TWO BITS: Deering update, Schlabach predictions

1 » With four-star safety commitment Demar Dorsey (Lauderdale Lakes, FL) visiting the USC Trojans on Jan. 29, the Florida Gators are likely considering options to replace him should he bolt for the West Coast. Their top option is believed to be four-star athlete recruit Jeremy Deering (Tampa, FL), who paid a visit to Gainesville, FL, recently. However, JC Shurburtt of ESPN reports that Deering is leaning toward the Florida State Seminoles, calling them “the likely team to beat” while saying that the Gators “do not appear to be an option because they are quickly filling up.” Perhaps FSU is indeed the leader…unless a spot suddenly opens up at Florida on National Signing Day.

2 » While most outlets (including OGGOA, Sports Illustrated, etc.) wrapped up their “All-Decade” lists and articles in December 2009, ESPN has spent the last week printing theirs about college football. Mark Schlabach concluded the series with his predictions for the next decade, most of which are positive for Gators fans. Among his 20 predictions, Schlabach believes the Southeastern Conference will win at least four more BCS National Championships; head coach Urban Meyer will win at least one more at Florida; another Gators quarterback, John Brantley, will lead the Gators to the SEC East title in 2010; and Brantley will win the Heisman Trophy as a senior in 2011.

Extra Bit » Five-star Florida defensive end commit Ronald Powell, the consensus No. 1-rated player in the country, told Justin Wells of Gator Country that his loyalty to the Gators is unchanged after being pursued heavily by Trojans head coach Lane Kiffin and recruiting coordinator Ed Orgeron. “There isn’t anybody that going to change my mind,” Powell told Wells. “I’m a Florida Gator, and I’m going to be a Florida Gator. [Kiffin and Orgeron] came to my school and tried to talk to me there, and I told them, ‘I’m a Florida Gator,’ and that’s it. They’ve tried to call, but I’m done.”

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TWO BITS: Leon Orr waiting, volleyball loses two

1 » In a news item that OGGOA broke early Thursday evening via Twitter, Florida Gators four-star defensive tackle commitment Leon Orr (New Port Richey, FL) may be forced to leave Gainesville, FL, and return to Gulf High School for the spring semester. Orr is waiting to hear back from the NCAA Eligibility Center which informed him that some of his high school credits may not have transferred correctly. Should he have to return home to take a class, Orr would come back to Gainesville after graduation for the beginning of the summer session. This, however, remains to be seen, and OGGOA will keep you updated on Orr’s eligibility.

2 » The Florida volleyball team completed a terrific 25-6 run in 2009 and expected to come into the 2010 season with little turnover aside from graduating seniors libero Elyse Cusack and middle blocker Kristina Johnson. Instead, head coach Mary Wise learned this week that starter sophomore outside hitter Colleen Ward and junior setter Brynja Rodgers have decided to transfer. “[Ward] misses home and didn’t feel like she totally fitted in here,” Wise told The Gainesville Sun Thursday. “It was a total shock. We didn’t see it coming and neither did her teammates. With Brynja, the scholarship helped because she would have had to pay her way through her junior year at New Mexico State. She played very well for us, but it wasn’t a surprise that she was leaving.”

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Poll Reviews: NCAAs, Edwards, 5-stars, coaches

Over the past two weeks, OGGOA asked you to participate in four polls. Ranging from how you thought Florida basketball would finish the season to what the biggest college football coaching news story was this offseason, your responses and votes came in record numbers. There were 1,940 combined votes (485 average – by far our highest ever) cast, and the results are in. Here is a quick review:
Continue Reading » Poll Reviews: NCAAs, Edwards, 5-stars, coaches

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FOUR BITS: Mr. Football, Horford, hockey, Dorsey

1 » Playing college football at the University of Florida is not the only thing five-star safety Matt Elam (Palm Beach Gardens, FL) and former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow have in common anymore. Elam, like Tebow in 2005, has been named Mr. Football for the state of Florida. He will be presented the award at halftime of the Florida vs. South Carolina Gamecocks basketball game on Saturday at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, FL.

2 » Averaging career-highs in minutes (34.4), field goal percentage (.584), free throw percentage (.754), rebounds (9.7) and points (13.7), former Gators forward/center Al Horford is tearing it up in the NBA for the Atlanta Hawks. He has already compiled six 20-point games in 2009, and his coaches believe that much of his success can be attributed to the extra work he puts in at practice. “He’s one of those guys that’s going to continue to work and add something to his game every year,” head coach Mike Woodson said. “When you do that, that’s when you become an All-Star and a player in this league that everybody respects.”

3 » The Florida club ice hockey team took home the Thrasher Cup this past weekend after defeating both the Georgia and Florida State club teams. Standing at 8-4 on the season, UF’s squad won the Savannah Tire Hockey Classic in Savannah, GA, for the first time in team history. The club team competes in Division III in the American Collegiate Hockey Association.

4 » Though, as OGGOA previously reported, four-star safety commitment Demar Dorsey (Lauderdale Lakes, FL) has plans to visit both the Florida State Seminoles and USC Trojans over the next two weekends, he told Chris Hays of the Orlando Sentinel that he is just doing his due diligence. “I’ve been to Florida several times on unofficial visits,” Dorsey said, “but I figured I’d take a couple of visits just to make sure Florida is where I want to go to school. [The Gators are] still on top, they’re still my No. 1. They aren’t going anywhere. I’d say right now they’re about 90-95 percent.”

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TWO BITS: Auburn gets Mack, Kiffin gets sewage

1 » Four-star offensive guard recruit Eric Mack (St. Matthews, SC) was committed to the South Carolina Gamecocks for quite some time. Recently saying he felt uncomfortable with the school, Mack decommitted from head coach Steve Spurrier and chose today between the Auburn Tigers and Florida Gators. Unfortunately for Florida fans, Mack has decided to attend Auburn in the fall. The Gators have anywhere between two and four scholarships to fill before their 2010 recruiting class is complete.

2 » Here is an interesting and quite comical story coming out of WBIR in Knoxville, TN. Drew McElroy, a local attorney and big Tennessee Volunteers fan, has filed paperwork with the city’s Public Properties and Facilities Naming Committee to rename Knoxville’s waste water treatment plant the “Lane Kiffin Sewage Center.” And why not? “It dawned on me–Lane Kiffin told us that he hoped the fans would understand,” McElroy said. “I thought, ‘Well, naming the wastewater plant for him would let him know, I think very clearly, we do understand.'” More on this from WBIR.

Extra Bit » A nice read from Sports Illustrated‘s Andy Stapes on the position of college football head coach being the most dangerous job in sports. “Nearly every Division I head coach puts in more than 100-hour weeks during the season and heavy recruiting periods,” Staples writes. “If anything, it’s amazing more coaches haven’t suffered heart attacks or more serious ailments as a result of stress and brutal work schedules.”

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TWO BITS: Scoring error, MSU strip club scandal?

1 » It appears as if a two-point layup was incorrectly attributed to Florida Gators sophomore point guard Erving Walker during the team’s 72-58 victory over the LSU Tigers last Saturday. Instead, the points should have gone to Kenny Boynton, giving the freshman guard 20 for the game. Simple fix, right? Not so much. Here are 281 more words on it. Reminder: Florida basketball takes travels to Fayetteville, AR, to face the Arkansas Razorbacks Thursday at 9 p.m. The game will air live on ESPN.

2 » The Mississippi State Bulldogs have been looking into comments posted on Facebook by some recruits claiming they visited The Pony, a local strip club, during a recruiting trip. Obviously, this would be a NCAA recruiting violation. Now that the story has floated around for a few days, some of the recruits involved in the alleged strip club trip are claiming their status updates were just jokes.

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TWO BITS: Pierre-Louis’ girlfriend denies charges

1 » The Tampa Tribune has recounted a statement made by Starlett Lazenberry, the girlfriend former Florida Gators cornerback Wondy Pierre-Louis, in an Alachua County courtroom Tuesday morning. “I do not fear for my life or anything like that,” Lazenberry told the court. “He’s not a danger to anyone. He couldn’t hurt a frog.” Lazenberry apparently went on to dispute other claims attributed to her in the police report filed Sunday morning. She said that Pierre-Louis neither broke into her apartment nor attempted to strangle her, the two key indictments made against him in the report filed by the Gainesville Police Department. Judge Walter Green reduced Pierre-Louis’ bail from $185,000 to $40,000 but said he still saw probable cause, according to the report. You can read OGGOA‘s two stories on this alleged incident here and then here.

2 » The University of Tennessee is looking into actions that may have been taken by former Tennessee Volunteers now USC Trojans recruiting coordinator and assistant head coach Ed Orgeron upon his departure from the school. Orgeron’s questionable actions include statements he may have made to enrolled UT student-athletes. More on the story from the Knoxville News-Sentinel.

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FOUR BITS: Doubles title, Tim Tebow, Dorsey

1 » The Florida Gators’ pairing of senior Antoine Benneteau and junior Alexandre Lacroix took home the doubles title at the SEC Indoor Championships with an 8-5 win over the Georgia Bulldogs’ pair of Nate Schnugg and Jamie Hunt. The duo of Benneteau and Lacroix is now 13-1 overall with four double titles to their credit since September. The No. 10-ranked pair will lead the No. 11 Gators men’s tennis team as dual match season gets underway.

2 » In a prediction he admitted had no source or foundation, Sports Illustrated‘s Peter King has guessed that former Florida quarterback Tim Tebow will end up with the San Francisco 49ers as the No. 13 overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft. “The Niners gave a tepid endorsement to Alex Smith as their quarterback of 2010 after the season; and Mike Singletary didn’t draft him; and Singletary is going to fall in love with Tebow once he meets him after the season; and Tebow is the kind of winner that Singletary has preached he wants since he took the job from Mike Nolan in mid-2008,” King wrote. “After Singletary meets Tebow at the Scouting Combine, this is my prediction of his reaction: He’ll turn to GM Scot McCloughan and say, ‘That’s my guy. We’ve got to have him.'”

3 » Speaking of Tebow, OGGOA has been told by more than one source that the Super Bowl XLIV advertisement in which he is a spokesperson for Focus on the Family may eventually be pulled by CBS. This move would not be without precedent; networks airing major sporting events have yanked similar ads before, though it is safe to say that none featured a celebrity of Tebow’s stature.

4 » Though he came back from a trip to the Michigan Wolverines still committed to the Gators, four-star defensive back Demar Dorsey (Lauderdale Lakes, FL) has decided to add a surprising final visit to his docket. Previously scheduled to end his travels in Gainesville, FL, this weekend, Dorsey will now fly out to visit the USC Trojans on Jan. 29. Dorsey was always interested in USC and had previously planned to visit the Tennessee Volunteers when Lane Kiffin was head coach. “I consider myself committed to Florida, but things are still up in the air,” Dorsey told Gerard Martinez of “Signing day is Feb. 3, so…”

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