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 USCFootball.com. “Signing day is Feb. 3, so…”

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TWO BITS: Austin Rivers, Georgia’s NFL DC

1 » Five-star shooting guard Austin Rivers (Winter Park, FL) has all of the intangibles. The son of Boston Celtics head coach Doc Rivers, he also has the pedigree. Now all that is left for fans to wonder is whether or not he will stick on his commitment to join the Florida Gators as the prized member of Billy Donovan‘s 2011 recruiting class. Rivers is also being recruited by the Duke Blue Devils; but for now, he is firmly in Orange and Blue, and Florida basketball fans who are depressed about this season can take a gander at this video and feel some hope for the future.

2 » While the Gators have been focused on bringing new defensive coordinator George Edwards into the fold, the Georgia Bulldogs have been doing the same to their new hire at the same position, Todd Grantham. Like Edwards, Grantham was an NFL position coach this past season; however, the former worked with linebackers while the latter coached up the defensive line. Recently eliminated from the playoffs as a member of the Dallas Cowboys coaching staff, Grantham is ready to get to work in Athens, GA, just like his new arch-rival has in Gainesville, FL.

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Gators earn 25th 2010 commitment from LB Taylor

Already in the process of putting together the best recruiting class in the nation and potentially one of the best all-time, the Florida Gators received the 25th commitment for their 2010 class on Sunday. Four-star linebacker Michael Taylor (Atlanta, GA) has decommitted from the Tennessee Volunteers and instead decided to sport the Orange and Blue after officially visiting Gainesville, FL, last weekend.

Taylor, who was named the White team’s MVP after the 2010 Under Armour All-American Game, was rumored to have made this decision four days ago. “Yeah, he is going to the University of Florida,” said Tony Jacobs, Taylor’s teammate at Atlanta Westlake High, last week. He actually came to the conclusion to decommit from Tennessee last weekend before head coach Lane Kiffin announced his departure for the USC Trojans.

“Florida’s where I feel at home,” Taylor told Mark Wheeler of Rivals. “There’s never been a place where I’ve been and felt so at home. I was committed to Tennessee for five months and I never got that feeling from them. I have a special feeling from Florida. It’s a feeling that it is where I belong.”



Photo Credit: Rivals

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FOUR BITS: NFL Combine, Strong poaches recruit

1 » Former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow, linebacker Ryan Stamper, defensive end Jermaine Cunningham and kick returner Brandon James have received invites to the 2010 NFL Combine. Juniors who have declared for the 2010 NFL Draft have yet to receive invitations, but fans can expect DE Carlos Dunlap, cornerback Joe Haden, tight end Aaron Hernandez and safety Major Wright to participate in the event from Feb. 24 to March 2 in Indianapolis, IN.

2 » Three-star athlete Marcus Smith (Columbus, GA) had an outstanding scholarship offer from Florida and was prepared to take it…that is until Louisville Cardinals head coach Charlie Strong came calling. “If Louisville would have never been in the mix, I would have probably went to Florida,” Smith told the Courier-Journal. “But I’m glad Louisville came into the mix. I like coach Strong a lot, and I really wanted to play for coach Strong. Louisville is a great program. He wants me to play quarterback, he established that during our talk this morning. To tell you the truth, I just want to play, so I am good wherever he wants me.” Upon taking his position with the Cardinals, Strong said he would not poach recruits the Gators were interested in unless they initiated contact.

3 » The Gators hosted their biggest remaining recruiting weekend the past few days and a number of both committed and undecided prospects came away impressed. Four-star running back Mack Brown (Lithonia, GA), who at one point was wavering after head coach Urban Meyer announced his leave of absence, solidified his recruitment after getting extensive time with new running backs coach Stan Drayton. Brown also told Adam Gorney of Rivals that Meyer may return as soon as March. “He looked pretty fine to me,” Brown said. “He looked healthy. I know he wants to coach, so I know he’s going to be there. He’s going to take a couple weeks off in February, but he’ll be back.” Fellow four-star recruits offensive tackle Chaz Green (Tampa, FL) and wide receiver Christian Green (Tampa, FL) raved to numerous sources about their respective experiences.

4 » Coming off of a heartbreaking loss to the No. 4 Tennessee Volunteers with just two seconds remaining in the game, the Florida women’s basketball team gained a bit of revenge by taking down the Mississippi State Bulldogs 55-52 on the road on Sunday afternoon at Humphrey Coliseum. Sophomore guard Trumae Lucas scored seven points off of the bench in the waning minutes while senior forward Sharielle Smith led the Gators with 13 points on 4-of-6 shooting while also grabbing seven boards.

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TWO BITS: Meyer’s health; recruiting weekend

1 » As a prelude to announcing his very early top 25 for 2010, The Gainesville Sun‘s Pat Dooley dropped some knowledge on how Florida Gators head coach Urban Meyer is holding up since his decision to take a leave of absence rather than resign. Most of this is known already, but a succinct wrap-up from a beat writer close to Meyer is always nice.

Meyer told me he has gained 10 pounds after losing so much weight because food had lost its appeal during the stressful 2009 season. He has never been one to sleep past 7 a.m. but he’s sleeping in now. He is excited about his new coaching staff and his new recruits and especially being at Florida. His leave of absence will start after National Signing Day and he’s looking forward to spending time with his family.

2 » With just over two weeks until National Signing Day (Feb. 3), the Gators are set to host their biggest of the three remaining recruiting weekends on campus from Jan. 15-17. Here is a list of attendees. Commitments: five-star defensive tackle Dominique Easley (Staten Island, NY), four-star running back Mack Brown (Lithonia, GA), four-star defensive end Lynden Trail (Miami, FL), four-star wide receiver Quinton Dunbar (Miami, FL), three-star linebacker Gideon Ajagbe (Coconut Grove, FL). Recruits: five-star LB Christian Jones (Winter Park, FL) [unofficial], four-star WR Christian Green (Tampa, FL), four-star offensive lineman Chaz Green (Tampa, FL), three-star LB Darrin Kitchens (Homestead, FL), three-star safety Jeremy Deering (Tampa, FL).

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SIX BITS: Tough loss, Stamper, Wuerffel, 2011

1 » One year ago, the Florida Gators women’s basketball team upset the then-No. 12/17 Tennessee Lady Vols 66-57 in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center. Looking to repeat history, a much younger Florida team (9-8, 2-2 SEC) had the game tied at 64 against a significantly more experienced No. 4 Tennessee squad (15-1, 3-0 SEC) until Lady Vols guard Angie Bjorklund hit a reverse lay-up with 2.3 seconds left in the second half to pull ahead and ultimately win 66-64. Four Gators scored in double figures, and Florida led for much of the second half but could not hold on.

2 » In a news item that OGGOA broke Thursday via twitter, former Gators linebacker Ryan Stamper was invited to be a participant in the 2010 East-West Shrine Game on Jan. 23 at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, FL. Stamper is currently slated to play in the game but may have to pull out if the ankle injury he suffered in the 2010 Sugar Bowl flares up. The game will air live on ESPN2 at 3 p.m. In other Stamper news, he has decided to sign with agent Garriet Blair of GMB Sports and Entertainment. Quarterback Tim Tebow has declined an invitation to the East-West Shrine and will instead participate in the 2010 Senior Bowl in Mobile, AL.

All-Americans, Wuerffel, 2011 recruits and Gators in the pros after the jump!
Continue Reading » SIX BITS: Tough loss, Stamper, Wuerffel, 2011

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FOUR BITS: Meyer, Kiffin, Powell, basketball

1 » If you were watching the basketball game Tuesday night between the Florida Gators and No. 2 Kentucky Wildcats, you may have seen this clip of head coach Urban Meyer and his wife Shelley smirking while checking their respective phones:

2 » The Tennessean points out that former Tennessee Volunteers head coach Lane Kiffin “decided it was included in his job description […] to annoy Urban Meyer.” Unfortunately, as the article puts it, “a good feud was just ruined.” Similarly, the Orlando Sentinel recounts Kiffin’s top 10 most memorable moments as coach of the Volunteers.

3 » The brand new 2010 ESPNU 150 and 2010 Rivals100 both list Gators five-star defensive end commitment Ronald Powell (Moreno Valley, CA) as their respective No. 1 prospect in the country. Other top Florida recruits ranking high on both lists include five-star defensive tackle Dominique Easley (3/7) five-star safety Matt Elam (9/25), five-star defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd (25/4), four-star cornerback Joshua Shaw (28/28), four-star tight end Gerald Christian (35/81), four-star wide receiver Chris Dunkley (37/77), four-star offensive tackle Ian Silberman (41/71), four-star CB Jaylen Watkins (50/47) and four-star DT Leon Orr (81/95). Others who made the ESPNU list but not Rivals’ include: S Jonathan Dowling (10/NR), S Demar Dorsey (12/NR), RB Mack Brown (34/NR), CB Cody Riggs (79/NR), WR Solomon Patton (106/NR). ESPNU ranks four Gators in its top 10.

4 » “If Florida is to be an NCAA tournament team again — if it’s to snap a two-year hiatus after consecutive NCAA titles — the Gators must start a roll Saturday against LSU,” writes ESPN senior college basketball writer Andy Katz. Read his entire blog entry on the Gators and their hopes to earn a spot in March Madness this season.

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