Matt Elam drops Gators, commits to Seminoles

Five-star safety recruit Matt Elam (West Palm Beach, FL), formerly the prize of the Florida Gators 2010 recruiting class, has decommitted and pledged to play for the Florida State Seminoles. Elam, who appeared to waiver about his commitment throughout the entire recruiting process, reaffirmed his decision to play for the Gators numerous times over the last few months, most recently sporting a Florida jersey and declaring that he could not wait to enroll early in January. Now his jersey is garnet and gold.

“I just see better opportunity to come in and play and to have an impact as a freshman,” Elam told Warchant.com. “They have two of the best cornerbacks in the country and I just feel like I can go in there and help make that secondary even better. They got three two of the best players in the country and I see along of things changing. It was on my mind, but today I really made the decision. I was sitting down thinking like I can make a difference, if I go to Florida I really can’t make a difference at Florida I can just jump on the bandwagon. I want to make a difference and I see a lot of good things there.”

Head coach Urban Meyer was the main reason Elam planned to attend the University of Florida, as he has been close with the coach ever since Meyer recruited his brother Abram Elam (now with the Cleveland Browns) to the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. When Meyer briefly resigned on Saturday before deciding to take a leave of absence from the Gators instead, Elam became very upset.

“I feel like he knew before Saturday that he wanted to step down,” Elam Orlando Sentinel. Dorsey will visit the Tennessee Volunteers on Jan. 14, a trip scheduled before Meyer’s announcement. He has long been considered one of the most likely Gators commitments to decommit.

Photo Credit: Ray Graham, Palm Beach Post

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Meyer’s decision stuns Gators 2010 recruits

Aside from having to hire a new head coach after Urban Meyer‘s shocking resignation, one of the most immediate issues facing the Florida Gators football program in 2010 is retaining recruits from one of the top incoming classes in the country. With 20 recruits currently verbally committed to the Gators and plenty more considering their commitment one way or another, losing Meyer will almost certainly a blow to the team’s recruiting – how big of a blow is yet to be determined. Numerous sources including Rivals, GatorCountry, the Palm Beach Post, the Orlando Sentinel, the Gainesville Sun and the Sporting News have spoken with these recruits over the past few hours, and OGGOA has compiled some information on where each of them stand.

Because the list is so long, it is best to view it after the jump!!!
Continue Reading » Meyer’s decision stuns Gators 2010 recruits

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Holliday helps Gators land three-star recruit Clark

For some high school football players, a college team losing its recruiting coordinator can change their mind on what school they wish to attend after graduation. Florida Gators fans know this well, especially considering the recent news about the departure of wide receivers coach Billy Gonzales has been met with some interesting reactions from recruits across the country. However, it seems like the West Virginia Mountaineers losing associate head coach and top recruiter Doc Holliday to the Marshall Thundering Herd may have done a lot to help the Gators land three-star DB/WR/KR Robert Clark (West Palm Beach, FL) from Dwyer High School. Clark, who committed to head coach Urban Meyer on Wednesday while the coach was visiting Dwyer’s practice, had previously been committed to the Mountaineers and was also considering the Tennessee Volunteers.

“[Holliday] was my recruiting coordinator,” Clark told the Palm Beach Post. “We were really close. It changed my decision a lot.” Also affecting Clark’s decision was his official visit to Gainesville, FL, last weekend and the commitment status of his teammates five-star safety Matt Elam and four-star tight end Gerald Christian. “[Meyer] asked me how much I love Florida,” Clark said. “I told him I’m going to end up committing. I love Florida. Gerald and Matt are there and I already know them.”

OGGOA reported Tuesday that Clark seemed to be all Orange and Blue when he donned a No. 4 Gators jersey in the team’s locker room this past weekend. He plans to enroll at the University of Florida in January for the spring semester, along with Elam and Christian, in order to get a leg up on 2010. Clark is expected to officially announce his commitment to Florida before the Class 4A championship game on Saturday.

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Robert Clark also captured wearing Gators gear

Three-star cornerback recruit Robert Clark, who had been committed to the West Virginia Mountaineers since July, recently opened up his recruitment and named the Florida Gators the second of his final two schools. Teammates at Dwyer High School with Florida commits five-star safety Matt Elam and four-star tight end Gerald Christian, Clark had the press put on him to join the Gators’ 2010 recruiting class when he visited Gainesville, FL, with Elam and Christian last weekend. Christian has been a solid commit for a while, and Elam all but signed on the dotted line over the weekend by donning a blue No. 22 Florida jersey and declaring his recruitment over. OGGOA has now uncovered a similar picture of Clark presumably from last weekend, also in the Gators locker room wearing his high school No. 4 on a blue Florida jersey. Clark plans to enroll at the university of his choosing in January for the spring semester in order to get a leg up on next season. As OGGOA reported early Monday, he has decided to officially announce his commitment decision before the Class 4A championship game on Saturday.

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TWO BITS: Gators in the NFL, Clark back in fold?

1 » Two former Florida Gators players had strong showings in the NFL on Sunday, and both are recent alumni from the defensive side of the ball. Second-year defensive end Derrick Harvey of the Jacksonville Jaguars recorded a sack in his second straight game even though his team fell to the Miami Dolphins while third-year linebacker Brandon Siler dominated the middle for the San Diego Chargers against the Dallas Cowboys. Siler recorded five tackles on the day (two for a loss) and one sack. He was also instrumental on a number of goal-line and fourth-down stands. Other Gators who contributed this weekend were LB Mike Peterson of the Atlanta Falcons (eight tackles), wide receiver Jabar Gaffney of the Denver Broncos (three receptions for 48 yards) and Andre “Bubba” Caldwell of the Cincinnati Bengals (four catches for 25 yards).

2 » Looking to nab a trifecta of players from Dwyer High School in West Palm Beach, FL, Florida set their sights on bringing three-star cornerback Robert Clark into the fold during his official visit this weekend. Clark, who said prior to his visit that he was leaning towards the Gators until the loss of recruiting coordinator Billy Gonzales had him open up the process again, met new wide receivers coach Zach Azzanni and came away impressed. “[Azzanni] was great,” Clark told Rivals. “I already knew him from camp because he worked the camp [in Gainesville]. He’s a great guy. He taught me a lot of things so it was good to meet him again. [The coaches] didn’t really talk about [Gonzales] much [this weekend]. It was kind of sad that he left but at the same time they had to move on and stuff and get a new coach. He’s pretty energetic. He likes to hop around a lot. He was hyped up.” Though he is not considered “solid,” Clark is currently committed to the West Virginia Mountaineers; even so, he has decided to make his decision official before the Class 4A championship game this Saturday.

UPDATE: “Florida[‘s visit] is the best visit I’ve been on by far. I’m not gonna lie,” Clark told The Gainesville Sun. “It’s hard because I’m kind of committed to West Virginia, right now, but I love Florida more than I love West Virginia.” Clark also told The Sun that the shorter distance and better weather are much more appealing to him.

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TWO BITS: Recruiting weekend, FWAA awards

It has been a slow weekend as far as Florida Gators news goes, but OGGOA has done its best Sunday morning to provide you with a few notes to wrap up the weekend. Expect more from us later in the day, so stay tuned!

1 » A dozen Gators commits and recruiting prospects including five-star safety Matt Elam (Fort Lauderdale, FL) visited Gainesville, FL, this weekend for official visits with Florida coaches, staff and current players. In what will be a crucial weekend for Gators’ recruiting after losing defensive coordinator Charlie Strong and wide receivers coach/recruiting coordinator Billy Gonzales to other schools, Florida hopes to secure commitments it has already received and establish new ones, possibly pulling players away from other teams. With National Signing Day approaching at the beginning of February and early enrollment for the spring semester (and spring practice) less than a month away, expect to hear a bunch of recruiting news come out over the next few days and weeks. Commits: Elam, four-star DE Neiron Ball (Jackson, GA), four-star OT Ian Silberman (Fleming Island, FL), four-star ATH Travon Van (New Berlin, NY), four-star CB Jaylen Watkins (Cape Coral, FL), three-star QB Trey Burton (Venice, FL) – Recruits: five-star LB Jordan Hicks (West Chester, OH), four-star WR Chris Dunkley (Pahokee, FL), four-star WR Justin Hunter (Virginia Beach, VA), four-star OT Morgan Moses (Fork Union, VA), four-star C Brandon Linder (Fort Lauderdale, FL), three-star CB Robert Clark (West Palm Beach, FL).

2 » Though senior quarterback Tim Tebow came in fifth in Saturday’s 2009 Heisman Trophy ceremony, two of his teammates were awarded honors of their own. Juniors cornerback Joe Haden and center Maurkice Pouncey were both named to the 2009 Football Writers Association of America All-America Team. Both are seemingly racking up All-America honors this season, which bodes well for them considering they are (likely) heading into the 2010 NFL Draft.

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FOUR BITS: Dwyer HS, FSU, California, Bailey

1 » The Florida Gators‘ two commitments from Dwyer High School, five-star safety Matt Elam and four-star tight end Gerald Christian, got a visit from recruiting coordinator and wide receivers coach Billy Gonzales on Tuesday, who also took time to meet with their teammate and three-star cornerback Robert Clark. [OGGOA Exclusive:] It is expected that Meyer will pay a visit to Dwyer in the coming days and offer Clark a scholarship (if he has not been offered one already), especially after learning that both Lane and Monte Kiffin of the Tennessee Volunteers attended Dwyer practice on Tuesday pushing hard for Clark in hopes that he could sway Elam.

2 » Over the last few days, Florida has lost out on two of the top 2010 recruits in the country to the Florida State Seminoles. First, it was four-star linebacker Jeff Luc (Port St. Lucie, FL) who liked the transition from Bobby Bowden to head coach Jimbo Fisher. According to reports Wednesday morning, five-star cornerback Lamarcus Joyner (Fort Lauderdale, FL) has also committed to FSU. Joyner, considered the No. 1 overall CB recruit in the country, and Luc were both highly regarded prospects by Gators, though neither were strong leans to Florida.

3 » Four-star wide receiver Kenny Stills (Carlsbad, CA) has narrowed his list to two schools: the Gators and the Oklahoma Sooners. Stills, who will announce on Dec. 18, said the Miami Hurricanes still have a shot but not a great one. The Gators have already pulled one recruit from California for 2010, four-star CB Joshua Shaw (Palmdale, CA), and many believe that head coach Urban Meyer is looking for the trifecta with Stills and five-star defensive end Ronald Powell (Moreno Valley, CA).

4 » Florida is the early leader for Sterling Bailey (Gainesville, GA), a 2011 defensive end who is expected to be rated a four-star prior to his senior year of high school. “I could say [the Gators are out in front],” Bailey told JC Shurburtt of ESPN. “It was a surprising offer at first because they were not sending me much in the mail. My coach called me up and told me that Florida had offered. At first, I didn’t believe him. Then, I called and got on the phone with Urban Meyer. He told me that they were glad to offer me a scholarship and that when they saw me on film, it was a no-brainer.”

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