Hounshell switches commitment to Notre Dame

Though he never officially decommitted from the Florida Gators in early January, three-star offensive lineman recruit Chase Hounshell (Kirkland, OH) chose not to enroll early at the University of Florida as he had originally planned in order to delay his final decision so he could gather more information. Monday evening Hounshell switched his commitment from the Gators to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish, the same day coaches from that school paid him an in-home visit.

Florida head coach Will Muschamp, offensive line coach Frank Verducci and tight ends coach Brian White visited Hounshell on Sunday and came away with an agreement from the young man that he would visit UF this upcoming weekend in order to reaffirm his commitment. Meeting with Notre Dame less than 24 hours later appears to have canceled those plans as well.

“I committed to the University of Notre Dame,” Hounshell announced on his personal Twitter account. “[I] want to thank Gator Country for all your support. You guys are the best, but I had to do what’s best for me.”

According to 247 Sports, he will switch to defensive end for the Fighting Irish.

When he agreed to join the team on Aug. 11, Hounshell was the Gators 13th commitment. Since head coach Urban Meyer (and in this case offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Steve Addazio) left the program, he is Florida’s third decommitment. The others include four-stars cornerback Nick Waisome (Florida State) and linebacker Ryan Shazier (Ohio State). Four-star defensive end Jeoffrey Pagan (Clemson) decommitted from UF on Nov. 29

The Gators now have 15 commitments for the 2011 recruiting cycle, seven of whom enrolled in January for the spring semester.
 

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Four-star CB Waisome drops Florida for FSU

Four-star cornerback Nick Waisome (Groveland, FL) became the third Florida Gators commitment to leave the program since Nov. 29 after switching his pledge to the Florida State Seminoles on Monday.

Waisome, who originally picked Florida over Florida State when making his official commitment on Aug. 18, said as recently as Dec. 3 that he was “firm” in his decision even after former head coach Urban Meyer stepped down.

After previously taking a trip to Tallahassee, FL, he met with new head coach Will Muschamp while taking an official visit this past weekend and apparently things did not go as well as all had hoped. Waisome’s final decision will likely stick as he is planning to enroll early at the university of his choosing in Jan.

Waisome had previously stated that his relationship with the Gators’ coaching staff was one of the main reasons for his commitment. With a lot of turnover likely – especially at defensive coordinator – he may have felt uncomfortable with the situation. Especially considering he would have been enrolling at Florida without a position coach in place.

Four-star linebacker Ryan Shazier (Plantation, FL) left the Gators for the Ohio State Buckeyes on Dec. 17, and four-star defensive end Jeoffrey Pagan (Asheville, NC) decommitted in late Nov. Pagan had been back-and-forth over his decision. With Waisome’s departure, UF has lost their three best defensive recruits in under 20 days.

The Gators now have only five defensive commitments remaining as part of the 2011 class: four-star CB Louchiez Purifoy (Pensacola, FL), four-star athlete/safety De’Ante Saunders (Deland, FL), four-star DE Clay Burton (Venice, FL), three-star CB Chris Johnson (Ocala, FL) and three-star ATH/CB Valdez Showers (Madison Heights, MI).

Photo Credit: Scout.com

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Muschamp already hitting recruiting trail hard

With the current Florida Gators coaching staff worrying about the 2011 Outback Bowl (and their jobs) and the Texas Longhorns out of bowl game contention, new Florida head coach Will Muschamp was able to focus on retaining the Gators’ 2011 recruiting class immediately after taking the position on Saturday. Making plenty of phone calls while traveling for in-home visits and to round out his staff, Muschamp has already made an impression on a number of prospects.

COMMIT – Five/four-star quarterback Jeff Driskel (Oviedo, FL): In Gainesville, FL, last weekend for an official visit, Driskel received a call from Muschamp and continues to be fully committed. He will enroll early in January.

COMMIT – Four-star cornerback Nick Waisome (Groveland, FL): Having made it a point to say that he remains “100 percent committed to Florida,” Waisome received calls from and decided to accept visits to Florida State, LSU and South Carolina after head coach Urban Meyer stepped down. He has since only visited FSU and plans to go back to UF this upcoming weekend to meet Muschamp. Also an early enrollee, Waisome will likely stick with the Gators unless something goes horribly wrong in the meeting.

RECRUIT – Four-star wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin (Belle Glade, FL): After visiting Tallahassee, FL, during the weekend of the Florida State-Florida game, Benjamin turned his attention toward FSU, canceled his planned UF visit and decided to announce his commitment on Thursday. However, he spoke with Muschamp Monday evening and has decided to delay his announcement at least one full month so he can take his originally scheduled visit to Gainesville on Jan. 14. Benjamin will also pay another visit to Florida State and take a trip to Miami (FL) as well.

COMMIT – Four-star linebacker Ryan Shazier (Plantation, FL): Muschamp made it a point to immediately visit Shazier, who remains a verbal to UF but opened up his recruitment to LSU and Ohio State when Meyer resigned. OSU head coach Jim Tressel has already paid a visit to Shazier, and he will reciprocate on Thursday by heading to Columbus, OH. He plans to announce his decision on Friday but was impressed with Muschamp when he visited. “He talked about the type of staff he wants to put together, and the type of team he wants to put on the field at Florida,” Shazier told Scout. “He’s in the process of deciding who he is going to keep, and who he might bring in. It was the first time I’d ever met Coach Muschamp, and he has a lot of passion for the job. Coach Muschamp and Coach Meyer are the same in their approach, but they are different in coaching styles. Coach Muschamp is a defensive coach, and his specialty is the linebacker position, and I really like that. I liked Coach Meyer, but I believe I’m more in tune with Coach Muschamp. Tonight’s visit with Florida kind of clarified things for me, and it helped being able to speak to the head coach.”

Read who else Muschamp has already made an impression on…after the break!
Continue Reading » Muschamp already hitting recruiting trail hard

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Three top recruits still sticking with the Gators

Though four-star defensive end Jeoffrey Pagan (Asheville, PA) recently dropped the Florida Gators due to a combination of their performance this season, his desire to be closer to home and the departure of assistant head coach defense/defensive line coach Dan McCarney, three of Florida’s current 2011 commitments have recently reaffirmed their stance to join the team next year.

Five/four-star quarterback Jeff Driskel (Oviedo, FL), four-star running back Mike Blakely (Bradenton, FL) and four-star cornerback Nick Waisome (Groveland, FL) each gave the Gators a vote of confidence this week on separate occasions.

“I don’t know where [rumors of my displeasure with Florida] came from. There’s all kinds of people out there that will write anything to make a buzz,” Driskel told The Gainesville Sun recently. “Those [rumors] are 100 percent false. I’m 100 percent [committed] to Florida and I’ll be there in about a month and a half. [The coaches] knew all along that I’m not going anywhere. I’m as solid as can be to Florida.”

“A lot of kids waiver in the process, but I’m 100 percent to Florida,” he said separately on the radio this week. “I have been the whole way. That hasn’t changed.”

Blakely views the Gators’ struggles in 2010 as a better way for him to get on the field sooner than he perhaps may have expected.

“I look at things like this is a great opportunity for me. They need help [on offense] and I want to do what I can next season and beyond,” Blakely told ESPN. “I look at it [Florida's record] and say, ‘Who cares?’ My top two schools were Florida and Auburn. Look at Auburn, they are undefeated. I had a chance to go there and I could change my mind if I wanted to. But I will not because once I committed to the Gators I am a man of my word.

“You know, there are a lot of recruits out there that don’t give Florida a fair look because they are usually too good or because they lost some games and they all think they are going downhill. Every team has a poor year once in a while.”

Waisome is also unfazed by Florida’s recent issues, stating that he has no plans to change his commitment or even look elsewhere.

“I’m pretty much done with where I’m going. I’m firm in my commitment to Florida and I know the chances of me playing early is certainly attainable when I get there,” he told Rivals in an interview. “I like the system better at Florida in what they run and overall have a great comfort level with all the coaches and players.

“It was a tough year for Florida, but that happens even with the best teams. They were also very young at certain positions. Obviously as a corner I do feel I can help out their defense and that’s my goal to play a lot as a freshman next year. Florida played a lot of young guys on the defensive side of the ball and now I have to work to get my chance to play early as well. I’m really excited to be a part of that family and I’m just ready to get to work with the defense. It’s an aggressive defense that is only going to get stronger with the more talent we bring in.”

So while Pagan – a commitment who has been back-and-forth about his decision since the summer – decided to jump ship for a variety of reasons, most (if not the rest) of Florida’s still-growing 2011 signing class appears to be content with their decision to play for the Orange & Blue.

Photo Credit: Thomas Bender/Sarasota Herald-Tribune

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Gators hit the Showers, CB Valdez that is

Multiple outlets are reporting Wednesday that three-star cornerback Valdez Showers (Madison Heights, MI) has committed to the Florida Gators. The 15th commitment for the team’s 2012 recruiting class, Showers was also being heavily pursued by Auburn, Michigan, Michigan State and a number of other schools.

At just under 6’0” and approximately 180 lbs., Showers cited the University of Florida‘s academics and an opportunity to see the field early as his deciding factors.

He is the third CB recruit to commit to Florida for 2012, joining four-stars Nick Waisome (Groveland, FL) and Louchiez Purifoy (Pensacola, FL).

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Decision time: Waisome picks UF, Wilder to FSU

Two of the country’s top high school seniors announced their respective college choices on Wednesday, both deciding to attend a respective university that will put them in direct competition with each other. Four-star cornerback Nick Waisome (Groveland, FL) committed to the Florida Gators, while five-star running back James Wilder, Jr. (Tampa, FL) has decided to play for the Florida State Seminoles.

Waisome, who greatly impressed coaches and those in attendance with his combination of speed and technical proficiency at Florida’s Friday Night Lights camp on July 23, is one of the top 10 players at his position in the nation and noted that the school’s graduation rate and coaching philosophy were big motivators in his decision.

“It was the relationship with the coaches, some of the players, I like the atmosphere,” Waisome said on ESPNU. “The school is a fun place. And I just liked it overall. Great school. [They] win championships. [I'm] ready to play.”

He also discussed meeting with new defensive coordinator Teryl Austin during his last visit to the University of Florida. “It was a good experience, I got to talk to him one-on-one about some of the coaching factors he uses individually – what kind of schemes they run and stuff like that. I got a feel of how he coaches, and I feel I can be coached the same way.”

Also one of the top 25 recruits in the state of Florida, Waisome becomes the Gators’ 14th commitment for the 2011 recruiting cycle and is only the second CB to sign after four-star Louchiez Purifoy (Pensacola, FL) decided to join the team just before FNL.

Unlike Waisome, Wilder did not attend Florida’s camp and instead decided to visit Florida State in the later part of July. Though he was a strong Gators lean for quite some time, in the end Wilder felt that he has a greater chance to succeed as a RB – his position of choice – playing with the Seminoles.

Photo Credit: Scout.com

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WR Pittman becomes Gators first 2012 commit

As the Florida Gators await the official announcements of 2011 five-star running back recruit James Wilder, Jr. (Tampa, FL) and four-star cornerback Nick Waisome (Groveland, FL) – both set to come on Wednesday – the team received its first commitment of the 2012 recruiting cycle on Tuesday. According to multiple sources including Rivals, wide receiver Latroy Pittman (Citra, FL) has committed to the Gators.

In an interview with the Ocala Star-Banner back in June, Pittman said that he received a scholarship offer from head coach Urban Meyer after visiting the University of Florida for a football camp one week prior.

“[Getting an offer] was exciting. Something I’ve been waiting for for a long time,” Pittman told the paper. “We set up a date after July 4th to sit down and talk about it again. […] I believe [I will commit] over the summer when my mom and dad go back with me. Growing up around the Gators – I always knew I wanted to play in the orange and blue.”

At the time, Pittman said he was “really leaning toward” committing to Florida and that “it’s been my dream to play there since I was three.”

OGGOA will update this story as more information is made available.

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Aug. 18 next important day in Gators recruiting?

The Florida Gators have experienced some memorable moments in recruiting recently.

During a one-week span from Dec. 13-19, 2005, when five-star quarterback Tim Tebow and five-star wide receiver Percy Harvin verbally committed, to Jan. 9, 2010, when five-star defensive end Ronald Powell, five-star safety Matt Elam and five-star defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd all picked the Gators at the 2010 U.S. Army All-American Bowl, pulling in top recruits always seems to come in bunches for Florida.

The same thing may happen a week from Wednesday on Aug. 18, as five-star athlete James Wilder, Jr. (Tampa, FL) and four-star cornerback Nick Waisome (Groveland, FL) have each agreed to announce their commitments on the same day.

It was previously reported that Wilder and Waisome, each of whom are have the Gators as a finalist (Waisome as his leader), will announce their college choice on an ESPN network live from a Tampa television station at 5 p.m. Instead, Wilder will be announcing in Tampa while Waisome will make his choice on his own in Orlando, FL.

Both players have been Florida leans for quite some time and while all indications are that Waisome is as solid as ever, there have been murmurs recently that Wilder was impressed by a recent visit to Florida State (which he took instead of attending the Gators’ Friday Night Lights camp). Wilder had planned to take a number of other visits but has already canceled a trip to Georgia. There is an increasing sentiment that he is FSU’s to lose at this point even though he had been interested in attending Florida for a while, has often visited Gainesville, FL, on his own dime and has a strong relationship with head coach Urban Meyer.

Photo Credit: St. Petersburg Times

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