WR Fulwood, OL Outlaw, DB Bell commit to Gators

The Florida Gators biggest win on Saturday did not necessarily occur during the 2012 Orange & Blue Debut but perhaps afterward as the team gained a trio of major commitments for the 2013 recruiting class from four-star wide receiver Ahmad Fulwood (Jacksonville, FL), three-star offensive lineman Josh Outlaw (Lithonia, GA) and three-star defensive back Tre Bell (Jersey City, NJ).

Fulwood, a Rivals100 and ESPNU 150 Watch List prospect, is considered one of the best players at his position in the country and one of the most talented overall in the state. Rivals ranks him as the No. 8 pass catcher in the nation, and he chose Florida over offers from Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, Ohio State and USC (among others).

Often noting that he is “comfortable” with the players and coaching staff in Gainesville, FL, Fulwood now joins close friend and four-star defensive back Nick Washington (Jacksonville, FL) on the team. Washington has been recruiting Fulwood heavily for quite some time and the duo have each been on campus a number of times for unofficial visits. At 6’4″ and 200 lbs., he gives UF the tall, athletic receiver that the team needs so dearly.

“I just felt comfortable doing it now,” Fulwood told Rivals’ Chris Nee about deciding to commit. “I kind of made up my mind a while ago but now was a good time to get it done. I just felt like part of the family every single time that I have come up here. [...] I definitely feel like I can come in and help make plays. I saw them try to take some deeper shots today and they didn’t have it happen. I think I can come in and help in that regard. I think I am a bigger receiver that they want. I think that can be me making those big catches.”

Outlaw is the second three-star offensive lineman to commit to the Gators for 2013 but is also the team’s first out-of-state pledge. A former teammate of redshirt sophomore running back Mack Brown at Martin Luther King High School, Outlaw also picked Florida despite also having an impressive offer sheet including Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee. He told Rivals last week that UF was his leader and that the coaches said he had a legitimate chance to play tackle with the team.

Bell is the third secondary player to commit to the Gators for 2013 and chose to do so on his first-ever visit to Florida. Though his offer sheet may not be considered as impressive as the others with Boise State, Connecticut, Houston, Michigan and Notre Dame as the notable schools speaking with him, Bell is a versatile talent that the coaching staff has obviously targeted and honed in on.

Two of Saturday’s three commitments come at positions of great need for Florida. The Gators only had two wide receivers and two offensive linemen commit during the 2012 recruiting cycle and now have a pair of players at each position (four-star WR Rodney Adams, three-star OL Roderick Johnson) pledged for 2013 with 10 months remaining. Bell is Florida’s third defensive back joining Washington and four-star Keanu Neal.

Adding Fulwood, Outlaw and Bell gives the Gators 14 total commitments including 12 from the state of Florida. UF now has approximately a dozen spots to fill from now until National Signing Day during the first week of February.

The three commitments were first reported by ESPN and The Gainesville Sun.

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Florida Gators add commitments from LB Lawson, S Neal to cap a remarkable Junior Day haul

One of the most eventful recruiting days in recent memory for the Florida Gators came to a close Saturday evening with two more commitments as linebacker Dillan Lawson (Crestview, FL) and four-star safety Keanu Neal (Bushnell, FL) announced their intentions to play in Gainesville, FL in the fall.

Both commitments, which came in the early evening after Florida had already received four other pledges during the day, brought the Gators’ total to six on their second Junior Day of the 2013 recruiting cycle.

Four-star running back Kelvin Taylor (Belle Glade, FL) was the first to announce his decision at 9 a.m. He was joined later in the day by four-star wide receiver Rodney Adams (St. Petersburg, FL), four-star linebacker Quinton Powell (Daytona Beach, FL) and four-star safety Nick Washington (Jacksonville, FL).

Lawson, a relative unknown in recruiting circles, is 6’4” and 215 lbs. and also claims offers from Florida State, Louisville and North Carolina. Though he can also put his hand down as a defensive end, it is likely that head coach Will Muschamp and defensive coordinator Dan Quinn will try him out at the Buck linebacker position.

Neal, on the other hand, is a highly rated strong safety with enough size at 6’0” and 204 lbs. to move to linebacker. A member of the ESPNU 150 watch list, he chose to commit to Florida despite also having offers from Georgia Tech, South Carolina and South Florida and originally saying he did not plan to make a decision until after his senior season.

Continue Reading » Florida Gators add commitments from LB Lawson, S Neal to cap a remarkable Junior Day haul

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2013 LB Powell chooses the Gators at Junior Day

The Florida Gators continued to reel in the 2013 commitments during Junior Day on Saturday, gaining their third pledge of the day from four-star linebacker and ESPNU 150 watch list member Quinton Powell (Daytona Beach, FL), according to an ESPN report.

The seventh 2013 commitment, third linebacker and fourth defensive player to announce his intent to play for the Gators next fall, Powell (6’1” 189 lbs.) chose Florida despite having a list of offers including schools like Clemson, Florida State, Miami, Ohio State, South Carolina and Vanderbilt.

He told Rivals.com just last month that he was planning to wait until the All-America game following his senior season to commit to a school.

Though he plays defensive end at Mainland High School, Powell is projected as an outside linebacker at the collegiate level. “He is very quick off the snap and uses his speed to get around the edge. He has good length and does a good job of playing violently at the point-of-contact,” said Rivals analyst Chris Nee.

Powell told Rivals back in November, after visiting the school for the Florida State game, that his interest in the Gators was strong.

“They have all the national championships and traditions,” he said. “That would attract anybody. They’re always on the rise. Of course they’ll have their down periods like anyone else but right now I believe they’re on the rise, and I want to be a part of it.”

Powell joins four-stars Daniel McMillian (Jacksonville, FL) and James Hearns (Tallahassee, FL) as Florida’s three linebacker commitments for 2013. He was the Gators’ third commitment Saturday, following four-stars running back Kelvin Taylor (Belle Glade, FL) and wide receiver Rodney Adams (St. Petersburg, FL).

RELATED: WR Rodney Adams makes the call for Florida | Legacy Kelvin Taylor commits to Florida Gators

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WR Rodney Adams makes the call for Florida

Four-star wide receiver Rodney Adams (St. Petersburg, FL) committed to the Florida Gators during Junior Day on Saturday, giving the team their sixth pledge for 2013.

Ranked No. 234 nationally according to Rivals, Adams has had Florida as his front-runner but also listed Florida State, Miami and Oklahoma in his top four.

At 6’1” and 166 lbs., he registered 25 receptions for 742 yards and 10 touchdowns as a junior at Lakewood High School and is a versatile pass catcher that should fit exactly what the Gators need.

“He is both quick and fast making him a threat on short, intermediate and long routes,” Rivals.com recruiting analyst Chris Nee wrote in October.

Adams has the athleticism and ability to stand out as one of the top pass catchers in the state in 2013 if he stays on course going forward.

He is the third offensive pledge and first receiver to commit to Florida for 2013. Four-star running back Kelvin Taylor (Belle Glade, FL) also chose the Gators on Saturday.

ESPN‘s Derek Tyson first reported Adams’ decision.

RELATED: 2013 LB Powell chooses the Gators at Junior Day | Legacy Kelvin Taylor commits to Florida Gators

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SIX BITS: tennis and lacrosse fall, Junior Day ahead, McCarney doing OK, softball rising

1 » After only giving up two points in their first five matches this season (both to No. 5 Baylor), No. 1 Florida Gators women’s tennis (5-1) was rocked Sunday by the No. 2 Stanford Cardinal (4-0) 5-2 at the Taube Tennis Center in Stanford, CA. Florida, which ended Stanford’s 184-match home winning streak while winning the 2011 NCAA Championship a year ago, had its own 26-match winning streak broken on Sunday. The Cardinal swept the Gators in doubles competition with No. 1 duo Mallory Burdette and Nicole Gibbs thrashing sophomore Alexandra Cercone and junior Allie Will 8-3. Stacey Tan and Ellen Tsay beat junior Lauren Embree and sophomore Sofie Oyen 8-3 as well. Will (3) got a form of redemption in singles action, beating Gibbs (5) 6-4, 2-6, 6-4. Burdette (1), looking for revenge of her own after being beaten for the title one year ago, got just that on Embree (25) by taking her down 6-1, 6-2 in straight sets. Oyen (34) was the only other ranked Florida player to win her match by defeating Ellen Tsay (31) as senior Joanna Mather (4) and Cercone (41) both fell in singles action. UF will play two more non-conference matches before heading into SEC competition.

2 » Suffering a similarly tough loss over the weekend, No. 4 Gators lacrosse (0-1) fell on the road against the No. 3 North Carolina Tar Heels (1-0), fighting back from a 7-3 halftime deficit to lose 11-9. Florida took an early 2-0 lead on North Carolina, but the Tar Heels then outscored the Gators 7-1 to end the opening half. Pairs of consecutive goals by junior attackers Ashley Bruns and Kitty Cullen reduced UF’s deficit but even Florida winning the scoring battle 4-1 over the final 12:07 was not enough to put away North Carolina. Bruns and Cullen finished with three goals apiece, but junior goal keeper Mikey Meagher only notched two saves on the afternoon. Midfielder Kara Cannizzaro led UNC with four goals on six shots, and GK Lauren Maksym was stingy in the net, saving 10 goals while only allowing nine. After losing to the Tar Heels in the season opener last year, the Gators exploded on a 14-match winning streak.

3 » Florida will be holding its second Junior Day of the 2013 recruiting cycle on Saturday and is set to host a number of the country’s top prospects, many of whom are strongly considering playing for the Gators after their respective senior seasons. Among them are a trio of four-stars from Lincoln High School in Tallahassee, FL – linebacker James Hearns (No. 157) and wide receivers Reggie Davis (No. 118) and Taj Williams (No. 177). Hearns committed to Florida on Feb. 2, becoming the Gators’ fourth pledge of the cycle. Davis and Williams also have offers from UF but neither has committed yet; the former will be going on his second visit to Gainesville, FL this month while the latter has expressed on Twitter that he hopes to play for the orange and blue down the line. Other big-time recruits expected to be on campus Saturday are five-star offensive lineman No. 3 Laremy Tunsil (Lake City, FL) and four-stars LB commit No. 53 Daniel McMillian (Jacksonville, FL), defensive tackle commit No. 82 Caleb Brantley (Crescent City, FL), defensive back No. 39 Marcell Harris (Orlando, FL), WR No. 45 Stacy Coley (Oakland Park, FL), four-star running back No. 90 Ryan Green (St. Petersburg, FL), DB No. 94 Nick Washington (Jacksonville, FL), RB No. 111 Kelvin Taylor (Belle Glade, FL) and WR No. 234 Rodney Adams (St. Petersburg, FL)…just to name a few. UF believes it is in a great position to add a number of commits by the weekend’s end.

4 » Former Florida defensive line coach Dan McCarney, now head coach of the North Texas Mean Green, remains in hospital Tuesday morning after suffering stroke on Sunday. In an interview with the Des Moines Register, McCarney said he had the stroke after working out but is expected to make a full recovery with no permanent damage lingering. “I’ve got too much Irish in me to stay down very long,” he joked. “I’m supposed to get out of the hospital in a couple days. I feel good right now. I’ve got a little tingling feeling, but hey, if that’s the worst of it, I’d say I’m a pretty lucky guy. Nothing wrong with me that a little Grey Goose won’t cure.” OGGOA wishes Coach McCarney our best wishes as he recovers.

5 » Going 5-0 in the 2012 season’s first weekend, Florida softball received some good news early this week. On Monday, the Gators learned that third baseman Sami Fagan won SEC Freshman of the Week honors after hitting .666 with three RBI, seven runs, two walks and a pair of stolen bases in five games. Florida was then crowned the new No. 1 team in the country (with 16 of 30 first-place votes) when USA Today and the NFCA released their latest coaches’ top 25 poll. Gators softball and baseball are both ranked as the top team in the nation.

6 » Conflicting reports emerged this week about whether or not Tim Davis was actually Gators head coach Will Muschamp’s first choice to be the team’s new offensive line coach. According to a number of stories, including one from ESPN’s Chris Low, Muschamp first reached out to South Carolina Gamecocks running game coordinator and OL coach Shawn Elliot, who turned down Florida even though UF was offering more than his new $300,000 annual salary pays at South Carolina. However, Muschamp himself denied to The Gainesville Sun’s Pat Dooley that he went after Elliot for the position. Regardless of who his first choice was, Davis is the one now wearing orange and blue and looking to improve an offensive line that struggled in performance and development one year ago.

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