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).
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.
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.”
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
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
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.
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?