.’ That’s it: ‘We’re going to win.’ That’s something that I’ve missed doing. Now I’m going to have the chance to do it with a lot of good guys that are passionate about the game. The people down there are so wonderful, so different. I feel like I’m back in high school again.”

He was also considering Kansas and Southern California.

Rosario spoke to the Associated Press about his new head coach, Billy Donovan.

“Billy D the great, that’s the only thing I can say,” he said. “He is a great person, a great guy. He has a wonderful heart. He knows the game and he is passionate and he just has everything I want.”

In Rosario, the Gators have gained a guard who averaged 16.7 points and 3.9 rebounds in 30 starts this season. He was a four-star recruit coming out of high school and will join Florida as a redshirt junior in 2011-12, completing a formidable incoming backcourt duo with five-star commitment Bradley Beal (St. Louis, MO).

Photo Credit: Rob Tringali

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FOUR BITS: Baseball, decathalon, golf in SECs

1 » A 90-minute rain delay did little to derail No. 7/9 Florida Gators baseball (24-9, 9-4 SEC) from taking a 10-8 win over the Kentucky Wildcats (21-13, 4-9 SEC) Friday night on the road at Cliff Hagan Stadium in Lexington, KY. Marking the 100th victory of head coach Kevin O’Sullivan’s career, the win was powered by a home run each from freshman catcher Austin Maddox (3-5) and senior outfielder Matt den Dekker (2-3). Sophomore Alex Panteliodis got the start but received a no-decision after giving up five earned runs in 5.1 innings. Senior reliever Jeff Barfield (2-0) tossed 1.1 innings for the win as junior closer Kevin Chapman earned his seventh save of the season with four strikeouts in 2.0 innings.

2 » From GatorZone: “Sophomore Florida multi-event athlete Gray Horn turned in the second-best decathlon score in school history Thursday, charting 7,566 total points to place third at the Mt. Sac Relays Multi-Events hosted by Azusa Pacific University at Cougar Stadium.”

3 » No. 4/6 men’s and No. 10/11 women’s golf are each currently competing in their respective 2010 Southeastern Conference Championships. After the first round of action, the men’s team is in a tie for second place while the women are struggling and are currently in ninth. The Gators’ men are just two strokes behind the leading Arkansas Razorbacks and have a chance to take the lead Saturday.

4 » By all accounts, former Florida defensive coordinator Charlie Strong is already doing an amazing job in his first head coaching gig with the Louisville Cardinals. Granted, it is only spring practice so far. Regardless, Sports Illustrated’s Andy Staples put out a nice piece about Strong on Monday, stating what OGGOA has long believed, that “schools nationwide are about to regret passing on Charlie Strong.”

Extra Bit » OGGOA has heard that Gators basketball’s Friday visit with Rutgers transfer guard Mike Rosario went really well. Some we have spoken with seem to believe he will be committing or already has committed. However, we are not able to confirm that at this point – just wanted to make our readers aware of what we are hearing.

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FOUR BITS: softball wins, Shaw, recruits, Knight

1 » Facing the No. 19/16 Florida State Seminoles in a doubleheader Wednesday, No. 3/4 Florida Gators softball swept their rivals with consecutive 8-4 and 9-2 victories on the road at JoeAnne Graf Field in Tallahassee, FL. Florida (32-4, 12-2 SEC)’s winners were starters junior Stephanie Brombacher (21-4) and freshman Ensley Gammel (10-0), who tallied a combined 13.3 innings and eight strikeouts against FSU (36-10, 8-4 SEC). Freshman shortstop Brittany Walker went 4-7 on the day with two RBI, as junior second baseman Aja Paculba extended her hitting streak to 16 games – tying the longest in school history.

2 » “It was great to have all of that work,” Gators freshman cornerback Josh Shaw said of his playing time in the 2010 Orange & Blue Debut last weekend. “Some of it was good, some bad, but I feel like I’m getting better each time out.” Shaw, according to The Gainesville Sun is adjusting to his competitors’ speed and athleticism but is confident he will be able to follow in the footsteps of some of the team’s best cornerbacks.

3 » Florida men’s basketball may have lost out on two recruits Wednesday, but the women’s basketball and softball teams each brought in a new name. JuCo transfer guard Deana Allen (Houma, LA) has decided to join the Gators after averaging 19.2 points and 6.4 rebounds per game at Pensacola Junior College. She is the fifth new recruit for the women’s team. Joining softball is utility player Chelsea Howell (Plantation, FL), the fourth player of her new team’s 2010-11 class.

4 » Interesting blog post today from Joseph Goodman of the Miami Herald on new Kentucky Wildcats five-star guard commitment Brandon Knight, who had been leaning away from the Gators for quite some time. Some of the potential reasons he chose Kentucky aside from coaching and the school? “Exposure, creating the Brandon Knight brand, getting ready for the NBA, making money” and not playing with Kenny Boynton, Goodman writes.

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Mike Rosario schedules visit to Florida Friday

Former Rutgers Scarlet Knights shooting guard Mike Rosario will travel to Gainesville, FL, Friday for a visit with the Florida Gators and head coach Billy Donovan. According to Adam Zagoria of ZagsBlog.com, Rosario has been given a conditional release by Rutgers with the two conditions being that he can neither transfer within the Big East nor to any school on the team’s 2010-11 schedule.

“[Rosario] just got off the phone with Billy Donovan [and] it’s a go,” his mentor Jorge Fontan told Zagoria late Wednesday. “We’re all happy, ecstatic right now. We’re glad Rutgers didn’t give us a hard time about [the transfer]. We respect them for that and now we’re going to sit back and see who calls us.”

It was previously rumored that Rutgers would make Florida, Kansas and USC (where Fontan’s son Jio Fontan is a point guard). Rosario averaged 16.7 points and 3.9 rebounds in 30 starts this season. He would be forced to sit out a year as a transfer and would be eligible to play for the Gators or the team of his choosing beginning in the 2011-12 season.

UPDATE: The Orlando Sentinel‘s Jeremy Fowler is reporting that three-star point guard Chris Denson (Columbus, GA) will also be visiting Florida this weekend.

Photo Credit: Rob Tringali

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