SIX BITS: Vandy, Carter, Bedford, recruiting news

1 » REMINDER: Florida Gators basketball begins 2010 Southeastern Conference play Saturday at noon on ESPN2 against the Vanderbilt Commodores on the road in Nashville, TN. Just an hour later at 1 p.m., the U.S. Army All-American Bowl will air live on NBC. OGGOA will have live coverage of both games.

2 » Former Florida running backs coach Kenny Carter said that, though his move to the Louisville Cardinals appears to be a lateral one, it will help advance his career. “Florida has been great to me,” Carter told the Orlando Sentinel. “I learned so much from Urban [Meyer]. I’m grateful for the opportunity. It’s a dream job for 95 percent of coaches. But there are a lot of factors that go into a coaching move while most people think it has something to do with the team they are leaving. I want to be a head coach one day, and in order to be a head coach, there are things involved in that process. Helping a program from the ground up and working for Charlie [Strong] really intrigued me.” Carter will also help organize special teams with Louisville.

3 » In its first meet of the 2010 season, No. 4 Gators gymnastics fell to the No. 9 Oklahoma Sooners 195.275 to 196.250. Florida won the vault but lost on bars, beam and floor while competing on the road in Norman, OK.

4 » Cardinals head coach Charlie Strong officially announced Friday that former Gators cornerbacks coach Vance Bedford has been hired as his defensive coordinator.

5 » Conflicting reports emerged that three-star running back recruit Shontrelle Johnson (Deland, FL) received a scholarship offer from Florida earlier this week, but in the end none of them truly matter. Johnson, who claims he received an offer from the Gators to play defensive back, has reaffirmed his commitment to the Iowa State Cyclones. “They want me to play DB,” Johnson told Chris Hays of the Sentinel. “I’m a running back. I run the ball. That’s what I do.”

6 » Four-stars athlete/safety recruit Dietrich Riley (La Canada, CA) and Notre Dame Fighting Irish quarterback commitment Andrew Hendrix (Cincinnati, OH) will be visiting Gainesville, FL, this weekend according to Rivals.

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TWO BITS: Carroll to Seattle? Vol dismissed.

1 » Surprising news out of Washington Friday afternoon had the Seattle Seahawks firing head coach Jim Mora after only one year on the job. Chris Mortensen of ESPN has followed up that report with a more startling one: USC Trojans head coach Pete Carroll is the team’s target and a deal is “expected to happen.” Carroll’s Trojans recently experienced their worst season under his leadership since his first, when the team went 6-6 in 2001. Carroll would like bring some staff if he is hired by the Seahawks.

Florida Gators impact: Florida was competing with USC predominantly for five-star defensive end Ronald Powell (Moreno Valley, CA). Powell was already expected to commit to the Gators, but Carroll leaving the program (should it happen) would make Powell’s decision even easier. Other five-star recruits who could take an extra look at Florida if this move occurs include: OT Senatrel Henderson (St. Paul, MN), DE Jackson Jeffcoat (Plano, TX) and DE Owamagbe Odighizuwa (Portland OR), etc.

2 » Tennessee Volunteers head basketball coach Bruce Pearl has dismissed senior forward Tyler Smith from the team, just one week after he and three teammates (guard Cameron Tatum, center Brian Williams and point guard Melvin Goins) were arrested on misdemeanor gun and drug charges. The remaining three players remain indefinitely suspended, and the No. 16/15 Volunteers will be without them on Sunday when they take on the No. 1/1 Kansas Jayhawks.

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TWO BITS: Meyer still working, Christian Green

1 » Though a leave of absence is looming in his near future, Florida Gators head coach Urban Meyer is still very much involved in the program at this point in time. Recruiting is one of Meyer’s passions and staying off the road (at least right now) is surely frustrating him, but he is still making an impact with high school players over the phone. He is simultaneously trying to fill out the remainder of his coaching staff. The Gators have lost four assistants (and a graduate assistant) since the 2009 SEC Championship, but Meyer has already filled in three staff spots with only one more to go. Once his staff is complete and National Signing Day passes on Feb. 3, Meyer will take a step back from the program – hopefully temporarily but potentially permanently.

2 » Florida may have landed a commitment from four-star wide receiver Chris Dunkley (Pahokee, FL) at the Under Armour All-American Game, but the team is still looking for more pass catchers to fill out its 2010 recruiting class. Enter four-star WR Christian Green (Tampa, FL). Though Green is seemingly favoring the Florida State Seminoles (he is a lifelong fan of the team and much of his family went to FSU), he is also considering the Georgia Bulldogs and Gators. “I like the Florida program,” Green told Gerry Hamilton of Scouts, Inc. “I feel like Coach Meyer and those guys motivate players to win and they are going to make you better as a player. That and they win national championships. I think that’s important to go to a school that is going to win national championships, and they have proven they can.”

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SIX BITS: Dunlap’s future, QB offered, DT Floyd, Big Board, Smith and Holliday, Lewis

1 » Though juniors cornerback Joe Haden and tight end Aaron Hernandez have declared for the 2010 NFL Draft, the decision is not an easy one for defensive end Carlos Dunlap. Once considered a top-five talent, Dunlap’s arrest and subsequent suspension for DUI prior to the 2009 SEC Championship had him fall down draft boards. “The feedback that he’s gotten is that he will go late in the first round or early in the second round,” Dunlap’s father told Rivals on Tuesday. “Staying to get a degree isn’t going to be an issue because he’s on track to graduate in December. He’s close enough to getting his degree that he can do it anytime. So does he want to come back to finish up his education and maybe be the top overall draft choice next year or does he want to come out right now and start working on his NFL career?” Dunlap’s father will also consult former Florida Gators defensive coordinator Charlie Strong for advice. “We value Charlie’s opinion. We value Charlie’s evaluation. We value Charlie’s leadership. So if Charlie tells us this is how he thinks it should be, I trust he is going to tell us what is best for Carlos based on the evaluations and feedback he has received.”

2 » JC Shurburtt of ESPN is reporting that Gators quarterbacks coach Scot Loeffler has extended an offer to five-star 2011 QB recruit Jeff Driskel (Oviedo, FL). “I was real excited about the offer,” Driskel said. “I have been talking to Coach Loeffler just about once a week, and he told me that he was ready to offer me. When I got it, obviously I was real excited.” He has also received offers from Auburn, Virginia Tech, Ole Miss and Florida International. Driskel also told Shurburtt that while he does currently live in Florida, location won’t factor much in his final decision. “When I was younger, we moved around a lot because my dad was in the Navy,” he said.

Four more BITS including recruiting and NFL Draft news after the jump!
Continue Reading » SIX BITS: Dunlap’s future, QB offered, DT Floyd, Big Board, Smith and Holliday, Lewis

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Elam drops FSU to third, adds UGA, UF leads

A Florida Gators commitment for over a year, he changed his mind and made a pledge to the Florida State Seminoles on New Year’s Eve. Now, less than a week after that change of heart, five-star safety recruit Matt Elam (West Palm Beach, FL) is back with the Orange and Blue…sort of.

Elam, speaking with Kipp Adams and Anthony Dasher of Rivals by text message, said, “I’m decommitting. Florida is first for me right now, followed by Georgia and Florida State is third.” Wait a minute…the Georgia Bulldogs? “It is very possible,” he said. “I am still talking to Georgia for sure. When I went on my official visit to Georgia, it really felt like home.”

Dwyer High School‘s premier athlete also opened up about his desire to receive significant playing time as a freshman, citing the fact that both Florida and Florida State have eight safeties (give-or-take) on scholarship. The story that never ends will likely have a conclusion Saturday, when Elam is expected to announce his official selection during the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio, TX.

Catch up on the Elam saga through these previous OGGOA entries:
12/09 – Elam still committed to UF but FSU has a chance
12/13 – Photo shows level of Matt Elam’s commitment
12/27 – Meyer’s decision stuns Gators 2010 recruits
12/31 – Matt Elam drops Gators, commits to Seminoles
01/05 – FSU commit Matt Elam switching back to UF?
01/06 – TWO BITS: New RB offered, another Elam update

Photo Credit: Jim Rassol, Sun-Sentinel

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TWO BITS: New RB offered, another Elam update

1 » Florida has just offered a scholarship to three-star running back recruit Shontrelle Johnson (Deland, FL) according to Chris Hays of the Orlando Sentinel. “I’m gonna check it out,” said Johnson, who just recently committed to the Iowa State Cyclones. “It kinda shocked me but I don’t really know since it came so late in the season. You gotta check it out, it’s Florida, they got national championship and all that…but there are positives and negatives.” OGGOA believes the Gators’ offer to Johnson is a back-up plan in case four-star RB Mack Brown (Lithonia, GA) decommits.

2 » News broke Tuesday that five-star safety recruit Matt Elam, who was previously committed to Florida for over a year before recently switching to the Florida State Seminoles, was considering recommitting (must-read) to the Gators. Jason Lieser of the Palm Beach Post got the thoughts of those closest to Elam about his upcoming decision. “I just have to watch the [U.S. Army All-American] game Saturday and see what he’s going to do,” said Robert Clark, Elam’s Dwyer High School teammate and three-star Florida commitment. “He’s tricky. We had a conversation [Tuesday], and he said it’s 50-50 right now.” Elam’s Dwyer head coach Jack Daniels confirmed the indecision. “Now that Coach [Urban] Meyer’s back in the mix, he’s torn again,” Daniels said. “It sounds to me like Matt is still going to go to Florida State, but other people are saying other things. You could say he was doing it for the attention, but now the kid is confused. He likes both schools a lot. He’s having a hard time.”

UPDATE: Scout is reporting that Elam will choose between Florida, Florida State and the Georgia Bulldogs on Saturday.

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Is Ronald Powell headed east to Florida?

Five-star defensive end recruit Ronald Powell (Moreno Valley, CA) is reportedly ready to make his commitment official. If he is feeling the same as he did on Dec. 18, then the Florida Gators remain “most definitely at the top” of his list, and all reports coming out of the U.S. Army All-American Bowl practice sessions this week indicate that Powell will be wearing Orange and Blue next season.

Visited by Gators head coach Urban Meyer in California three weeks ago, Powell raved about the meeting. “It hasn’t been anything negative from them for one, anything at all,” Powell told Rivals at the time. “Coach Meyer is a hell-of-a coach. The college is in a college town. The players, the players definitely make you feel at home. I mean just all around, it’s a great school, a great place to be.”

Read the remainder of this story after the jump…
Continue Reading » Is Ronald Powell headed east to Florida?

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SIX BITS: Cooper, Strong, Dorsey, Rivers & more

1 » Following up on a story OGGOA posted on Monday, the Texas Rangers have told MLB.com that they are still expecting Florida Gators wide receiver Riley Cooper to attend spring training in Arizona. “Yes, we do,” Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said on Tuesday. Though Cooper has said that the Rangers have not been in contact with him – “I must not mean that much to them.” – Daniels begs to differ. “We’ve been in touch with his agents,” Daniels said. “We intentionally gave him space and time while he was preparing for the SEC Championship game and the Sugar Bowl. Everything is still on track for him to report to Arizona. He has a decision to make but the lack of contact was out of respect, not from a lack of disrespect.”

2 » Though Louisville Cardinals head coach Charlie Strong cited the fact that he is African-American and married to a Caucasian woman as one of the reasons it was so difficult to break into the head coaching ranks, he does not want the onus of being a minority coach. “What you want to do is never put pressure on yourself to be like, ‘Hey, you have to be a pioneer,” Strong said last Tuesday.

3 » With an outstanding showing at the Under Armour All-American Game last weekend, Florida four-star defensive back commitment Demar Dorsey (Lauderdale Lakes, FL) took the opportunity to reaffirm his commitment to the Gators. Always being honest and holding that he was 60-80 percent committed to UF throughout the year, Dorsey upped that percentage to 90 after the game. Because of his honesty, Dorsey was previously considered one of the most likely Florida recruits to decommit, but he appears to be as much of a Gator as ever. Even so, he has chosen to visit the Tennessee Volunteers and is considering taking a trip to one of four other schools in order to make sure he covers all of his bases.

Check out the three remaining BITS after the jump…
Continue Reading » SIX BITS: Cooper, Strong, Dorsey, Rivers & more

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