ESPN notes on Gators’ 2010 recruiting class

Calling the Florida Gators’ 2010 group “one of the best recruiting classes ever,” Tom Luginbill of Scouts, Inc. heaped praise on what has already been accomplished in Gainesville, FL. “The quality of this class is staggering, given what has taken place with the program over the past month,” he writes. Read the rest in Luginbill’s ESPN column.

Four-star safety commitments Jonathan Dowling and Demar Dorsey spoke with ESPN about the 2010 recruiting class, playing together and head coach Urban Meyer:

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TWO BITS: Floyd honored, Mayock on Tebow

1 » Five-star Florida Gators defensive tackle commitment Sharrif Floyd (Philadelphia, PA) has been named the 2009 National High School Player of the Year by the Maxwell Football Club. Floyd, who committed to Florida during the 2010 U.S. Army All-American Bowl, is ranked as the No. 4 and No. 25 overall player in the country respectively by Rivals and ESPNU.

2 » Completing OGGOA‘s trifecta of Friday coverage on former Gators quarterback Tim Tebow is NFL Network analyst and draft expert Mike Mayock. Mayock spoke with Michael DiRocco of The Florida Times-Union about Tebow’s NFL prospects and how his participation in the 2010 Under Armour Senior Bowl on Jan. 30 in Mobile, AL, will help his stock. “Whether or not he competed in this game, he’s got mechanical issues,” Mayock said. “No question about it, and they’re not that easy to get rid of. But this kid will work his tail off and do whatever anybody tells him to do to work on those issues. I really believe that by spending a week being coached by NFL people and letting the whole league start to get to know what kind of kid he is, no matter what the ball looks like — whether it flutters or whether it takes too long — I think he’s going to win just because people are going to want him in their huddle.”

“Most people think that he’s risking the most of any player coming to play in this game,” Mayock continued. “I think it’s a brilliant move. Here’s a guy who’s arguably the best player to ever play college football, yet most NFL scouts will probably put him in the third round. The fact that Tim Tebow is coming here and willing to expose himself to this kind of scrutiny I think speaks volumes to the type of kid he is.”

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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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