Florida sees four players decommit in 10 days

Four times in the last 10 days, a 2015 prospect previously committed to the Florida Gators has changed course and taken back his verbal pledge.

On Monday, less than 24 hours after three-star athlete Jalen Julius (Orlando, FL) reopened his recruitment, Florida learned that its second-highest rated pledge, four-star cornerback Marcus Lewis (Washington, D.C.) has decided to decommit as well.

“I am officially announcing my decommitment from the University of Florida. I am grateful for the opportunity the university granted me,” Lewis wrote on his Twitter account.

According to InsidetheGators.com‘s Blake Alderman and many other recruiting analysts, Lewis’s decommitment was a “long time coming.” He visited Michigan over the weekend and is expected to eventually make a pledge to continue his career there.

Rated by Rivals as the No. 84 overall player in the nation, Lewis committed to the Gators back on April 17. He cited Florida’s ability to put defensive backs in the NFL and the program’s recent addition of freshman cornerback Jalen Tabor, also a Washington, D.C. product, as big reasons for his decision.

Julius pulled his trigger on Sunday. The Gators were recruiting him as a cornerback, though as he mentioned on Twitter back on July 15: “I want to play [wide receiver] at the next level I feel like I would be a dominant player at that position.”

Three days prior to his decommitment, on Thursday, Julius tweeted that he could not wait to arrive in Gainesville, Florida, to participate in the annual Friday Night Lights camp.

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TWO BITS: Spikes, Kitchens; Payton decommits

1 » A pair of former Florida Gators linebackers currently playing for the Buffalo BillsBrandon Spikes and Darrin Kitchens – were taken off the field on Monday. According to NFL Network reporter Albert Beer, Spikes’s hip had been bothering him and he retreated to the trainer’s tent shortly after colliding with another player. However, later reports noted that it was not Spikes’s hip that had acted up but rather he was being treated for dehydration. Moments later, Kitchens was carted off the field with what Buffalo News reporter Jay Skurski termed as “an apparent left leg injury” suffered “during special teams work.” Spikes is on an incentive-laden one-year, $3.25 million contract with the Bills, while Kitchens is attempting to make the team after not being selected in the 2014 NFL Draft. Kitchens signed a three-year, $1.53 million contract with Buffalo and is set to earn $420,000 this season.

2 » For the second time in the last three days, the Gators have lost a 2015 commitment. Three-star wide receiver Tristan Payton (Jacksonville, FL) announced Monday on Twitter that he is no longer committed to Florida after originally pledging to join the team on Feb. 24. An underrated prospect who jumped on UF’s offer after he received it while attending Junior Day at the school, Payton is now believed to be heavily leaning towards USC after recently visiting the program. The Gators now have just eight players committed for the 2015 cycle.

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Gators add commitment in 2015 WR Derrick Dillon

Still in need of playmakers, the Florida Gators added an underrated yet extremely talented prospect on Friday when the program gained a commitment from 2015 athlete Derrick Dillon (Franklinton, Louisiana).

A three-star prospect according to Rivals, Dillon (5-foot-11, 175 pounds) is rated as a four-star recruit by ESPN, which lists him as the No. 145 overall player in the nation.

He projects as a dynamic slot wide receiver in college but plays both ways for Pine High School, seeing time at quarterback and in the defensive backfield.

Dillon, who was recruited by Louisiana native and Gators tight ends coach Derek Lewis, chose Florida over a variety of quality offers from schools like Florida State, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Texas A&M and UCLA, among others.

UF offered Dillon on Jan. 9 and saw him pay unofficial visits to the campus in both March and April for the 2014 Orange & Blue Debut.

He is the eighth player to commit to the Gators for 2015, joining three-star Tristan Payton (Jacksonville, Florida) as UF’s second wideout. Florida and three-star WR Deondre Farrier, who gave a pledge to the Gators on Feb. 21, have parted ways.

Dillon’s decision was first reported by InsidetheGators.com‘s Blake Alderman.

CommitmentPos.RivalsESPNOverall
» Cleveland, OH | Story
» Height: 6'1" | Weight: 206 lbs.
» Commitment Date: 7/11/2014
LB36 | 68
» Cincinnati, OH | Story
» Height: 6'6" | Weight: 264 lbs.
» Commitment Date: 7/25/14
OL172 | NR
» Moreno Valley, CA | Story
» Height: 6'2" | Weight: 189 lbs.
» Commitment Date: 6/8/2014
QB250 | 216
» Lawrenceville, GA | Story
» Height: 6'3" | Weight: 219 lbs.
» Commitment Date: 8/1/2014
LBNR | 63
» Jacksonville, FL | Story
» Height: 6'5" | Weight: 270 lbs.
» Commitment Date: 2/22/14
OTNR | 107
» Franklinton, LA | Story
» Height: 5'11" | Weight: 175 lbs.
» Commitment Date: 5/30/14
WRNR | 145
» Atlanta, GA | Story
» Height: 6'4" | Weight: 320 lbs.
» Commitment Date: 7/31/14
O/DLNR | 246
» Warner Robbins, GA | Story
» Height: 6'3" | Weight: 332 lbs.
» Commitment Date: 8/13/2014
OLNR
» Tallahassee, FL | Story
» Height: 6'4" | Weight: 220 lbs.
» Commitment Date: 2/26/14
TENR
» Dade City, FL | Story
» Height: 6'3" | Weight: 285 lbs.
» Commitment Date: 5/29/14
DTNR
» Neptune Beach, FL | Story
» Height: 6'4" | Weight: 198 lbs.
» Commitment Date: 7/29/2014
WRNR

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Gators add CB/ATH Jalen Julius to 2015 class

The Florida Gators on Wednesday added their third defensive back pledge of the 2015 recruiting cycle, gaining a verbal commitment from a fast-rising local product in speedy athlete Jalen Julius (Orlando, Florida).

Unranked and unrated by Rivals.com, Julius was offered by the Gators on March 23 and took just over one month to come to his decision, telling recruiting analyst Blake Alderman that he chose UF over Auburn, Ohio State and Tennessee after he and his family came to a unanimous decision.

“Florida has a great environment. My aunt knows Coach T-Rob [Travaris Robinson] on the staff and my mom likes Florida and then I like Florida,” he told Alderman at InsidetheGators.com ($). “I think the team has good chemistry and the coaches are easy going. It’s a good place for me because my connections with them.”

Primarily an offensive player during his first three years of high school, Julius (5-foot-11, 173 pounds) is considered an athlete and committed to the Gators as a cornerback. He is also a likely candidate for kick and punt returner. [Highlights]

Former Florida CB Keiwan Ratliff is Julius’s 7-on-7 coach and has been training him on the defensive side of the ball.

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Gators add pledge from 2015 TE Camrin Knight

The recruiting hot streak the Florida Gators are on coming out of Junior Day continued on Wednesday with tight end/linebacker Camrin Knight (Tallahassee, FL) choosing to continue his career two hours south of his hometown in Gainesville, FL.

“Committed to the University of Florida Proud to be part of the #GatorNation #Blessed #CHOMPCHOMP,” he wrote on his Twitter account Wednesday night.

A dual-sport athlete who is also a star on the Lincoln High School basketball team, Knight (6-foot-4, 220 lbs.) received a flurry of offers this month with interest coming in from Georgia Tech, Eastern Carolina, Cincinnati and Maryland. He visited Florida for Junior Day last weekend.

Knight, who was recruited by tight ends coach Derek Lewis and offensive coordinator Kurt Roper, has spent most of his high school career playing linebacker but played some tight end as a junior and projects better as a high-upside offensive playmaker.

He is the Gators’ fifth 2015 commitment, all five of which are from the state of Florida. UF has received four of those pledges in the last six days.

Three of Florida’s five commitments – defensive back Deontai Williams (Jacksonville, FL), offensive lineman Tyler Jordan and wide receiver Deondre Farrier (Orlando, FL) – are rated as three-star recruits by Rivals.com. The other two, Knight and WR Tristan Payton (Jacksonville, FL), are unranked as of press time.

As a result, the Gators’ recruiting class is currently ranked 28th by Rivals.com. Florida and Miami are the only two of 15 programs with five or more commitments to have none of those five players ranked higher than a three-star prospect by the recruiting service.

Analysts with a number of recruiting services tell OnlyGators.com that many 2015 prospects are still awaiting evaluation.

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2015 WR prospect Tristan Payton picks Florida

For the third time in the last four days, the Florida Gators have added a prospect to their 2015 recruiting class as unranked wide receiver Tristan Payton (Jacksonville, FL) committed to join the program on Monday.

Payton received his Florida offer when he attended Junior Day in Gainesville, FL on Saturday and made his mind up soon afterwards.

The Jacksonville product from First Coast High School is the third player from his city to commit to the Gators this cycle. He joins three-stars defensive back Deontai Williams (Trinity Christian High School) and offensive lineman Tyler Jordan (Bishop Kenny High School) as Florida pledges.

Payton (6-foot-1, 180 pounds), who was recruited by wide receivers coach Joker Phillips, also had offers from Kentucky and UCF with Auburn, Louisville and Ohio State all reportedly showing interest as well.

Aside from Jordan, who committed on Saturday, the Gators also picked up a pledge from three-star WR Deondre Farrier (Orlando, FL) on Friday. Florida’s 2015 class is now at four players, all local in-state prospects.

Payton’s commitment was first reported by InsidetheGators.com‘s Blake Alderman.

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