9/3: Muschamp, players speak after opener

The No. 22 Florida Gators (1-0) defeated the Florida Atlantic Owls (0-1) in their season opener at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, FL on Saturday. Below are choice quotes from head coach Will Muschamp, the game’s most valuable player redshirt senior running back Chris Rainey and redshirt senior starting quarterback John Brantley following their team’s first victory of 2011.

HEAD COACH WILL MUSCHAMP

Opening statement: “It was a good opening night. If you had a script of what you wanted to occur in the night for the most part… We faced some adversity. I thought we did some very positive things in the game. Procedural issues. Offensively we were at a minimum, we did have a couple issues we got to get ironed out, but I thought we moved the ball well, I thought John played extremely well in the game and we got the ball to our playmakers – Charlie [Weis] does a phenomenal job of accentuating those guys. Defensively I thought we played pretty clean in the game. We had a couple issues I think we’ve got to tie up. Obviously in the kick game, on our coverage units on the kickoff coverage, was disappointing. We have covered very well all through training camp and it was disappointing to see some of that tonight.

“To open the game with a kickoff return – and then we got called for holding there – but if they call it, it’s holding. [I was] really excited to see Jeff [Demps] and Chris on the field. [...] they are very special with the ball in their hands. Very pleased with how john directed our offense, and thought we played pretty clean defensively – just have to clean some things up. They say your most improvement is from your first to second game and I’m looking forward to that because we certainly have some things we need to work on.”

On what Brantley did well: “Taking what they gave him. How many swing passes did we throw to Jeff and Chris? Get the ball in space to your playmakers. I thought they did a great job with that. […] Just very pleased with how he directed the offense. Got us in the right runs, got us in the right protections, took the ball to the right spots. Certainly we’ve got some things to clean up, but for a first ball game, first offense, new scheme, all the newness to everything we’re doing, [I was] very pleased with the performance.”

On Rainey’s three touchdowns: “He’s just a very talented young man. He works extremely hard. If you came to practice, you’d see a guy that gives 100 percent all the time in everything he does. He loves competing and he’s a lot of fun to coach because he really enjoys the game of football.”

On coaching his first game: “It was exciting. The preparation I enjoy as much as anything, and then game day being able to run out of the tunnel and knowing the excitement our players had. It’s about players to me. It’s about seeing those guys fulfilling a lot of their work and seeing their work coming to a conclusion as far as game time and playing a game. I enjoy that as much as anything.”

On the bad snap in the first quarter: “We had the dagum bad snap there, we got to get that ironed out. I know you all rolled your eyes when you saw that there, didn’t you? That was disappointing.”

On the orange jerseys: “Our seniors wanted to wear orange today. Our staple uniform will be our blue jersey at home and white pants. And if you get mad and want to e-mail, e-mail me. Don’t e-mail anybody else. I was the one who made the decision.”

On how encouraged he is by the first performance: “Well I think we need to be realistic here – we will face better opponents through the season. [...] As we roll through the season, we’re going to get to know our team a lot better. We didn’t face as much adversity as maybe we would have hoped for in the game … but I’m very pleased with the attitude and the effort of our players. They worked awful hard, they compete – that’s a credit to Urban [Meyer] and his staff. These guys know how to practice. They know how to come and approach work every day and they’ve had a great attitude in everything they’ve done. I’ve been very pleased with that and we’ve got to continue to improve and get better because we’ve got a long way to go. We’ve got a long season ahead of us.”

RUNNING BACK CHRIS RAINEY

On his three touchdowns: “I’ll give all the credit to the offense. They were really good out there.”

On his spin move for a rushing touchdown: “That’s a God-given gift, so I can’t explain that one. You got to ask God. [Laughing] I did a stretch play, just reading the tackle and I guess I read it right and scored a touchdown.”

On if Brantley’s confidence is back: “Oh he definitely do. He looks like the old John Brantley you saw in high school – being a leader, taking over, got all of his confidence back, feel good in the pocket, trust everybody.”

On his touchdown return on the punt block: “I love special teams, especially on punt block. We work on that every day all day. That’s our favorite phase of the team, so you’re going to see a lot of blocked punts this year.”

On the limited offensive playbook: “We only did like six plays – that’s it – the whole game.”

On Muschamp being excitable on the sideline: “Well he scared me on the sideline. He was too fired up. [Laughing] I don’t know what he said, but he was yelling at the officials.”

QUARTERBACK JOHN BRANTLEY

On how comfortable he felt on the field: “We felt real comfortable. We had great preparation throughout camp this past week, and we were just happy to be able to go out and execute.”

On how confident he is after Saturday’s performance: “My confidence is pretty high right now. The team played well; the offensive line blocked amazing. The running backs ran very hard and those receivers got open. So right now confidence is high – not just with me but this team. The team played great and also that offensive line did amazing, too.”

On Rainey’s performance: “Chris is a huge factor for this team and he did a great job tonight – running back, slot receiver, everything. He’s all for doing that and he’s going to have a great season.”

On freshman QB Jeff Driskel’s first pass interception: “That’s always tough for your first pass for that to happen, but he’s a great quarterback and he knows to forget about it and move on. […] Once he got a first couple of plays underneath his belt, I saw his confidence growing, and he did a great job on that one drive [in the fourth quarter].”

On winning Muschamp’s opener: “It feels to introduce Coach Muschamp to the Gator Nation [with this win]. That was a good feeling.”

On Rainey saying they only ran a few plays the whole game: “It seemed like it. It seemed like we were calling the same plays. But Coach Weis, if it’s working, he’s going to keep calling them until they don’t work.”

On Rainey’s impressive spin move for a touchdown: “I didn’t see that when it actually happened and I looked on the replay a couple drives later. I was impressed. I’m happy to see he’s using what I taught him on the field.”

Tags: , , , , , ,

9/3: Gators vs. Owls post-game news & notes

With the No. 22/23 Florida Gators‘ 2011 season opener against the Florida Atlantic Owls now in the books, OGGOA takes a look at some of the notable occurrences before, during and after Saturday’s 41-3 victory at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.

ABSENCES AND INJURIES

Perhaps the most important moment of the evening came before the game started when Florida announced that sophomore defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd was ineligible and would not play. The Gators will not allow Floyd to rejoin the team until he is cleared by the NCAA, and the University of Florida would not immediately provide many specifics.

Redshirt junior cornerback Jeremy Brown (knee) and redshirt junior wide receiver Omarius Hines (hamstring) were questionable going into the game and wound up inactive. Redshirt sophomore linebacker Dee Finely (shoulder) ended up playing after it was originally thought he would miss the contest. Sophomore WR Robert Clark (hamstring) did not dress either.

Florida did not escape the Florida Atlantic contest unscathed. Sophomore running back Trey Burton appeared to injure his hip in the first quarter and did not return, likely for precautionary reasons. Redshirt senior WR Deonte Thompson, catching a ball low to the ground, suffered a helmet-to-helmet hit that popped his off and left him on the ground holding his head. Thompson rose and left the field under his own power but did not return.

THE DEMPS AND RAINEY SHOW

The Gators’ offense rolled on Saturday due in large part to dominant performances by running backs senior Jeff Demps and redshirt senior Chris Rainey. The duo combined for 272 yards of offense and five total touchdowns with Rainey grabbing three on a rush, reception and special teams return on a punt block by sophomore WR Solomon Patton.

The pair ran up the middle and off-tackle, caught passes in the flats and were simply all over the field making both explosive cuts (Demps) and awe-inspiring spin moves (Rainey). Demps even ran the opening kickoff back 88 yards for a touchdown until it was called back due to a holding penalty.

BRANTLEY’s STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION

Hoping to shake the rust off and rebound from a rough first season as a starter, redshirt senior quarterback John Brantley played quite well on Saturday, completing 21-of-30 passes for 229 yards and a touchdown. However, Brantley also threw two interceptions in the contest. His first was tipped and eventually brought down, but his second was picked off in the end zone as he tried to fit the ball into traffic for a touchdown.

Florida’s offense, though dynamic, did not go deep into the playbook on Saturday and many of Brantley’s completions were on short passes. That being said, he also made some impressive throws and definitely showed an increased level of confidence, something he can improve on each week.

SECONDARY YOUNG BUT DEFENSE STOUT

Not only did the Gators hold the Owls to three points, they barely let them move the ball until the game was already over. Florida held FAU to just 30 rushing yards and 137 yards of total offense on Saturday. Though UF did not achieve any turnovers in the contest, they succeeded in turning a first-and-goal from the four into a 27-yard field goal and did not let Florida Atlantic capitalize on either of the other two interceptions they grabbed.

The young secondary – consisting of safeties sophomore Matt Elam and freshman De’Ante Saunders as well as cornerbacks sophomore Jaylen Watkins, sophomore Cody Riggs and freshman Marcus Roberson – played well but did make some mistakes.

Redshirt senior DT Jaye Howard and sophomore buck linebacker Ronald Powell each had a sack, while redshirt sophomore LB Jelani Jenkins led the Gators with five total tackles including a powerful hit felt by the entire stadium. Elam, Howard and redshirt junior LB Lerentee McCray each had four tackles.

OTHER NOTES

» Muschamp said after the game that Florida’s blue jerseys would be their standard going forward but that seniors on the team wanted to wear the orange on opening night. A Gainesville, FL native himself, Muschamp often used to see the Gators don orange jerseys at The Swamp.

» Redshirt senior transfer Dan Wenger started at left guard ahead of redshirt sophomore Kyle Koehne and redshirt freshman Chaz Green began the game at right tackle instead of redshirt junior Matt Patchan.

» Florida honored soccer stars Abby Wambach and Heather Mitts of the 2011 U.S. Women’s National Team during a break in the first quarter. The crowd chanted “U-S-A” for the duo, which has been in Gainesville all weekend.

» Former safety Ahmad Black, who was waived by Tampa Bay on Saturday, was on the sideline for the game. Former defensive end Kevin Carter was an honorary captain.

» The Gators sold out 137 consecutive home games before Saturday’s contest, which was only filled with 88,708 fans, according to UF.

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

No. 22 Florida Gators vs. FAU Owls Gameday

Location: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium – Gainesville, FL [Capacity: 88,548]
Weather Forecast: 72°F, partly cloudy
Time: 7:00 p.m. (ET)

TV: ESPNU/ESPNUHD
SiriusXM: 205
Online Audio: GatorVision.tv
Live Updates: @OnlyGators

(22) FLORIDA GATORS FLORIDA ATLANTIC OWLS
Head Coach: Will Muschamp Head Coach: Howard Schnellenberger
Record: 0-0 Record: 0-0
Conference: Southeastern Conference: Sun Belt
Roster | Schedule Roster | Schedule

Odds: Florida -34.5; O/U 50

HOMEWORK

Need to catch up on the Gators after a long offseason? No problem. OGGOA has been here the entire time. Check out the links below and do your homework on the team’s offseason before the final exam Saturday evening.

Latest depth chart | Weis comments on offense | Quinn comments on defense

ESPN COLLEGE GAMEDAY

As first reported by OGGOA last Friday, former Florida dazzler now ESPN reporter Erin Andrews was in Gainesville, FL on Monday to interview Muschamp. The segment will air live on College GameDay (which starts at 10 a.m. ET on ESPN) and will be followed by a discussion between Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit and Lee Corso about Muschamp and what impact he will have on the team in 2011 and going forward.

A clip of Andrews’s interview with Muschamp is available below:

HISTORY and STREAKS

» Florida is 1-0 in the all-time series against Florida Atlantic, defeating them 59-20 in 2007, the only time the teams squared off.
» The Gators have never lost a game against a current member of the Sun Belt and are 13-0 against such opponents.
» Florida is 77-27 all-time to start the season and 62-6 in the friendly confines of Florida Field. The Gators have won 21 consecutive season openers, the second-longest streak in the country (Nebraska, 25) and best in the SEC by 10 games.
» Muschamp will take the field with Florida as the team’s head coach for the first time on Saturday. He has never served as a head coach on the collegiate level before and, at 40-years-old, is the second-youngest to hold said position in the SEC (Dan Mullen, 39).
» On the other side, Schnellenberger will be beginning his 27th year at the helm of a college football program – his last as he will retire at the conclusion of the 2011 season. He is 157-140-3 all-time and 57-63 at FAU since taking over the team 11 years ago.
» After defeating the Gators the first three times he faced them with Miami (1979-81), Schnellenberger has failed to notch another win. All four of his losses (1982, 1983, 1992, 2007) were games played in Gainesville, where he has not won in 31 years.
» The Gators’ have half as many upperclassmen (17 seniors, 17 juniors) as they do underclassmen (36 sophomores, 35 freshmen) on the roster heading into the season.
» Florida has won 88 percent of its home games (117-16) since 1990, the best home winning percentage in the nation. In that period, the Gators are 55-4 against non-conference opponents and 92-4 against unranked teams.

LAST TIME OUT

Florida and Florida Atlantic have only met on one other occasion – Nov. 17, 2007 – when the Gators stomped the Owls 59-20. Quarterback Tim Tebow went 25/34 for 338 yards with three touchdowns and an interception through the air and also rushed 11 times for 31 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Andre Caldwell did most of the receiving with 13 catches for 164 yards, but tight end Cornelius Ingram corralled a pair of touchdowns and 60 receiving yards. After UF scored 21 unanswered points in the first quarter, FAU answered back with 13 points to start the second quarter. However, the Gators outscored the Owls 38-7 the rest of the way to hold on for the victory.

INJURIES

» Active: Redshirt senior quarterback John Brantley (back)
» Questionable: Redshirt junior cornberback Jeremy Brown (knee), redshirt sophomore linebacker Dee Finley (shoulder), redshirt junior receiver Omarius Hines (hamstring)
» Inactive: Freshman tight end A.C. Leonard (torn meniscus)

PLAYERS TO KEEP AN EYE ON

FLORIDA
» Brantley…who completed only 60.8 percent of his passes (200-of-329) for 2,061 yards with nine touchdowns and 10 interceptions in 2010 butis said to have been revitalized by offensive coordinator Charlie Weis’s pro-style system.
» Running backs senior Jeff Demps and redshirt senior Chris Rainey…who are co-starters in the backfield and two of the most dynamic and explosive players in the SEC. Demps and Rainey, both of whom missed game time in 2010, combined for 917 rushing yards (6.4 yards per carry) and five touchdowns on the ground as well as 332 receiving yards and three scores through the air.
» Sophomore Trey Burton…who is the team’s most versatile player and proved that fact last year, scoring 12 touchdowns as a true freshman including 11 on the ground. Burton will line up all over the field for the Gators and could be found as a running back, fullback, H-back, tight end or wide receiver.
» Sophomore safety Matt Elam…who stood out all offseason as the most valuable member of Florida’s secondary. Elam played in all 13 games in 2010 and is looking to make a name for himself this year.
» Sophomore buck linebacker Ronald Powell…who steps into a brand new position somewhat unique to Muschamp’s defense. Powell only started one game as a true freshman but will be entrenched from the get-go in 2011 as a hybrid player.
» Sophomore defensive lineman Sharrif Floyd…who is a defensive tackle but moved to defensive end this year to help the team. Floyd also started one game as a true freshman but plenty of pressure on his massive shoulders as a full-time starter in 2011.
» Redshirt senior defensive tackle Jaye Howard…who is the man in the middle for the Gators and is the most experienced player (17 starts) on his side of the ball.
» Redshirt junior kicker Caleb Sturigs…who returns for Florida after missing the final eight games of the 2010 season with an injured back. His consistency on special teams should help the Gators be more confident overall.

FLORIDA ATLANTIC
» RB Alfred Morris…who was the team’s leading rusher in 2010 with 928 yards and seven TDs. A redshirt senior, Morris is being counted on as the Owls’ primary playmaker.
» QBs Graham Wilbert…who will make his first start for FAU. The signal caller battled for his job all spring and summer but is very inexperienced only having thrown five passes in his college career.

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

FAU psyched for showdown with Florida

College football returns exactly seven days from now for the Florida Gators. Adjusting to an entirely new coaching staff including different schemes on both offense and defense, Florida has been concentrating on getting the playbook down all summer and just began scheming for their first opponent, the Florida Atlantic Owls late last week.

Four hours south in Boca Raton, FL, Florida Atlantic has taken the opposite approach. The Owls are once again under the stewardship of head coach Howard Schnellenberger. Though he will retire at the end of the season, Schnellenberger has had Florida Atlantic preparing for their big-name opponent for months.

“I watched film all summer,” safety Demetrius Williamson told the Sun-Sentinel. “I don’t know everything they do, but I am getting an idea of what they do and how they are going to attack us.”

He added that the team learned head coach Urban Meyer’s Gators teams “would formation you to death,” but new head coach Will Muschamp has a different strategy. “I feel like they are going to get it to their playmakers and let them play ball,” he added.

Defensive tackle Jarvis Givens indicated to the paper that FAU is playing up the underdog aspect of the contest with the team feeling that it can compete head-to-head with Florida.

“It is just like the difference between a Cadillac Escalade and an Avalanche,” he said. “It is just a name. You pay an extra 20 to 30 grand for a name, but it is all built on the same platform of hard work.”

The Gators defeated the Owls 59-20 in 2007 and held them scoreless in the first, third and fourth quarters. Florida Atlantic was successful moving the ball, totaling 384 yards of offense, and held onto the it longer than Florida (31:40-28:20) in the contest.

The two teams will square off at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, FL on Sat., Sept. 3 at 7:00 p.m. The game will air live on ESPNU.

Tags: , , , ,

Gator Charity Challenge an immense success

Raising money for charity while allowing fans the opportunity to see the team compete over a month before the 2011 season is set to begin, the Florida Gators held the fourth-annual Gator Charity Challenge at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on Friday night.

With six teams going head-to-head in three events – sled push, tug-of-war and torpedo hold – only one could be victorious. That group was the Go Gettas, led by team captains sophomore running back Trey Burton, redshirt junior wide receiver Frankie Hammond, Jr., redshirt sophomore center Jonotthan Harrison, redshirt senior defensive tackle Jaye Howard and redshirt sophomore linebacker Jelani Jenkins.

The Go Gettas won the sled push, tied for second in the tug-of-war and came in second in the torpedo hold to win the event, which supported the Salvation Army of Alachua County.

Fans donated more than 650 pounds of canned food and tons of personal hygiene products that will be passed out to those in need.

The strength & conditioning event undoubtedly took a toll on the team, but everyone in attendance got a lift when a walk-on fullback won the individual push-up competition.

Junior Jesse Schmitt, who is listed at 5’7” and 175 lbs. on the official roster, walked on to the team last year and outlasted both redshirt senior RB Chris Rainey and redshirt junior cornerback Jeremy Brown in the finals of the push-up event.

“I did my training [for the Marines] last summer, so we did a lot of push-ups there,’’ Schmitt told University of Florida senior writer Scott Carter. “That certainly helps. I’ve got a lower body weight than most of those guys by at least 100 pounds, so that comes in handy. These guys are incredible. They are just athletic freaks. It’s great to work out with them. It makes it hard to keep up.”

Speical thanks to the Orlando Sentinel for the video above.

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

Recapping Florida’s 2011 Friday Night Lights

Mixing pomp and circumstance with football drills and relationship building, the Florida Gators use their annual Friday Night Lights camp at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium as both a recruiting tool and means of evaluating some of the best high school football players in the country. The Gators often pull in some recruits over the FNL weekend but also find diamonds in the rough as recruits get coached up while getting to know each other.

The Swamp will once again filled with some of the top young talent in the nation on July 22, so much so that covering every player that plans to step on the field is a near impossibility. Below is a recap of the 2011 event which includes much of what was learned Friday evening in Gainesville, FL.

» Florida did not receive any commitments at the event, though that is not necessarily a negative. The Gators’ 15-member recruiting class is believed to be slightly larger already with a few silent commits in the fold. Most importantly, Florida’s new coaching staff made a positive impression on those in attendance and may have set themselves up for some big names to give their respective pledges in the near future.

» Five-star wide receiver Stefon Diggs (Olney, MD) was the standout performer, hauling in catches, showcasing his athleticism and even performing a few Gator Chomps after scoring a touchdown. The No. 2 wide receiver in the 2012 class, No. 8 overall prospect and No. 1 player in his state, Diggs has 36 offers but has not narrowed his choices down yet. Former high school teammates with Gators redshirt junior linebacker Jelani Jenkins, Diggs stayed in Gainesville overnight and will get more personal time with coaches on Saturday. “It was a big stage out there tonight,” he told The Gainesville Sun. “I didn’t come down here for no reason. I had a feeling about Florida. I just knew it was going to be live, and that’s what I love.”

» Florida’s current commitments and players did what they could to help sway recruits to the Orange & Blue throughout the course of the evening. Most notable among them was sophomore buck linebacker Ronald Powell, who was in the ear of four-star defensive end Jordan Jenkins (Hamilton, GA) all night long. The two reportedly got along great and developed a solid relationship at the event.

» Gators defensive coaches spent a ton of time with four-star defensive tackle Carlos Watkins (Forest City, NC), sticking by his side until he left the field and eventually headed home. Close friends with recent three-star safety commit Rhaheim Ledbetter (Boiling Springs, NC) and top Florida target four-star DE Jonathan Bullard (Shelby, NC), Watkins has spoken with the duo about all playing college together. He is also seriously considering South Carolina and Clemson.

» Though he did make it down to Gainesville, five-star Florida State DE commit Dante Fowler, Jr. (St. Petersburg, FL) remains solid to UF’s rival. He has expressed interest in Florida lately even though his father has no desire to see him wearing the Orange & Blue. The Gators are nevertheless pursuing Fowler in hopes of turning him, but he reiterated on Friday that his commitment to FSU is solid as of right now.

» Former Florida players in attendance included running back Fred Taylor, quarterback Chris Leak and wide receivers Jemalle Cornelius and Jacquez Green. Taylor, who visited with his son, 2013 RB prospect Kelvin Taylor (Belle Glade, FL), served as a coach at the camp and was excited to finally bring his son to The Swamp. Cornelius and Green visited with players from the high schools they coach at and also had a good time. The younger Taylor showcased good hands and solid agility at the event, but it is unknown if the Gators have presented him with an offer yet.

» Five-star athlete Nelson Agholor (Tampa, FL) was planning to visit but ended up cancelling after he received a phone call from the hosts of the ESPN/Nike Gridiron Kings event in Orlando, FL, who asked him to fill in for a player who dropped out. Agholor, who has yet to narrow down his list which may or may not include Florida depending who you talk to, was just one of a few players who did not make it. Three-star cornerback Chris Bivins (Gainesville, FL) also took part in another event, and four-star cornerback Tracy Howard (Miramar, FL) stopped by for a few hours but left before FNL began. Four-star offensive tackle Avery Young (Palm Beach Gardens, FL) was planning on going but simply could not find a ride. He is believed to be a heavy UF lean.

» Having shortened his list to Florida, Southern California and South Carolina, four-star defensive end Tyriq McCord (Tampa, FL) still has a ways to go in his recruitment (he does not plan to make an official announcement until January). Nevertheless, his time in Gainesville was well spent as he was able to continue developing his relationship with the coaches, who hope to earn his commitment as soon as possible McCord is one of the Gators’ top targets going forward.

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

Previewing Florida’s 2011 Friday Night Lights

Updated at 5:40 p.m.

Mixing pomp and circumstance with football drills and relationship building, the Florida Gators use their annual Friday Night Lights camp at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium as both a recruiting tool and means of evaluating some of the best high school football players in the country. The Gators often pull in some recruits over the FNL weekend but also find diamonds in the rough as recruits get coached up while getting to know each other.

The Swamp will once again filled with some of the top young talent in the nation on July 22, so much so that covering every player that plans to step on the field is a near impossibility. Below are a list of the top 10 players that share mutual interest in attending Florida as well as list of the top five most talented prospects who will be camping in Gainesville, FL. Neither list is sorted in any particular order.

DE Jordan Jenkins (Hamilton, GA) –
The No. 5 player at his position in 2012, Jenkins recently attended Dawg Night but has not narrowed down his list into a top-five yet. He will visit Alabama after taking his trip to Florida and has already spent time with Auburn, Georgia Tech and Tennessee.

DE Tyriq McCord (Tampa, FL) –
Slotted two spots below Jenkins, McCord visited UF with his parents in late June and is now returning one month later. South Carolina and North Carolina are also working hard to eventually win him over and earn his services, but it is believed that his final two are Florida and USC with the Gators out in front.

TE Kent Taylor (Land O’Lakes, FL) –
The top-ranked tight end in the nation according to Rivals, Taylor has a myriad of offers on the table but appears to have narrowed his choices down to Florida and Penn State. His father seems to favor UF, but Taylor grew up as a PSU fan. Other schools in contention for his services include Florida State (where he nearly committed in the spring), Alabama, Auburn and LSU.

Check out the other nine players featured in this post…after the break!

Continue Reading » Previewing Florida’s 2011 Friday Night Lights

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

Florida is the choice for safety Marcus Maye

Long favoring the Florida Gators, four-star safety Marcus Maye (Melbourne, FL) made his decision final on Monday, announcing that he is the newest member of the team’s 2012 recruiting class.

Considered the No. 7 safety in the country by Rivals, Maye pushed aside overtures from Florida State to accept Florida’s scholarship offer. The No. 13-ranked safety according to ESPNU, he is the second player at his position to commit to the Gators in the last four days. Three-star Rhaheim Ledbetter (Boiling Springs, NC) gave his pledge to Florida on Friday.

A big fan of head coach Will Muschamp and defensive backs coach Travaris Robinson, Maye believes that being a member of the new regime’s first full recruiting class with the Gators will give him the best chance to succeed in the long run.

“Coach Muschamp is a defensive guy and Coach Robinson is an energetic coach which I like,” he said. “He’ll make me the best player I can be so I’m excited about Gainesville.”

He visited the University of Florida on Monday and was accompanied by his mother, other members of his family and his high school coach.

Florida now boasts a 15-player 2012 class and have commitments from a total of four defensive backs. The Gators hope to add to their bounty at the conclusion of the Friday Night Lights showcase at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on July 22.

Photo Credits: Nike, Holy Trinity Episcopal

Tags: , , , , , ,

 Page 13 of 22  « First  ... « 11  12  13  14  15 » ...  Last »