TWO BITS: Young, Gardner, eye black, Henderson

1 » Florida Gators four-star power forward commitment Patric Young (Jacksonville, FL) is drawing rave reviews from coaches and fellow players as he works with the USA Basketball Men’s U-18 National Team in preparation for the 2010 FIBA Americas U18 Championship for Men from June 26-30. “He’s playing really, really well,” team assistant and Georgia Tech head coach Paul Hewitt told ESPN‘s Andy Katz earlier this week. “He’s making plays, rebounding and running the floor well. Offensively, he’s looking good. He gives tremendous effort every time – great effort –and he’ll help Florida even if he doesn’t score a ton of buckets. He’s going to help them. He’ll defend, set screens and do all those things without scoring points.”

2 » After a career including 13 NCAA Tournament berths coming as a player, graduate assistant and coach, Gators women’s basketball assistant Susie Gardner is expected to be named the head coach of the Mercer Bears at a 3 p.m. press conference Thursday. Gardner, who has spent the last three seasons with Florida, has been in the Southeastern Conference for 13 years of her 24-year coaching career including stints as head coach at Arkansas and as an assistant and player at Georgia.

3 » With the statues of former Gators quarterback and Heisman Trophy winners Tim Tebow, Danny Wuerffel and Steve Spurrier going up outside of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium next year, fans have been asking one relatively interesting question: Will Tebow’s statue feature a signature eye black message? The Gainesville Sun attempted to get this question definitively answered but found a non-committal response instead. The statue’s artist, W. Stanley “Sandy” Proctor, has already completed Tebow’s statue – which includes blank eye black. However, his business manager said that he would be happy to add a message if the University of Florida requested it. Associate athletics director Chip Howard was a bit more clear, saying he was “not sure if [a message] will show up well so you can read [it], but we continue to work on the statue […] to make [it] as real as possible.”

4 » Five-star offensive lineman Seantrel Henderson (Minneapolis, MN), the top recruit in the country in 2010 who committed to the USC Trojans on National Signing Day, is apparently mulling his future with the team, according to reports. Henderson, who chose USC over Miami, Ohio State, Florida and Minnesota, was allegedly promised by Kiffin that the Trojans would not suffer any major sanctions from the NCAA. USC coaches (including Kiffin) flew out in a private jet to visit Henderson last week with hopes to keep his commitment, but he recently told the St. Paul Pioneer Press that he didn’t “want to talk about that,” when asked whether or not he was remaining with the program.

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TWO BITS: Schintzius recovers, Henderson out

1 » Former Florida Gators All-American center and NBA first-round draft pick Dwayne Schintzius‘ long battle with leukemia has hopefully come to an end. Schintzius, 41, is the Gators’ fifth all-time leading scorer (1,624 points); the team’s career blocks leader; the only player in SEC history with more than 1,000 points, 800 rebounds, 250 assists and 250 blocks; and a nine-year NBA veteran who was drafted No. 24 overall by the San Antonio Spurs in 1990. He received a bone marrow transplant on Jan. 12 from his brother Travis, and his family, friends and Gators fans prayed each day that his condition would improve. The Tampa Tribune, which spoke with Schintzius’ father, reports that he is in the process of making a full recovery and has even been released from the hospital. “The doctors are very optimistic,” Ken Schintzius said. “He has been declared leukemia-free. There’s a ways to go before he’s back where he was, but it’s moving in the right direction.”

2 » Though Florida was on his short long list heading into National Signing Day, it is unlikely that five-star 2010 offensive tackle recruit Seantrel Henderson would switch over to the Gators should he be displeased with the NCAA’s investigation into the USC Trojans. Jeremy Fowler of the Orlando Sentinel confirms a previous OGGOA report that the Miami Hurricanes would be one of the frontrunners for his services.

Extra BIT » Former Florida forward/center Joakim Noah his being held out of action for three more weeks by the Chicago Bulls due to his nagging plantar fasciitis.

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Urban Meyer’s e-mail to Seantrel Henderson’s dad

The New York Times‘ Thayer Evans has uncovered the following e-mail sent last month by Florida Gators head coach Urban Meyer to Sean Henderson, father of five-star offensive lineman Seantrel Henderson (St. Paul, MN). In it, Meyer says he will be unable to visit the Hendersons but hopes Seantrel can join the Gators’ 2010 recruiting class. Read the article for a contrasting e-mail from the Ohio State Buckeyes.

I hope all is well and I apologize for not being able to make it up there to visit. I tried but my AD and doctor would not allow it. I know your family will be making a life-changing decision in the next few days. I want you to know that he will be taken care of here both as a student and as an athlete. The opportunity to be part of this great Gator Nation with the networking opportunities is unmatched. We have put together the #1 recruiting class in the country and Seantrel is the last missing piece. This class is similar to Tebow, Spikes, and Percy’s class where they wanted to come together to be the best and they did! If you have any questions, I would love to speak w u. Go Gators! Urban

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Gators’ 2010 recruiting class not unanimous No. 1

Florida Gators fans were hearing for weeks that their team would lock up one of (if not the single) greatest recruiting class ever by the end of National Signing Day on Feb. 3. They were told that this distinction would be unanimous due to the Gators’ head-scratching number of five- and four-star commitments and the top-to-bottom quality of their class.

While ESPNU and Scout both hailed Florida’s 2010 recruiting class as tops in the country, Rivals turned its collective cheek on the Gators and awarded their best class distinction to the USC Trojans on the heels of two big-time commitments.

Find out what each recruiting service said about the Florida Gators’ 2010 class and why five-star OL Seantrel Henderson has not signed his LOI…after the jump!
Continue Reading » Gators’ 2010 recruiting class not unanimous No. 1

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Ten recruits to watch on National Signing Day

National Signing Day is approaching on Feb. 3, and the Florida Gators are looking to add to their consensus No. 1-ranked 2010 recruiting class. Seeing as high school football players across the country will begin making declarations as early as Friday afternoon, OGGOA has put together a comprehensive preview of the recruits the Gators are still attempting to gain commitments from. The top 10 players who Florida is after are listed below along with a short prediction at the end.

OT Seantrel Henderson (St. Paul, MN)
Rivals: No. 2 – ESPNU: No. 8
Also considering: Ohio State, Southern California, Notre Dame, Minnesota, Miami (FL)

His high school is a pipeline to Notre Dame, his last visit is to Miami, he’s been (reportedly) favoring Ohio State for quite some time, he’s from Minnesota and USC has been in his ear lately making a big push. Florida is considered a long-shot to land Henderson, one of the top overall recruits in the country and the consensus No. 1 offensive lineman.

Learn about the other nine recruits who you should keep an eye on after the jump!
Continue Reading » Ten recruits to watch on National Signing Day

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TWO BITS: Jeffcoat drops UF, license plates

1 » A consensus top-five recruit in the country, five-star defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat (Plano, TX), was planning to visit the Florida Gators this weekend. Instead, Jeffcoat has canceled his trip and is removing Florida from his list of finalists. Chris Hays of the Orlando Sentinel speculates (correctly) that Jeffcoat’s decision likely comes on the heels of fellow five-star DE Ronald Powell (Moreno Valley, CA) committing to the Gators at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. Florida remains in the running for top five-star recruits like offensive tackle Seantrel Henderson (St. Paul, MN) and linebacker Jordan Hicks (West Chester, OH), among others.

2 » Though sales of specialty license plates in the state of Florida “were down for the first time in years” on the whole, the University of Florida’s plate remained the state’s top seller. In 2009, UF sold 120,858 license plates, 7,296 more than just one year ago. The Gators accounted for 7.4 percent of total sales even though there are 112 other designs for residents to choose from.

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Three 5-stars commit at Army All-American Bowl

Eleven high school football players announced their college commitments during the 2010 U.S. Army All-American Bowl on Saturday at the Alamodome in San Antonio, TX, an all-star game that DirecTV offers annually. Four-star tight end Gerald Christian (West Palm Beach, FL) and four-star defensive back Jaylen Watkins (Cape Coral, FL) were the only Florida Gators commitments participating at the start of the game, but the team has acquired three additional big-names over the course of the afternoon.

Defensive end Ronald Powell (Moreno Valley, CA) []
Height: 6’4″ – Weight: 225 lbs.
Considered a heavy Florida lean for months (on Dec. 18 he said the Gators were “most definitely at the top” of his list), Powell had second thoughts about his commitment after head coach Urban Meyer resigned and then decided to take a leave of absence instead. Meyer eased Powell’s reservations after a phone conversation. Powell also indicated that he wished to play college ball away from home with the USC Trojans his only other option. “Coach Meyer is a hell-of-a coach,” he said last month. “The college is in a college town. The players, the players definitely make you feel at home. I mean just all around, it’s a great school, a great place to be.”
More on Ronald Powell from OGGOA.
Finalists: Florida, USC
COMMITTED TO: Florida Gators

Safety Matt Elam (West Palm Beach, FL) []
Height: 6’0″ – Weight: 205 lbs.
A Florida commitment for over a year, Elam played games throughout the recruiting cycle. He reaffirmed his commitment to Meyer and the Gators after his official visit in December; however, Meyer’s about-face caused Elam to question his decision, leading him to decommit from Florida and make a commitment to the Florida State Seminoles. Elam finally spoke to Meyer earlier this week to work everything out. He then decommitted from FSU and listed Florida as his leader, stating that he could not leave Coach Meyer while putting his faith in him.
More on Matt Elam from OGGOA.
Finalists: Florida, Georgia, Florida State
COMMITTED TO: Florida Gators

Defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd (Philadelphia, PA) []
Height: 6’3″ – Weight: 310 lbs.
Once believed to be a sure-thing for Ohio State Buckeyes’s 2010 recruiting class, Floyd was also seriously considering Florida. He promised to “shock the world” with his announcement Saturday and was thrilled with the Gators’ decision to hire George Edwards as their new defensive coordinator. Reports from San Antonio had Floyd leaning toward joining the contingent of Florida commitments on Saturday, and his budding friendship with Powell and desire to play around top-tier talent only further that sentiment. “Florida overall, I genuinely care about Coach Meyer and we talk on a daily basis,” Floyd said. “I just like Florida and what the program has to offer.”
More on Sharrif Floyd from OGGOA.
Finalists: Florida, North Carolina, Ohio State, South Carolina
COMMITTED TO: Florida Gators

In addition to the players profiled above who committed to the Gators on Saturday, the following recruits (who have chosen not to announce their respective decisions during the game) are also being targeted by UF: five-star offensive tackle Seantrel Henderson (St. Paul, MN), five-star DE Jackson Jeffcoat (Plano, TX), five-star DE Owamagbe Odighizuwa (Portland, OR), four-star wide receiver Christian Green (Tampa, FL) and four-star WR Ivan McCartney (Miramar, FL).

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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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