Category:NCAAF
Posted on: March 25, 2010 1:41 pm
 

Urban Meyer Stands Up For His Team

Written by James Brown, Co-Founder of Gatorsfirst.com

The big story from spring practice is that Urban Meyer went off on the Orlando Sentinel's Jeremy Fowler.  We had the story here , but this thing has become such a sensation, nationally, I decided to chime in with a full blog.

Big surprise here that media folk have been blasting Meyer for this.

As a fan, student, alum, player, coach, etc. don't you want your head coach to stand up for players, and to prevent any sort of perceived locker room rifts?

Considering I've lived in Dallas for a while now, I've seen this happen with the Cowboys (esp. during the TO era) when the media runs with a new story about TO v. a QB every week.

Meyer is absolutely right to eliminate distractions like this (the focus is now on him, not on Thompson) and to de-emphasize any sort of Brantley v. Tebow comparisons.

Sure, Brantley might throw a better ball, have mechanics even Todd McShay could love, etc. etc.... but he's going to lose in most comparisons to Tebow.  Anyone would.  I expect Meyer will discourage any and all storylines regarding said comparisons.

So really, there are two reasons I think he is completely justified in blasting a reporter who's trying to drum up a story in the offseason.  It's a long way to August, and on a much smaller scale G1 will go through the same thing.  There's less news with less games, and if you're in a situation where you have to publish something every day (newspaper) you have to find stories where you can.  As a website, we run all the latest (up to the second) Gator news here , but we're not going to force any sort of storyline in our original content.  We're trying to give you something entertaining, an original take, and an honest reaction to read with our content- I don't ever want to be in a position where I turn something into a bigger story than it should be.  But then, I'm not a journalist, and don't pretend to be.  I'm an engineer.

It has come out that Thompson was embarassed by the way he was quoted- it may be verbatim, but it doesn't mean Deonte really thought through how it sounded- and that there was no ill will here.

The best thing about Urban as a HC- what has made him so successful everywhere he's been- is his complete control over every aspect of his program.  This may seem like a small thing, but he has a history of really emphasizing these things that most coaches ignore- or at least don't react strongly toward.  He talks about special teams, about field position, about turnovers- things that seem like common sense- but things that less successful coaches don't emphasize.  I want a coach who is taking every slight against his team seriously, not one who wants to be friends with the media.

Jeremy Fowler- he made an example out of you.  Be glad, it got you some national recognition in media circles.  But we all can see the way he attacked your weak response 'all I was doing was quoting the guy'... you took the quote and ran it into a whole story.  Do you really expect us to buy your naivete?  That you didn't write the story with the hopes of it blowing up into a national story? Hey, we're all just trying to get page hits, reads, etc.  But you did so by spinning something negative.  Urban knows it, and you know it.  That's why he came after you.  You certainly seem to stand up for your story here .  Do so when Meyer confronts you, don't try to play it off as just 'quoting the guy'.  From the video , Meyer made the leap to calling you a 'bad guy' when you try to weasel out of responsibility for your story.

Back to my main point: don't you want Urban Meyer to squash any sort of controversy (perceived or real) within the locker room immediately?  And if he sees the cause of that turmoil as an external influence, he can and should cut it off.  Because if this story snow balled, and somehow affected our win-loss total next year, we're all going to be looking at Urban Meyer, his staff, and his players for answers- not Mr. Fowler.

You can read the original article here: http://gatorsfirst.com/index.php/fl
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Posted on: February 7, 2010 5:04 pm
 

Gators First Weekly Notes, Feb 7 2010

Written by James Brown, Co-Founder of Gatorsfirst.com

Of course you can always visit Gators First for up-to-the-second Gator coverage right here .

But I'm going to use this space each week to recap some of the more important stories, and give my take.  I'd hate for the less internet-nerdy of our Gator fans to miss out on the entire week's stories because we covered something when it happened, and moved on to something new before you people with busy lives even heard the latest Gator news.

I'll also throw in some other odds and ends that don't belong in other blogs.

The Gator Nation's Past Week

The baby Gators are #1: Florida took home the nation's consensus #1 recruiting class .  They have their work cut out for them to be considered, results-wise, among what I'd call the top two classes in Florida football history: the 1993 class  (4 consecutive SEC Titles, 1 National Title) and the 2006 class (2 SEC titles, 3 division titles, 2 BCS Titles). The good news is that so many of them are already on campus, and we have the program depth to work in this embarrassment of riches over the next couple years, rather than forcing some of these guys into SEC action before they are properly groomed.  It all rests on the health of Johnny Brantley.

Two big wins for Billy Donovan's bunch.  Winning that game at Alabama on Thursday night took toughness, and holding on yesterday was also huge for us.  Jarvis Varnado and Mississippi State have been a tough match for us the last couple of seasons, and winning like that- with Vernon Macklin coming alive as an impact player- could mean great things for this team down the stretch.

George Edwards, nice knowing you .  The recently hired Florida Gators Co-Defensive Coordinator (hired for Charlie Strong in early January, after the bowl game) bolted the day after signing day to take the Buffalo Bills' vacant defensive coordinator job.  He had little to no impact on recruiting, so one can't point to anything fishy with the timing.  And taking an NFL Coordinator position is better than being a college position coach and co-coordinator, no matter how you look at it.  Look for Chuck Heater, the co-coordinator, to resume exclusive duties this late in the offseason coaching shuffle, and for Urban (er, Steve Addazio?) to poach and up-and-coming youngster as a position coach, rather than a big-name hire.

Jeff Demps, welcome back.  In his first track meet of the spring , he with the explosives, showed no ill effects from his injury suffered in the Sugar Bowl in coming with .04 seconds of automatically qualifying to run for the NCAA Championships later this season.  This is fantastic news for a first-time starting QB in the SEC, and no doubt Johnny Brantley must be smiling somewhere.

The Gator Nation's Week to Come

The Gator basketball team has a huge week ahead, as they are squarely competing with Devan Downey and the Gamecocks for not only 4th place in the SEC East, but likely an NCAA Tournament bid.  They travel to Columbia, SC to take on Downey and his backup singers on Wednesday night (8 ET, SEC Network).  Then on Saturday night they have a rare February non-conference matchup with fellow bubble team Xavier (6 ET, ESPN).  One would probably expect them to go 1-1, but going 2-0 this week would be a boon for this team's rising NCAA hopes.

For tonight's Super Bowl , I can't pick against the Colts.  They've won every game they tried to win this year.  They have a better defense- with or without Dwight Freeney.  And Bobby McCray by himself can't continue the Gators' dominance over Peyton Manning, right?

Speaking of the Super Bowl, we will finally get to see Tim Tebow's Super Bowl Ad tonight.  Regardless of whether you agree with him or not, he and his backer have a right to pay CBS to put whatever message they want on TV during this game.  Instead of everyone focusing on his stance, shouldn't we instead be talking about how refreshing it is to hear an athlete outspoken about something other than 'feeding his family ' or his own image?  If CBS' intent was to do anything but fill their ad slots (did they reject an ad by another athlete with a conflicting opinion? Doubtful, as no other current athletes come to mind who are so willing to stand for something), especially in a year when companies such as Pepsi have opted out of paying for the expensive ad space, then there is an ethical problem.  Otherwise, viewers of the ad should be intelligent enough to make their own decisions on the abortion issue regardless of which athlete/celebrity is taking which stance during a football game.

Go Cure Cancer.  Go Gators

I believe strongly that any sort of knowledge means nothing without sharing it with the less knowledgeable.  Each week I'll try to think of quick tidbits I can either learn about or explain from my point of view, to hopefully provoke some thought among the Gator Nation.  I would hope the topics are somewhat interesting to you.  Feel free to leave me feedback below.

In my time at the University of Florida, I worked with the Electrical Engineering Department's International Center for Lightning and Testing, and have always had an interest in physics.  This week's fact comes from something I am often asked when people learn of my educational background.  

Why can't we design a power plant based on harvesting lightning for domestic electrical power?  Often people hear of the enormous power levels contained in a lightning strike, but the time in which this power is delivered is so short, that the energy delivered by a strike isn't nearly as impressive  (on the order of billions of Joules, levels that per strike would power 5 100 W light bulbs, continuously, for a year).  Additionally, most of this energy (estimated at 99% to 99.99%) is not electrical energy- it's dissipated in the flash that we see, the heat that is generated, and the thunder that we hear, among other things.  Throw in the fact that we have no way of casting a wide enough net to 'capture' a significant number of strikes each year, and any conjecture on using lightning for the world's energy problems is not worth the effort. For more details, see Lightning: Physics and Effects, a text by the University of Florida's own Drs. Vladimir Rakov and Martin Uman.

Gainesville's Own

I think I'm going to use this section to take very random things associated with Gainesville, and use them to give my opinion on something going on in the world, Gator Nation, or other local topics.  Sometimes I may just be sharing a funny local story, or talking about something else specific to the area, and giving a thumbs up or down.  After all, I was born at Shands and went to 18 consecutive seasons of Florida basketball games (season tickets) before graduating and moving to Texas- without these things I wouldn't be here today and there likely wouldn't be a Gators First.

In the past week, I've been playing a Less Than Jake playlist on my iPod while at the gym.  LTJ is a Gainesville band that will always have some meaning to Gainesvillains of my generation- their all-ages shows at now-gone venues such as the Covered Dish came along at the right time in my life, when I was really starting to learn about music outside of whatever was on the radio, my parents played, or was on MTV.  A couple things stick out now when thinking about that time period, which is really not that long ago: (1) the internet didn't exist anywhere close to the way it does today, and definitely wasn't used to experience music now and (2) MTV actually played music videos, as more than filler between reality shows.  You'd get a Bush video followed by Rod Stewart singing in a closet followed by Tupac.  At any rate, I was learning to explore music on different levels- outside of the 'mainstream' sources of the day, and LTJ was the local act my friends and I latched onto.  And this past week, I rediscovered some of their music by creating a playlist for the gym on my iPod...

So I'll give a thumbs up here to Gainesville's Own Less Than Jake.  Go check out their newer albums, if you haven't kept up with them, or go listen to them, period, if you're unfamiliar.  But the best way would be to go experience the energy of a live LTJ show.

You can view the original article here: http://gatorsfirst.com/index.php/fl
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Category: NCAAF
Posted on: January 31, 2010 2:02 pm
Edited on: January 31, 2010 2:06 pm
 

Why Senior Bowl Shouldn't Effect Tebow's Stock

Written by James Brown, Co-Founder of Gatorsfirst.com

I have never and will never understand the NFL talking heads.  They are so sure about their draft analysis, and yet you get guys like Tom Brady- not exactly an under-the-radar prospect, considering he came from Michigan.

Since Tim Tebow has left Florida, the anti-Tebow (as an NFL QB) sentiment has grown louder- and probably will continue to grow louder over the next several years.

Critics point to his mishandling of snaps during Senior Bowl practices, and his elongated delivery.  Let's explore what we really learned from the Senior Bowl, and how it should effect Tim Tebow's NFL Draft Stock.

Here's a small list of some things we knew about Tim Tebow as a quarterback:

  1. Unparalleled leadership skils, work ethic, and "intangibles".
  2. Elongated throwing motion and otherwise non-traditional throwing mechanics.
  3. Inexperience playing under center- meaning footwork and snap-handling needs work.
  4. Inexperience throwing NFL routes, as Florida's (efficient, dominant, pick your word) offensive system is not used in the NFL.

And here's what we know about Tim Tebow as a quarterback after a week of practice at the Senior Bowl, and after the game yesterday:

  1. Work ethic: ESPN's Todd McShay- among others- have suggested that Tebow would have been better served NOT taking this opportunity to work with an NFL snap, and to improve his game.  Anyone who has followed Tebow over the last 4 years knows that this was not an option.  The argument for drafting Tebow has been, and continues to be, that the skills he possesses are things these other quarterbacks will never get, while your projection of Tebow as an NFL washout is a bet against his work ethic.  Put simply: if you're familiar at all with this player, this is not a bet you would make.
  2. Throwing mechanics: My goodness, did you see that throwing motion?  It was long! It was sort of sidearm! It was NO FUCKING SURPRISE as it was exactly what we've seen for the last several years.  At least until you view this video of Tebow throwing in high school.  Some have taken that video and pointed to it as a regression- not an improvement.  I look at it and say it means there is something there for an NFL coach to work with.  If they are worth anything as a coach, and really think the throwing is an issue, is this really all that uncorrectable?  This isn't a diminutive college player that's faced questionable defenses.  This is 240 lbs. of concrete cyanide- plenty of size and mobility to find a way to make either this motion work, or to improve it some but STILL MAKE IT WORK.
  3. Playing under center: Tebow exhibited problems with footwork, etc. playing under center.  He played in the shotgun almost exclusively at Florida.  This was news?  Mike Leach thinks NFL guys ought to be able to teach quarterbacks to run backwards .  He went on to call it "the most pitiful NFL cop-out of all".  As an aside, I need someone smarter than me in regard to this non-innovative NFL offense everyone must be running to explain something: what's the argument against the shotgun?  Look at this play-by-play , Peyton Manning seems to be in the shotgun fairly often- against a "dominating" defense that many of you NFL fans thought would carry the Jets to the Super Bowl.  In fact the (shotgun) designation appears quite often in this play-by-play as well.  And these were the most important games involving (in Minny, Indy, and N'awlins) a few of the best offenses in the No Fun League.  Seriously, what gives?
  4. Inexperience with NFL routes: Again, something we saw this week, which was IN NO WAY UNEXPECTED.  How this could negatively impact a draft stock is beyond me.  I may be a huge Gator homer, but I know Tebow doesn't always hit guys in stride, or is not 100% accurate- though I will stand up for him and note his completion percentages, and the way he has been able to complete ridiculous numbers of passes in a row when locked in.  Anyway, I know this wasn't the best aspect of this game- but I saw improvement in this over his time at Florida!  The Alabama game, when it got away from us early, was in no way his fault.  He was nailing guys in the chest (notably Jeff Demps, on a play I am convinced would have gone for a TD), and otherwise came out on fire.  It seems the rest of the guys weren't up for that huge stage (or, weren't feeling the all-white look.  I still blame the unis.)  And again in the Sugar Bowl, his accuracy- in the NFL tight-window sense, not in the merely completing-the-pass sense- got better.  Something to work with, something we've known, and not something the Senior Bowl should have negatively impacted.

So where does all this leave us in regard to Tim Tebow's NFL Draft Stock, post-Senior Bowl?  Right where it was, pre-Senior Bowl.  If ANYONE who has ever cashed a check evaluating NFL talent saw something from the Senior Bowl they DID NOT ALREADY EXPECT, they should immediately be forced to find a new career.  That sort of ineptitude wouldn't be accepted in a business outside of the sports world, why should the scouts and draft gurus be held to a lower standard?

I am also furious at the NFL, in general, for their disregard of things that work in the college game- until they are adopted and we all get beaten over the head with this "new" offensive philosophy (see: Wildcat (noun) ).... but I'll save that vitriol for another time.  I've touched on it before around these parts.  The reason it's relevant here? I'm also, from a &we're supposed to be running our sports teams as the multi-billion enterprises they are& stand point, angry about the way NFL teams evaluate QBs in general.

I tried to make the central argument here : If your job (being a "franchise QB") is so difficult that only 12-15 guys out of thousands (how many draft-eligible QBs a year, for the last 15 years or so?) can complete this job- and that job is so intimately tied with the success of your team/business... well, you something has to give.  The executives (and coaches) of these teams should be held to a higher standard, and be able to generate a consistent, winning product independent of whether or not they hit the lotto with one of these "few in a decade"-type QBs that fit into their prototype.  Note to NFL guys: if Tim Tebow, the ultimate winner/leader, with the ultimate work ethic, is a square peg in a round hole... well, I'd start making my hole a square.

I tried to make that last point several different ways without leaving you an opening to crack jokes about my hole.  Oh well.

You can find the original article here: http://gatorsfirst.com/index.php/fl
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Category: NCAAF
Posted on: January 30, 2010 2:08 pm
 

Current FSU commit Demar Dorsey's Legal Troubles

Written by James Brown, Co-Founder of Gatorsfirst.com

In the last day, Gatorsfirst recruiting correspondent DK_Thompson has learned of former Gator commit, expected FSU commit Demar Dorsey's legal troubles. The information was first reported on his twitter account here .

You can check them out from an indisputable source <a href="http://www.clerk-17th-flcourts.org/Clerkwebsite/BCCOC2/Pubsearch/case_search_results.aspx?hidSearchType=party_case&txtLastName=dorsey&txtFirstName=demar&txtMiddleInitial=&txtBusinessEntity=&chkAdvSearch=0&cboCourtType=&sbmPublicParty=Submit&user_type=&DisplayCitation=yes&DisplayType=Criminal" target="_blank">here .

Now, I have no idea the specifics of these cases, and am no legal expert. I don't know if they'll all go away, or what.

The reason I think it's noteworthy: I think it's a possible explanation for the way his recruiting went down . When his commitment wavered, he had some curious quotes about not speaking to the UF coaches, etc. It now seems as if the UF coaches backed off, possibly after hearing about this legal situation. Did his commitment waver in the first place because UF coaches had backed off with so many other defensive backs?

No matter how you look at it, it's a different situation than how the coaching staff handled the Matt Elam saga.

You can fid the original post here: http://gatorsfirst.com/index.php/fl
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Posted on: January 28, 2010 7:44 am
 

Dorsey dropped, McFarland no longer a Grey Shirt

Written by Daniel Thompson, Recruiting Guru for Gatorsfirst.com

Michael McFarland is no longer ''gray shirting'' because the Gators have dropped Demar Dorsey and now have the extra room available to include McFarland. As I wrote here, the Gators asked Michael McFarland to gray shirt because the class was filling up quickly and McFarland has a significant amount of work to do and weight to add.

Demar Dorsey

On Wednesday January 27th, it was reported on Gatorbait.net and a few other sources, that the Gators have indeed dropped Demar Dorsey. Demar was considering offers from FSU and USC. He visited FSU on January 23rd and will visit USC on January 29th. Throughout his commitment, he has considered himself:60% committed90-95% commited and most recently 50-50. Furthermore, Demar said in an interview with Gatorbait.net, that he has not heard from the Gators since January 21st.

The Gators most likely dropped Demar to avoid any chance of losing him on National Signing Day -- it was rumored he was going to spurn the Gators on February 3rd, ala Nukeese Richardson and others.

As I stated here, I thought Demar Dorsey would be the only Gator that might not be in the class come February 3.

Michael McFarland

With the loss of Demar Dorsey, Dan McCarney called Michael and said they no longer want Michael to gray shirt and expect to have room for him. McFarland must now work harder to be ready for his June enrollment at the University of Florida, instead of January had he taken the gray shirt.

After being asked the gray shirt, Auburn and two other schools offered Michael McFarland a scholarship with June enrollment. Michael contemplated a visit to Auburn but said that he would sign with the Gators.

I still expect Michael McFarland to redshirt as I stated here.

You can find the original article here: http://gatorsfirst.com/index.php/fl
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t/breaking-news-demar-dorsey-droppe
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Posted on: January 25, 2010 2:10 pm
 

2010 UF TE Commit McFarland agrees to Grey Shirt

Written by Daniel Thompson, Recruiting Guru for Gatorsfirst.com 

Tampa Blake High School TE Michael McFarland (6'6, 230 lbs) has agreed to a gray shirt. McFarland is ranked 24th best TE in the country and the 84th best player in the state of Florida, according to Rivals.com.

A "gray shirt" means that the player who was supposed to enroll in the Summer or Fall, while instead enroll in January of the following year. Further, Michael will count as a 2011 commitment.

There a couple of reasons why Michael may have been asked to gray shirt:

One, as I stated here, Michael is still very raw and would have most likely redshirted. Moreover, he is still quite weak and needs to add some weight to his 6'6 body. So instead of wasting a year in the gym, they gave him a workout plan and asked him to work with a trainer.

Two, the staff expects spots to be filled. The Gators currently have 26 commitments and are expected to take between 28-31 players and the NCAA regulates that only 85 players can be scholarship. Perhaps the staff is preparing for a few more commitments from top prospects around the country.

What this means for the Gators: Desmond Parks and Gerald Christian will be asked to take a lot of reps, which may be a lot to ask for a redshirt freshman and a true freshman. Furthermore, we may see redshirt freshman QB Jordan Reed step on to the field as a tight end. He started practicing with the tight ends at the end of last season and with only two tight ends it may be necessary for him to play.

You can find the original article here: http://gatorsfirst.com/index.php/fl
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Posted on: January 24, 2010 2:28 pm
 

Gators receive surprise 26th Commitment

Written by Daniel Thompson, Recruiting Guru for Gatorsfirst.com

Connecticut QB Tyler Murphy is the Gators newest commitment. Tyler Murphy, who was previously committed to Temple, committed to the Gators over the weekend after an official visit.

Murphy is a 6'2, 190 pound dual-threat QB, who ran a 4.4 forty yard dash and has a 35 inch vertical jump.

Murphy passed for 1,124 yards and nine touchdowns and rushed for 1,1213 yards and 15 touchdowns on 130 carries as a senior.

This may come as a surprise to some Gator fans, but with uncertainty of Trey Burton and some recruiting targets signing with other schools, a spot opened up for Murphy.

Murphy will be the Gators second QB in as many classes from Connecticut (Jordan Reed).

You can read the original article here: http://gatorsfirst.com/index.php/fl
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ise-26th-commitment.html



Posted on: January 23, 2010 10:46 am
 

Analyzing the 2010 Gators Recruiting Class Part 2

Written by Daniel Thompson, Recruiting Guru for Gatorsfirst.com

The 2009 season had its ups and downs, but one thing that stayed pretty fluid, sans the SEC Championship, was the dominance of the Florida Gators defense. The defense had a litany of playmakers in all three sections of the defense. Carlos Dunlap and Jermaine Cunningham dominated the defensive line, Brandon Spikes and Ryan Stamper played great at linebacker and Joe Haden and Major Wright held down the passing attack as premier defensive backs. Unfortunately for Gator fans, all six of these players graduated.

Furthermore, Defensive Coordinator Charlie Strong left to become the Head Coach of Louisville and Cornerbacks Coach Vance Bedford joined Strong at Louisville to become the Defensive Coordinator. The Gators replaced these two losses by hiring former Miami Dolphins LB Coach, George Edwards as Defensive Coordinator, and hired Stanford Linebackers Coach D.J. Durkin to the same position for the Gators and Safeties Coach Chuck Heater had his role expanded to include all defensive backs.

Needless to say, this year will be a significantly different defensively. However, the Gators have great depth and have recruited the consensus number 1 defensive class in the country, so expect the Gators to be just as dominate.

 

DE

Neiron Ball – (6’4, 210 lbs from Jackson, GA) Neiron, who is already enrolled on campus, will need to put on a good amount of weight before the start of the season to even consider playing time. He is a very speedy defensive end (ran a sub 4.6 40-yard dash at Friday Night Lights), but will undoubtedly lose some of that speed as he adds some size. In high school, Neiron had a knack for getting into the back field and the Gator staff hopes he can play a Jermaine Cunningham type role after he grows into his frame. Neiron will be one to look for in two or three years.

Ronald Powell – (6’4, 230 lbs from Moreno Valley, CA) Ronald Powell is one of Urban Meyer’s biggest recruiting coups in his five year tenure with the Gatos. Very seldom does any coach go to California and steal a prospect right out of USC’s backyard. However, Urban Meyer sold Ronald on a family atmosphere, as well as his ability to put defensive lineman in to the NFL. Ronald is tall, strong, fast, agile, smart and has great technique. Furthermore, as we saw in the Army All-American game, he can play Tight End and Linebacker as well. Ronald Powell will be a star and he will play in the 2010 season. Three years from now, Ronald Powell will be considered one of the best Gator defensive linemen ever.

Lynden Trail – (6’7, 220 lbs from Miami, FL) Very simple, Lynden is tall and lanky. You can compare his height to Carlos Dunlap and his weight to Chas Henry. After a season or two, I imagine Lynden will weigh between 245-260 lbs, so I do not imagine you will see him on the field too much before then. Lynden is a very quick Defensive End and will beat a lot of offensive lineman because of that speed. Furthermore, he keeps is eyes on the ball carrier at all times is a very hard worker, that doesn’t give up until the play is officially done. Look out for Lynden in two years or so.

 

DT

Dominique Easley – (6’3, 258 lbs from Staten Island, NY) Dominique Easley was the official end to the horrible month of December for the Gators and a huge January welcome after Easley surprised the world and picked the Florida Gators at the Under Armour All-American game. The defensive MVP for the Under Armour All-Star game is speedy and extremely strong. He has a non-stop motor and knows how to get leverage against offensive lineman. Dominique will be a mainstay on the DL for the next three to four years. Although if we switch to a 3-4 defense he will probably play slightly less than…

Sharrif Floyd – (6’3, 310 lbs from Philadelphia, PA) Sharrif Floyd will play a significant amount of time next season and if the Gators switch to a 3-4 defense will play the nose tackle position. Sharrif has the ability to drive lineman and will need to be double teamed. He is extremely strong, both in the legs and arms, which will allow him to stay low, while keeping balance but pushing the offensive line back towards the quarterback. Floyd will be one of the top defensive tackles in the country by his sophomore year.

Leon Orr – (6’4, 300 lbs from New Port Richey, FL) Leon Orr is currently in Gainesville, but not enrolled for academic reasons. Furthermore, Leon Orr played OL in High School, but projects as a DT in college and as such will be rather raw at the DT position which will be loaded especially with the additions of Floyd and Easley. However, Leon Orr is extremely athletic and extremely quick especially for his size. I would not be surprised to see Leon Orr head back to the offensive line as a guard after a little while simply because of his size and quickness.

 

LB

Gideon Ajagbe – (6’2, 197 lbs from Coconut Grove, FL) Ajagbe is small, very small. He will need to add at least 20 pounds to play the strong side linebacker spot that Urban wants him at. However, he is very speedy and pretty strong for his size. He will be at least a two year project if they keep him at LB, but do not sleep on him as a RS Junior or Senior.

Michael Taylor – (6’1, 205 from Atlanta, GA) Michael Taylor was originally committed to Tennessee, but after the departure of Lane Kiffin, Taylor jumped ship and joined the Gators. Michael Taylor was the Co-Defensive MVP from the Under Armour All American game and was considered one of the biggest surprises of the week. He is quick and plays with good instincts and at the same time, is a tough hitter. Michael will probably redshirt this season, but will be a good one for the Gators as an outside linebacker.

 

DB

Demar Dorsey – (6’1, 175 from Lauderdale Lakes, FL) Demar is a great player, with exceptional speed and great coverage skills. As a junior in High School, he was clocked at 4.25 in the forty and was named by Rivals.com as the fastest player at the Under Armour All-American game. Not only is Dorsey fast, he plays great in coverage and has good field smarts. Demar had a great interception at the Under Armour game and showed that he is always around the ball. Dorsey is one of the only players that I would worry about losing from this recruiting class. He is visiting FSU on the 23<sup>rd</sup> of January and USC on the 29<sup>th</sup> of January. However, if the Gators have a good in-home visit the week before National Signing Day, I expect him to stay with the Gators.

Matt Elam – (6’0, 205 lbs from West Palm Beach, FL) Anybody that even remotely followed recruiting his year is already tired of Matt Elam. Matt Elam was committed to Florida, then decommitted, then committed to FSU, then decommitted and re-committed to Florida in less than a week. Despite all the drama, Elam is worth it. Elam is strong, agile, versatile and relatively quick. I imagine Elam will play special teams this season and play a little safety, but will not start until he is at least a sophomore. One of Elam’s downfalls, however, is his desire to always go for the big hit, somewhat similar to Major Wright.

Jordan Haden – (6’0, 198 lbs from Ft. Washington, MD) Jordan Haden is the brother of All-Pro Joe Haden and was considered at the same age, as more athletic. He is fast, instinctive and has great coverage skills. Furthermore, he runs a 4.41 forty yard dash and is pretty strong for his size. I expect Haden to grow into a linebacker in College as he is the third best Safety in this class alone and has the body build to add 20-30 more pounds. Look forward to another great Haden Gator.

Cody Riggs – (5’9, 156 lbs from Ft. Lauderdale, FL) Along with FSU commit Lamarcus Joyner, Riggs helped St. Thomas Aquinas have one of the top secondary’s in the country. As I am sure you can tell Cody Riggs is very light. He will need to add at least 15 pounds to even fill out his frame. But at the same time, Riggs is extremely fast (4.43 forty) and has great coverage skills, including hip change and good ball skills. He will play on kickoff coverage as he will be tough to block. It will be interesting to see how the added weight will affect his play.

Josh Shaw – (6’1, 195 lbs from Palmdale, CA) Josh was dominate at the Under Armour game and could fight for a starting position this year. Shaw is strong, fast and has great ball skills. Moreover, at 6’1 he is the perfect size for an elite cornerback. Josh Shaw is another great grab for Urban Meyer, as went into California and pulled a recruit from USC. Josh Shaw will play next year and he will be dominate.

Jaylen Watkins – (5’11, 172 lbs from Cape Coral, FL) Jaylen Watkins has good height, great speed and plays very well within the first five yards of the line of scrimmage. However, he is slightly skinny and not very strong. He will need to add about 15 pounds of muscle to “out muscle” wide receivers at the next level. I expect Jaylen to redshirt or play special teams only his first year. Jaylen can also play wide receiver, so if the Gators are not having much production in the next two years, you may look for this switch.

 

This is part 2 of 3, which will cover the Florida Gators recruiting class. Part 1 will deal with Offense, Part 2 will deal with Defense and Part 3 will deal with Athletes/Special Teams.



 
 
 
 
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