FOUR BITS: Purifoy, Young, closing, quarterbacks

1 » At the conclusion of his National Signing Day press conference on Wednesday, Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp told the Orlando Sentinel that sophomore cornerback Loucheiz Purifoy will move to wide receiver during spring practice. Purifoy, who played sparingly at receiver during the 2012 season, is an athletic and versatile performer who was also Florida’s standout player on special teams last year. Whether or not his move to wide receiver is permanent remains to be seen, but Purifoy told the paper’s Edgar Thompson in early January that he enjoyed the time he was spending on offense during practice and games. “I feel like I’m in high school again,” he said. “I love it.” Muschamp and the Gators coaching staff have moved a number of players back-and-forth between offense and defense over the last two offseasons in order to improve position flexibility throughout the roster.

He also noted on Wednesday that UF has tried mightily to bridge the hole in its wide receiving corps and did that in part by signing five pass catchers. “When you say fill needs, you talk in terms of depth and talent. Those are the two things you’ve got to be able to address. I think we’ve taken a step forward in both situations. We’ve improved our depth, and I think we’ve improved our talent level. We’ve got some guys that can come in and compete,” Muschamp said. It will be interesting to see whether or not Purifoy sticks on offense or goes back to defense by the time summer practice begins.

2 » As National Signing Day wrapped up, news broke of Florida having an outstanding offer in the hands of in-state a three-star offensive lineman who was originally planning to continue his career as a basketball player at Division II Eckerd College. That player is Trevon Young (Bradenton, FL), someone who the Gators see as a potential playmaker at tight end given his size size (6’6″, 260 lbs.) and soft hands. Brown is currently debating between sticking with his first love (basketball) in a situation that is unlikely to result in him being a professional athlete down the line or playing his second-favorite sport at the highest level possible in college.

Curt Bradley, Young’s football coach at Branden River High School, told InsidetheGators.com on Wednesday that the player is legitimately conflicted with his decision. “It isn’t a matter of the school, it’s the sport he chooses,” Bradley said, further implying that he would easily choose UF over an offer from South Florida if Young decides to play football. A decision may be coming as soon as Thursday.

Read two more BITS from National Signing Day…after the break!
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Videos: ESPN with Muschamp, Pease, Durkin

P Johnny Townsend: commit No. 30 | OL/TE Trevon Young: commit No. 29 | JUCO DT Jarran Reed: commit No. 28 | DT Jay-nard Bostwick: commit No. 27 | Muschamp discusses class; assistants evaluate signees | 30 new player bios | “Closing”, QB situation

ESPN reporter Cara Capuano was in Gainesville, FL on Wednesday for National Signing Day, spending her day embedded with the Florida Gators as the team brought in the network’s No. 2-ranked recruiting class (No. 3 on Rivals). Below are four video interviews Capuano filmed during her day of work.

Head coach Will Muschamp

Check out the other three interviews…after the break!
Continue Reading » Videos: ESPN with Muschamp, Pease, Durkin

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Will Muschamp discusses Florida Gators’ 2013 recruiting class; coaches evaluate new signees

P Johnny Townsend: commit No. 30 | OL/TE Trevon Young: commit No. 29 | JUCO DT Jarran Reed: commit No. 28 | DT Jay-nard Bostwick: commit No. 27 | 30 new player bios | Video interviews with coaches | “Closing”, quarterback situation

Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp held a press conference after his coaching staff completed its 28-member 2013 recruiting class on National Signing Day. Below are the most notable quotes from that session as well as player evaluations made by other members of the coaching staff.

Opening statement:

“I’m really proud of our staff. Today is a culmination of a lot of hard work, effort, sometimes two-and-a-half, three years put together on a young man and you come down to signing day and you sit at the fax machine and hope that thing comes through. I hope it’s signed right and it’s dated and all that kind of good stuff. Recruiting is all about building relationships. We’ll know about this class in two or three years. It’s a developmental game. …

“We had a deep signing class this year, which means you’ve got to a have a larger board as far as the numbers are concerned at each position, which also to me was very appealing. At some positions we signed five wide receivers [for example]. Those are five guys that want to come in here and compete. Sometimes when you get some numbers you start getting guys looking at that depth chart and numbers and they’re not real sure about coming in and competing for the Gators. We want guys that got a lot of confidence that they can come in the SEC and play in The Swamp and play for the University of Florida.

“This class is very balanced. It’s a high-character class with toughness, all the position criteria we look for as far as size and speed and then all of the off-the-field things we’re looking for. It’s a very committed class. A lot of these guys are guys that have been committed to us for a long time and never took other visits; there was not a lot of flash in their recruiting process. That’s the kind of guys you want; you want guys that are like that. …

“The coaching process is really about four things – evaluation, recruiting, developing and coaching. I think in our two years, you’ve seen on the recruiting trail – from an evaluation standpoint and a recruiting standpoint – that we’ve got a staff that can do it at a high level. I’m very proud of the staff and the job that they’ve [done] and all of our support staff on campus. … There’s a true commitment level at this place for excellence, and I appreciate their support.”

» On commitments being the best recruiters: “They understand the importance of having good players around them. This coaching stuff is way overrated. It’s about players at the end of the day, and they want to play with other good players.”

» On if he looks at player star ratings from recruiting services: “Absolutely no consideration at all. We commit most of our guys before they ever come out, so maybe they look at our ratings.”

Read much more from Muschamp and the Florida coaching staff…after the break!
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Florida adds DT Jay-nard Bostwick on signing day

P Johnny Townsend: commit No. 30 | OL/TE Trevon Young: commit No. 29 | JUCO DT Jarran Reed: commit No. 28 | Muschamp discusses class; assistants evaluate signees | 30 new player bios | Video interviews with coaches | “Closing”, quarterback situation

Just over an hour into National Signing Day, the Florida Gators’ 2013 recruiting class expanded by one name as four-star defensive tackle Jay-nard Bostwick (Port St. Lucie, FL) decided to continue his career in Gainesville, FL.

Announcing at a ceremony at his high school, Bostwick chose Florida over Alabama and Miami and signed his National Letter of Intent on the spot in front of a crowd.

Ranked as the No. 25 defensive tackle by Rivals and the No. 286 overall player in the country (No. 27 defensive tackle) by ESPN, Bostwick spent the final weekend of the recruiting process on campus for an official visit with the Gators.

His pledge is a big one for Florida, which adds another talented player at a position of need. The Gators lost a pair of defensive tackles – junior Sharrif Floyd and redshirt senior Omar Hunter – at the conclusion of the 2012 season.

“A tremendous player. I think Jay-nard is an exceptional player. He is really talented. He’s got a great, great family who is supportive of him and wants him to do well,” said defensive backs coach Travaris Robinson, according to the school’s website. “He will be a three-technique guy. … He’s strong. He’s 295 right now and 6’3″. He’s got initial quickness. He’s got explosion. He’s got finish. He’s got the different things that it takes to be successful inside. He just needs to come in and get ready to bang.”

Bostwick is the 27th overall commitment for Florida this cycle and the fourth defensive tackle to make a pledge for the Gators.

Check out OGGOA’s live coverage of National Signing Day – click here!

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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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Stefon Diggs spurns Florida, commits to Maryland

Many believed the Florida Gators failed to close the 2012 recruiting cycle strong by not securing an uncommitted prospect on National Signing Day, but the potential to add a five-star player a position of need remained a strong possibility heading into Friday evening. Unfortunately for Florida, wide receiver Stefon Diggs (Olney, MD) announced that he would not be travelling down to Gainesville, FL to play college football and would instead stay in his home state and play for the Maryland Terrapins next fall.

Having narrowed his choices down to Maryland, Auburn, Florida and Ohio State, Diggs decided to hold off on making his destination known on National Signing Day (Feb. 1) in order to see more campuses and allow himself additional time to consider his options.

He took an official visit to OSU two weeks ago and checked out his hometown school last weekend before sitting down with his friends and family to make a final decision.

The Gators were happy to wait for his answer, knowing that landing a player of Diggs’s caliber at a position of need was of paramount importance, especially seeing as the team had already lost five-star WR Nelson Agholor (Tampa, FL) to USC.

The No. 8 player in the nation and second-best at his position according to Rivals.com, Diggs possesses a great combination of size and speed and would have been the third wide receiver in UF’s 2012 recruiting class.

Florida already has four-star Latroy Pittman (Citra, FL) and three-star Raphael Andrades (Tallahassee, FL) committed for 2012, though the former may be moved to the secondary and the latter is a candidate to redshirt his freshman season.

The Gators, in dire need of a game-breaking pass catcher, chose to focus their efforts on Diggs and Agholor rather than continuing to also press wide receivers like four-stars JUCO transfer Courtney Gardner (Roseville, CA) and Avery Johnson (Pompano Beach, FL) for a commitment. Either could have been a nice addition to Florida’s class, but they are instead headed to Oklahoma and LSU, respectively.

Diggs jumped onto the scene for the Gators during the 2011 Friday Night Lights camp in Gainesville. He impressed Florida’s coaches his fellow participants with his great play, and he immediately became a target for offensive coordinator Charlie Weis.

When Weis left the team after the regular season, UF lost ground with Diggs, but new coordinator Brent Pease picked up the slack and promised the recruit that the Gators would continue to run a pro-style offense that would best utilize his talents.

In the end Florida’s pitch was simply not enough to pull him out of his home state, where he will have the opportunity to play good friend four-star running back Wes Brown (Olney, MD) as well as a number of other players he has known throughout his life.

The Gators are close to shutting the doors on recruiting in 2012 with 23 commitments including 14 on defense, eight on offense and one on special teams. Florida, however, is still in play for three-star JUCO offensive lineman Fehoko Fanaika (San Mateo, CA). UF addressed their issues on both lines of scrimmage but failed to land the caliber and number of offensive playmakers they desperately needed heading into next season.

Chomp Away: Do you think the Gators failed to close out the 2012 recruiting cycle properly or was Florida’s inability to secure late commitments simply a string of bad luck? Provide your thoughts and discuss this latest development in the comments section.

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FOUR Video BITS: Tebow, Legend, Diggs, Miller

1 » Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow was a guest on NBC‘s Late Night with Jimmy Fallon Wednesday night/Thursday morning and sat down with the host to talk about the Tebowing phenomenon, Fallon’s parody of Tebow and David Bowie – “Tebowie,” and the charitable work he is doing. Tebow was introduced by The Roots playing “On Bended Knee” by Boyz II Men and concluded his segment by shooting a signed jersey into the crowd with at T-shirt gun.

2 » Speaking of television clips of Tebow, ESPN2‘s First Take has continued to make him a topic of conversation long after Denver’s season ended. This week the show featured singer/songwriter John Legend remixing one of his own tunes to create a song called “Extra-Ordinary Tebow.”

Continue Reading » FOUR Video BITS: Tebow, Legend, Diggs, Miller

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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.”

Continue Reading » Will Muschamp on Florida’s 2012 recruiting class

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