Gators grab commitment from four-star LB Shazier

Just hours after three-star offensive lineman Tommy Jordan (Ridgefield, CT) accepted his scholarship offer from head coach Urban Meyer, four-star linebacker Ryan Shazier (Plantation, FL) decided to join the Florida Gators as the newest member of the team’s 2011 recruiting class.

One of the country’s top-ranked linebackers, Shazier received offers from more than three dozen schools including almost every major program in the country (Alabama, Ohio State, etc.) but decided to give his commitment to Florida in the end.

“Me, my mom and dad and my little brother went up to Florida to visit and we loved it,” Shazier told The Gainesville Sun. “We had a great time there. We felt that it was the best place for me for what I want to do academically and athletically. For me and my family (Florida) is where my heart is at and that’s the best place for me.”

At approximately 6’3” and 200 lbs. with a 4.5 40-yard dash, Shazier recorded 90 tackles and 19 sacks for Plantation High School as a junior in 2009. He is listed as the No. 71 overall recruit by ESPNU (No. 8 LB) and No. 165 overall by Rivals (No. 9 LB).

“I just committed today,” Shazier told Scout.com (subscription required). “Coach Meyer was real happy and said they are going to love to coach me. Today’s visit was great and my family loved it they are all on board and 100% Gators. I talked to Coach Durkin for a long time and he told me it made his day and he loved it. Coach Durkin was telling me he can’t wait to see me in a Gator uniform. My whole entire family is just happy we are Gators and I am done with recruiting.”

Photo Credit: Davide De Pas/ESPN

OGGOA RELATED: Three-star OL Tommy Jordan chooses the Gators

San Diego cuts former Florida DT Ian Scott

The San Diego Chargers released former Florida Gators defensive tackle Ian Scott on Monday. Scott, who started seven games in 12 appearances for the Chargers last season, was expected to remain the team’s starter going into 2010.

San Diego selected Cam Thomas of North Carolina in the fifth round of the 2010 NFL Draft and appear to believe he will be able to take Scott’s place on the defensive line right away.

Scott, 28, will likely be picked up by another team soon. He was originally drafted by the Chicago Bears in the fourth round of the 2003 draft and has also played for Philadelphia and Carolina.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

OGGOA RELATED: Saints unexpectedly release DE Bobby McCray

Three-star OL Tommy Jordan chooses the Gators

The Florida Gators nabbed another commitment stemming from their camp last week as three-star offensive lineman Tommy Jordan (Ridgefield, CT) called head coach Urban Meyer and accepted a scholarship Monday morning, according to The Ridgefield Press.

“I pretty much knew what I needed to know about all the schools I was considering and I knew Florida’s the place I wanted to go,” Jordan told Rivals. “There’s no one better right now. The coaching staff is a great group of guys I would be honored to play for. This is just a great opportunity, it’s too good for me to pass up. I’m happy to get on board.”

Jordan is just another in the long line of recruits the Gators have pulled from the state of Connecticut since offensive coordinator Steve Addazio joined the program. A native of the state, he also helped Florida acquire New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez, redshirt freshman TE Jordan Reed and freshman quarterback Tyler Murphy.

“Tommy visited Florida again this weekend and came back convinced that it was the school he wanted to attend,” Ridgefield High School head coach Kevin Callahan told the Press. “He’s always been a Florida fan, so it’s really exciting for him to be going there.”

One of the top players in the state, Jordan was not offered a scholarship by Connecticut; he chose Florida over Boston College and Rutgers, among other schools.

OGGOA RELATED: Gators grab commitment from four-star LB Shazier

Saints unexpectedly release DE Bobby McCray

Former Florida Gators defensive end Bobby McCray was released by the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints on Monday. McCray, who was the Saints’ third end but still started a quarter of the team’s games during his two-year run with New Orleans, made some impactful defensive plays as a starter during their playoff run last season.

Interestingly enough, the Saints acquired fellow former Gators defensive end Alex Brown via free agency in the offseason. Brown is expected to start for New Orleans on the left side even after McCray worked with the first team defense during mini camp over the last few weeks; his signing projected starting job most likely led to McCray’s dismissal.

According to Pro Football Talk, McCray was due a $1.25 million roster bonus in just over a week and was likely cut to avoid that payment. The team did not attempt to renegotiate and will also save $2 million on his 2010-11 base salary.

McCray, who made headlines for during the season for his vicious hits on Arizona quarterback Kurt Warner and Minnesota quarterback Brett Favre, was arrested during the season for allegedly driving under the influence. He complied 59 tackles, 7.5 sacks, three defended passes and a forced fumble in his two years in New Orleans.

OGGOA RELATED: San Diego cuts former Florida DT Ian Scott

2010 NCAA College World Series Gameday (06/21): No. 3 Florida Gators vs. Florida State Seminoles

Location: Johnny Rosenblatt Stadium – Omaha, NE [Capacity: 23,170]
Game Time: 4:30 p.m. (EST)

TV: ESPN2 / ESPN2HD
Online: ESPN3.com
OGGOA Live Updates: via Twitter

No. 3 Florida Gators Florida State Seminoles
Head Coach: Kevin O’Sullivan Head Coach: Mike Martin
Starter: RHP Hudson Randall (8-3, 2.95 ERA) Starter: LHP Brian Busch (5-2, 3.97 ERA)
Record: 47-16 Record: 47-19
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Atlantic Coast
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

HISTORY / RECORDS:
» Florida State leads the all-time series against Florida 119-96-1; however, the Gators have a 3-0 record against the Seminoles in the NCAA College World Series and are 10-3 against them (including seven of the last eight) in the NCAA Tournament.
» The two teams will be squaring off for the fifth time in 2010 with every game taking place in a different city. FSU is 3-1 this year against UF, winning in Tampa, Jacksonville and Tallahassee; Florida won at home.
» O’Sullivan, throughout his time in Gainesville, is 4-7 against the Seminoles; 3-0 at home, 1-3 in Tallahassee and 0-4 at neutral sites.
» The last time these teams played in the NCAA Tournament, the Gators fell 17-11 at the 2008 Tallahassee Regional.
» Florida’s 47 wins this season is the program’s highest victory total since the 2005 team, which finished as a runner-up in the CWS and a record of 48-23.
» The Gators are 14-12 on the road and 2-5 at neutral sites in 2010.
» Florida has outscored opponents 434-282 this year, is 36-4 when scoring first and 11-12 when their competition does so. They are also 34-3 when registering more hits than their opponent and 10-13 otherwise.
» The Gators are undefeated when leading after six innings (41-0), seven innings (44-0) and eight innings (43-0), but only 1-16 when trailing after six, 2-15 when losing at the end of the seventh and 3-15 when down through eight.
» Senior outfielder Matt den Dekker is two stolen bases away from tying the school record of in the NCAA Tournament (David Eckstein, 6, 1994-97).
» Junior second baseman Josh Adams and senior OF Jonathan Pigott are each three doubles away from tying the school record of career doubles in the NCAA Tournament (Jeff Corsaletti & Justin Tordi, 6, 2002-05 & 2003-05).
» Sophomores first baseman Preston Tucker and OF Tyler Thompson are each three home runs away from tying the school record of career homers in the NCAA Tournament (Mario Linares, 7, 1988-91).

KEEP AN EYE ON…
» Freshman sensation Austin Maddox…a third baseman who can play three other positions, has garnered numerous awards while leading the Gators in RBI (71), multiple-RBI games (21), home runs (17) and slugging percentage (.591).
» den Dekker…a speed demon leading UF with a 23-for-30 conversion rate on stolen bases, he is tied for fifth on the program’s career list with 66 stolen bags and leads the 2010 team in batting average (.355), runs (65) and hits (87). He is also on an eight-game hitting streak.
» Freshman shortstop Nolan Fontana…who is hitting at a .333 clip through six NCAA Tournament games with nine walks, seven runs, three RBI, two doubles and a homer.
As of the beginning of the College World Series…
» Junior closer Kevin Chapman (3-0)…has a team-low 1.48 ERA (42.2 innings) in 30 appearances. He is tied for second in the SEC with 11 saves. As a team, Florida’s 18 saves are have tied the team’s single-season record (1991).
» The Gators bullpen…which is 17-2 with 18 saves and a 4.18 ERA in 243.1 innings, while its starters are a combined 30-13 with a 3.78 ERA in 304.2 innings.

FOUR BITS: Young, Wright, K. Moore, Dorsey

1 » USA Basketball has released a profile piece on Florida Gators four-star power forward commitment Patric Young (Jacksonville, FL) completed as he joined the Men’s U-18 National Team for the 2010 FIBA Americas U18 Championship for Men from June 26-40. Among the topics covered, Young says that Oklahoma coach Jeff Capel is working him and the rest of the team hard, the experience will do him well for his freshman year at Florida, he has plans to study sports medicine, his family is huge Gators fans and he wants to do what he can to help end the genocide in Darfur, Sudan. “My parents put [giving back] into my head, I grew up with my own morals that I learned from them,” Young said. “I just applied it to my life and that’s just me.”

2 » Chicago Bears general manager Jerry Angelo discussed how former Florida safety Major Wright has been progressing with his team thus far through mini camp; suffice to say, he is coming away impressed. “He’s billed as advertised. He’s a great kid who’s very competitive,” Angelo said. “He brings a lot of emotion and energy to the [secondary], which is great to see. He’s getting better with each practice. There’s going to be a learning curve at all positions for rookies, probably more so in the secondary because there’s much more going on at the safety position. But he’s doing a fine job. The coaches are very pleased with the way he’s progressing, particularly with his work habits. In terms of whether he’ll start this season, the players and coaches will determine that, but we’re very excited about seeing him in pads.”

3 » While some of the Gators’ more prominent stars over the years were unable to make a career for themselves in the NFL (see: quarterback Leak, Chris of the Montreal Alouettes), others have found slots on practice teams and in the back of rosters. Picked up by the Kansas City Chiefs on Dec. 9, 2009, as an insurance policy against a dwindling backfield, former Florida running back Kestahn Moore caught on and signed a deal with the team on Jan. 5. This offseason, Moore has been getting a lot of work in during practice – he has taken Wildcat formation snaps behind rookie wide receiver Dexter McCluster, run the ball as what many believe is the team’s third or fourth back and impressed coaches with what Chiefs writer Bob Gretz calls “a nice wiggle and burst.” As camp wrapped up on June 14, Gertz had this to say about Moore: “The first-year back out of Florida got a lot of opportunities with Jamaal Charles on the sidelines because of his shoulder surgery/recovery. There is no live action in these practices, so running backs can be hard to judge. But in every practice, Moore ripped off at least one impressive run with a burst of speed or moves. Moore has become a shadow of Thomas Jones and he’s trying to learn how to stay in the NFL from the 11-year veteran.”

4 » Safety Demar Dorsey, a five-star recruit who was previously committed to Florida before being forced to find a fit elsewhere, was released from his letter of intent with the Michigan Wolverines in early June for undisclosed reasons most likely relating to his past legal issues and was hoping to catch on with another program. As previously rumored and projected by OGGOA, he has officially landed with the Louisville Cardinals and two former Florida coaches – head coach Charlie Strong, and defensive coordinator and secondary coach Vance Bedford.

Miscues, pitching doom UF in 11-3 loss to UCLA

Two of only four ranked teams participating in the 2010 NCAA College World Series, the No. 3 Florida Gators (47-16) fell 11-3 in the opening round of the event at Johnny Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha, NE, to the No. 6 UCLA Bruins (49-14).

What was expected to be a pitching duel turned into a one-sided affair as UCLA’s Trevor Bauer (11-3) struck out 11 Florida batters over seven innings. Gators sophomore starter Alex Panteliodis (11-3) gave up four earned runs in 3.1 short innings after hitting the first two Bruins batters he faced.

Miscues doomed Florida Friday night; the team compiled four hit batters, four wild pitches, a passed ball and an error throughout the course of the game. Every Gators reliever – including freshman Steven Rodriguez (0.2 innings, two earned runs), senior Jeff Barfield (2.0 innings, one earned run), junior Matt Campbell (2.0 innings, two earned runs) and sophomore Tommy Toledo (1.0 inning, one earned run) – was hit hard and often (13 hits combined).

Shortstop Niko Gallego (4-5, two runs), outfielder Beau Amaral (3-4, one RBI), third baseman Dean Espy (3-6, two RBI) and catcher Steve Rodriguez (2-4, two RBI) led the way for UCLA offensively.

Freshman designated hitter Brian Johnson (1-4) hit a two-RBI double in the first inning to put the Gators on the board, and a solo home run from junior second baseman Josh Adams (1-3) in the fourth provided the only other score of the evening.

Florida hopes to rebound in its elimination game Monday afternoon at 4:30 p.m. against in-state rival Florida State. The game will air live on ESPN and ESPN3.

OGGOA Highlight: Matt den Dekker’s amazing Willie Mays-like catch

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Photo Credit: Matt Miller/Omaha World-Herald

Ex-Gators FB Rutledge charged with two felonies

Former Florida Gators fullback Eric Rutledge was arrested Friday evening and charged with home invasion with a deadly weapon and conspiracy – first- and second- degree felonies, respectively.

According to Alachua County records, his bond is set at $150,000 and he remains unsentenced after being booked at 6:27 p.m. on Friday.

Rutledge, along with three co-conspirators, is charged with allegedly breaking into a private residence, holding four people at gunpoint, beating them and robbing the home of a number of items including cash, computers and marijuana.

A native of Gainesville, FL, Rutledge was apprehended by police after a license plate identified by one of the victims belonged to a car registered to his cousin, Shannon Mann. Police were able to piece the case together after finding messages on Mann’s phone between the two discussing the alleged robbery.

OGGOA will update this story as more information is made available. Rutledge’s mugshot is unable to be obtained due to a technical error.

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