Will Muschamp, coaches discuss Florida Gators 2014 signees, recruiting process

National Signing Day LIVE COVERAGE page
2014 Florida signee bios | Gators flip four-star QB Treon Harris from Seminoles, add WR C.J. Worton | Three-star OT Andrew Mike flips to Florida

Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp held a press conference after his coaching staff finished inking its 24-member 2014 recruiting class on National Signing Day. Below are the most notable quotes from that session as well as player evaluations made by other members of the coaching staff.

OPENING STATEMENT

”It’s a great day here at the University of Florida, a lot of hard work put in by our staff. I don’t think people realize the contribution it takes from everybody. It’s a total team effort on campus, professors, our administration, our academic people do a fantastic job. When a young man comes on campus for an official visit, all of the people that have to contribute to make that a special experience, and our people do it the best. Our travel people do an amazing job. All of our pilots, [the media seems] to track pretty well, but they do a phenomenal job. It takes all these moving parts to make things work the right way. So we got a great staff. Our staff did an outstanding job.

“We had a miserable fall, and to have the staff come together – three new coaches in Kurt Roper, Mike Summers and Coleman Hutzler come together and change a little bit, not philosophically, but schematically offensively, adjust some things that we need to do in midstream as far as some of the guys we were recruiting and to put together this class – I’m really proud of that. I don’t know where we ended up as far as any rankings and all. You all know me, I don’t get overly concerned with that.”

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Florida Gators 2014 National Signing Day bios

National Signing Day LIVE COVERAGE page
Will Muschamp breaks down Gators recruiting class | Florida flips four-star QB Treon Harris from FSU, adds WR C.J. Worton | Three-star OT Andrew Mike flips to Gators

Courtesy of the University of Florida‘s University Athletic Association:

EARLY ENROLLEES (9)

Taven Bryan • Defensive lineman
6’5″ • 257 • Casper, WY
PRIOR TO FLORIDA: Unanimously selected as the 2013 Conference Defensive Player of the Year…Named to the All-State First Team on both the defensive line and the offensive line and to the All-Conference First Team on the offensive line as a high school senior…Honored with the 2013 Natrona County Iron Man award…Helped lead Natrona County to a 41-6 record in his final three seasons, including back-to-back state titles in 2012 and 2013…Chose Florida over Colorado, Colorado State, Nebraska, Oregon, Tennessee, Washington, Washington State and Wyoming…Coached by Steve Harshman.

Duke Dawson • Cornerback
5’10″ • 191 • Cross City, FL
PRIOR TO FLORIDA: Named to the Florida Class 1A First-Team All-State defense…Helped Dixie County to a 10-1 record during his senior season…Nominated to play in the 2014 Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl…Finished his high school career with 122 total tackles, 99 solo, and seven interceptions…Made 43 tackles, two interceptions and two forced fumbles as a junior…Chose Florida over Alabama, Florida State, Iowa and Wisconsin.

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Four-star OL David Sharpe commits to Florida

The Florida Gators got a big boost for their offensive line, which will be rebuilt in 2014 following the departures of two seniors, by gaining a long-awaited verbal commitment on Thursday from four-star offensive tackle David Sharpe (Jacksonville, FL).

Sharpe (6-foot-8, 295-pounds) has been a Florida lean for quite some time and was finally able to make his college decision known in his third attempt at an announcement.

His two previous tries were thwarted by his high school for undisclosed regulatory reasons, so Sharpe on Thursday decided to announce his commitment live both on the radio and in person at a local Jacksonville restaurant.

Listed as the 23rd highest rated offensive tackle and 215th overall player by Rivals, the highly-regarded Sharpe ultimately chose UF over Tennessee but also took visits to Clemson, Florida State and Georgia.

ESPN ranks Sharpe much higher than Rivals, also listing him as a four-star prospect but placing him as the No. 18 overall player – and No. 2 offensive tackle – in the nation.

Sharpe commits to the Gators even though the team is currently without an offensive line coach after Will Muschamp fired Tim Davis after the season. Defensive line coach Brad Lawing also played a big role in the player’s recruitment.

“I talked to Coach Muschamp about it and he just told me it was the time and they are great guys but they have to get the offense on board and they just had to be let go,” Sharpe told InsidetheGators.com on Dec. 1.

The fourth offensive lineman to commit to Florida this cycle, Sharpe joins four-star Nolan Kelleher (Mount Pleasant, SC), three-star Dontae Angus (Philadelphia, PA) and three-star fellow local area product Travaris Dorsey (Jacksonville, FL) as the 17th member of the Gators’ 2014 recruiting class.

Check out Florida’s entire 2014 recruiting class in full by clicking here.

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Gators add commit No. 13 in OL Kelleher

One of the top engineering schools in the country and the opportunity to play for a major Southeastern Conference program was enough for three-star offensive lineman Nolan Kelleher (Mount Pleasant, SC), who made up his mind and verbally committed to the Florida Gators on Saturday.

Kelleher (6-foot-6, 303 pounds) chose Florida over Clemson but also had offers from Florida State, Georgia and Tennessee, among others. He also had heavy interest in Stanford but did not receive an official offer from the school.

He is currently rated as a four-star prospect by ESPN and is expected to pick up his fourth star from Rivals when its new rankings are released in nine days.

Currently an offensive tackle for Wando High School, Kelleher will be entering his fourth year as a starter at the position but is expected to move to guard on the collegiate level. He will likely be trained at all five positions while in Gainesville, FL.

Kelleher is the 13th member of the Gators’ 2014 recruiting class and the fourth offensive lineman currently committed to the program joining fellow three-stars Travaris Dorsey (Jacksonville, FL), Benjamin Knox (Deland, FL) and Joseph Paul (New Orleans, LA). Paul and Florida are ultimately expected to split ways, however.

Check out UF’s updated 2014 recruiting class by clicking here.

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Previewing Florida’s 2013 Friday Night Lights

Mixing pomp and circumstance with football drills and relationship building, the Florida Gators use their annual Friday Night Lights camp at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium as both a recruiting tool and means of evaluating some of the best high school football players in the country. The Gators often host top-tier prospects over the FNL weekend but also find diamonds in the rough while coaching up the recruits.

The Swamp will once again filled with some of the top young talent in the nation on July 26, so much so that covering every player that plans to step on the field is a near impossibility. Below are a list of 10 players (in no particular order) to keep an eye on either because of their talent or high level of interest in attending Florida.

DB Adoree’ Jackson (Gardena, CA) –
A two-way player and consensus five-star prospect, Jackson is an incredible talent that can play wide receiver or cornerback on the collegiate level. A high school track star, he desires to play two sports in college and is a big fan of Florida track & field coach Mike Holloway; the interest is more than mutual. Jackson will be visiting the Gators for the first time on Friday but is expected to return in the fall for an official visit. He is ranked as the No. 9 overall prospect in the country by Rivals.

WR Travis Rudolph (West Palm Beach, FL) –
One of Florida’s top pass catching targets, Rudolph once listed the Gators as his leader but is now wide open with Alabama, Ohio State and Oregon (among others) all pushing hard for the Rivals250 prospect. Rudolph is ranked 153rd overall by Rivals and is said to have a great relationship with Florida WR coach Joker Phillips, his primary recruiter.

DB Quincy Wilson (Fort Lauderdale, FL) –
Ranked 150th in the nation by Rivals, Wilson wants to play college football in his home state, and it is widely believed that the Gators are in the lead for his services. He is close with Florida four-star RB pledge Dalvin Cook (Miami, FL) and four-star WR Ermon Lane (Homestead, FL), who is also believed to be a UF lean. Wilson and Lane both plan to make their commitments official in August, but the former could wind up popping for the Gators this weekend. Lane will not be in attendance at FNL.

Read up on seven more players attending Friday Night Lights…after the break!
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Gators snag pledge from 2014 OL Joseph Paul

Head coach Will Muschamp’s efforts to make the Florida Gators stronger in the trenches continued on Tuesday evening as the team accepted a commitment from 2014 offensive lineman Joseph Paul (New Orleans, LA).

The seventh member of the Gators’ 2014 recruiting class, Paul is a 6’4” 340 lbs. behemoth who is enrolled at St. Augustine, the same high school that Florida tight ends coach Derek Lewis attended as a youngster growing up in New Orleans.

Paul was in Gainesville, FL over the weekend for an unofficial visit and met with Lewis, head coach Will Muschamp and offensive line coach Tim Davis during his trip. He had the opportunity to watch Florida’s open spring practice and came away impressed.

He is the third offensive lineman to commit to the Gators for 2014, joining Travaris Dorsey (Jacksonville, FL) and Benjamin Knox (Deland, FL).

Paul chose Florida primarily over Texas (he named the schools co-leaders over the weekend) but also has offers from Florida State and Texas A&M among other schools.

His commitment was first reported by Blake Alderman of InsidetheGators.com ($).

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Florida adds four-star LB Christian Miller for 2014

Four-star linebacker Christian Miller (Columbia, SC), a member of the Rivals100 for the 2014 recruiting cycle, became the third player to commit to the Florida Gators at Junior Day in Gainesville, FL on Saturday.

Miller, who registered 14 sacks during his junior campaign at Spring Valley High School, joined offensive linemen Travaris Dorsey (Jacksonville, FL) and Benjamin Knox (Deland, FL) as the newest members of Florida’s recruiting class. The Gators now have six pledges for 2014 with Miller on board as just the second defensive player.

The son of former South Carolina starter and nine-year NFL veteran LB Corey Miller, he undoubtedly took his father’s advice when making his pledge. The older Miller was coached by new Florida defensive line coach Brad Lawing when both were at USC.

The Gators gained and lost a Rivals100 member on Saturday. Prior to adding Miller (ranked No. 91 overall), Florida lost four-star defensive tackle Travonte Valentine (Palm Bay, FL). The No. 46-ranked prospect decommitted from the Gators in order to open up his recruitment, a move that was expected and certainly not a surprise.

Florida’s other 2014 pledges include four-star quarterback Will Grier (Davidson, NC), four-star wide receiver Ryeshene Bronson (Fort Myers, FL) and four-star cornerback Duke Dawson (Cross City, FL). All three are ranked on the Rivals250 at No. 18, No. 119 and No. 219, respectively.

Miller’s commitment was first reported by ESPN‘s Kipp Adams.

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Dorsey, Knox commit to Florida; Valentine leaves

With National Signing Day now in the books for the 2013 recruiting cycle, the Florida Gators are in the process of hosting a number of 2014 prospects on campus this weekend for the program’s first Junior Day of the season.

Saturday afternoon, the Gators gained a pair of offensive line commitments from guard Travaris Dorsey (Jacksonville, FL) and tackle Benjamin Knox (Deland, FL) and simultaneously lost a pledge from four-star Rivals100 defensive tackle Travonte Valentine (Palm Bay, FL), who did not attend the event.

Dorsey, a long-time Florida lean, pulled the trigger just minutes before Valentine, who has long been considering decommitting from the Gators, announced his decision to reopen his recruitment via his Facebook account. Knox’s high school coach announced his pledge shortly thereafter.

“Decided to [decommit] from Florida need to take a step back and way out my options,” Valentine wrote.

Dorsey and Knox, whose commitments were first reported by InsidetheGators.com’s Blake Alderman, are not currently ranked by Rivals. Dorsey is listed as an ESPN 300 Watch List player while Knox does not have a profile on either recruiting service. Valentine is ranked as the 46th best player in the nation by Rivals.

OGGOA will update this story later. Stay tuned.

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