Florida commits ranked as 2011 ratings released

While some programs are racking up 2011 commitments early, the Florida Gators are taking a more concerted approach, sporting a foursome of four-star players set to join the team next season. ESPNU and Rivals have both come out with their first round of high school football recruit rankings within the last week, each with a different perspective of where the Gators’ current commitments fall.

Quarterback Jeff Driskel (Oviedo, FL)
No. 14 – ESPNU (No. 1 QB)
No. 31 – Rivals (No. 1 QB)

Defensive end Jeoffrey Pagan (Asheville, NC)
No. 19 – ESPNU (No. 4 DE)
No. 25 – Rivals (No. 3 DE)

Tight end A.C. Leonard (Jacksonville, FL)
No. 66 – ESPNU (No. 7 ATH)
No. 89 – Rivals (No. 6 TE)

Athlete De’Ante Saunders (Deland, FL)
No. 74 – ESPNU (No. 8 ATH)
Outside top 250 – Rivals

Though Pagan is noted on the above list, he has come out publicly and said that he will be taking a number of official visits before his commitment is 100 percent solid to Florida. He is interested in schools closer to home but also has big-name programs like USC, Ohio State, Georgia and Tennessee vying for his services.

Rivals’ Mark Wheeler notes that the Gators are either targeting, being prominently mentioned by or in the mix for 29 more of the company’s top 100 recruits, including four players in the top 10: No. 2 linebacker Tony Steward (St. Augustine, FL), No. 3 ATH James Wilder, Jr. (Tampa, FL), No. 7 offensive tackle Cyrus Kouandjio (Hyattsville, MA) and No. 8 LB Curtis Grant (Richmond, VA).

Photo Credit: ESPN

SIX BITS: Golf in fifth, spread, softball, NFL, trivia

1 » After two days of action at the 2010 NCAA Championship in Ooltewah, TN, Florida Gators men’s golf is tied for fifth place with an even par score of 576. Florida is 14 shots off of the leader (Florida State, 562) and will compete in the final round on Thursday.

2 » CBS college football analyst Gary Danielson questions whether or not the Gators will remain successful running the spread offense without former quarterback Tim Tebow (now with the Denver Broncos) at the helm. “I’m still not sure any other spread will work in this conference,” he told Jeremy Fowler of the Orlando Sentinel. “They cannot have John Brantley getting hit 12-15 times per game. He’s too valuable. […] It was tough for [Tebow] to take the punishment of [the SEC]. This conference is more and more simulating the NFL, with sophisticated defense to put hits on people.”

Four more BITS including a softball preview, updates on Aaron Hernandez and Brandon Spikes and a Florida Gators *trivia* question…after the break!
Continue Reading » SIX BITS: Golf in fifth, spread, softball, NFL, trivia

NFL Matchup creator “could never” draft Tebow

Sports Illustrated’s Ross Tucker sat down with Greg Cosell, the creator of ESPN’s popular NFL Matchup program, to discuss a number of NFL topics including former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow’s future with the Denver Broncos.

Below is a portion of Tucker’s column, featuring Cosell’s thoughts on Tebow:

What did you see from Tim Tebow on tape and were you surprised the Broncos made the bold move to get back into the first round to snag him?

“On film, there is very little in Tebow’s game that projects well at this point to the NFL. I could never draft a quarterback in the first round who does not show on tape the skill set and physical attributes that are demanded in the NFL.

“Number one, he has questionable and limited arm strength with a slow and ponderous delivery. Number two, in college he did not throw with timing or anticipation because the offense that he was in did not require it. In the NFL, there are certain throws in certain situations that necessitate that the ball is delivered before his receiver makes his break. He wasn’t asked to do that at Florida. Thirdly, pocket movement in the NFL is far more important than running. Pocket movement is the ability to move within the confines of an area about the size of a boxing ring while at the same time maintaining your downfield focus so you can deliver the football. Tebow did not exhibit that trait in college, probably because he was a runner. Nobody is a great NFL quarterback because of the way that they run.”

Cosell, who also works for NFL Films, is the creator and has been executive producer of NFL Matchup since its inception in 1993.

TWO BITS: Pouncey’s desire. Is Bullard NXT?

1 » OGGOA has extensively covered former Florida Gators center Maurkice Pouncey’s transition to the NFL and the Pittsburgh Steelers, including his lining up at right guard while he waits for his true position to open up along the offensive line. ESPN’s Len Pasquarelli profiled Pouncey last week, nothing that he truly has the chance to be something special in the NFL. “He’s the kind of guy where, if he makes a mistake on a play, he’s immediately right over to you to get [an explanation],” offensive line coach Sean Kugler said. “You’ve got to tell him, ‘Don’t worry, we’ll go over that.’ He really wants to be good; he’s into it.”

2 » The name “Titus O’Neil” may not be familiar to Gators fans, but perhaps Thaddeus Bullard rings a bell. While Bullard is a former Florida defensive end, O’Neil is a professional wrestler about to make a splash as one of the newest members of World Wrestling Entertainment‘s NXT television program. Fact is – they are one and the same. Bullard, now 33, was one of the nation’s top defensive linemen coming out of high school in 1995. Unfortunately, his football career never really panned out after registering 56 tackles in 47 games with the Gators as a back-up from 1997-2000. After playing in the Arena Football League for three years, he decided to try his hand at sports entertainment and began competing with Florida Championship Wrestling in 2009. The now-named O’Neil has been called up from FCW to WWE and is set to take part in the second season of the company’s NXT brand – a faux-reality show attempting to find WWE’s next breakout star. OGGOA will follow along with Bullard’s journey over the next few months as he attempts to “win” a full-time contract and pay-per-view title match.

Wrapping up day one of 2010 SEC Spring Meetings

The first day of the 2010 Southeastern Conference Spring Meetings came and went with Florida Gators head coach Urban Meyer and his health update as the headline story. While Meyer’s esophageal spasms dominated the front pages, there were plenty of other interesting things said by the SEC’s head football coaches.

Read what else Meyer and some of the other coaches had to say after the break!
Continue Reading » Wrapping up day one of 2010 SEC Spring Meetings

Hit the hardwood with Noah and Brewer in July

Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah and Minnesota Timberwolves guard Corey Brewer will be making their triumphant return (along with a few former teammates) to the University of Florida and the Stephen C. O’Connell Center…at least for three days this summer.

The two members of the Florida Gators’ back-to-back men’s basketball National Championship teams will host The Back 2 Back Youth Basketball Camp powered by Five Star Basketball in Gainesville, FL, from July 26-28.

Find out more about the camp and Brewer’s thoughts on it…after the break!
Continue Reading » Hit the hardwood with Noah and Brewer in July

FOUR BITS: Graham, basketball, Tebow, Brantley

1 » Former Florida Gators running back Earnest Graham has had an up-and-down career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. From leading the team in rushing yards in 2007 to barely carrying the ball last season, many fans wondered if he would even be on the team for the 2010 season. Not only will Graham be on the team, he will once again be the starter – this time at fullback. “Right now, I’m a starter at fullback. As long as I’m on the field I’m good,” Graham told PewterReport.com. “I’m shooting to be a Pro Bowl fullback. I really believe every time I catch the ball in the flat it can be a first down. I think I can break a few [tackles]. I’m focusing on being a fullback and catching 60 passes. I think I can really do that. Once Josh [Freeman] gets really comfortable and I’m running routes outside the backfield. I think we can do some damage out there.”

2 » One basketball tidbit coming out of the 2010 Southeastern Conference Spring Meetings on Tuesday is that strong consideration is being paid to adjusting conference alignment either throughout the season or for the SEC Tournament. Commissioner Mike Slive mentioned that the SEC may (1) remove the East and West divisions during the season, or (2) seed the postseason No. 1-12 rather than No. 1-6 for each division. As The Gainesville Sun’s Robbie Andreu points out, the motivation behind the potential change is likely due to the East’s recent domination in the sport (24-2 last year). With teams like Florida, Kentucky and Tennessee normally leading the way each season, a change like this may come sooner than later.

3 » Don’t tell ESPN’s AFC West blogger Bill Williamson that former Gators quarterback Tim Tebow will not be starting for the Denver Broncos next year. In his latest post, Williamson makes his stance very apparent with the following statement: “I think it is clear [Kyle] Orton will not be in Denver next year. The Broncos want Tebow to play as soon as he is ready. It will be a shock if Tebow is not the opening-day starter in 2011.”

4 » Also weighing in on a Florida quarterback Tuesday was ESPN’s SEC blogger Chris Low, who called redshirt junior John Brantley the team’s most irreplaceable player. Not really going out on a limb… “He’s the purest passer Urban Meyer has had at Florida and looked terrific this spring throwing the football. He still has to prove himself against SEC defenses, but the Gators are confident in what he’ll be able to do,” Low writes.

Gillette Fusion ProGlide razor giveaway

The good folks at Gillette decided to help us reward OGGOA‘s loyal readers by providing us with 20 promo codes for a FREE sample of their BRAND NEW product, the Fusion ProGlide razor! Debuting June 6, it features thinner, finer blades that glide effortlessly through hair for less tug and pull as well as larger lubrication and padding surfaces.

OGGOA will give away 10 today. However, in order to win, you must shoot an e-mail over to contest@onlygators.com with the correct answer to the trivia question below! We will update this page when 10 correct answers have been received.

Q: Who are the only three running backs in University of Florida football history with more career rushing attempts than Earnest Graham?

No more entries for Tuesday.

Photo Credit: Daniel Wallace/St. Petersburg Times

Meyer’s chest pains originated in esophagus

Florida Gators head coach Urban Meyer is feeling better.

That, above all else, is the gist of what the two-time BCS National Championship-winning coach wanted to convey when speaking with members of the media at the 2010 Southeastern Conference Spring Meetings in Sandestin, FL, on Tuesday.

However, the specifics of what Meyer revealed about his health scare and subsequent resignation last season are interesting nonetheless.

According to Meyer, his chest pains were diagnosed as being caused by esophageal spasms, defined by the Mayo Clinc as “an uncoordinated series of muscle contractions that prevent food from traveling properly from your esophagus to your stomach.”

Chest pain is listed as a common symptom of the affliction; it “can be very painful” and is “often intense, which [one] might mistake for heart pain (angina).”

“The biggest thing is I wanted to find out what those darn chest pains were and I did,” said Meyer as transcribed by Florida Today. “I’ve just got to be smarter in the future and I’m going to be. I’m not going to let that happen again. But the biggest thing was all that was related to what the heck were those pains going through my chest. Once you find out what it is, life gets a little better quickly.”

Meyer likened the feeling to “waking up every morning with a toothache in your chest,” saying it is now under control due to prescription medication. He noted that he has not experienced any issues since January and is ready to proceed with his job as scheduled.

“I feel fantastic,” Meyer said.

Photo Credit: Butch Dill/Associated Press

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