DE Pagan solidifies commitment to Gators

Though the Florida Gators received two commitments before Friday Night Lights even began, the fallout from the event has not been as immediate as many fans might have expected. Perhaps the biggest news coming out of the camp is the solidification of the commitment of four-star defensive end Jeoffrey Pagan (Asheville, NC), who was previously wavering with his decision to wear the Orange and Blue in 2011.

Pagan first committed to the Gators in April but, as soon as May, softened his commitment strength to around 75 percent. Just three weeks ago, he told the Asheville Citizen-Times that he was “about 50 percent on Florida,” saying he would probably not announce officially until his high school season began on Aug. 27.

Some even believed that Florida’s acquisition of five-star defensive end/linebacker Chris Martin via transfer from California would irk Pagan due to the added competition, even though Martin is expected to compete mostly at linebacker.

Instead, according to two recruiting services, Pagan solidified his commitment on Friday after his mom got a chance to visit, tour and approve of the University of Florida.

He is currently one of the highest-rated Gators coming in for 2011, only second behind five-star quarterback Jeff Driskel (Oviedo, FL). Pagan is ranked No. 19 overall by ESPNU and No. 25 by Rivals.

OGGOA RELATED: CB recruit Louchiez Purifoy picks Florida, too
OGGOA RELATED: Four-star lineman Trip Thurman picks Florida

Photo Credit: Asheville Citizen-Times

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Five-star DE/LB Chris Martin transferring to UF

Five-star defensive end/linebacker Chris Martin, one of the top recruits in the nation last year, will transfer to the Florida Gators after originally committing to the California Golden Bears, according to Rivals.

Martin, who was heavily pursued by Florida throughout the recruiting process, decided to attend California in order to be close to his hometown of Oakland, CA. As OGGOA reported early Wednesday, Martin felt he was too distracted by playing close to home and wanted to concentrate on both football and his studies in Gainesville, FL.

“When you’re distracted like that your heart isn’t fully focused on where it needs to be and it wasn’t out there,” Martin told The Gainesville Sun. “I felt it was somewhere else, and I think I found the place. [...] I came to this decision because I felt that’s where my heart was and I decided to follow it. It ended up being a decision that my family supported me through. I probably have one of the craziest stories on how I ended up at Florida. It’s been a wild, wild road.”

Considered the top recruit coming out of Colorado (he recorded 11 sacks and five forced fumbles for Grandview High School in Aurora, CO), Martin will have to redshirt his first season because he had already enrolled in Berkley, CA.

“I’m not upset about [redshirting],” he said per the Sun. “I’m actually looking forward to it because it will allow me to get into the weight room and get me in the playbook. It will give me a chance to get in and settle down, because when I get there there’s going to be a lot of stuff thrown at me. Next year is when I’ll do all my damage, but this year it’s going to be an adjustment.”

Rivals ranked him the No. 18 overall recruit in 2010 and fifth best DE/LB; ESPNU had him pegged as the No. 111 player available and a top 10 DE.

Martin could play either strongside defensive end or outside linebacker and is looking forward to joining the nation’s top recruiting class.

“I have been blessed to have a second chance with Florida,” Martin told ESPN. “That was where I was going until coach [Charlie] Strong left for Louisville. Then I made up my mind I was going to Florida again. Then it came out about coach [Urban] Meyer and his heart problems. I freaked out and couldn’t do it. It just didn’t feel right at the time for me with the Gators. [...] My heart was in Gainesville.”

Photo Credit: ESPN

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FOUR BITS: Lee injured, Tebow’s playing time, Beal respected, Martin transferring

1 » Tuesday, OGGOA alerted you to a great story about new Golden State Warriors forward/center David Lee and how the former Florida Gators product was a great teammate and face of the organization for the New York Knicks. Unfortunately, Lee ended up having a tough day; he injured his right middle finger during his first practice with USA Basketball in Las Vegas, NV, while trying out for the men’s national team. “I looked down and my finger was completely turned to the side,” Lee told ESPN. “It’s possibly a tendon or a dislocation of some sort. It’s something I’ve got to go have looked at either way. Hopefully it’s something I can splint up and play with. That’s up to the doctors to decide.” He met with Dr. Bill Green in San Francisco, CA, Tuesday evening, and the prognosis appears to be a dislocation, which could be serious enough to keep him out for a while. Nevertheless, Lee will be returning to Las Vegas late on Wednesday to rejoin his teammates – even if he cannot play.

2 » Denver Broncos beat writer Dave Krieger of The Denver Post expects to see plenty of former Gators quarterback Tim Tebow in the team’s wild horse offense this season. “My guess is more than you think,” Krieger writes. “In fact, my guess is the Broncos will lead the league in what other teams call wildcat plays, unless Tebow’s place in the formation determines what you call it, in which case the counting could get complicated. […] I would be surprised if [head coach Josh McDaniels] drafted Tebow in the first round to be a clipboard holder for even one year. […] Even if he is not ready to be a starting NFL quarterback, Tebow is likely to be a better passer than most running backs and a better runner than most quarterbacks.”

3 » Surveying “30 of the top recruits across the country,” Jeff Goodman of FOX Sports wanted to see who high school basketball stars agreed was the best of the best for 2011. Florida five-star commitment Brad Beal (St. Louis, MO) made it on two of the top lists – best player and best shooter. Beal received six votes for best player (only one behind the winners) and 11 votes for best shooter (eight more than the next three players).

4 » Five-star 2010 defensive end/linebacker Chris Martin (Aurora, CO), who was heavily considering the Gators during his recruitment, has decided to transfer from the California Golden Bears. Martin, who recorded 11 sacks and forced five fumbles last year for his high school team, feels he is too distracted in Berkeley, CA, and wants to concentrate both on football and his studies elsewhere. Florida and Oklahoma have emerged as the two favorites to bring in Martin but little of consequence has been reported on the matter thus far.

Extra BIT » Via his Twitter account Tuesday morning, Gators redshirt junior forward Adam Allen explained that he hopes to return to playing basketball at some point. “Great rehab [session] this morning,” Allen tweeted. “Don’t count me out, there’s still hope for a comeback [people].” OGGOA wishes him the best in his recovery.

Photo Credit: Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images

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TWO BITS: Gators in for Moses, Patton speaks

1 » Four-star offensive tackle Morgan Moses (Fork Union, VA) has narrowed his college choices down to the Florida Gators and Virginia Cavaliers, according to JC Shurburtt of ESPN. A prep school standout, Moses has been committed to Virginia for some time but decided to open up his recruitment after head coach Al Groh was fired. He visited Gainesville, FL, this past weekend and came away impressed with what the experience. Moses will announce his decision within the next week and could be a monster get for the Gators.

2 » Solomon Patton, a three-star wide receiver commit from Mobile, AL, speaks with The Birmingham News about his commitment to Florida and his plan to enroll early for the spring semester in January.

Extra Bit » Former five-star Notre Dame Fighting Irish defensive end commit Chris Martin has given his pledge to the California Golden Bears. Though Martin’s choice was thought to be between the Gators and the Oklahoma Sooners, his decision to commit to Cal came after a recent visit and some encouragement by his parents.

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