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.”

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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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WR Andrades a surprise commit for Gators

After missing out on their first two targets on National Signing Day, the Florida Gators received some good news with back-to-back commitments, the first of which coming from three-star wide receiver Raphael Andrades (Tallahassee, FL).

With offers from Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Stanford and Vanderbilt on the table, Andrades was not sure what his future would hold. In fact, he wanted to play for Florida so bad that he was considering walking on to the team.

Things became clearer when Gators head coach Will Muschamp called him on Tuesday evening and extended an official offer for him to join the program. His position coach at Lincoln High School (and former Florida WR) Jacquez Green explained to OGGOA on Wednesday how the situation unfolded.

“It was a maybe-type thing for a while, but he wanted to go to Florida,” Green said. “He even told me he would walk on at Florida because he knew he had something to bring to the school anyway. He turned down a lot of other offers out there. He just waited it out and was willing to go into signing day to see what would happen with [Nelson] Agholor.

“He was thinking about walking on and he was dead serious. He was like, ‘I want to play for Florida.’”

At 6’0” and 190 lbs., Andrades has a frame large enough to add additional size and strength. With a 40-yard-dash speed somewhere in the 4.5-4.7-second range, he can also improve his speed. Green believes those improvements will be easy for him to make because he already has the most important trait of a wide receiver.

“The way he catches the ball is something that can’t be taught. A lot of receivers just can’t catch. That’s one of his biggest strengths – just catching the football,” he explained. “He was a solid route runner in high school. He can get a little faster but he will get faster because now he only has to worry about football. I know he will get faster.

“His strength is overall size and the way he catches the football, and he understands the game. He’s a real smart guy. He understands route concepts. He understands why one receiver has to clear out in order to get another receiver open. Things like that are things guys in the pros understand, and he’s just in high school right now.”

Green said Andrades’s hand-eye coordination “is so high because of his baseball background;” he plays outfielder and was a highly-recruited baseball prospect.

Though he is a former player with the Gators, Green added that he did not have any influence on his Andrades’s decision-making process. In fact, he suggested he attend another institution before learning of Florida’s official offer on Tuesday.

“Ralph is a smart guy. He knows about football. He knows about teams and coaches. He’s very smart,” he said. “I never really had an influence on him. I let guys go wherever they want to. Actually during the recruiting process, I told him that I thought Arkansas was a good school for him. I don’t try to push them one way or another, I just try to help them make the best decision.”

The No. 99-ranked pass catcher by Rivals.com, Andrades is also considered a three-star recruit by ESPNU. He is Florida’s second wide receiver commitment of the 2012 cycle, joining four-star LaTroy Pittman (Citra, FL), and the Gators’ 22nd overall recruit.

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Florida Gators recruits and targets to watch on 2012 National Signing Day (and beyond)

Twenty-one members strong, the Florida Gators’ 2012 recruiting class is hoping to expand by a name or two when the vast majority of uncommitted high school football players across the country announce their decisions on National Signing Day. While a handful of others will make their decisions known before or after the date, all but two of Florida’s remaining targets will be involved in ceremonies Wednesday.

Be sure to visit OGGOA’s live coverage of National Signing Day beginning Wednesday morning at 8 a.m. It will feature a live chat and be constantly updated throughout the day with every signed letter of intent (LOI) and new commitment.

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

Wide receiver Stefon Diggs (Olney, MD)
Accolades: Rivals – No. 8 overall (No. 2 WR); ESPNU – No. 13 overall (No. 3 WR)
Leaders: Florida, Ohio State
Contenders: Auburn, Maryland
Skinny: Diggs was favoring the Gators for quite some time until offensive coordinator Charlie Weis left for Kansas. However, when new OC Brent Pease took over, Florida was back in his good graces and stepped up to the top of the pack once again. The Gators desperately need a top wide receiver to fill out their 2012 class and Diggs is the primary target. Though he took a trip to Ohio State last weekend and enjoyed himself, it was his first time looking at the program and meeting head coach Urban Meyer. Diggs has said previously that he wants to play in a pro-style offense, and he has likely developed a much stronger relationship with Florida’s coaching staff.
Announcement: Friday, Feb. 10 (nine days after NSD)

Cornerback Tracy Howard (Miramar, FL)
Accolades: Rivals – No. 13 overall (No. 1 CB); ESPNU – No. 18 overall (No. 1 CB)
Leaders: Florida, Miami
Contenders: Florida State
Skinny: A long-time UF lean, Howard was all but signed, sealed and delivered to the Gators. That is until he took an official visit to Miami last weekend that may very well have flipped his recruitment on its heels. Closer to his home, family and good friends, Miami is an attractive destination for Howard and is believed to be the new leader for his services even though Florida’s coaching staff has been there for him all along. Whether he decides to stick with what he knows the best (the Gators) or stay closer to home is something only his family truly knows at this point.
Announcement: 9:35 a.m. live on ESPNU

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