TWO BITS: Meyer to Cowboys? Kitchens’ struggle.

1 » One rumor that was circulating throughout the World Wide Web when Florida Gators head coach Urban Meyer initially announced he would step down from his job was that the two-time BCS National Championship-winning coach would be heading to the NFL to replace head coach Wade Phillips of the Dallas Cowboys. The Orlando Sentinel‘s Jeremy Fowler caught up with four-star running back commit Mack Brown (Lithonia, GA), who said that fallacy was perpetrated by rival recruiters. “They would say, he’s tricking ya’ll — he’s going to the NFL to coach the Dallas Cowboys,” Brown said. “I was like ‘What?’ There’s no way. I wasn’t too worried about it anyway, but coach Meyer told me he’s a Gator. He’s coming back.”

2 » Three-star linebacker recruit Darrin Kitchens (Homestead, FL), who is currently uncommitted but deciding between the Gators and Texas Tech Red Raiders on Wednesday morning, has “survived the struggles in Homestead and still achieved [his] dreams,” his head coach Bobby McCray, Sr. (father of the New Orleans Saints defensive end and former Florida player) told The Miami Herald. Kitchens has used his strong work ethic and immense passion to propel him to a 3.0 grade point average and a Miami-Dade County-high 19 sacks his senior season.

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TWO BITS: Tebow’s ad, McCartney’s decision

1 » Along with his mechanics and future as an NFL quarterback, former Florida Gators star Tim Tebow and his decision-making have come into question over recent weeks in regard to his Focus on the Family advertisement which will run during Super Bowl XLIV. Sally Jenkins, a sports columnist with the Washington Post, believes the problem is not with the message of Tebow’s ad but rather those criticizing it. Jenkins, who Is pro-choice, writes: “As statements at Super Bowls go, I prefer the idea of Tebow’s pro-life ad to, say, Jim McMahon dropping his pants. […] We’re always harping on athletes to be more responsible and engaged in the issues of their day, and less concerned with just cashing checks. It therefore seems more than a little hypocritical to insist on it only if it means criticizing sneaker companies, and to stifle them when they take a stance that might make us uncomfortable.”

2 » Four-star wide receiver recruit Ivan McCartney (Miramar, FL) has yet to declare where he intends to play college football in 2010. For a while, he has been down to the Gators, Miami Hurricanes and West Virginia Mountaineers. Though four-star defensive end commit Lynden Trail (Miami, FL) has tried to convince him to join Florida’s class, McCartney is believed to be heading elsewhere. However, he did give this sterling quote about his experience with the Gators to the Miami Herald: “There’s something about Florida I don’t feel for the other schools, a very strong, loving feeling. The atmosphere is wild. The campus is outrageous. They have swagger, too. And it’s an awesome place, no matter who is coaching there.”

Extra Bit » Good stuff from The Gainesville Sun on Florida senior swimmers and two-time Olympians Omar Pinzon and Shaune Fraser, who are looking to leave a mark.

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Hicks spurns Gators, Buckeyes for Longhorns

With National Signing Day approaching on Feb. 3, five-star linebacker recruit Jordan Hicks (West Chester, OH) decided to end the speculation and announce his college commitment a few days early in front of friends and family. Hicks took the Florida Gators, Ohio State Buckeyes and Texas Longhorns down to the wire as his three finalists but ultimately declared that he would play college football in Austin, TX, beginning next season.

Unanimously considered the top LB in the nation, Hicks is ranked No. 4 overall on the ESPNU 150 and No. 16 on the Rivals100. The Gators will now focus on gaining a commitment from five-star LB Christian Jones (Winter Park, FL).

Photo Credit: Will Gallagher/Inside Texas

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Ten recruits to watch on National Signing Day

National Signing Day is approaching on Feb. 3, and the Florida Gators are looking to add to their consensus No. 1-ranked 2010 recruiting class. Seeing as high school football players across the country will begin making declarations as early as Friday afternoon, OGGOA has put together a comprehensive preview of the recruits the Gators are still attempting to gain commitments from. The top 10 players who Florida is after are listed below along with a short prediction at the end.

OT Seantrel Henderson (St. Paul, MN)
Rivals: No. 2 – ESPNU: No. 8
Also considering: Ohio State, Southern California, Notre Dame, Minnesota, Miami (FL)

His high school is a pipeline to Notre Dame, his last visit is to Miami, he’s been (reportedly) favoring Ohio State for quite some time, he’s from Minnesota and USC has been in his ear lately making a big push. Florida is considered a long-shot to land Henderson, one of the top overall recruits in the country and the consensus No. 1 offensive lineman.

Learn about the other nine recruits who you should keep an eye on after the jump!
Continue Reading » Ten recruits to watch on National Signing Day

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SIX BITS: All-Star, PARADE, Donovan, bobsled

1 » Former Florida Gators forward/center Al Horford of the Atlanta Hawks has been named as a participant in the 2010 NBA All-Star Game. Though OGGOA is quite pleased with Horford’s accomplishment, we would be remiss if we did not speak out for fellow former Gators F/C David Lee. Lee, who has played with the New York Knicks his entire career, was snubbed by voters after averaging an impressive 19.4 points per game and 11.4 rebounds per game thus far. To his credit, Horford is averaging 13.6 points per game and 9.8 rebounds per game.

2 » The following commits to Florida’s 2010 recruiting class have been named PARADE All-Americans: five-star defensive end Ronald Powell, five-star defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd, five-star safety Matt Elam and four-star cornerback Joshua Shaw.

3 » One aside from the 2010 Under Armour Senior Bowl is that players from the Gators and the Alabama Crimson Tide are playing together on the South team – and they’re having a good time doing it. “We’re getting along really well,” former Florida quarterback Tim Tebow said. “They’re good guys. We’ve had fun, trash-talking back and forth and giving each other a hard time. It’s been a lot of fun. When we break down (after a play), they say, ‘Go Alabama.’ They’ve been trying to get me to say that, but I haven’t yet. It’s been fun.”

Three more BITS including a Florida Gators bobsledder after the jump!
Continue Reading » SIX BITS: All-Star, PARADE, Donovan, bobsled

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DE Lynden Trail: “I want to be ‘The Freak III'”

With National Signing Day coming up on Feb. 3, the Florida Gators are still trying to put together a recruiting class that could very well be considered the best all-time when everything is said and done. One member of that prestigious class, four-star defensive end Lynden Trail (Miami, FL) of Booker T. Washington High School, sat down with OGGOA for a wide-ranging interview about the recruiting process, his future with the Gators, some controversial pictures and life in general. Trail spoke with us for almost a half hour and answered every question we asked, including some that were quite personal.

ADAM SILVERSTEIN: Is it tough to go to an in-state rival coming out of Miami? Did everyone in your life expect you to go to The U?
LYNDEN TRAIL: “The whole atmosphere at Florida just felt like home. I grew up a big UM fan. Everybody around me is huge UM fans. It’s just the way that they came at me in the recruiting process. They’re a great school and everything, but they didn’t fit where I wanted to be. Where I lived, I had my mind made up – I gotta [sic] get out of Miami.”

AS: How long did you know you wanted to play for the Gators?
LT: “It was a good six months before I committed [that I knew]. I always knew in my heart. The minute I got my UM scholarship in March, I kind of strayed away from UM. The more and more I talked to Urban Meyer and my position coach [Dan] McCarney, the more I felt like they were family. The fact that they have a family oriented atmosphere up in Gainesville was a nice draw to the campus. And the fans are great.”

Read the rest of our exclusive interview with Lynden Trail after the jump!
Continue Reading » DE Lynden Trail: “I want to be ‘The Freak III’”

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SIX BITS: McFarland, Tyus, Brewer, Tebow

1 » In the immediate aftermath of dropping four-star safety Demar Dorsey (Lauderdale Lakes, FL), the Florida Gators contacted three-star tight end commitment Michael McFarland (Tampa, FL) and informed him that they no longer need him to grayshirt for the 2010 season as an additional scholarship has opened up. Instead, assistant head coach and defense/defensive line coach Dan McCarney told McFarland that the Gators want him to enroll with the rest of his 2010 class. OGGOA believes McFarland will likely redshirt his first season.

2 » Freshman guard Kenny Boynton has the star power, sophomore point guard Erving Walker is hitting daggers from downtown, junior forward Chandler Parsons is nailing remarkable buzzer-beating game-winners and junior transfer center Vernon Macklin brings the size…so what exactly is junior F Alex Tyus’ role? Tyus is, simply put, the most consistent player on the team. He has scored double figures in 11 straight games with 15+ points in six of those contests all while being a terror in the paint and averaging almost eight rebounds per game. Through the ups and downs of the season, Tyus has been the constant either keeping the Gators in games or helping them pull off routs. He’s even been hitting three-pointers. “I feel like I’m understanding my role a little more,” Tyus told Pat Dooley of The Gainesville Sun. “I’m more comfortable.” If Tyus continues playing at this level, a triumvirate of himself, Boynton and Walker could very well propel Florida to its first March Madness birth in three seasons.

Four more BITS on Corey Brewer, Tim Tebow and more after the jump!
Continue Reading » SIX BITS: McFarland, Tyus, Brewer, Tebow

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Demar Dorsey no longer being recruited by Gators

Rivals is reporting that four-star safety recruit Demar Dorsey is no longer being recruited by the Florida Gators and, therefore, is free to give his commitment to another program. Mark Wheeler was told Florida informed Dorsey that they were no longer interested in having him as a part of the 2010 recruiting class.

Whether or not this is how this particular situation went down remains to be seen. Reports surfaced Monday evening claiming that Dorsey had decommitted from the Gators and agreed to play for the Florida State Seminoles after visiting the Tallahassee, FL, campus last weekend. He openly wavered with his commitment throughout the process but, as recently as last week, proclaimed that he was 90-95 percent solid to the Gators – the highest percentage he had given them over the last year.

Speaking with Wheeler Tuesday night, Dorsey said he was “50-50 right now” and “up in the air” because of the great experience he had on his visit. He also mentioned that Florida had not scheduled an in-home visit with him. Some sources mentioned that the Gators were going to attempt and visit with Dorsey either Tuesday or Wednesday but apparently those plans were canceled or never existed in the first place.

Though he is considered a heavy Florida State lean, Dorsey will travel West to visit the USC Trojans this weekend and may not make up his mind until National Signing Day on Feb. 3. There were questions about his ability to academically qualify for admission to Florida; whether or not that factored in this decision is not presently known.

Expect the Gators to make an even stronger push for three-star athlete Jeremy Deering (Tampa, FL), who is said to be leaning toward Florida State but may be swayed into changing his mind if Dorsey does indeed sign there on Feb. 3. Deering was originally offered a scholarship after five-star safety Matt Elam (West Palm Beach, FL) decommitted three weeks ago but before he eventually re-committed to Florida.

Photo Credit: Rivals

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