Florida loses pledge from LB Quinton Powell

Just one day after four-star linebacker Matt Rolin (Ashburn, VA) committed to play for the Florida Gators in 2013, fellow four-star LB Quinton Powell (Daytona Beach, FL) chose to rescind his pledge and officially reopen his recruitment.

“Yes I Decommited from Florida,” Powell wrote Monday on Facebook, “nothing against the program just needed to re-evaluate my choices.”

One of the earliest members of Florida’s 2013 class, Powell was one of six players to commit to the program on Feb. 18 at Junior Day in Gainesville, FL.

At the time, he picked the Gators over Clemson, Florida State, Miami, Ohio State and South Carolina. He is now considering USC, Miami and Oregon, according to FOX Sports NEXT reporter Amy Campbell, who first confirmed his decision.

Considered the 207th best player in the country by Rivals and ranked 80th nationally by ESPN, Powell had just visited Florida last weekend and reportedly came away from his visit quite pleased with his experience.

Whether Rolin’s commitment has anything to do with Powell’s decision remains to be seen. Either way, the Gators’ impressive linebacker class – which featured a four-pack of four-star players – has certainly taken a hit for the time being.

Three of the six players that committed to Florida on Feb. 18 – Powell, four-star wide receiver Rodney Adams (St. Petersburg, FL) and three-star LB Dillan Lawson (Crestview, FL) – have since withdrawn their pledges.

The Gators added three commitments on Sunday but now have 24 total pledges including 23 that count as members of the 2013 recruiting class.

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Adams, Outlaw are fourth, fifth Gators decommits

The Florida Gators lost a pair of 2013 pledges this week, learning that four-star wide receiver Rodney Adams (St. Petersburg, FL) and three-star offensive lineman Joshua Outlaw (Lithonia, GA) decided to decommit from the program.

Adams, who was shaken at the departure of wide receivers coach Aubrey Hill in early August and claimed that he was going to open up his recruitment, had previously been put on notice by the Florida coaching staff as it was growing increasingly unlikely that he would be able to qualify academically.

He also learned early this week that doctors found what they believe to be a hole in his heart. Adams, who decommitted on Wednesday, is not expected to be able to play football for the foreseeable future but is holding out hope that he will not have to stay off of the gridiron longer than the duration of his senior year of high school.

Outlaw, on the other hand, had not reportedly been wavering previously but told ESPN‘s Kipp Adams on Sunday that he has decided to no longer be committed to Florida.

The Gators have now had four players decommit for various reasons in the last nine days. Three-star defensive back Tre Bell (Jersey City, NJ) committed in early April but switched his pledge to Vanderbilt on Aug. 11, and three-star OL Roderick Johnson (Delray Beach, FL) pulled the trigger on Aug. 13.

Florida at one time had four offensive line commitments but is now down to just a pair – three-star Cameron Dillard (Canton, MI) and Octavius Jackson (Moultrie, GA).

ESPN notes that three of UF’s five decommitments – three-star linebacker Dillan Lawson (Crestview, FL), Bell and Adams – were spurned by the Gators, though the offensive line pledges who changed their minds did so completely on their own. Florida now has just 18 players committed for 2013 after having as many as 22 at one point.

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OL Johnson also moves on from Florida

It was just two weeks ago when the Florida Gators football program nabbed five commitments in as many days (as well as a sixth three days later). After reaching 22 verbal pledges in early August, the team has lost a pair of three-star prospects over the past two days as offensive lineman Roderick Johnson (Delray Beach, FL) joined cornerback Tre Bell (Jersey City, NJ) in decommitting from the Gators.

Johnson, who hinted at his potential decommitment after wide receivers coach Aubrey Hill resigned, told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel on Monday that he was going to pull the trigger only to backtrack and claim that he had not decided to decommit from Florida.

Now Johnson has followed through with the split that was reportedly a long time coming.

According to InsidetheGators.com ($), he was one of two players – the other being four-star wide receiver Rodney Adams (St. Petersburg, FL) – who had previously been put “on notice” by the coaching staff because of their academic standings.

Both players made headlines following Hill’s resignation when they voiced their displeasure with his departure and as a result decided to open up the recruiting process.

Though Adams, as of press time, remains committed to the UF but could sever the relationship at any time, Bell switched his pledge to Vanderbilt on Saturday and Johnson may wind up with West Virginia, which has come on strong for both him and Adams.

The Gators also lost a commitment from three-star linebacker Dillan Lawson (Crestview, FL) on July 19 likely due to similar circumstances.

Florida’s 2013 recruiting class remains strong with 20 members including many of the highest-rated offensive and defensive players from within the state. The Gators are expected to have space for five more players and will have six months to fill those slots.

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2013 CB Tre Bell winds up with Vanderbilt

Whether he switched his pledge to the Vanderbilt Commodores or the Florida Gators first decided to move on remains a point of contention. Either way three-star defensive back Tre Bell (Jersey City, NJ), who committed to Florida in early April, has instead committed to Vanderbilt as first reported by 247Sports.com early Saturday morning.

According to The Gainesville Sun:

A source close to the situation told The Sun that UF’s coaches wanted to see Bell in action this summer so they could critique his play, something several of Florida’s commits were required to do. But Bell never attended any of Florida’s camps in June and didn’t work out when he came down for Friday Nights Lights on July 27. […] With many more highly rated corner prospects still left on the board, the Gators decided to part ways with the 5-foot-11, 170-pounder during his unofficial visit to UF on Aug. 2.

One of three prospects to commit to the Gators on April 7 while on his first-ever visit to the University of Florida for the 2012 Orange & Blue Debut, Bell was the 13th player to join the 2013 class at the time of his commitment.

His departure leaves Florida with 21 current 2013 commitments though the team will undoubtedly attempt to fill his spot with another defensive back.

Bell was the lowest-rated of the Gators’ four 2013 defensive back pledges, well behind five-star Vernon Hargreaves (Tampa, FL) and four-stars Nick Washington (Jacksonville, FL) and Keanu Neal (Bushnell, FL).

He is the second player in the last two months who was committed to Florida but wound up decommitting or getting dropped by the team for one reason or another.

Three-star linebacker Dillan Lawson (Crestview, FL), one of six players to commit to the Gators at the team’s Junior Day on Feb. 18, reportedly had academic issues and decided to look for greener pastures after a conversation with the coaches.

Two other Florida’s commitments – four-star wide receiver Rodney Adams (St. Petersburg, FL) and three-star offensive lineman Roderick Johnson (Delray Beach, FL) – recently told InsidetheGators.com that the level of their commitment to the Gators is murky after the resignation of wide receivers coach Aubrey Hill.

Both players, who remain committed but have opened up their recruitments, had both reportedly been told by Florida that their academic standings must improve.

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LB Lawson no longer committed to Gators

Three-star linebacker Dillan Lawson (Crestview, FL) and the Florida Gators parted ways on Wednesday evening in a move that was initially seen as a decommitment but is actually a mutual decision between the parties.

Lawson, who was one of six players to commit to Florida at the team’s Junior Day on Feb. 18, was relatively unknown in recruiting circles at the time of his pledge. At 6’4” and 215 lbs., he also claimed offers from Florida State, Louisville and North Carolina and began being noticed more following his commitment.

According to InsidetheGators.com ($), Lawson transferred from Crestview High School “to an alternative school in order to improve his academic standing” just two months after making his pledge for the Gators. He was forced to miss spring practice due to his grades but “though his academic situation is clearing up – for the better – it is still an issue with UF.”

Lawson told ESPN ($), which first reported the change in his commitment status, that Florida did not withdraw his scholarship though he hinted to the situation being murky, which is why he has opened his recruitment.

“I’d love to go to Florida, don’t get me wrong. I’d still love to go to Florida,” Lawson said.

His Crestview High School coach, Kevin Pettis, told The Gainesville Sun that the decision was mutual but that the Gators would offer Lawson again once his academics improved.

“He’s back at Crestview now and doing all the things academically that he’s supposed to be doing. But we’re still trying to make up core classes to boast his GPA and ACT,” Pettis told the paper. “This didn’t happen because he’s not interested in Florida. Coach [Will] Muschamp and the staff did a great job with him. I just think Dillan realized he needed to look at some other places, and I told him if you’re going to do that you have to decommit so that Florida can go out there and recruit another player.

“There is no way that I’m going to let a kid be committed to somewhere and then go look somewhere else. I just don’t believe in that.”

Lawson is waiting to hear back from Florida linebackers coach D.J. Durkin before deciding whether or not to attend Friday Night Lights in late July, according to ITG. He is unranked by Rivals but a four-star prospect and 285th overall player per ESPN.

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Eleven Gators placed in first ESPN 300 for 2013

Released Wednesday afternoon, the first edition of the ESPN 300 for the class of 2013 is filled with players verbally committed to play for the Florida Gators next season. Though seven Florida commits are part of the top 150 players in the group, four more are listed among the top 300 recruits in the nation.

Below is a breakdown of where the Gators’ commits are ranked:

21 1 – RB Kelvin Taylor (Belle Glade, FL)
31 13 – DT Caleb Brantley (Crescent City, FL)
41 3 – LB Daniel McMillian (Jacksonville, FL)
48 4 – WR Ahmad Fulwood (Jacksonville, FL)
65 1 – DB Keanu Neal (Bushnell, FL)
83 26 – LB Quinton Powell (Daytona Beach, FL)
131 73 – DB Nick Washington (Jacksonville, FL)
166 * – RB Adam Lane (Winter Haven, FL)
204 * – WR Marqui Hawkins (Columbus, GA)
269 * – LB James Hearns (Tallahassee, FL)
279 * – LB Dillan Lawson (Crestview, FL)

* Added to list.

Florida’s 2013 commitments:
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Florida Gators add commitments from LB Lawson, S Neal to cap a remarkable Junior Day haul

One of the most eventful recruiting days in recent memory for the Florida Gators came to a close Saturday evening with two more commitments as linebacker Dillan Lawson (Crestview, FL) and four-star safety Keanu Neal (Bushnell, FL) announced their intentions to play in Gainesville, FL in the fall.

Both commitments, which came in the early evening after Florida had already received four other pledges during the day, brought the Gators’ total to six on their second Junior Day of the 2013 recruiting cycle.

Four-star running back Kelvin Taylor (Belle Glade, FL) was the first to announce his decision at 9 a.m. He was joined later in the day by four-star wide receiver Rodney Adams (St. Petersburg, FL), four-star linebacker Quinton Powell (Daytona Beach, FL) and four-star safety Nick Washington (Jacksonville, FL).

Lawson, a relative unknown in recruiting circles, is 6’4” and 215 lbs. and also claims offers from Florida State, Louisville and North Carolina. Though he can also put his hand down as a defensive end, it is likely that head coach Will Muschamp and defensive coordinator Dan Quinn will try him out at the Buck linebacker position.

Neal, on the other hand, is a highly rated strong safety with enough size at 6’0” and 204 lbs. to move to linebacker. A member of the ESPNU 150 watch list, he chose to commit to Florida despite also having offers from Georgia Tech, South Carolina and South Florida and originally saying he did not plan to make a decision until after his senior season.

Continue Reading » Florida Gators add commitments from LB Lawson, S Neal to cap a remarkable Junior Day haul

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