Gators raid South Florida for trio of four-star commits, add WR Ermon Lane, CB Quincy Wilson

The Florida Gators‘ 2014 recruiting class received an enormous boost on Monday evening when a pair of four-star prospects out of South Florida – wide receiver Ermon Lane (Homestead, FL) and cornerback Quincy Wilson (Fort Lauderdale, FL) – joined a third local product by committing to play college football for the Gators.

Lane (6-foot-2, 172 pounds) and Wilson (6-foot-2, 195 pounds) have been planning to play together in college for quite a while and linked up to announce their collective decision during a radio broadcast on 560 WQAM.

“When Quincy’s dad took us up to Florida for the spring practice, I just felt at home when I stepped on campus, Lane said. “I was looking at the wide receivers, and I just felt like I could go in and compete and play as a true freshman.”

Added Wilson: “I felt the same way too with Loucheiz [Purifoy] and Marcus [Roberson], they’ll probably leave. I felt like I could go in there, make an impact early being that there will only be Vernon Hargreaves and three other commits – J.C. Jackson, Chris Lammons and Duke Dawson. I felt like that was going to be a good opportunity.

Listed as the No. 2 wide receiver in his recruiting class, Lane is considered the 32nd best player in the nation by Rivals and 28th overall by ESPN. Wilson is ranked No. 150 in the Rivals250 and No. 203 in the ESPN 300.

They are UF’s third- and fifth-highest ranked commitments, respectively.

The duo chose Florida over Ohio State and South Carolina, two other schools that also had scholarship offers extended to both players.

Earlier in the day, four-star CB Chris Lammons (Plantation, FL) – a friend of Wilson’s – verbally committed to the Gators live on ESPNU.

“They’ve always been my teammates,” Lammons said of the two players. “I just know we’re going to continue balling.”

Lammons, Lane and Wilson have extended Florida’s 2014 recruiting class to 16 total commitments. The trio gives the Gators five pledges that hail from South Florida, and the quintet comprises nearly one-third of the recruiting class.

RELATED: One down: CB Chris Lammons picks Florida

Four-star running back Dalvin Cook (Miami, FL) committed on April 6, and four-star defensive tackle Khairi Clark (Hollywood, FL) made a verbal promise on June 22.

Gators defensive backs coach Travaris Robinson, a Miami native whose recruiting territory is South Florida, was the primary recruiter for all five players.

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


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Inside the 2013 Gator Women’s Football Clinic

Long-time OnlyGators.com reader Jennifer contacted us last week and offered to share her experience after attending the Florida Gators annual Women’s Football Clinic hosted this year on Saturday night at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Below is her account from the exciting evening (pictures included).

This past weekend, I was able to experience the Gator Women’s Football Clinic for the second time in the last three years. The coaching staff dubbed it “Saturday Night Lights” this year probably because the event was held at night at the Champions Club inside The Swamp rather than during the day like it was when I attended two years ago.

After checking in, we were provided with dinner and then allowed to walk around and take pictures, both inside and outside. We also met with the coaching staff; everyone was there except offensive coordinator Brent Pease.

Some coaches had spots set up for autographs and others were just out and about mingling with the crowd. Even after their big Friday Night Lights event, the coaches were still excited for our night and very personable.

We got a chance to speak briefly with [wide receivers coach] Joker Phillips, and he seems like a great new addition for the program.

Offensive line coach Tim Davis became my favorite after we got the chance to interact with him. He was the most engaging when talking with us and was a very funny guy. He kept referencing his “mass kicks ass” tagline.

One thing a bunch of the coaches were having a good time joking around about was the insane line to meet with [coaching intern] Chris Leak. Until [head coach] Will Muschamp came out, Chris was the most popular among the women there. True to form, Chris was incredibly humble and expressed his excitement and appreciation for this opportunity to start his coaching career. He took time to speak with each person that came up to him, and it was awesome to have to chance to be able to meet this Florida football legend.

Read the rest of Jennifer’s story including some interesting details and cool pictures from the event…after the break!
Continue Reading » Inside the 2013 Gator Women’s Football Clinic

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6 BITS: Speights, Hernandez, Calathes, Robinson

1 » Former Florida Gators center Marreese Speights declined his 2013-14 player option with the Cleveland Cavaliers and will test free agency, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. Speights, who would have earned $4.515 million from the Cavaliers had he exercised his option, will likely join his fourth team in six NBA seasons unless he is signed by Cleveland, Memphis or Philadelphia, which selected him with the No. 16 overall pick in the first round of the 2013 NBA Draft. Speights was traded on Jan. 22 to the Cavaliers where he averaged 10.2 points and 5.1 rebounds per game while shooting 45.7 percent from the field.

2 » The prosecution in the State of Massachusetts’ case against former New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez is now of the belief that all three men involved in the murder of 27-year-old Odin Lloyd are now in custody, Bristol County District Attorney Sam Sutter said in a statement. Ernest Wallace, 41, turned himself into Miramar, FL, police on Friday after seeing his name on the news. Investigators are now focused on finding the murder weapon as they continue to piece together a case that is based on Hernandez being the lone shooter.

RELATED: Aaron Hernandez charged with first degree murder

Check out four more Florida Gators news BITS…after the break!
Continue Reading » 6 BITS: Speights, Hernandez, Calathes, Robinson

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Four-star DT Khairi Clark pulls trigger for Gators

Continuing to make an impact in the South Florida recruiting scene, the Florida Gators on Saturday landed one of the top 2014 defensive tackles in the country when four-star Khairi Clark (Hollywood, FL) verbally committed to the program.

According to InsidetheGators.com’s Blake Alderman, Clark’s pledge was not expected by the Gators’ coaching staff. He first announced his commitment on Twitter.

“Just committed to the University of Florida!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” he wrote.

Ranked by Rivals as the No. 139 overall player in his class, Clark chose Florida over Miami but was also offered by Alabama.

Clark (6-foot-2, 325-pounds) had not visited Gainesville, FL, until he came to town for the Gators’ final spring practice but obviously left impressed.

Defensive backs coach Travaris Robinson and defensive line coach Brad Lawing were both instrumental in his recruitment, according to ITG.

The Gators’ third-highest rated pledge and 11th commitment overall, Clark is joined along the defensive line by four-star DT Anthony Moten (Fort Lauderdale, FL) and three-star defensive end Taven Bryan (Casper, WY).

He is also listed as a four-star prospect (No. 147 overall) by ESPN but is considered a five-star player by Scout.

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15 Gator Bites for Friday, June 21

From time to time, OGGOA will come across a plethora of news and notes that we wish to share – too much to fit into one of our truncated BITS segments. When stories like these fall through the cracks, we catch and wrap them all up with Gator Bites.

» Texas Rangers catcher A.J. Pierzynski, a die-hard Florida Gators fan, does the Gator Chomp after hitting a double off St. Louis Cardinals left-handed pitcher Randy Choate, a former Florida State player, on Friday night. [Special thanks to OGGOA reader Mitchell M. for sending this in.]

» Sports Illustrated soccer columnist Grant Wahl penned a terrific column on former Florida striker Abby Wambach, who passed Mia Hamm and set a new career international goals record on Thursday.

» A total of 21 Gators (10 former and 11 current) are presently in Des Moines, IA, competing in the 2013 USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships and USA Junior Outdoor Track & Field Championships. Athletes participating in the event from June 19-23 have the opportunity to qualify for the 2013 IAAF World Outdoor Championships in Moscow, Russia from Aug. 10-18.

Omar Craddock and Will Claye became the first two Florida representatives to qualify on Thursday when they finished one-two in the men’s triple jump. Craddock took the American title with a mark of 17.15m/56-4.25, while Claye finished second with a 17.04m/55-11 jump. Also advancing to Moscow was Ugonna Ndu, who participated at the All-Nigeria Athletics Championships, winning the 100-meter hurdles in 13.4 seconds. Numerous other Gators advanced in their respective disciplines, and OGGOA will provide updates as each event finishes.

» Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal, still sidelined with a stress fracture in his right fibula, is finally expected to return to the court in just over a week. According to the Washington Post, Beal will likely be cleared by doctors on July 1, three months after his injury was initially diagnosed. The Wizards were originally hoping Beal would be able to participate in the NBA Summer League games, but it is unlikely that the team takes the risk of putting him into action so soon after he returns from injury. It is more likely that Beal will next play meaningful basketball alongside Houston Rockets forward Chandler Parsons during 2013 USA Basketball Men’s National Team Mini-Camp from July 22-25 in Las Vegas, NV.

Check out 11 more bites of Florida Gators news…after the break!

Continue Reading » 15 Gator Bites for Friday, June 21

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Four-star RB Dalvin Cook flips to Florida Gators

The Florida Gators football program has now flipped two offensive commitments from the Clemson Tigers in the last four months after learning Saturday following its final spring practice that four-star 2014 running back Dalvin Cook (Miami, FL) has changed his mind and decided to play college football in Gainesville, FL.

The No. 22 player in the nation originally committed the Tigers on June 13, 2012, but has long had interest in playing for the Gators. Cook visited Florida one week ago and spent two days in Gainesville. He decided to return on Saturday for the 2013 Orange & Blue Debut and made his intentions known that evening.

“It was really great up there and I had a blast,” he told Rivals last week.

Defensive backs coach Travaris Robinson is Cook’s main recruiter and has apparently showed him a great time on consecutive visits. Head coach Will Muscahmp has also been gung-ho on signing the playmaker.

Cook called himself “solid” to Clemson one week ago but is now fully invested at Florida. He also has offers from Alabama, Florida State and Miami, among others.

He is the ninth member of the Gators’ 2014 recruiting class and the team’s second-highest rated player behind four-star quarterback Will Grier (Davidson, NC). Florida now has six Rivals250 pledges as well as five total on the offensive side of the ball and six from the state of Florida.

Cook’s flip was first reported by FOX Sports‘ Amy Campbell.

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Josh Evans – Path to the 2013 NFL Draft: Pro Day

Through the 2013 NFL Draft from April 25-27, Florida Gators safety and 2012 leading tackler Josh Evans will be keeping fans up-to-date on his Path to the Draft via a weekly blog entry exclusively here at OGGOA.

Evans’s fifth entry covers his second return to Gainesville, FL during the offseason, the Pro Day workout on Tuesday and what his plans are for the next three weeks as he continues to workout and meet with teams.

I came back up to Gainesville late last week and the first thing I did was settle in to my place and meet up with a massage therapist to get my hamstring rubbed down. It’s just a strain. It’s something I felt during the combine. It’s kind of nagging, but it feels alright. Once I get to top speed, it is sometimes hard to maintain without it giving out. But I’m feeling better each day and we have a phenomenal training staff here at Florida so I know they’ll get me back to 100 percent in no time.

Over the weekend I also worked out a bit, did a few starts and warmed up, nothing too big because the Pro Day was in a couple of days. So I basically just worked on my flexibility and made sure I was good to go. I also met with San Francisco on Monday and had a great talk with them.

A lot of people noticed how I now have a yellow stripe in my hair. I got that done two days ago just to do something a bit different. I don’t plan to have it long, but I wanted to have it for Pro Day because I figured it would definitely help me stand out on the field.

As far as Pro Day goes, I was pretty comfortable the whole time. Any time you come back to your home field, The Swamp, there’s always that comfort you have being around your teammates and seeing the coaching staff you’ve dealt with for the last few years. I did not feel nervous; however, you still want to go out there and perform well in front of the head coaches, general managers and scouts. It was a pretty good day to get out there and run around, and I felt like all went well.

We were all concerned a bit when we first got out there saw it was raining because you don’t want to run on a wet field if you can help it. We try not to use excuses of course, but to be honest, the field was wet. The balls were even wet sometimes. We managed to overcome the obstacle and all performed well.

Continue Reading » Josh Evans – Path to the 2013 NFL Draft: Pro Day

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Muschamp, Durkin discuss Florida Gators defense

With the Florida Gators set to begin 2013 spring practice on Wednesday, head coach Will Muschamp and new defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin met with the media Tuesday to discuss a variety of topics concerning the team’s defense.

RELATED: Spring depth chart released | Muschamp, Pease on offense

A NEW MAN IN CHARGE…

Durkin will be entering his fourth year as a member of the Gators’ coaching staff but will begin the 2013 season with a brand new task – coordinating a defense. After spending his career as a position coach and special teams coordinator, Durkin is now the man in charge of Florida’s defense and realizes he has plenty of work ahead of him.

» Durkin on becoming the defensive coordinator: “I’m very excited, excited because of the guys I get to work with both players and coaches. I think it’s a great opportunity. I’m very excited about it. It’s a new challenge. I’ve been doing special teams for a while, so any time you do something for that long, you kind of get in your routine and get to the normalcies of it and all that. It’s exciting for me to have a new challenge and some different things to work on and do.”

» Durkin on his defensive philosophy: “The number one thing that it comes down to is, and I think you’ve seen the identity of our defense, what we as a staff want to build here. We want to be tough, blue-collar team. We want to play with unbelievable effort and enthusiasm in what we’re doing. That’s the way I coach. That’s my personality. That’s what I hope I’ve carried over to our special teams while I’m here and it will be the same thing with our defense. We got a great system in place. We’re not changing terminology and all that. Coach Muschamp, it’s his system and he’s a great defensive mind. It’s been great for all of us to learn that system. To me, that is what this game is all about, being a blue-collar team, both mentally and physically tough, playing with great enthusiasm and great attitude. “

Continue Reading » Muschamp, Durkin discuss Florida Gators defense

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