Adding to the Florida Gators already stellar and unanimously No. 1-ranked 2010 recruiting class is four-star wide receiver Adrian Coxson (Baltimore, MD), who committed to the team Wednesday.
Coxson, at 6’2″ and 194 lbs., was long believed to have the Gators in the lead for his services after decommitting from the Penn State Nittany Lions.
Florida made it a point to acquire a deep group of talented receivers, and Coxson is its fourth in the 2010 class along with four-stars Chris Dunkley (Pahokee, FL), Solomon Patton (Mobile, AL) and Quinton Dunbar (Miami, FL).
OGGOA will update this story after the conclusion of National Signing Day.
1 » If you were watching the basketball game Tuesday night between the Florida Gators and No. 2 Kentucky Wildcats, you may have seen this clip of head coach Urban Meyer and his wife Shelley smirking while checking their respective phones:
2 » The Tennessean points out that former Tennessee Volunteers head coach Lane Kiffin “decided it was included in his job description […] to annoy Urban Meyer.” Unfortunately, as the article puts it, “a good feud was just ruined.” Similarly, the Orlando Sentinel recounts Kiffin’s top 10 most memorable moments as coach of the Volunteers.
3 » The brand new 2010 ESPNU 150 and 2010 Rivals100 both list Gators five-star defensive end commitment Ronald Powell (Moreno Valley, CA) as their respective No. 1 prospect in the country. Other top Florida recruits ranking high on both lists include five-star defensive tackle Dominique Easley (3/7) five-star safety Matt Elam (9/25), five-star defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd (25/4), four-star cornerback Joshua Shaw (28/28), four-star tight end Gerald Christian (35/81), four-star wide receiver Chris Dunkley (37/77), four-star offensive tackle Ian Silberman (41/71), four-star CB Jaylen Watkins (50/47) and four-star DT Leon Orr (81/95). Others who made the ESPNU list but not Rivals’ include: S Jonathan Dowling (10/NR), S Demar Dorsey (12/NR), RB Mack Brown (34/NR), CB Cody Riggs (79/NR), WR Solomon Patton (106/NR). ESPNU ranks four Gators in its top 10.
4 » “If Florida is to be an NCAA tournament team again — if it’s to snap a two-year hiatus after consecutive NCAA titles — the Gators must start a roll Saturday against LSU,” writes ESPN senior college basketball writer Andy Katz. Read his entire blog entry on the Gators and their hopes to earn a spot in March Madness this season.
The Florida Gators may have lost their prize commitment of the 2010 cycle in five-star safety Matt Elam (West Palm Beach, FL), but the Orange and Blue gained declarations from two of the top players in the country on Saturday during the 2010 Under Armour All-American Game. Four-star wide receiver Chris Dunkley (Pahokee, FL) and four-star defensive tackle Dominique Easley (Staten Island, NY) both put on Gators hats to the delight of Gator Nation.
Though Dunkley had long been considered a Florida lean and possible silent commitment, he had been toying with the idea of committing to the Alabama Crimson Tide and was slightly taken aback by the announcements from Gators head coach Urban Meyer this week. Instead, he said that he was a mama’s boy, wanted to stay in-state and loved the program. “I was real, real, real happy and revealed to make my decision to play for the University of Florida,” Dunkley said after the game. “There was a moment [I wavered],” Dunkley said. “I know [Meyer]‘s working to take care of himself. I’ve got to do what’s right for me.”
Easley, who decommitted from the Penn State Nittany Lions on Wednesday, was the real shocker of the day. Named one of the game’s most valuable players after recording a sack, forced fumble and three tackles for loss, he was believed to be choosing between recommitting to Penn State or joining the Miami Hurricanes or Oregon Ducks. The Gators were not even on Easley’s list of final choices, though he was originally planning to commit to Florida during his visit to Gainesville, FL, for Friday Night Lights camp in July. “I’m a Gator, baby, Gator Nation,” Easley said, before doing one of numerous Gator Chomps on the day. Offensive coordinator Steve Addazio was Easley’s main recruiter, and his appointment to interim head coach for Florida may very well have had some pull on Easley.
“I knew that no matter what, whether it’s Coach Addazio or Coach Meyer, they’re good coaches and they coach the same way,” Easley told Chris Hays of the Orlando Sentinel. “I’ve known I wanted to be a Gator for a while now.” Easley also spoke with Rivals. “I always wanted to be a Gator,” Easley said. “I always wanted to be a Gator in this recruiting class but something happened but me and the coaches talked through it and I am back where I want to be, where I should be. We are going to do some great things.”
Also participating in the Under Armour game on Saturday were the following Gators four-star commitments: running back Mack Brown (Lithonia, GA), four-star safety Demar Dorsey (Lauderdale Lakes, FL), four-star athlete Jonathan Dowling (Bradenton, FL), four-star defensive tackle Leon Orr (New Port Richey, FL), four-star WR Solomon Patton (Mobile, AL), four-star cornerback Cody Riggs (Fort Lauderdale, FL), four-star cornerback Joshua Shaw (Palmdale, CA) and four-star offensive tackle Ian Silberman (Fleming Island, FL). Dowling nabbed two interceptions in the game, Dorsey grabbed one of his own and Patton scored a receiving touchdown.
Though he has been committed to Florida for a while, Dorsey said earlier in the week that he was only 65 percent going to play for the Gators. That has since changed. “I’m a Gator. I’m a Gator,” Dorsey told Hays. As to the part he played in convincing Dunkley and Easley to join him in Gainesville, Dorsey knew it was a done deal. “Awe we knew [Dunkley] was coming,” he said. “We knew he was going to be a Gator but we were on him hard. And Dominique and me, we became like brothers, we’d be in each other’s rooms and hanging out a lot.”
Five-star DE Ronald Powell (Moreno Valley, CA), who did not participate in the Under Armour game, was planning to commit to the Gators earlier this week on ESPN but decided to postpone his announcement after Meyer’s flip-flop so he could reconsider his options. It is unknown if Easley’s commitment is an indication that Powell is now leaning toward the USC Trojans (his other choice) or if it is mutually exclusive.
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.
1 » Four-star offensive tackle Morgan Moses (Fork Union, VA) has narrowed his college choices down to the Florida Gators and Virginia Cavaliers, according to JC Shurburtt of ESPN. A prep school standout, Moses has been committed to Virginia for some time but decided to open up his recruitment after head coach Al Groh was fired. He visited Gainesville, FL, this past weekend and came away impressed with what the experience. Moses will announce his decision within the next week and could be a monster get for the Gators.
2 » Solomon Patton, a three-star wide receiver commit from Mobile, AL, speaks with The Birmingham News about his commitment to Florida and his plan to enroll early for the spring semester in January.
Extra Bit » Former five-star Notre Dame Fighting Irish defensive end commit Chris Martin has given his pledge to the California Golden Bears. Though Martin’s choice was thought to be between the Gators and the Oklahoma Sooners, his decision to commit to Cal came after a recent visit and some encouragement by his parents.
From time to time, OGGOA will come across too many news items we want to share with our readers. In those instances, we present a special post: Gator Bites. Enjoy.
- Reports were released early Sunday that Florida Gators head coach Urban Meyer was hospitalized late Saturday night with chest pains. However, Meyer actually checked himself into Shands hospital in Gainesville, FL, early Sunday morning. He was treated and released for dehydration. The Orlando Sentinel reports that Meyer “worked late recruiting Saturday night after the Southeastern Conference Championship game loss to Alabama, which may have contributed to his dehydration.” ESPN has the story:
- Four-star linebacker Jeff Luc (Port St. Lucie, FL), a recruit who was highly coveted by the Gators, committed to the Florida State Seminoles on Saturday according to Aaron Shepard, one of his high school coaches. “He said he’s been a fan since he’s been a little kid and it just felt like home since he went up there this weekend,” Shepard told The Orlando Sentinel on Sunday.
- Defensive coordinator Charlie Strong told reporters on Saturday that he has not yet spoken to the Louisville Cardinals and had no planned meeting with the school on Sunday. Sunday morning, the Cardinals spoke with Florida athletic director Jeremy Foley and received permission to speak with Strong about the job opening. According to ESPN’s Joe Schad on twitter, Strong and Louisville AD Tom Jurich have plans to meet Sunday night in Gainesville, FL.
- The Gators will likely face the Cincinnati Bearcats in the Sugar Bowl. Meyer played defensive back for the Bearcats from 1983-1986.
- Former Alabama Crimson Tide running back Shaun Alexander, a close friend of senior quarterback Tim Tebow for some time, was seen consoling him late after the game in the Georgia Dome.
– Prior to the Miami Dolphins game on Sunday, former middle linebacker Channing Crowder ran out of the tunnel and gave a huge Gator Chomp to the crowd (which received a surprising ovation). Crowder was responsible for the game-clinching interception with 0:35 left in the fourth quarter as the Dolphins defeated the New England Patriots.
- Also a huge day for former Florida wide receiver Louis Murphy with the Oakland Raiders. Murphy caught four balls for 128 yards and two fourth quarter touchdowns against the Pittsburgh Steelers to give his team a 27-24 win.
- Competing in the 2010 Under Armour All-American Game are the following Florida commitments: Joshua Shaw (CB; Palmdale, CA), Jonathan Dowling (S; Southeast, FL), Demar Dorsey (S; Boyd Anderson, FL), Solomon Patton (WR; Murphy, AL), Leon Orr (DT; Gulf, FL), Mack Brown (RB; Martin Luther King, GA), Ian Silberman (OT; Fleming Island, FL). These recruiting prospects (among others) will also be playing in the game: Chris Dunkley (WR; Pahokee, FL), Kadron Boone (WR; Trinity Catholic, FL), Lamarcus Joyner (CB; St. Thomas Aquinas, FL), Cody Riggs (CB; St. Thomas Aquinas, FL), Chaz Green (OT; Tampa Catholic, FL), Devin Gardner (QB; Inkster, MI), Eric Mack (OG; Calhoun County, SC). For the star ratings of the Gators commits found in this list, visit OGGOA‘s recruiting page.
OGGOA will continue to update you with news throughout the day, so stay tuned.
While No. 1 Florida Gators football prepares to close out its regular season against the in-state rival Florida State Seminoles on Saturday, three other UF teams want to set the stage for a week of Gators domination. It begins Tuesday night at 5 p.m., when the swimming & diving teams square off against FSU in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center Natorium. The day’s events do not stop there as Florida basketball (3-0) takes on Florida State (3-0) immediately after the swimming & diving match-up at 7 p.m.
The 61st meeting between the two teams, Florida leads the all-time series 38-22 though Florida State has won three straight and four of the last five meetings. FSU won 57-55 last year in Tallahassee, FL with now-senior forward Ryan Reid scoring 13 points. Reid now has a chance to become the first Seminoles basketball player in school history to beat the Gators four straight times. “That would be a good thing,” Reid said. “But it’s just another opportunity to play basketball and also get a good win on the road. I’m not really trying to get caught up in beating them four years in row. We’re just going to try to go hard.”
In order to pull out a much needed victory against FSU, Florida must play physical. The Seminoles bring one of the biggest frontcourts in the nation into the O’Dome, led by center Solomon Patton (7’1” 251 lbs.). “They are probably going to be one of the biggest and longest teams we will have played against,” head coach Billy Donovan said. “We have some guys who can hopefully match up. We don’t have anybody the size of those guys or the length of those guys, but neither do most teams in the country so it’s not like we’re drastically undersized playing against them.”
For Florida State, the key will be scoring on the gators defense, which has carried it to three straight wins so far this season. Florida is holding its opponents to just 51.0 points per game and held its first two opponents under 50 points for the first time since the 1949-50 season. The Gators finished 18-2 at home last season and are 72-8 in the House of Horrors over the past five years. This is good for second in the nation behind the Memphis Tigers (77 wins).
The Seminoles return three starters from last year’s team that advanced to the first round of the NCAA Tournament. FSU head coach Leonard Hamilton was named ACC Coach of the Year and has a chance to improve his team to 4-0 on the 2009 season.
Junior forwards Alex Tyus (sprained ankle) and Chandler Parsons (hip flexor) are expected to play Tuesday night, though Donovan said Parsons does have a chance of being held out on a game-time decision. Parsons has been the spark the Gators needed off the bench this season, averaging 14.3 points and a team-high 8.3 rebounds.
1 » Prior to the season, one of the biggest stories was the Florida Gators potentially using cornerback Joe Haden at quarterback in a Wildcat-like formation. While UF’s ability and lack of fear to use the Wildcat with wide receiver Percy Harvin last season was well documented, I held (and hold) the opinion that Haden plays extensively enough on defense and special teams – that using him on offense as well would be overkill.
While talk about Haden’s role in the formation seems to have died down, usage of the Wildcat as a whole has not. Head coach Urban Meyer said Monday that tight end Aaron Hernandez, running back Jeff Demps and wide receiver Brandon James could all get direct snaps against No. 4 LSU Tigers. While an occasional direct snap may be called, I see this as more of a diversionary tactic to get LSU thinking about more than just “Tim Tebow or John Brantley” but rather “Tebow, Brantley or the Wildcat.”
2 » In an effort to gain prestige within the state of Florida, the USF Bulls have marketed themselves as one of the “Big 4″ along with the Florida Gators, Miami Hurricanes and Florida State Seminoles. This new billboard, located at I-275 near I-4 has, to his credit, drawn the ire of Bulls head coach Jim Leavitt. “I had nothing to do with (the billboard), I don’t know how it got up, and I don’t know who put it up,” Leavitt said Tuesday. “We have not won national championships, and we have not won conference championships. What gives us the right to sit there all of a sudden like we’ve won all these championships and done all this stuff?” Looks like the USF marketing department should have checked with Leavitt first.