SIX BITS: A.C. Leonard, golf, tennis, b-ball, softball

1 » ESPN has taken to praising 2011 athlete recruit A.C. Leonard (Interlachen, FL), a current Florida Gators commitment. Called “a jack-of-all-trades in high school,” Leonard is projected as a tight end or defensive end in college and worked out extensively at the former position during the Jacksonville, FL, Under Armour combine over the weekend. Leonard continues to impress and remains a solid verbal commitment.

2 » No. 4 Florida men’s golf took home its seventh straight SunTrust Gator Invitational title on Sunday, shooting a team score of 279 (-1) in the final round at the Mark Bostik Golf Course. Up nine strokes going into the final round, the Gators doubled it up and won by 18. Seniors Tyson Alexander and Tim McKenney, along with redshirt junior Andres Echavarria, tied for third place with a total score of 212 (+2).

Four more BITS on tennis, women’s b-ball and softball’s rebound after the jump!
Continue Reading » SIX BITS: A.C. Leonard, golf, tennis, b-ball, softball

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TWO BITS: Meyer’s leave, Prather’s 43 points

1 » Though he had to postpone his leave of absence due to former defensive coordinator George Edwards departing for the Buffalo Bills, Florida Gators head coach Urban Meyer has finally taken a step back, according to Jeremy Fowler of the Orlando Sentinel. Interim head coach and offensive coordinator Steve Addazio took the lead at UF’s Junior Day on Saturday as dozens of high school juniors visited Gainesville, FL, to learn about the football team. Meyer was nowhere to be found and has “a couple of getaways planned” before spring practice begins on March 17.

2 » Those down in the dumps about Gators basketball recently have reason to look forward to next season as two four-star forwards, Patric Young (Jacksonville, FL, No. 14 ESPNU) and Casey Prather (Jackson, TN, No. 32 ESPNU), are headed to Gainesville. Prather erupted for 43 points Saturday as his North Side High School defeated crosstown rival Jackson Central-Merry High School. In fact, he scored all but two of his team’s 17 third-quarter points and consistently got his squad out of jams.

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SIX BITS: Junior Day, Lee, Olympics, gym, track

1 » Just because National Signing Day ended the 2010 recruiting cycle on Feb. 3 does not mean the Florida Gators coaching staff is done recruiting. The University of Florida will host its first Junior Day for 2011 high school graduates Saturday as prospects from all over the state (and some from beyond) will travel to Gainesville, FL, to learn about the Gators. The majority of the outing includes a presentation about Florida football from a suite, a tour of The Swamp and a chance for the high schoolers to meet with some current players and pick their brains about the Gators. OGGOA will provide you with a full recap of the event early next week.

2 » In case you wanted or needed some data to explain why former Florida basketball player and current New York Knicks star forward/center David Lee deserved to be in the 2010 NBA All-Star Game all along, his hometown paper (St. Louis Post-Dispatch) has it together in a column for you.

Four more BITS on the Olympics, Jeff Demps, eye black, etc. after the jump!
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Twenty recruits the Gators are eyeing for 2011

Recruiting contributor Zach Abolverdi in his first submission to OGGOA…

Now that football recruiting for the 2010 term is in the books and Florida Gators head coach Urban Meyer has assembled one of the best classes of all-time, OGGOA brings you a look ahead to the Gators’ (in our opinion) top 20 targets for 2011. These are prospects that the coaching staff has already targeted and is pursuing the hardest as of press time. Perhaps even more important, the 20 targets listed below have a mutually high level of interest in Florida. [Preliminary star ratings provided by Scout.com.]

1. DT Tim Jernigan (Lake City, FL) – 6’2” 275 lbs.
Nicknamed “Hercules” for his superior size and strength, Jernigan also runs a remarkable 4.6 in the forty yard dash. He received his very first scholarship offer from Florida as a ninth grader and has visited on several occasions including this past summer when he dominated at the Urban Meyer Football Camp. In an interview with The Gainesville Sun following National Signing Day, Jernigan revealed that if he had to sign his letter of intent now, the Gators would be the recipient of his highly sought after signature.

2. ATH James Wilder, Jr. (Tampa, FL) – 6’2” 223 lbs.
Rivals’ “Junior of the Year,” Wilder, Jr. is the 2011 version of Ronald Powell with the athletic ability to play running back, linebacker and defensive end at the next level. He favors the Miami Hurricanes at the moment because they are recruiting him at running back, the position his father played in the NFL and his position of choice. However, most recruiting analysts project Wilder as an outside linebacker, and Florida is his leader if he chooses to play on defense in college.

Check out 18 more 2011 recruits the Florida Gators are targeting after the jump!
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FOUR BITS: Brown, Jernigan, boards, Addazio

1 » One of the biggest injury mysteries surrounding the Florida Gators last year was redshirt freshman cornerback Jeremy Brown, who was initially expeced to make a full recovery from a back injury two years ago. The Orlando Sentinel is now reporting that Brown has been cleared for full workouts and should be full-speed for spring practice.

2 » Though the Gators’ 2010 recruiting class is stellar from top-to-bottom, the most impressive area of the class is the incoming defensive line talent that head coach Urban Meyer was able to put together. Florida may have acquired three five-star and two four-star recruits on the defensive front, but local product and 2011 defensive line recruit Tim Jernigan (Lake City, FL) still holds the Gators as the early leader for his services. “When I first heard about all of those guys coming in, I was like, ‘Wow,” he told the Gainesville Sun. “But then I thought, ‘You can’t be selfish.’ It started hitting me that if I go there and you mix my name in there with Dominique [Easley], Sharrif [Floyd] and [Ronald] Powell … fireworks.”

Two more BITS on basketball’s rebounding and Steve Addazio…after the jump!
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Steve Addazio named nation’s top recruiter

Though he received plenty of flack throughout the 2009 season for his play calling and some other perceived miscues, Florida Gators offensive coordinator and interim head coach Steve Addazio has been universally praised by the team’s coaching staff and players for his heart, passion, leadership and character. Also propping up Addazio recently are the newest Gators recruits, who are likely not surprised to learn that he has been named ESPN’s college football recruiter of the year (link).

Addazio has been complimented for having a strong hand in keeping Florida’s near-unanimous No. 1-ranked 2010 recruiting class together through a change of heart by head coach Urban Meyer. He also hit the road hard over the past year, personally visiting and gaining commitments from a number of key recruits.

“Steve Addazio is certainly one of the very best recruiters I’ve ever been around,” Meyer said. “He brings the same passion and excellence to the recruiting trail that he does to coaching on the field. Our guys love him because he connects with them and cares about them, and that’s very evident to anyone who spends time around our program.”

Rivals, a college football recruiting service that was the sole party not to rank the Gators’ 2010 class as the best in the nation, also recognized Addazio this week by naming him one of their top 25 recruiters for 2010.

“It’s very difficult just to show up and say you are going to recruit a certain player,” Addazio said. “Recruiting is a relationship business and there are lots of components to it. You have to build relationships. Otherwise, you are a stranger in a strange land. I am one of the guys that has been recruiting the Northeast for that long of a period of time.”

Photo Credit: Dave Martin/Associated Press

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Urban Meyer’s e-mail to Seantrel Henderson’s dad

The New York Times‘ Thayer Evans has uncovered the following e-mail sent last month by Florida Gators head coach Urban Meyer to Sean Henderson, father of five-star offensive lineman Seantrel Henderson (St. Paul, MN). In it, Meyer says he will be unable to visit the Hendersons but hopes Seantrel can join the Gators’ 2010 recruiting class. Read the article for a contrasting e-mail from the Ohio State Buckeyes.

I hope all is well and I apologize for not being able to make it up there to visit. I tried but my AD and doctor would not allow it. I know your family will be making a life-changing decision in the next few days. I want you to know that he will be taken care of here both as a student and as an athlete. The opportunity to be part of this great Gator Nation with the networking opportunities is unmatched. We have put together the #1 recruiting class in the country and Seantrel is the last missing piece. This class is similar to Tebow, Spikes, and Percy’s class where they wanted to come together to be the best and they did! If you have any questions, I would love to speak w u. Go Gators! Urban

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SIX BITS: 2010 class, Tebow, Smith, awards

1 » Florida Gators head coach Urban Meyer spoke candidly with The Gainesville Sun’s Pat Dooley after National Signing Day on Wednesday. He was surprised there was not a worse reaction to his temporary resignation but actually had fun dispelling numerous rumors about his next job. “[Five-star defensive end Ronald Powell called me at 3 a.m. and] wanted to know if I was going to ESPN to replace Lee Corso,” Meyer said. That’s what he had been hearing. I just laughed.” Four-star offensive lineman Chaz Green, Florida’s last commitment, had the same question. In the end, for a man dealing with stress, his 2010 recruiting class gave him the best gift of all: relaxation. “I left my phone on (Tuesday) night but I went to sleep,” he said. “I got up, no messages. What is that? That’s the first time since I have been married I wasn’t on the phone at midnight the day before Signing Day. And we were done with the faxes by noon.”

Five more BITS including Tim Tebow’s new organization, Emmitt Smith’s upcoming honor, the women’s basketball team’s loss and much more after the jump!
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