Fallout from Kiffin departure lands UF a recruit

Lane Kiffin heading west from Knoxville, TN, to Los Angeles, CA, will no doubt have its impact on the landscape of the Southeastern Conference and the immediate future of the Tennessee Volunteers. Because Kiffin dropped the Vols for the USC Trojans just three weeks before National Signing Day, some of Tennessee’s recruits may now be looking elsewhere while USC’s appear more likely to stay put.

Part of that immediate fallout may be three-star linebacker Michael Taylor (Atlanta, GA). Just hours after Kiffin’s announcement, speculation began to mount that Taylor will be joining the Florida Gators 2010 recruiting class. “Yeah, he is going to the University of Florida,” said Tony Jacobs, Taylor’s teammate at Atlanta Westlake High.

UPDATE: Sources other than the Sentinel are reporting that Taylor has not yet officially committed to Florida, though he likely will once he has some time to decide. Taylor actually paid a visit to Gainesville, FL, last weekend.

Considered one of the Volunteers’ top recruits and the MVP for his team in the 2010 Under Armour All-American Game, Taylor is not the only one upset at Kiffin and company. Fellow recruit four-star defensive end Brandon Willis told ESPN that he was dismayed at the fact that the former Tennessee tried to bring him along to their new gig. “They had the nerve to call me and ask me to come to Southern Cal,” Willis said. “And coach Ed Orgeron [who is going with Kiffin to USC] said that he was going to be my coach at Tennessee.”

Whether this decision came after Kiffin’s announcement or not, Gators four-star running back commitment Mack Brown (Lithonia, GA) has said that he no longer plans to take any official visits besides one to UF. Four-star defensive back commit Demar Dorsey (Lauderdale Lakes, FL) was planning on visiting Tennessee and Florida State but may no longer be making that first trip.

It is also important for Florida fans to keep an eye on recent five-star commitment Ronald Powell (Moreno Valley, CA), who will almost certainly be a top target for Orgeron, a recruiting mastermind and the Trojans’ new assistant head coach and recruiting coordinator.

VIDEO: Volunteers fans torch a Kiffin t-shirt
VIDEO: Tennessee supporters rush Neyland-Thompson Sports Center
VIDEO: Vols fan pulls an R. Kelly on a Kiffin t-shirt [Explicit]
PHOTOS: Campus scenes of Lane Kiffin’s last day
STORY: Kiffin’s departure sparks emotion in Knoxville
STORY: The meteoric rise of mediocre Kiffin

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

FOUR BITS: Heater, Brown, Dorsey, QB recruits

1 » With Eastern Carolina’s Skip Holtz looking like the top candidate for the USF Bulls head coaching gig, the Florida Gators 2010 coaching staff may be solidified after all. Assistant head coach and defense/defensive line coach Dan McCarney was thought to be in consideration for the job, but it appears like he was not even contacted. Jeremy Fowler of the Orlando Sentinel spoke with co-defensive coordinator and secondary coach Chuck Heater, who also had other opportunities but turned them all down to continue working for head coach Urban Meyer. “I have a deep respect and relationship with Urban that goes back more than 20 years,” Heater said. “I’m joined at the hip with him. It’s personal for me.” Heater also indicated that he is impressed with new defensive coordinator George Edwards and believes that Florida will indeed see 3-4 fronts.

2 » Gators four-star running back commitment Mack Brown (Lithonia, GA) will be taking official visits to Florida (1/15), Florida State (1/22) and Tennessee (1/29) according to Brown’s high school head coach Corey Jarvis via Mark Wheeler of Rivals. Brown has been silent since Gators RB coach Kenny Carter left for the Louisville Cardinals. Also looking around is four-star defensive back Demar Dorsey (Lauderdale Lakes, FL), who will take official visits to the same schools: Tennessee (1/15), Florida State (1/22) and Florida (1/29). However, Dorsey recently upped his commitment level to “90 percent.”

3 » Two sources are reporting that Notre Dame Fighting Irish quarterback commit Andrew Hendrix (Cincinnati, OH) is seriously considering the Gators after visiting Gainesville, FL last weekend. Adam Gorney of Rivals has said that Florida is now considered the leader for Hendrix who is thinking things over with his parents while JC Shurburtt of ESPN says the decision is a “toss-up” between the two schools.

4 » The Gators have reached out to a number of the USC Trojans‘ commitments after it was learned that head coach Pete Carroll was stepping down. Along with five-star wide receiver Kyle Prater (Hillside, IL), Florida is also going after four-star QB Jesse Scroggins (Lakewood, CA). According to Shurburtt, the team is trying hard for him to take a visit across the country.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

TWO BITS: Dwyer’s Daniels, Macklin’s transfer

1 » Dwyer High School head coach Jack Daniels has been pretty busy over the last few weeks – not just coaching his team but also helping to manage the commitments of some of his students such as five-star Florida Gators safety Matt Elam. “It was one of a kind,” Daniels said when speaking of Elam’s recruitment. “It’s never been like that before and will probably never be like that again. He was so highly recruited and he flip-flopped back and forth – there were so many things that played into it.” Why did Elam finally decide on Florida? “The bottom line was the relationship he had with Coach Meyer,” Daniels indicated. Worst of all, Daniels’ relationship with the Florida State Seminoles has soured a bit and he is being “vilified on Seminoles message boards” for “steering his star player to the Gators, according to the Palm Beach Post. “Whatever I say, it’s probably not going to be believed because I’m a Gator,” he concluded.

2 » Though it was a big story preseason, Gators junior transfer center Vernon Macklin’s steady play and post presence has gone somewhat unnoticed this season. Rich Radford of The Virginian-Pilot has completed a nice profile of Macklin that includes some interesting tidbits about his transfer from the Georgetown Hoyas. The first thing head coach Billy Donovan told him? “Look, I’m not going to call you ‘The Big Ticket,’” Donovan said. “There’s one Big ticket in basketball, and that’s Kevin Garnett and he plays for the Boston Celtics. So what do you want me to call you?” Macklin’s straight-forward reply? “Vernon.” Donovan continued. “A lot of guys transfer and think they can leave the baggage behind. But in reality, that baggage follows you. The thing I like about Vernon is that he came clean that a lot of it was his fault, that the effort wasn’t there when he was at Georgetown.”

Tags: , , , , , , ,

TWO BITS: Jeffcoat drops UF, license plates

1 » A consensus top-five recruit in the country, five-star defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat (Plano, TX), was planning to visit the Florida Gators this weekend. Instead, Jeffcoat has canceled his trip and is removing Florida from his list of finalists. Chris Hays of the Orlando Sentinel speculates (correctly) that Jeffcoat’s decision likely comes on the heels of fellow five-star DE Ronald Powell (Moreno Valley, CA) committing to the Gators at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. Florida remains in the running for top five-star recruits like offensive tackle Seantrel Henderson (St. Paul, MN) and linebacker Jordan Hicks (West Chester, OH), among others.

2 » Though sales of specialty license plates in the state of Florida “were down for the first time in years” on the whole, the University of Florida’s plate remained the state’s top seller. In 2009, UF sold 120,858 license plates, 7,296 more than just one year ago. The Gators accounted for 7.4 percent of total sales even though there are 112 other designs for residents to choose from.

Tags: , , , , , ,

Videos of Powell, Elam and Floyd picking Gators

Five-star defensive end Ronald Powell (Moreno Valley, CA)

Five-star safety Matt Elam (West Palm Beach, FL)

Five-star defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd (Philadelphia, PA)

Tags: , , , ,

Three 5-stars commit at Army All-American Bowl

Eleven high school football players announced their college commitments during the 2010 U.S. Army All-American Bowl on Saturday at the Alamodome in San Antonio, TX, an all-star game that DirecTV offers annually. Four-star tight end Gerald Christian (West Palm Beach, FL) and four-star defensive back Jaylen Watkins (Cape Coral, FL) were the only Florida Gators commitments participating at the start of the game, but the team has acquired three additional big-names over the course of the afternoon.

Defensive end Ronald Powell (Moreno Valley, CA) []
Height: 6’4″ – Weight: 225 lbs.
Considered a heavy Florida lean for months (on Dec. 18 he said the Gators were “most definitely at the top” of his list), Powell had second thoughts about his commitment after head coach Urban Meyer resigned and then decided to take a leave of absence instead. Meyer eased Powell’s reservations after a phone conversation. Powell also indicated that he wished to play college ball away from home with the USC Trojans his only other option. “Coach Meyer is a hell-of-a coach,” he said last month. “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.”
More on Ronald Powell from OGGOA.
Finalists: Florida, USC
COMMITTED TO: Florida Gators

Safety Matt Elam (West Palm Beach, FL) []
Height: 6’0″ – Weight: 205 lbs.
A Florida commitment for over a year, Elam played games throughout the recruiting cycle. He reaffirmed his commitment to Meyer and the Gators after his official visit in December; however, Meyer’s about-face caused Elam to question his decision, leading him to decommit from Florida and make a commitment to the Florida State Seminoles. Elam finally spoke to Meyer earlier this week to work everything out. He then decommitted from FSU and listed Florida as his leader, stating that he could not leave Coach Meyer while putting his faith in him.
More on Matt Elam from OGGOA.
Finalists: Florida, Georgia, Florida State
COMMITTED TO: Florida Gators

Defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd (Philadelphia, PA) []
Height: 6’3″ – Weight: 310 lbs.
Once believed to be a sure-thing for Ohio State Buckeyes’s 2010 recruiting class, Floyd was also seriously considering Florida. He promised to “shock the world” with his announcement Saturday and was thrilled with the Gators’ decision to hire George Edwards as their new defensive coordinator. Reports from San Antonio had Floyd leaning toward joining the contingent of Florida commitments on Saturday, and his budding friendship with Powell and desire to play around top-tier talent only further that sentiment. “Florida overall, I genuinely care about Coach Meyer and we talk on a daily basis,” Floyd said. “I just like Florida and what the program has to offer.”
More on Sharrif Floyd from OGGOA.
Finalists: Florida, North Carolina, Ohio State, South Carolina
COMMITTED TO: Florida Gators

In addition to the players profiled above who committed to the Gators on Saturday, the following recruits (who have chosen not to announce their respective decisions during the game) are also being targeted by UF: five-star offensive tackle Seantrel Henderson (St. Paul, MN), five-star DE Jackson Jeffcoat (Plano, TX), five-star DE Owamagbe Odighizuwa (Portland, OR), four-star wide receiver Christian Green (Tampa, FL) and four-star WR Ivan McCartney (Miramar, FL).

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

 Page 66 of 77  « First  ... « 64  65  66  67  68 » ...  Last »