2013 P Johnny Townsend winds up at Florida

OL/TE Trevon Young: commit No. 29 | JUCO DT Jarran Reed: commit No. 28 | DT Jay-nard Bostwick: commit No. 27 | Muschamp discusses class; assistants evaluate signees | 30 new player bios | Video interviews with coaches | “Closing”, quarterback situation

Two/three-star punter Johnny Townsend (Orlando, FL) has become the 30th member of the Florida Gators‘ 2013 recruiting class after sending in his National Letter of Intent to the school on Thursday afternoon.

Townsend, ranked 14th nationally by Rivals and 9th nationally by ESPN among punters, had been committed to Ohio State since June 19, 2012 but did not submit his NLI to the school as expected during National Signing Day on Wednesday.

He was supposed to sign his paper in the morning but twice delayed his press conference before ultimately choosing not to make a decision. His family told reporters that a “personal matter” had sprung up unexpectedly.

Rumors began to circulate during the day that Townsend was considering an offer from Alabama. Late Wednesday evening, Florida reportedly jumped into the picture as team he might sign with on Thursday, a move that ultimately went down when the Gators announced that they had received his signed NLI at 3:30 p.m.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, Townsend received separate phone calls on Monday from Florida head coach Will Muschamp and Alabama head coach Nick Saban, both of whom extended scholarship offers to the punter. It was those conversations that made him reconsider his nearly eight-month-long commitment.

Read the rest of this story and watch a video interview with Townsend…
Continue Reading » 2013 P Johnny Townsend winds up at Florida

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Florida wins battle for WR Demarcus Robinson

A back-and-forth-and-back-again recruiting war for four-star wide receiver Demarcus Robinson (Fort Valley, GA) has finally ended with the prized prospect deciding to join the Florida Gators‘ impressive 2013 recruiting class.

Robinson, a long-time Clemson Tigers commitment, rescinded his soft verbal pledge to the school on Dec. 12 when he first flipped to the Gators. Just five days later on Dec. 17, Robinson had a change of heart and rejoined the Tigers’ class.

However, upon arriving at the 2013 U.S. Army All-American Bowl for practice last week, Robinson said he was no longer committed to Clemson and was reopening his recruitment with Florida and Notre Dame also under consideration. Furthermore, he promised to make a decision with his mother over the weekend and enroll early at the school of his choice as a surprise on Monday or Tuesday.

Monday morning, after spending a week in San Antonio, TX practicing for the game and meeting with coaches from both schools, Robinson announced his decision via his Twitter account by writing, “#Gatornation here I come !” Minutes later he added, “I love my gators can’t wait to arrive on campus!” He also confirmed to multiple outlets that he has finally settled on the Gators.

Robinson is the third pass catcher listed at 6’2” or taller and the fifth overall wide receiver to make a pledge for Florida this cycle. The Rivals100 and ESPN 300 receiver is a big target with plenty of strength and more than enough speed to succeed in the grueling Southeastern Conference.

Arguably Florida’s most important commitment since head coach Will Muschamp took over the program, Robinson is a top talent at a major position of need for the Gators. UF’s leading returning receiver, redshirt sophomore Quinton Dunbar, reeled in 36 receptions for 383 yards and four touchdowns during the 2012 season.

Ranked as the No. 48 overall prospect nationally by Rivals, Robinson is the highest-rated receiver to commit to Florida since Andre Debose (No. 21) in 2009. He is listed as the 157th best player in the country by ESPN.

Robinson’s flip from Clemson was originally fueled, in part, by UF’s hiring of new wide receivers coach Joker Phillips, who along with Muschamp and running backs coach Brian White paid the prized recruit a visit in his home shortly before his original commitment and subsequent visit to the school.

The Gators’ newest recruiting class now consists of 26 total pledges including 25 that count as part of the 2013 cycle.

Robinson joins four-stars Ahmad Fulwood (Jacksonville, FL) and Alvin Bailey (Seffner, FL) and three-stars Marqui Hawkins (Columbus, GA) and Chris Thompson (Gainesville, FL) as wide receivers in the class.

Florida also has an offer out to three-star WR James Clark (New Smyrna Beach, FL) who visited the school over the weekend and picked up the offer directly from Muschamp. The Gators would happily take six receivers this cycle.

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FOUR BITS: Brissett, Johnson, HS All-Americans

1 » Will quarterback Jacoby Brissett be spending his junior season with the Florida Gators? That is one of many unanswered questions lingering in the wake of Florida’s 33-23 loss to Louisville in the 2013 Sugar Bowl on Tuesday. Brissett addressed his future after the game when questioned by the Palm Beach Post. “I haven’t decided yet,” he said. “It depends on how I feel when I get back to Gainesville and have a talk with Coach [Will] Muschamp. You grow relationships for two years with some of these people you’re around every day, and it’s hard to leave them. It depends on how I feel.” With sophomore Jeff Driskel entranced as the Gators’ starter, Brissett would likely be returning in a back-up role. He has yet to use a redshirt season and Driskel is an unlikely candidate to leave as a junior meaning Brissett, should he stay, would run the risk of either never being a full-time starter or doing so for just one year elsewhere if he transferred following the 2013 season. Dwyer High School head coach Jack Daniels said last week that he has suggested that Brissett leave even though he thinks he will stay for at least one more year.

2 » The Post also caught up with Florida sophomore running back Chris Johnson after the game and asked him how he felt about being ejected from the game after he threw a punch following the team’s onside kick attempt to start the second half. “Bad discipline on my part, but you learn from your mistakes and move on,” he said. “It was frustration. The guy was riding me a little bit. If I could do it differently, I’d walk away from it. It sucks. In my mind, I feel like I cost us the Sugar Bowl.” Johnson’s personal foul was one of two on the play, and the Cardinals started at the Gators’ 19-yard line as a result. One play later, Louisville took a 30-10 lead and all but put the game away.

3 » Seven of Florida’s 2013 commitments will compete in the 2013 Under Armour All-American Game on Friday at 5 p.m. (ESPN). Four-star wide receiver Alvin Bailey (Seffner, FL), five-star defensive back Vernon Hargreaves (Tampa, FL), four-star DB Marcell Harris (Orlando, FL), three-star offensive lineman Roderick Johnson (Delray Beach, FL), four-star DB Keanu Neal (Bushnell, FL) and four-star RB Kelvin Taylor (Belle Glade, FL) will play for the black team, while four-star linebacker Matt Rolin (Ashburn, VA) suit up for the white team. The Gators also have three targets in the game with four-star defensive tackle Caleb Brantley (Crescent City, FL), four-star defensive end DeMarcus Walker (Jacksonville, FL) and four-star DE Elijah Daniel (Avon, IN) suiting up for the black team. Walker, an early enrollee, is reportedly set to visit UF following the game and may flip from his commitment to Alabama.

4 » The 2013 U.S. Army All-American Bowl, set to air live on NBC on Saturday at 1 p.m., features four Florida commitments as four-star WR Ahmad Fulwood (Jacksonville, FL), four-star LB Daniel McMillian (Jacksonville, FL), four-star DE Jordan Sherit (Tampa, FL) and four-star DB Nick Washington (Jacksonville, FL) are members of the East Team. The Gators also have a number of targets in the game including four-star WR Demarcus Robinson (Fort Valley, GA), who plans to enroll early at the school of his choice on Monday.

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Four-star TE Kent Taylor commits to Gators

Two days after losing a second-year tight end due to transfer, the Florida Gators picked up the top player at the position nationally in the 2012 recruiting class.

In front of friends and family at Land O’Lakes High School, four-star TE Kent Taylor (Land O’Lakes, FL) committed to the Gators on Thursday during a ceremony in which he received his jersey for the 2012 U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

“It was just about where I am going to get used and the best place to play early,” he told InsidetheGators.com on Oct. 4 when his mind was made up. “It was a place where I felt I could have the whole experience of education, football, socially, and spiritually.”

Taylor – a 6’5”, 220 lbs. pass-catcher who is the ideal player for offensive coordinator Charlie Weis’s system – chose Florida over offers from Florida State, Georgia and Penn State. He is the second tight end to commit to the Gators for 2012.

“I really like Coach Weis’s offense,” Taylor said back in May. “I’ve talked to a couple of people who have played for him and they have all told me you definitely would like to play for Coach Weis.”

Florida already has four-star TE Colin Thompson (Warminster, PA) on board and is likely planning to take a third player at the position, too.

While Taylor is ranked as the No. 1 tight end and 55th best player in the country by Rivals, Thompson is also highly touted at No. 6 and 215th, respectively, by the recruiting service. Their spots are swapped by ESPNU, which has listed Thompson at No. 1 and 85th and Taylor at No. 4 and 147th overall.

Read more, watch a video and check out the commitment list…after the break!
Continue Reading » Four-star TE Kent Taylor commits to Gators

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Report: Floyd’s eligibility hearing held Tuesday

Though it has neither been confirmed by the University of Florida nor the NCAA, a hearing to determine Florida Gators sophomore defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd’s eligibility was reportedly held on Tuesday.

The Gainesville Sun’s Jeff Barlis, who spoke to Floyd’s high school head coach Ron Cohen, reports that Cohen wrote a letter describing “Floyd’s background, his character and what kind of clothing and travel expenses were paid for by Cohen and other members of Floyd’s George Washington High School community,” which was sent to UF and presented at the hearing.

“It was about an hour-and-a-half hearing,” Cohen told the Sun. “They told their side and [the NCAA] listened. Now they have to interpret it and decide how they want to react to it. There was no indication. We just have to wait and see.”

Cohen has been the only party who has spoken about Floyd’s situation and has consistently held that, to his knowledge, the player did nothing wrong in high school that should have his eligibility held in question.

Floyd, one of the nation’s top prospects, was invited to the 2010 U.S. Army All-American Bowl but could not afford the travel costs. In an effort to help him finance the trip, his guidance counselor Dawn Seeger suggested he participate in a bake sale; it raised enough money to send him to San Antonio, TX.

“Supposedly that’s part of it,” Cohen said Tuesday. “That’s why I was questioned. I know the cookie sale was still being brought into it. But again, I don’t know. I wasn’t there. I don’t know how it went. They didn’t tell me.”

While at the event, Floyd was one of three top-rated prospects (linebacker Ronald Powell, safety Matt Elam) to commit to the Gators.

Though Cohen has mentioned the bake sale specifically, the NCAA could have other concerns about Floyd’s eligibility. With everyone staying tight-lipped about the situation, more may not be known until a final decision is made – likely in the coming days.

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

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Top 10 for 2010: Off the Field Stories of the Year

For as much as the Florida Gators accomplished on the field in 2010 (check out our post tomorrow), the Gator Nation was making plenty of news off of it as well. From former players signing huge contracts to current team members being a part of some of the biggest news stories in sports this year, Florida was spread all over the sports landscape in 2010. Below are OGGOA‘s Top 10 Off the Field Stories of the Year.

10 » FIVE BECOME A PART OF THE GATOR NATION IN THE SKY
It would be difficult to recount everything that Gator Nation has gone through in 2010 without remembering those close to the University of Florida who left us for a better place in the past year. Young and old, these Gators departed too soon and suddenly in all but one case. Lamar Abel (21), a walk-on defensive lineman, suffered cardiac arrest while volunteering at a roadside cleanup event with his fraternity in Gainesville, FL. Former safety John Curtis (24) committed suicide in Bellvue, WA. Hall of fame safety Jarvis Williams (45) passed away after an acute asthma attack. Former Gators basketball player and friend to the program Augie Greiner (76) died in his home. And long-time donor and Bull Gator George Steinbrenner (80), most famously known as the owner of the New York Yankees, passed away in a Tampa, FL, hospital. OGGOA once again sends our deepest condolences to the families and friends of these men.

9 » ERIN ANDREWS GETS JUSTICE, STARS ON TV, RE-SIGNS WITH ESPN

Former Florida dazzler and ESPN reporter Erin Andrews had a much better go of it in 2010. Though her stalker plead guilty to his charges in court in December 2009, she spent a good portion of 2010 making sure he was brought to justice (27-month prison term) while also spreading word across the country that violence against women from sexual predators cannot and should not be tolerated. Simultaneously, Andrews participated in ABC’s Dancing with the Stars and even dropped a few Gator Chomps along the way. She ended up finishing third in the competition but parlayed her talent on the sidelines into an enhanced gig with the Worldwide Leader in Sports. Andrews signed a new two-year deal with ESPN, which included a role hosting the first hour of College GameDay live on ESPNU, appearances on ABC’s Good Morning America and more of a presence on the family of networks. She also spoke with OGGOA on two occasions, first in a wide-ranging interview that received significant publicity and later to share her thoughts on the resignation of head coach Urban Meyer.

Continue Reading » Top 10 for 2010: Off the Field Stories of the Year

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Aug. 18 next important day in Gators recruiting?

The Florida Gators have experienced some memorable moments in recruiting recently.

During a one-week span from Dec. 13-19, 2005, when five-star quarterback Tim Tebow and five-star wide receiver Percy Harvin verbally committed, to Jan. 9, 2010, when five-star defensive end Ronald Powell, five-star safety Matt Elam and five-star defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd all picked the Gators at the 2010 U.S. Army All-American Bowl, pulling in top recruits always seems to come in bunches for Florida.

The same thing may happen a week from Wednesday on Aug. 18, as five-star athlete James Wilder, Jr. (Tampa, FL) and four-star cornerback Nick Waisome (Groveland, FL) have each agreed to announce their commitments on the same day.

It was previously reported that Wilder and Waisome, each of whom are have the Gators as a finalist (Waisome as his leader), will announce their college choice on an ESPN network live from a Tampa television station at 5 p.m. Instead, Wilder will be announcing in Tampa while Waisome will make his choice on his own in Orlando, FL.

Both players have been Florida leans for quite some time and while all indications are that Waisome is as solid as ever, there have been murmurs recently that Wilder was impressed by a recent visit to Florida State (which he took instead of attending the Gators’ Friday Night Lights camp). Wilder had planned to take a number of other visits but has already canceled a trip to Georgia. There is an increasing sentiment that he is FSU’s to lose at this point even though he had been interested in attending Florida for a while, has often visited Gainesville, FL, on his own dime and has a strong relationship with head coach Urban Meyer.

Photo Credit: St. Petersburg Times

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Sharrif Floyd’s remarkable journey, tough decision

Growing up without a lot of money or family structure, it took a lot of luck for Florida Gators 2010 five-star defensive tackle commitment Sharrif Floyd (Philadelphia, PA) to end up where he is today. He explored that topic along with why he eventually chose Florida over the Ohio State Buckeyes in a conversation on ESPN‘s First Take Wednesday morning. That conversation is transcribed below:

Q: How tough were things for you? What was one of the toughest moments you faced?
SF: “I’d say one of the toughest moments was going to school – elementary school – wearing basically the same three outfits for weeks. Nobody really paid it any mind. I think that was the hardest thing coming up, having to deal with it. Choosing the right way to go – I’d say that was the most important thing for me.”

Q: It would have been easy for you to choose a different path. You had so much instability in your life. Who were the ones that were the guiding forces that made sure [you stayed on your path]?
SF: “I started being guided by someone my sophomore year. My freshman year – actually when I started playing for my high school, George Washington – when I first started it was coach [Ron] Cohen. He’s been there for four years for me now. That freshman year, it was basically just me and him. I did a lot of things on my own. I really wasn’t open with him at first, to start telling him everything that was going on at home. But I did good with showing that there is nothing wrong with the way I am living.”

Read the rest…including why he chose Florida over Ohio State…after the break!
Continue Reading » Sharrif Floyd’s remarkable journey, tough decision

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