FOUR BITS: March, UF in NFL, Harvey, ’07 recruits

1 » The month of February is half over and Florida Gators basketball fans are concerned about where their team will be playing in the end of March. Will it earn a berth in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in three seasons or join some other traditional college basketball powerhouses in the NIT? While ESPN‘s Joe Lunardi has left the Gators out of his most recent bracketology, Seth Davis of Sports Illustrated believes Florida still has a legitimate shot. Davis lists the Gators as a 12-seed and predicts an upset over 5-seed Wake Forest. “Despite recent struggles, Florida looks like a team capable of making the tournament — and staging a first-round upset,” Davis writes.

2 » With the 2010 NFL Draft coming up and plenty of Florida players in contention for top picks, The Houston Chronicle’s Lance Zierlein looked at how former Gators have fared in the league since 2001. The results are less spectacular than Florida fans would hope, though the team has certainly had its share of impact players.

3 » One former Gators star on the verge of a bleak NFL career is Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Derrick Harvey. Though he has struggled thus far in Jacksonville and only compiled two sacks in 2009, Harvey is a favorite of new Jaguars assistant coach Joe Cullen. “Our pick was going to be Derrick Harvey if he was available,” Cullen recounted about the 2007 draft to The Florida Times-Union. “We did a lot of research on him, put him through a great one-on-one workout after Florida’s pro day. The qualities we saw in Derrick are still there. He’s explosive, strong. He’s going to be a powerful rusher. With more repetition and work, that can come out of him.”

4 » Looking back at college football recruiting classes from 2007, SI’s Andy Staples reaffirms that the Gators had the best class in the nation. “This class provided the raw materials for a championship,” Staples writes. “It’s interesting to note that this class could produce as many as four 2010 first-round draft picks.”

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Florida impresses recruits at first Junior Day

Recruiting contributor Zach Abolverdi takes a look at Junior Day for OGGOA…

The Florida Gators’ first Junior Day of the 2011 recruiting cycle was a successful start to the season, despite the absence of head coach Urban Meyer. By all accounts, interim head coach and offensive coordinator Steve Addazio was firing on all cylinders, doing a good job selling the program to the prospects in attendance. He emphasized how coaches, players and recruits united when uncertainty surrounded the program just over a month ago and claimed it was a testament to the resiliency of Gator Nation.

Recruiting requires many crucial components and qualities, one of which is developing relationships early in the process. Addazio and the coaching staff got that chance this past Saturday, when they saw familiar faces mixed with some brand new ones. There were no drills, workouts or whistles, just an opportunity for prospects to take in the city, campus and everything the University of Florida has to offer.

Find out who visited and what their impressions were of the Gators after the jump!
Continue Reading » Florida impresses recruits at first Junior Day

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Gators to add kicker Marvin Kloss as walk-on

UPDATE: Florida does not grant K Marvin Kloss admission

Though he was offered a scholarship and grayshirt by the South Florida Bulls, three-star kicker Marvin Kloss (Naples, FL) has decided to accept a walk-on offer from the Florida Gators and expects to make an impact right away, according to the St. Petersburg Times.

“If they can get me in, I’m going up there,” Kloss said of his pending admission status at Florida. “I want to play right away, and they’re a lot better [than USF] scholarship-wise with just one kicker and one punter on scholarship.”

His grade point average and test scores have already earned him a Florida Bright Futures scholarship, so it is likely that UF will grant Kloss admission soon. In fact, he told the Times that interim head coach and offensive coordinator Steve Addazio would be taking his paperwork to the admissions office on Wednesday. If Kloss shows promise on the field, he should have no problem earning a scholarship with the Gators.

UPDATE: The Naples Daily News reports that a low SAT score caused UF to initially decline Kloss’ enrollment application. “The only thing holding me back from making a clear-cut decision is that I got declined,” he told the paper. “[The Gators’ coaches] said it’s up to admissions to decide based on the number of students they have next year.”

Kloss had scholarship offers from the Purdue Boilermakers and Marshall Thundering Heard, which he declined in order to walk-on at Florida (or USF).

“With Marvin’s talent, if he does anywhere close to what he should do next year, he will [earn a scholarship],” Barron Collier High School coach Mark Ivey told the paper. “He has the opportunity if he performs to help on kickoffs next year at a minimum.”

ESPNU Evaluation: “Kloss has FBS leg strength and he has shown this at multiple camps. He is a very competitive athlete who gets great height on both his kickoffs and field goals. He has special leg speed and the ball comes off his foot very fast with a slow rotation. His control and accuracy on field goals are impressive. He is college-ready off the ground. […] Coaches will like his confident attitude.”

Photo Credit: David Albers/Naples Daily News

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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]

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!
Continue Reading » Twenty recruits the Gators are eyeing for 2011

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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!
Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: Brown, Jernigan, boards, Addazio

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