Florida Gators recruits and targets to watch up to and on 2013 National Signing Day

Updated Tuesday, Feb. 5 at 5 p.m.

Twenty-six members strong, the Florida Gators’ 2013 recruiting class is hoping to expand by a few names over the next week when the vast majority of uncommitted high school football players across the country announce their decisions leading up to and on National Signing Day on Wednesday, Feb. 6.

Be sure to visit OGGOA’s live coverage of National Signing Day beginning Wednesday morning at 7 a.m. It will feature a live chat and will be constantly updated throughout the day with every signed National Letter of Intent (NLI) and new commitment.

Below OGGOA breaks down who the Gators are still waiting to hear from, when they may learn of their decision and some of the latest insights on each player.

Special thanks to InsidetheGators.com recruiting analyst Blake Alderman for his assistance on some of the finer details below.

Defensive tackle Jay-nard Bostwick (Port St. Lucie, FL)
Accolades: Rivals – No. 25 DT | ESPN – No. 286 overall (No. 27 DT)
Leaders: Florida, Miami
Contenders: Alabama
Skinny: Supposedly undecided between his final three schools (listed above), Bostwick spent his final weekend before signing day on campus in Gainesville, FL for an official visit. His decision is expected to come down to Florida or Miami and many recruiting analysts believe the Gators will get the nod when all is said and done.
Announcement: National Signing Day – 8 a.m.

Wide receiver James Clark (New Smyrna Beach, FL)
Accolades: Rivals – No. 45 WR | ESPN – No. 49 WR
Leaders: Florida, Clemson, Ohio State
Contenders: Nebraska, Northwestern
Skinny: Clark has a tough decision to make with all three of his leaders making a major push for his services over the last few weeks. Though the Gators landed four-star WR Demarcus Robinson (Fort Valley, GA) in early January, UF has stayed on top of Clark and let him know that they could very much use a sixth wide receiver in the recruiting class. He has never taken an official visit to Florida but has been on campus previously and took an official visit to the school on Saturday.
Announcement: National Signing Day – 9 a.m.

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6 BITS: NFL, O’Dome, Swanson, Towns, Wambach

1 » Injured but still active last week, New York Jets quarterback Tim Tebow did not step foot on the field as head coach Rex Ryan said he wanted to protect the backup’s fractured ribs. Tebow actually suffered the injury now almost three weeks ago but will not see action for the second-straight game as word leaked Friday that Ryan plays to list him as inactive for the game, as reported by ESPN’s Ed Werder on Twitter. It will be the first time in his NFL career that Tebow is not active for the game; to that end, the fractured ribs are the most serious injury he’s suffered as a professional.

2 » Tebow is not expected to be the only former Florida Gators pro athlete out of action. Joining him is Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Percy Harvin (ankle), who missed practice on Friday and is listed as doubtful on the team’s injury report. It has been stressed by the team that Harvin does not have the dreaded high-ankle sprain, but he does have a very serious sprain nonetheless and will now be missing his third-straight game. Harvin was on a Pro Bowl pace before getting hurt against Seattle on Nov. 4. Also sidelined right now is Houston Rockets forward Chandler Parsons, who underwent an MRI on Thursday that revealed a shoulder strain. He is day-to-day and could return on Saturday but may be held out another game or two.

3 » Gators fans know that the Stephen C. O’Connell Center is in need of a major overhaul. According to The Gainesville Sun’s Nathan Crabbe, UF trustees are currently in talks about giving the O’Dome a $50 million makeover with the school fronting one-fifth ($10 million) of the bill. “The arena’s renovation is expected to include all new seating, club space, a new entrance, and more concessions and shops,” reports Crabbe. “Ideas for the renovation include replacing retractable bleachers on the floor with permanent seating and adding club seating and boxes. The building’s infrastructure would be upgraded and audio-visual systems added.” The school just completed a $900,000 renovation on the structure in the summer of 2011 that included brand new seats in the lower bowl, wider aisles, handrails and more. UF also recently remodeled the gymnastics studio on site at the O’Dome. Read more | Pictures

4 » Could Florida football be on the receiving end of another top commitment in the very near future? According to The Times-Picqyune, that may very well be the case as far as three-star fullback Kennard Swanson (Lakeland, FL) is concerned. Swanson decommitted from LSU on Thursday and is now reportedly favoring his home team. “He recently received an offer from the Florida Gators, which he is widely expected to accept,” writes the paper’s James Smith. Swanson, Rivals.com’s highest-rated 2013 fullback, would serve as a reserve and heir apparent to sophomore Hunter Joyer should he commit to the Gators.

5 » Florida basketball has been in the mix for a number of top names and has focused much of its attention on five-star center Karl Towns, Jr., a 2015 prospect who plans to try to reclassify and be a member of the 2014 class next year. Currently ranked as the No. 1 player in the nation by ESPN for 2015, Towns stands 6’11” and weighs in at 235 lbs. even though he is just a sophomore in high school. Though college is a ways off for him, Towns plans to announce his commitment on Tuesday at his high school. He has been recruited hard by Kentucky and head coach John Calipari, who coached him last summer on the Dominican Republic National Team. In fact, Towns visited UK just last weekend and appears to be leaning there though he also lists UF and Duke as other schools in his top three.

6 » Former Gators striker Abby Wambach was named Thursday as one of three female finalists for FIFA World Player of the Year. Wambach joins fellow U.S. Women’s National Team forward Alex Morgan and striker Marta of Brazil as finalists. Marta is a five-time winer, while Wambach has never finished better than third in voting (last year). A player from the United States has not won the award since 2002; Mia Hamm captured the title both that year and the first year the award was handed out in 2011. Wambach has 23 goals in 27 international matches and is the unquestioned leader of the American team. In addition to keeping her eye on the award, Wambach is helping start up yet another women’s pro soccer league in the United States. She has already been a part of two leagues that closed but believes one can succeed long-term.

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