Four-star OL David Sharpe commits to Florida

The Florida Gators got a big boost for their offensive line, which will be rebuilt in 2014 following the departures of two seniors, by gaining a long-awaited verbal commitment on Thursday from four-star offensive tackle David Sharpe (Jacksonville, FL).

Sharpe (6-foot-8, 295-pounds) has been a Florida lean for quite some time and was finally able to make his college decision known in his third attempt at an announcement.

His two previous tries were thwarted by his high school for undisclosed regulatory reasons, so Sharpe on Thursday decided to announce his commitment live both on the radio and in person at a local Jacksonville restaurant.

Listed as the 23rd highest rated offensive tackle and 215th overall player by Rivals, the highly-regarded Sharpe ultimately chose UF over Tennessee but also took visits to Clemson, Florida State and Georgia.

ESPN ranks Sharpe much higher than Rivals, also listing him as a four-star prospect but placing him as the No. 18 overall player – and No. 2 offensive tackle – in the nation.

Sharpe commits to the Gators even though the team is currently without an offensive line coach after Will Muschamp fired Tim Davis after the season. Defensive line coach Brad Lawing also played a big role in the player’s recruitment.

“I talked to Coach Muschamp about it and he just told me it was the time and they are great guys but they have to get the offense on board and they just had to be let go,” Sharpe told InsidetheGators.com on Dec. 1.

The fourth offensive lineman to commit to Florida this cycle, Sharpe joins four-star Nolan Kelleher (Mount Pleasant, SC), three-star Dontae Angus (Philadelphia, PA) and three-star fellow local area product Travaris Dorsey (Jacksonville, FL) as the 17th member of the Gators’ 2014 recruiting class.

Check out Florida’s entire 2014 recruiting class in full by clicking here.

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SIX BITS: Tebow, Cooper, Jenkins, Angus

1 » The exploits of some of his former Florida Gators have kept New England Patriots quarterback Tim Tebow off the front page, but the spotlight is back on Tebow now that training camp has begun and some practices are open to the media. Sports Illustrated’s Peter King was at Patriots practice recently, saw Tebow play first hand and offered this opinion on his weekly MMQB column.

Take this for what it’s worth: Tim Tebow made three beautiful downfield throws that I saw, completions thrown 25 yards or more hitting receivers in stride. Tebow was also the personal protector on punts (kudos to you, Mike Westhoff, for getting him started on that last summer) and ran down on punts with energy. I bet the Patriots keep three quarterbacks, knowing they’re able to use Tebow as a utility player. Not necessarily a guy they’d have active every week, but a guy they could use in certain matchup situations against some teams.

2 » Former New England signal caller Doug Flutie spoke out about Tebow, telling ESPNBoston.com that he believes Tebow is in a good situation but hopes he gets an opportunity to contribute. “If he’s just going to be the No. 3 quarterback and run the scout team, you want a guy who is going to be giving his heart and soul in every practice and running scout team to the fullest, hoping he can get better and doing everything he can,” Flutie said. “I think legitimately, Bill [Belichick] brought him in to be a quarterback, a No. 3 guy, that if they get down to their No. 3 they can be competitive with Tebow on the field, running a specified style of offense that is going to cater to his skills. A lot of teams can’t say that if they are down to their No. 3. I see that as a developmental thing for Tebow.”

3 » Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Riley Cooper returned to practice on Tuesday after missing a couple of days while undergoing team-sponsored counseling following the release of a video that shows him uttering one of the ugliest words in the English language. Also in King’s MMQB column, he takes a look at Eagles head coach Chip Keilly and why, following the reinstatement and rejuvenation of Oregon running back LaGarrette Blount, he is more apt to give Cooper a second chance than some others in the league. “Chip could have kicked Blount to the curb. He chose to believe in him. And it worked out,” former NFL head coach Tony Dungy told King. “With Riley Cooper, this kid made a mistake. Everyone makes mistakes. The big issue, too, is the alcohol. That has to be dealt with. But Chip will make the right decision. He doesn’t care what the popular opinion. He cares about what’s right.”

Read three more BITS of Florida Gators news…after the break!
Continue Reading » SIX BITS: Tebow, Cooper, Jenkins, Angus

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WR Phillips becomes Gators’ first 2015 commit

Though the Florida Gators have already made a great start on their 2016 recruiting class with a pair of talented prospects in the fold, head coach Will Muschamp had not yet secured a 2015 player when his program’s annual recruiting showcase, Friday Night Lights, began on Friday at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, FL.

That was no longer the case by the time the night was over as wide receiver Da’Vante Phillips (Miami, FL) decided make a verbal commitment to the Gators.

Phillips (6-foot-1, 189-pounds) had long been considering committing to Florida and received plenty of help along the way from a current pledge. His Miami Central High School teammate, 2014 four-star running back Dalvin Cook (Miami, FL), has been in his ear constantly trying to convince Phillips to join him in college.

“[Cook] has always told me that he wants me to be a Gator, but he knew it was my decision,” Phillips told InsidetheGators.com‘s Blake Alderman ($). “He never pressured me. He would talk to me about Florida everyday. I am with him most of the time and he always talked about them.”

Cook, ranked 24th in the nation by Rivals, is the Gators’ highest ranked commitment.

Phillips, who chose Florida over offers from Alabama, Florida State, Miami and Tennessee (among others), will likely be rated as a four-star prospect when Rivals‘ first 2015 rankings are officially released. ESPN already has him ranked as a four-star prospect and the No. 11 overall player in the class of 2015 (No. 1 pass catcher).

It is the third-straight recruiting cycle that the Gators’ first commitment has been from a wide receiver. Four-star Ryeshene Bronson (Fort Myers, FL) joined Florida’s 2014 recruiting class on June 14, 2012, but parted ways with UF on May 21. On June 20, the Gators locked up Tyler Byrd (Naples, FL) as the first member of their 2016 class.

Phillips is Florida’s fourth pledge in the last three days.

2014 three-star offensive/defensive tackle Dontae Angus (Philadelphia, PA) committed Wednesday night, 2014 defensive end Justus Reed (Clearwater, FL) made his intentions known on Thursday, and cornerback Tre Jackson became the second member of UF’s 2016 class earlier on Friday.

Check out the Gators’ updated 2014-16 recruiting classes by clicking here.

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2016 CB Tre Jackson, a Florida legacy, commits

Though the weekend of Friday Night Lights is always a big one for prospects in the current recruiting cycle, the Florida Gators are certainly not opposed to looking ahead to the future as the program decided to accept a commitment on Friday from 2016 cornerback Tre Jackson (Baton Rouge, LA).

The son of former Gators wide receiver Jack Jackson, who registered 143 catches for 2,266 yards with 29 touchdowns (including an NCAA-high 15 in 1994) during his three-year career at Florida, Tre Jackson becomes the latest legacy to decide that he will follow in his father’s footsteps and choose UF as his collegiate home.

His father, the 1994 SEC Offensive Player of the Year, was also a consensus first-team All-American and first-team All-SEC selection that season. He decided to forgo his senior season of eligibility and was selected in the fourth round of the 1994 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears. Jack Jackson would only play in the NFL for two seasons before concluding his career in the AFL.

Tre Jackson said in June that UF was the very first school to offer him a scholarship. He committed to head coach Will Muschamp and tight ends coach Derek Lewis, a native of New Orleans, LA, who has done a terrific job reeling in top talent from his home state.

Though the Gators do not yet have a 2015 pledge, Jackson becomes Florida’s second 2016 commitment, joining wide receiver/cornerback Tyler Byrd (Naples, FL), who announced his decision on June 20.

Jackson (5-foot-9, 165-pounds) also plays wide receiver for University Lab High School.

He is UF’s third commitment in as many days following pledges from three-star 2014 lineman Dontae Angus (New Orleans, LA) on Wednesday and three-star defensive end Justus Reed (Clearwater, FL) on Thursday.

Check out the Gators’ updated 2014 and 2016 recruiting classes by clicking here.

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Three-star OT/DT Dontae Angus picks the Gators

Two days before the Florida Gators host the team’s annual summer recruiting spectacular Friday Night Lights, head coach Will Muschamp received the program’s 11th commitment for 2014 in three-star prospect Dontae Angus (Philadelphia, PA).

Offered personally by Muschamp in April, Angus (6-foot-6, 330-pounds) currently plays on both sides of the ball for Martin Luther King High School and could wind up at either offensive or defensive tackle for the Gators.

He has drawn comparisons to another Philadelphia talent that attended Florida, former five-star defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd, who was selected by Minnesota with the No. 23 overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft. Angus considers Floyd a mentor.

Angus chose UF over offers from Purdue, Rutgers and West Virginia. According to Rivals.com, he was also receiving interest from Alabama and Miami.

“They were both so amped up,” Angus told InsidetheGators.com‘s Blake Alderman, who first reported his commitment, about the reactions of Muschamp and offensive line coach Tim Davis. “They were probably more excited than I was to be honest. Coach Muschamp said him and Coach Davis wouldn’t be able to sleep tonight.”

Angus initially wanted to visit Gainesville, FL, this summer and was planning to attend Friday Night Lights but will instead try to make it to campus later this year.

Check out the Gators’ updated 2014 recruiting class by clicking here.

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