Florida freshman DT Jafar Mann set to transfer

During his weekly Monday press conference, Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp announced that freshman defensive tackle Jafar Mann has decided to leave the program and transfer elsewhere.

“Jafar Mann and I met [Sunday] night, and he’s decided to transfer,” Muschamp said. “He and I agreed it was time for him to move on.”

Mann, a three-star recruit and member of Florida’s 2012 signing class who was expected to take a redshirt, had not yet played this season and even spent some time working on the offensive line in an effort to contribute immediately.

He was one of two players from Stephenson High School to commit to the Gators last year though neither will wind up being on the team in 2013. Four-star running back Mike Davis initially committed to Florida but eventually decommitted and wound up signing with Southeastern Conference rival South Carolina.

It is currently unknown where Mann will transfer or when he will make that decision. His departure leaves the Gators with 13 scholarship defensive linemen though as many as five could depart this season due to graduation or a decision pursue an NFL career.

Mann will be the 15th player to transfer off the Florida football team since Muschamp was hired to take over the program in Dec. 2010 and third player to do so since July.

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8/29: Quinn on opener, Hunter, Mann, offense

Florida Gators defensive coordinator Dan Quinn met with the media on Wednesday to discuss the team’s upcoming season opener against the Bowling Green Falcons on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. He discussed what he wants to see from his unit on Sept. 1 and how he feels about some individual players on the team.

SHOW IT ON THE FIELD

Though he is impressed with how his unit has practiced this fall, Quinn said he is anxious to see them on the field Saturday and then soon after the game on tape so he can evaluate how well the concepts that have been taught are being executed.

“By the way you get to the ball, by the way you affect the quarterback, by the way you take the ball away – those are the things we’re looking for from our defense and what we put on tape,” he said.

Quinn and head coach Will Muschamp will be implementing a more attacking style this year, one that they hope will lead to additional turnovers and chances for the offense.

That plan starts Saturday against Bowling Green quarterback Matt Schilz, who completed nearly 60 percent of his passes for 3,024 yards and 28 touchdowns a year ago while only tossing 13 interceptions.

“I’m very impressed with their quarterback, not just from his accuracy but the way he can create. He gets outside the pocket and can convert. He’s got good legs. He can run on third down to convert,” Quinn said. “It’s always good knowing the opponent you’re playing against. We’ve had time to watch him on tape and know this guy is a strong caliber quarterback. And we’re certainly up for the challenge.”

NOTES AND QUOTES

» On redshirt senior defensive tackle Omar Hunter: “One of the things that Omar brings right off the bat is the guy’s a real worker. He’s relentless. He stays after it. The thing that improved as much in the offseason was his overall strength. You see more leg strength from him. You see a stronger man when he sheds blocks. To me, the work ethic for Omar has always been there. He’s a hard worker every day in and out. Now you’re kind of seeing a more strong and powerful man inside. That’s showing up in practice the way he can take on blocks and get off blocks.”

» On how he would prepare to face two quarterbacks: “It really depends on the club and who those two quarterbacks are. If they’re close in terms of the game plan you really wouldn’t have much change.”

» On who decided to move freshman Jafar Mann over to guard: “It was both [sides]. We all looked at it. When we evaluated him, we knew he was a guy that could play nose tackle but also could play offensive guard. He played both in high school. When we started him off at defensive tackle we did that for a couple of weeks and then we wanted to put him on offensive line for a few weeks and kind of get the evaluation there. […] After this week or next we’ll make a final determination.”

» Quinn said junior Trey Burton would be a “terrific safety,” but his top pick of a player to move over to defense if he had the option would be redshirt junior right guard Jon Halapio, who he said “would be a heck of a nose tackle.”

» On if redshirt freshman Valdez Showers could possibly wind up on offense: “I kind of fought for him to stay at safety. Last year on some of the scouted practices he also played running back and did a good job there. […] He’s really settled in at safety, and we are counting on him to do that. He’s going to be a guy who is going to be a really big factor with Coach [D.J.] Durkin on [special] teams as well. He’s done a good job of that so far in training camp.”

» Quinn said that the defense wearing down late in games last year was not the fault of the offense (its inefficiency keeping the defense on the field for long period of time) but rather not having the necessary depth to put together a rotation that would keep players fresh throughout the game.

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TWO BITS: Texas A&M schedule, Mann moved

1 » The Texas A&M Aggies, with their week two game against the Florida Gators set to be their first-ever league contest as a member of the Southeastern Conference, will now open their entire 2012 campaign against Florida after their season opener set for Aug. 30 was postponed due to the threat of Hurricane Issac. The storm, which is currently heading through Louisiana, forced Louisiana Tech (Texas A&M’s week one opponent) to call off the game and reschedule it for Oct. 13, which luckily was a bye week for both programs. The adjustment gives the Aggies at least four additional days to prepare for the Gators, which will host Bowling Green on Sept. 1 before travelling the following week to College Station, TX for the showdown on Sept. 8.

2 » According to The Gainesville Sun, Florida freshman Jafar Mann has been moved from defensive tackle to offensive guard effective immediately. Mann, a three-star prospect who was likely set to redshirt anyway this season (but now almost certainly will), is being moved from a position of depth to one of relative weakness. The move may or may not have been pushed forward by the Gators coaching staff after the team lost a commitment from 2013 three-star Joshua Outlaw earlier this month. Florida only has two offensive linemen committed for next season and may not have more than one more player on their board for the next six months.

UPDATE: Defensive coordinator Dan Quinn explained Wednesday that moving Mann was done to work him out at both positions and see where he performs better. He could wind up back at defensive tackle when all is said and done.

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New Gators footballers pick uniform numbers

Athletes care about their uniform numbers and now that Florida Gators football team is days away from returning to the practice field in preparation for the 2012 season, it was time for the team’s newest members to choose theirs. Below is the full list of additions and changes, according to the University of Florida‘s latest roster:

TRANSFERS
» No. 4 – Damien Jacobs (Scooba, MS), JUCO transfer defensive tackle
» No. 76 – Max Garcia (Norcross, GA), redshirt* junior transfer offensive lineman

FRESHMEN
» No. 6 – Dante Fowler, Jr. (St. Petersburg, FL), five-star Buck linebacker
» No. 12 – Antonio Morrison (Bolingbrook, IL), four-star linebacker
» No. 13 – Latroy Pittman (Citra, FL), four-star wide receiver
» No. 16 – Austin Hardin (Atlanta, GA), three-star kicker
» No. 17 – Skyler Mornhinweg (Philadelphia, PA), three-star quarterback
» No. 18 – Kent Taylor (Land O’Lakes, FL), four-star tight end
» No. 20 – Marcus Maye (Melbourne, FL), four-star safety
» No. 24 – Brian Poole (Bradenton, FL), four-star defensive back
» No. 24 – Matt Jones (Seffner, FL), four-star running back
» No. 27 – Willie Bailey (Hallandale, FL), three-star defensive back
» No. 28 – Jeremi Powell (Largo, FL), four-star linebacker
» No. 29 – Rhaheim Ledbetter (Shelby, NC), three-star safety
» No. 70 – D.J. Humphries (Charlotte, NC), five-star offensive tackle
» No. 74 – Jessamen Dunker (Boynton Beach, FL), four-star offensive lineman
» No. 84 – Colin Thompson (Warminster, PA), four-star tight end
» No. 86 – Raphael Andrades (Tallahassee, FL), three-star wide receiver
» No. 90 – Jonathan Bullard (Shelby, NC), five-star defensive end
» No. 94 – Bryan Cox, Jr. (Fort Lauderdale, FL), three-star defensive lineman
» No. 95 – Alex McCalister (Clemmons, NC), three-star linebacker
» No. 96 – Jafar Mann (Stone Mountain, GA), three-star defensive lineman
» No. 98 – Quinteze Williams (Tyrone, GA), three-star defensive lineman

NUMBER CHANGES
» No. 1 – Jon Bostic, senior linebacker (formerly No. 52)
» No. 1 – Quinton Dunbar, redshirt sophomore wide receiver (formerly No. 84)
» No. 6 – Jeff Driskel, sophomore quarterback (formerly No. 16)
» No. 9 – Josh Evans, senior safety (formerly No. 24)
» No. 10 – Valdez Showers, redshirt freshman defensive back (formerly No. 20)
» No. 12 – Jacoby Brissett, sophomore quarterback (formerly No. 17)
» No. 20 – Omarius Hines, redshirt senior tight end (formerly No. 82)
» No. 32 – Chris Johnson, sophomore running back (formerly No. 33)
» No. 88 – Clay Burton, sophomore tight end (formerly No. 86)

» Sophomore Tevin Westbrook remains listed as No. 97 on the latest roster despite moving from defensive end to tight end.

* Garcia is ineligible for the 2012-13 season due to NCAA transfer rules; he can practice with Florida and will be allowed to play beginning in 2013-14.

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Will Muschamp on Florida’s 2012 recruiting class

Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp held a press conference after his coaching staff received 23 National Letters of Intent on National Signing Day.

Opening statement:

“I’m real pleased with how recruiting went. Any time you get to this day, it’s a combination of a lot of hard work and effort by our staff. I think our staff did an outstanding job. You got to improve your program where you know you need to improve your program. Of the 23 players that joined our program today, 14 are line of scrimmage players – mid-skill and big-skill guys. We saw very easily in our season this year we struggled on both lines of scrimmage consistently being able to run the ball and stop the run. I certainly feel like we’ve addressed our most pressing need on both lines of scrimmage. We’ll develop playmakers and depth on both lines of scrimmage.

“I’m really excited about the guys we’ve got in that group and also eight skill guys, which includes a quarterback. We’d like to sign a quarterback every year. I think that’s important. A kicker, Austin Hardin, a guy that came in and did an outstanding job for us. We’re real pleased about him.

“We’ll know about this class in two or three years. I’ll tell you the same thing I did last year: Football is a developmental game, and you got to develop he players. I’m really excited about Jeff Dillman and Jesse Ackerman and our strength staff, our coaching staff – the job that they do in getting our players in here and doing a nice job with them. We’ll know a lot more about this class in two or three years. At the end of the day, this is a developmental game. We’ll be able to address that. It’s not about winning in February. It’s about winning in the fall and developing your football team and addressing your needs, and I think we’ve done that.”

» On Florida recruiting so well in the state of North Carolina:D.J. Durkin, first of all, is our area recruiter for that area. He does a really nice job of recruiting, period. It was a full team effort. […] We honed in on the guys we want and the guys we feel like can come and make a difference in our program, and we go after those guys.”

» On three/four-star defensive end Alex McCalister: “Alex McCalister is a guy that came to our camp, he broad jumped over 10 feet, close to a 40” vertical leap. A guy that is 6’6” and 220 lbs., his best football is ahead of him. That’s a very, very explosive athlete and a guy that hasn’t played a whole lot of football.”

» On flipping five-star DE Dante Fowler: “You recruit through this process and sometimes when you get there on signing day, you’re leaving it up to the young man and his family to make a decision. I think Dante had a good fit here at Florida as far as his position was concerned, his opportunity was concerned. We’re excited to add another good pass rusher to our program.”

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Florida Gators 2012 National Signing Day bios

Courtesy of the University of Florida‘s University Athletic Association:

EARLY ENROLLEES

Willie Bailey • Safety
6-1 • 167
Hallandale, FL • Hallandale H.S.

Enrolled at UF in January of 2012… PRIOR TO FLORIDA: Three-star recruit…Attended Hallandale High School…Rated the No. 24 cornerback in the country by ESPN…Selected as the No. 77 high school player in the state of Florida by Rivals.com…Selected to the AP Class 5A All-State Second Team as a defensive back…Talented defensive back with good size…Led Hallandale to a 6-4 record as a senior…Chose Florida over Miami, North Carolina and USF…Coached by Dameon Jones.

Jessamen Dunker • Offensive Line
6-4 • 320
Boynton Beach, FL • Boynton Beach Community H.S.

Enrolled at UF in January 2012… PRIOR TO FLORIDA: Consensus four-star recruit…Selected as the No. 46 recruit in the ESPN 150…Ranked the No. 4 offensive guard in the country by ESPN…Listed as the No. 20 recruit in the state of Florida by Rivals.com…Named a PARADE High School All-American and 2011 Under Armour All-American…Named to the Press-Register’s 120 List…Selected to play in the 2011 FACA All-State Game…Selected to the AP Class 5A All-State First Team…Transferred to Boynton Beach High School as a junior after moving to Florida from Georgia…Did not play football until his junior year of high school…Began playing football as a high school junior…Chose Florida over Auburn, LSU, Alabama, Georgia, Vanderbilt, Tennessee, South Carolina, Baylor, Florida State and Notre Dame…Coached by Rick Swain.

D.J. Humphries • Offensive Line
6-6 • 271
Charlotte, NC • Mallard Creek H.S.

Enrolled at UF in January 2012… PRIOR TO FLORIDA: A consensus five-star and top-20 recruit…Rated as the No. 2 prospect by Rivals.com, the No. 7 prospect by ESPN and the No. 11 prospect by Scout.com…The No. 1 recruit out of the state of North Carolina according to Rivals.com…Named a first-team high school All-American by USA Today, ESPN, Rivals.com, MaxPreps and Sports Illustrated…Has started since his freshman season and hasn’t allowed a sack since his freshman season…Led Mallard Creek to a 13-1 record and berth in the NCHSAA Class 4AA State Semifinals…Mallard Creek finished No. 47 in the nation in the final POWERADE FAB 50 rankings…An AP All-State first team selection…Selected to participate in the 2012 U.S. Army All-America Bowl…Coached by Michael Palmieri…Father, D.J., played football at Presbyterian College and in the Arena Football League.

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JUCO DT Damien Jacobs picks the Gators, too

For the second time in four days the Florida Gators have received a commitment from a four-star JUCO defensive tackle, earning a pledge from Damien Jacobs (Scooba, MS) out of East Mississippi Community College on Wednesday.

“I just joined the Florida Gator Family!” he announced on Facebook.

A soft verbal commitment to Tennessee before changing his mind on junior college national signing day, Jacobs had recently taken visits to Florida, Mississippi State and Texas A&M. He is considered the No. 10 JUCO player in the nation by Rivals.com and was previously a Florida State commitment as a three-star player in 2010.

Jacobs is graduating this semester and will join the Gators in January.

Florida also gained a pledge Sunday from Visesio Salt (Walnut, CA), a 6’3” 340-pound nose tackle who may also see some time on the Gators’ offensive line depending how he performs in practice once he arrives in Gainesville, FL.

Rivals.com ranks Salt as the No. 9 JUCO player in the country, and Florida expects him to join the team in May after he graduates from Mount San Antonio College.

Jacobs is the 18th player to commit to the Gators for 2012 and the fifth defensive lineman. He joins Salt, four-star Dante Phillips (Venice, FL) and three-stars Quinteze Williams (Tyrone, GA) and Jafar Mann (Stone Mountain, GA).

Florida announced Jacobs’s commitment Wednesday afternoon:

Jacobs, a defensive tackle from East Mississippi Community College, was a part of the team that won the 2011 NJCAA Football Championship Game over Arizona Western College. Listed at 6’4” and 310 pounds, he totaled 47 tackles, 8 tackles-for-loss, 4 QB hurries, 2 sacks and 2 fumble recoveries this season for the Lions.

The following video contains a song with explicit lyrics.

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JUCO DT Visesio Salt commits to the Gators

Looking to add depth along the defensive line, the Florida Gators gained a verbal commitment Sunday from four-star JUCO defensive tackle Visesio Salt (Walnut, CA).

Nicknamed “Junior,” Salt confirmed his commitment to ESPN.com, which notes that he will be utilized as a nose tackle in part due to his 6’3” 340-pound frame. He can also play offensive guard and could be moved to that side of the ball depending how he performs in practice once he arrives in Gainesville, FL.

He is listed as the No. 9 JUCO player in the country, according to Rivals.com, and is expected to join Florida in May after graduating from Mount San Antonio College.

Salt is the 17th player to commit to the Gators for 2012 and the fourth defensive lineman. He joins four-star DT Dante Phillips (Venice, FL), three-star defensive end Quinteze Williams (Tyrone, GA) and three-star DT Jafar Mann (Stone Mountain, GA).

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