Former Florida Gators cornerback Joe Haden‘s two brothers – Jordan and Josh – have decided to play football next year for the Toledo Rockets rather than in Gainesville, FL as initially planned.
Safety Jordan Haden was a member of Florida’s heralded 2010 recruiting class but decided to transfer in August after finding that the Gators were not a good fit for him.
Running back Josh Haden, who transferred out of Boston College last year, was expected to become the next member of his family to wear the orange and blue with a plan to join the team in January.
Toledo head coach Tim Beckman was the defensive coordinator and assistant head coach at Bowing Green under former Gators head coach Urban Meyer from 2001-02. The school is also just over 100 miles away from where Cleveland Browns CB Joe Haden plays professionally.
During his weekly Monday afternoon press conference, Florida Gators head coach Urban Meyer announced that freshman safety Jonathan Dowling is no longer a member of the football program due to a violation of team rules.
Rated as a five-star athlete coming out of high school by ESPNU, Dowling was also listed as the best at his position and the No. 10 recruit in the country last year. Rivals and Scout each considered him a four-star prospect and one of the top safeties in the nation.
Dowling is the third player from Florida’s highly touted freshman class to leave the program. Safety Jordan Haden and wide receiver Adrian Coxson transferred in Aug.
Unlike other dismissals, Meyer noted that Dowling is “done” with the team and will not be returning to the program. He refused to comment further.
OGGOA will update this story as more information is made available.
Florida Gators quarterback Trey Burton has had a great freshman season so far in Gainesville, FL. It appears as if Burton’s success and happiness at the University of Florida has been noticed by at least one very important recruit – his brother.
Three-star defensive end/linebacker Clay Burton (Venice, FL) decommitted from the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on Monday in order to pledge his services to Florida, according to Scout.com.
“I’m a Gator,” Clay Burton told Scout‘s Jason Higdon. “It’s just an opportunity that I can’t pass up. I wasn’t ready a year ago, or even six months ago, but like my brother said, I’m ready now and I earned it. [...] Trey said we did it, and everything was right for me. This has to be the most selfless decision I’ll ever make.”
He originally committed to Notre Dame on June 18 and visited South Bend, IN, in late September with his mother and uncle – both of whom had approved of his choice. However, a phone call with Gators head coach Urban Meyer over the weekend quickly changed his mind.
“Meyer told me I earned [the opportunity],” Clay said. “He expects intensity and passion and that’s what I’m all about. I’ve grown as a leader and it speaks volume to the person that I am. That’s why I’m in the situation I’m in right now. I have belief in God and I trust in him and I prayed about the decision. I feel this decision is so right, and my brother is proof that if you put in the hard work you will be rewarded at Florida.”
Mother Burton is just as happy as her son.
“They offered and that was it. You want to have all of your options available to you before you make a decision, but we weren’t sure Florida was going to offer,” Cindy Burton MacFarlane told the Orlando Sentinel‘s Chris Hays. “Clay had to earn it and the only way he could do that was become a leader without Trey. At the University of Florida, those guys are hard to impress. That’s a top-notch football program and they only want the best of the best and Clay really had to earn it.”
Florida has very much become a family environment over the years with numerous siblings and relatives having donned the Orange & Blue. In addition to the duo of offensive linemen Maurkice and Mike Pouncey playing to the Gators, redshirt junior quarterback John Brantley‘s father and uncle both played in Gainesville and two of cornerback Joe Haden‘s brothers believed that UF was for them (safety Jordan Haden transferred to Maryland after enrolling this summer and running back Josh Haden joins the team via transfer from Boston College in Jan.).
In the last five days, the Florida Gators lost two four-star freshmen – safety Jordan Haden and wide receiver Adrian Coxson – to transfer. In the last 24 hours, head coach Urban Meyer had to watch as two more freshmen underwent surgeries that will keep them out of action for the near future.
Early Friday, a University of Florida spokesman announced that four-star offensive tackle Chaz Green will miss two-to-four weeks after having hernia surgery. Later in the evening, the Miami Herald‘s Joseph Goodman reported that three-star linebacker Gideon Ajagbe would be out of action for 6-10 weeks after getting a partially torn rotator cuff repaired last Sunday.
Goodman spoke with Ajagbe’s Miami Ransom Everglades High School strength and conditioning coach, Mosi Blake, who said that the player is “feeling fine now that he’s out of the hospital and back with his friends in the dorms.”
Following in the footsteps of freshman safety Jordan Haden, who was granted a full release with no transfer exceptions by head coach Urban Meyer on on Aug. 16, wide receiver Adrian Coxson has also decided to leave the Florida Gators.
Citing home sickness as his chief reason, Coxson’s transfer has been agreed to by the University of Florida; he will be released from his scholarship effective immediately.
Early Thursday, freshman safety Matt Elam wrote the following innocuous message on his Twitter account: “I hate to see young men my age run away from something because it’s hard. Just destroying our class.”
A highly-rated four-star recruit from Maryland (like Haden) Coxson’s name had not been heard much in fall practice. The Gators signed four other WRs in their 2010 recruiting class including Chris Dunkley, Quinton Dunbar, Solomon Patton and Robert Clark and already have two-to-four committed for 2011 (depending on position choice).
UPDATE: Coxson will be transferring to Maryland, according to numerous media outlets.
The 2010 version of the Florida Gators is in the midst of their second week of fall practice and, while the activities were once again closed to both the media and public, some notable things did occur Tuesday. OGGOA has compiled some of the key details.
INJURIES PILING UP
Redshirt junior fullback Steven Wilks will miss about a month after having surgery on his back last week. He is expected to make a full recovery. Sophomore left tackle Xavier Nixon (ankle) is sitting out while his main competition, redshirt sophomore Matt Patchan (wrist), is back working out. Like Nixon, redshirt senior defensive tackle Lawrence Marsh (hamstring) is currently recovering and listed as day-to-day. Redshirt junior wide receiver Chris Rainey (accelerated heartbeat) is at full speed, and though junior running back Jeff Demps has missed a few practices with a concussion, he is back, too.
MORE STRIPES COME OFF
Freshmen offensive tackle Ian Silberman and tight end Gerald Christian both had their black helmet stripes removed on Tuesday. That now makes 10 frosh who are stripe-less with 16 more to go.
POWELL TAKING A WHILE
With freshmen DTs Sharrif Floyd and Dominique Easley and safety Matt Elam impressing early, defensive end Ronald Powell is bringing up the rear in terms of development for arguably the team’s top four 2010 recruits. “Powell’s a little bit behind [Floyd and Easley], but he’s coming on,” head coach Urban Meyer said. “He gained a little weight, because he wants to be bigger. We’re trying to knock a few pounds off him.”
Meyer on sophomore S Will Hill’s improvement: “Night and day. There were a lot of issues. We’ve got 105 guys and he was a guy that drank the poison, or whatever you want to call it. Now he’s going as hard as we’ve ever had a safety go around here, and he’s doing really well. He and [co-defensive coordinator/safeties coach] Chuck Heater have a good little deal going on back there. His position coach is real strong. Everyone knows Heater. He handles things a certain way and expects great effort and great performance on- and off-the-field. We’re starting to see that now with him.”
Meyer on defensive coordinator/cornerbacks coach Teryl Austin’s effect on junior CB Janoris Jenkins: “The same thing you see from our safeties. We have a big saying around here: ‘power of the unity.’ That’s a unit that’s really going well and [Jenkins] is the leader. Night and day. You’re going to see a really good player this season. He’s no nonsense. He’s just 100 percent all the time. It’s a credit to his position coach. Change is good. The transition is good. Janoris is the man there and he knows it.”
Meyer on S Jordan Haden transferring: “Jordan’s a great young man. […] When you have that name on the back of your jersey, that’s darn near Tebow-ish. That’s Pouncey-ish. When you start talking about the name, there’s an expectation level that is sometimes not fair. […] I was worried about that when we first started recruiting him because those are tough shoes to fill right there. But he’ll be fine, and we’ll help him do all we can.”
Meyer on the WRs as a whole: “Deonte [Thompson] is there, Carl Moore’s there. I’m hoping Omarius Hines gets there real soon. Quinton Dunbar is darn close – that kid’s good. Andre Debose is struggling – just dead legs right now, but he’s coming back.”
Meyer clarifying Hines’ role on the team: “He’s not a tight end, he’s a movement guy. [...] We’re kind of created a position in the last few years, the ‘Percy [Harvin] position’ and the ‘Aaron Hernandez position,’ and if you have that, you can be dynamic. I think he’s got that kind of ability. He’s doing well.”
Though rumors of displeasure with his role on the team existed throughout the week, Florida Gators freshman safety Jordan Haden was believed to simply be going through the growing pains of college football. Instead, according to the Miami Herald’s Joseph Goodman, Haden has decided to transfer from the University of Florida.
“Haden will be transferring,” his father Joe Haden, Sr.told the paper, without providing many more details other than the fact that head coach Urban Meyer and the staff are “working on” getting the scholarship release request completed.
UPDATE: The Gators have granted Haden an unconditional release without any restrictions on where he can attend.
“No hard feelings. Florida is a great program and we love them. It just wasn’t the best fit for Jordan,” Haden, Sr. added.
It is unknown how this will affect the status of Jordan’s brother, former Boston College running back Josh Haden, who was expected to transfer to the Gators in January.
In a move that has been expected for qutie some time, former Boston College Eagles running back Josh Haden, the brother of both current Florida Gators freshman safety Jordan Haden and Cleveland Browns rookie cornerback Joe Haden, plans to transfer to the University of Florida in January.
The Orlando Sentinel caught up with Jordan at Florida Media Day on Tuesday, who confirmed that his older brother would be heading to Gainesville, FL, in the new year. This corroborates what Joe said a few months ago in an interview with NFL.com.
“I have a little brother. He’s a running back at Boston College. He’s transferring now to, probably, Florida,” he said at the time.
Prior reports had Josh picking between Florida, Louisville (head coach Charlie Strong) and a number of other undisclosed schools. He will have to sit out one full season (2010) due to NCAA transfer regulations.
OGGOA will have a number of other updates coming out of Florida Media Day shortly.