2014 OT Benjamin Knox decommits from Florida

In a move that seemed to be in the works for months, three-star 2014 offensive tackle Benjamin Knox (Deland, FL) officially announced Tuesday evening that he has decommitted from the Florida Gators.

A three-star prospect according to Rivals who is listed as a four-star player and the No. 269 player in the country by ESPN, Knox originally committed to Florida during the program’s first Junior Day of 2013 on Feb. 16.

“At this very moment I am decommitting,” he told InsidetheGators.com’s Blake Alderman ($) in a text message. “Reason why [is] because I haven’t heard from them in a month.”

Knox is the fifth 2014 prospect to pledge and decommit from the Gators this recruiting cycle and the second who originally committed on Feb. 16. Florida also lost a pledge from four-star linebacker Christian Miller (Columbia, SC), the 58th ranked player in the nation, on May 17.

The other three former commitments no longer a part of UF’s 2014 recruiting class include the program’s first pledge of the cycle – Ryeshene Bronson (Fort Myers, FL) – and a pair of four-star defensive tackles in Anthony Moten (Fort Lauderdale, FL) and Travonte Valentine (Palm Bay, FL).

Knox says Louisville leads for his services. Miller (Alabama), Bronson (South Florida) and Valentine (Miami) have since committed elsewhere while Moten remain undecided.

The Gators are down to 14 commitments for 2014 including seven members of the Rivals250 and nine four-star prospects. Check out the updated class by clicking here.

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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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SIX BITS: Muschamp, Young, Valentine, Tebow

1 » It appears as if Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp and members of his coaching staff recently met with Luther Campbell, the former frontman of 2 Live Crew known as Uncle Luke. Campbell, who has a strong and long-time association with the Miami Hurricanes, is a known pornographer, hosts a Miami radio show, writes a column for the Miami New Times and recently ran for mayor of Miami-Dade County. He is also the defensive coordinator at Miami Northwestern High School.

2 » Could Florida defensive line coach Bryant Young be on his way to the Seattle Seahawks to join defensive coordinator Dan Quinn? It is all speculation at this point, but Seattle did just lose defensive line coach Todd Wash to Jacksonville and Quinn may very well wish to bring Young along for the ride and his first NFL coaching job. The Gators recently hired Brad Lawing as assistant head coach and defensive line coach (with a focus on the defensive ends) rather than promoting Young from assistant defensive line coach (with a focus on defensive tackles) to the full role. Young has received overwhelmingly positive reviews as a coach and recruiter over his two years at Florida. He is not yet signed for 2013 but is on a one-year renewable contract.

Read four more BITS in this post…after the break!
Continue Reading » SIX BITS: Muschamp, Young, Valentine, Tebow

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Four-star 2014 DB Duke Dawson picks Florida

Not all recruitments are filled with back-and-forth battles and down-to-the-wire decisions, which is why it was relatively easy process for long-time lean and four-star 2014 defensive back Duke Dawson (Cross City, FL) to pull the trigger and commit to the Florida Gators on Tuesday.

Just 51 miles west of the University of Florida at Dixie County High School, Dawson sat down in front of family, friends and media and announced his decision to become the fourth member of the Gators’ already stellar 2014 recruiting class.

He chose Florida over Florida State and joins four-stars wide receiver Ryeshene Bronson (Fort Myers, FL), defensive tackle Travonte Valentine (Palm Bay, FL) and quarterback Will Grier (Davidson, NC) as prospects that have already decided to continue their football careers in Gainesville, FL.

Dawson, the cousin of Gators four-star 2013 DB pledge Marcell Harris (Orlando, FL), is the fourth member of the Rivals250 Watch List to commit to Florida. He is widely considered one of the best defensive backs in the 2014 class.

He told InsidetheGators.com‘s Blake Alderman on Monday ($) that the attention paid to him by the coaching staff and the ability to play early on in his career are what had him leaning towards the Gators.

“With Florida, I talk to them all the time. They have showed me love ever since the first time I went to their camp [over the summer], and they have five defensive backs leaving the year before I would come in so there’s opportunity,” he said.

Though his commitment is solid, Dawson will take recruiting visits as he still has a full year until he signs his National Letter of Intent.

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Four-star 2014 QB Will Grier commits to Florida

Florida Gators head coach Will Muschamp and offensive coordinator Brent Pease have made it a priority to sign at least one quarterback in each recruiting class. Forced to accept a fallback option for 2013, the Gators received word Wednesday that the centerpiece of their 2014 class is now in the fold as four-star signal caller Will Grier (Davidson, NC) officially committed to play for Florida.

“I am committed to the university of Florida!! If you ain’t a gator your gator bait!! #Gators #chompchomp #SWAMPLIFE,” he wrote on his personal Twitter account. (He also sent out this picture in a subsequent tweet.)

A dual-threat passer with a powerful arm and 4.8-second speed, Grier is the Gators’ top choice at his position and is seen by the coaching staff as an indispensable piece of its puzzle. He chose Florida over N.C. State, Tennessee and North Carolina, which also made him a top priority.

Grier had an outstanding junior season for Davidson Day High School, completing 78.3 percent of his passes for 5,785 yards and 69 touchdowns with just six interceptions. He also averaged 8.8 yards per carry and racked up 813 yards and eight touchdowns on the ground but did cough up five fumbles.

“He’s a dual-threat and can move, but I think he’s excellent in the pocket and will only need to run when rushed in college,” said Rivals recruiting analyst Mark Farrell of Grier. “He’s comfortable setting up and throwing unlike some other quarterbacks who put up impressive rushing stats in high school.”

In a playoff game against Harrells Christian Academy on Nov. 9, he put together the best game of his career and one of the most dominant high school football performances in history, completing 83.3 percent of his passes for 837 yards and 10 touchdowns and also carrying the ball six times for 45 yards and two more scores.

Though the record-setting yardage mark is unlikely to be recognized statewide or nationally, it did help him win Gatorade High School Football Player of the Year for North Carolina. He also led his high school team to an 11-2 record and a second-straight state championship.

The third member of the Gators’ 2014 class – joining four-star wide receiver Ryeshene Bronson (Fort Myers, FL) and four-star defensive tackle Travonte Valentine (Palm Bay, FL) – Grier will spend the next year recruiting other top offensive playmakers and trying to convince them to join him at Florida.

By the time he suits up for the Gators, Jeff Driskel and Jacoby Brissett will be entering their senior seasons, should either or both remain with the team that long.

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OGGOA Week(end) in Review: July 26-29

Considering so much has gone on over the last few days in regards to the Florida Gators, the OGGOA Week In Review returns for its third edition. (Yes, it is just covering a four-day period, but let’s just all agree to ignore that.) Be sure to check out all of the posts in case you happened to miss a thing or two.

FOOTBALL RECRUITING / FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS
» The day before Friday Night Lights was set to commence, Florida received a commitment from 2013 defensive back Vernon Hargreaves III (Tampa, FL), who vaulted the program five spots from 10th to 5th in the Rivals team recruiting rankings and immediately became the Gators’ highest-rated player of the cycle.

» Florida doubled up on commitments before FNL even began as three-star defensive end Antonio Riles (Lawrenceville, GA) chose UF over Georgia and committed even though he could not make it to campus for the event.

» There were rumblings all week that the Gators would receive a commitment from another highly-rated defensive prospect, but FNL came and went without him announcing his pledge. Four-star DE Jordan Sherit (Tampa, FL) remained in Gainesville, FL on Saturday, however, and made his verbal commitment public.

» Florida received its fourth commitment in as many days on Sunday when 2014 defensive tackle Travonte Valentine (Palm Bay, FL), expected to be one of the top players at his position when recruiting rankings are released for his class, ended his recruitment early and decided that he wanted to play for the Gators, too.

» More rumblings on Sunday indicated that Florida could go five-for-five in commitments and bring in a talented but underrated offensive playmaker on Monday though it remains to be seen if head coach Will Muschamp will give him a commitable offer and the opportunity to join the Gators.

2012 LONDON OLYMPICS
OGGOA has been offering full coverage of the Olympics all event long on this dedicated page, which includes a Gator Nation vs. The World medal count, daily schedule and direct LIVE streaming links to each event as it takes place. Below are some notes in case you have not visited it yet and want a quick refresher.

» Ryan Lochte (United States) won two medals over the weekend including a gold in the Men’s 400 Meter Individual Medley, the fourth such medal of his Olympic career. Lochte also swam the final leg of the Men’s 4×100 Meter Freestyle Relay but got caught from behind over the final 50 meters; the team finished with a silver. He will compete in the Men’s 200 Meter Freestyle finals on Monday afternoon.

» Junior Elizabeth Beisel (United States) took silver in the Women’s 400 Meter Individual Medley, the first Olympic medal of her young career. She nearly won the gold but was bested over the last 150 meters.

» Thirteen other Gators (as well as one incoming freshman) competed in Olympic action over the four-day span though none of them were able to join Lochte and Beisel in bringing home medals as of yet. Striker Abby Wambach was dominant once again in soccer and got a black eye in her match on Saturday, though she scored a goal in retaliation and mocked her assailant during her celebration.

» “Gator Nation” is currently eighth in the Olympic medal standings with one gold and two silver. You can view the full medal breakdown on OGGOA‘s dedicated Olympics page.

FORMER PLAYERS SPEAK OUT
» Florida quarterback Shane Matthews praised Muschamp and the current Gators coaching staff while noting that he was frustrated with the way former head coach Urban Meyer and his staff developed play callers and recruited in his waning years.

» Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah said he definitely had more fun at Florida than QB Tim Tebow did and provided an interesting answer when he was asked how much class he attended during his junior season when he was helping the Gators win the second of their back-to-back basketball national championships.

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DT Valentine is Gators’ second 2014 pledge

Nearly done with their 2013 recruiting class, the Florida Gators received their second 2014 commitment on Sunday when defensive tackle Travonte Valentine (Palm Bay, FL) gave a verbal pledge to head coach Will Muschamp.

Valentine, despite previously being committed to Louisville and more recently having a top three of Alabama, Auburn and Florida according to Rivals’ Chris Nee, decommitted on July 15 and claimed five days later that Florida State was his new leader after spending three days on campus. He quickly changed that stance over the weekend after attending Friday Night Lights in Gainesville, FL.

“ITS OFFICIAL IM A GATOR I FEEL PROUD ABT IT TOOO #CHOMP CHOMP,” Valentine posted on Facebook though he had not yet spoken to Muschamp. Scout.com confirmed minutes later that he got in touch with Muschamp, who accepted his commitment.

Valentine is the second 2014 player to commit to the Gators; wide receiver Ryeshene Bronson (Fort Myers, FL) became the team’s first pledge on June 14. Both are expected to be at least four-star prospects when rankings are released.

He is the fourth high school football player commit to Florida in as many days following in the footsteps of 2013 five-star defensive back Vernon Hargreaves (Tampa, FL) on Thursday, three-star defensive end Antonio Riles (Lawrenceville, GA) on Friday and four-star defensive end Jordan Sherit (Tampa, FL) on Saturday.

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