Thursday, July 7, 2011

2012 Recruiting Rundown: Austin Hardin

This is the last entry for the 2012 Recruiting Rundown. Tomorrow begins the "SEC Team Breakdown" series where I analyze the strengths and weaknesses of each of the SEC teams and my predictions on where they will finish the 2011 season.

Austin Hardin

Marist High School, Ga.
5’-11”, 200 pounds
40-yard dash: N/A
Vertical Leap: N/A

Position Ranking
ESPN: #2
Rivals: #10
Scout: N/R

The Skinny
Austin Hardin has kicked long-range field goals including a 59-yard game winner with three seconds to go last year. His kickoffs consistently stay airborne for longer than four seconds. He made 13 of 20 field goals last year. The seven he missed were either longer than 50 yards or blocked. He made all of his extra points and kicked every kickoff out of the end zone except when the team tried an onside kick. At Florida’s camp, Hardin averaged 75 yards per kickoff with a 4.1 hang time. Hardin could immediately be installed as the kickoff specialist, which could help keep oft-injured kicker Caleb Sturgis on the field.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

2012 Recruiting Rundown: Lorenzo Phillips

Lorenzo Phillips

Outside Linebacker
Patterson High School, Patterson, La.
6’-1”, 200 pounds
40-yard dash: 4.74
Vertical Leap: 30 inches

Position Ranking
ESPN: #10
Scout: #18
Rivals: #15

The Skinny
Lorenzo Phillips is projected to contribute early, especially on special teams. He has exceptional quickness and agility to go with good size and speed. He is an explosive tackler who can also read and recognize plays and blocking schemes. He has the strength to handle blockers and the speed and recognition to beat them to the point of attack. In time, Phillips could become a dominant SEC linebacker for the Gators.
He had 23 tackles for loss last year.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

2012 Recruiting Rundown:

Brian Poole

Southeast High School, St. Petersburg, Fla.
5’ – 10”, 192 pounds
40-yard dash: 4.51 seconds
Vertical Leap: 29.5 inches

Position Ranking
ESPN: #9
Scout: #2
Rivals: #8

The Skinny
Brian Poole is a solidly built corner prospect. His strength is playing underneath and to the boundary while providing run support. He is very good at jumping routes. His speed is not great, but he plays fast because of his football instincts and nose for the football. The word is he has a great motor and coaches like his intangibles.
His speed is a little slow for a corner and he doesn’t have the kind of size you would like in a safety. He can be effective with over the top help or would be good as a nickel back.

Monday, July 4, 2011

2012 Recruiting Rundown: Colin Thompson

Colin Thompson

Tight End
Archbishop Wood High School, Pa.
6’- 4”, 255 pounds
40-yard dash: 4.79

Position Ranking
ESPN: #1
Scout: #3
Rivals: #6

The Skinny
Thompson comes in as a natural tight end that can both block and catch passes. Thompson has experience blocking and has shown the ability to get a good push and make it into the second level to pick up other blocks. He has excellent size with some room to add more weight. His film shows he has good hands (one of the clips is of him making a one handed grab in traffic) and possesses the ability to catch the ball with his hands away from his body. His skills will fit nicely with what Charlie Weis likes to do in his offenses. Thompson was the Gators 10th commitment in the 2012 class.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

2012 Recruiting Rundown: Willie Bailey

Willie Bailey
Hallandale High School, Fla
6’-2”, 175 pounds
40-yard dash: 4.62 seconds
Vertical Leap: 33.6 inches

Position Ranking
ESPN: #23
Rivals: #41
Scout: #34

The Skinny
Willie Bailey, who played safety in high school, is tall and speedy. To play safety, he will need to add weight. To play corner, he will need to work on his technique, specifically turning his hips as he covers receivers one on one. His film shows good closing speed and the ability to close on plays in front of him.
Bailey needs to show improvement turning and running with receivers at the next level to be effective as a corner. His film shows that he likes to leave his feet so he can deliver a big hit, which will get him into trouble at the next level.
Decommitted from Miami to commit to Florida in April. In 2010 he blocked four kicks and returned two kickoffs for touchdowns.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

2012 Recruiting Rundown: Quinteze Williams

Quinteze Williams

Defensive Tackle
Sandy Creek High School, Sandy Creek, Ga.
6’-4”, 295 pounds
40-yard dash: 5.3 seconds
Vertical Leap: 29.3 inches

Position Ranking
ESPN: #21
Rivals: #23 #29

The Skinny
Quinteze Williams has all the physical tools to become a dominant defense lineman for the Gators. He has good height and strength and would be able to defend the run and pass earning time as an every down defensive lineman. He has displayed good lateral movement in the trenches.
He needs improvement in his tackling. He has a tendency to fail to wrap up and finish and he will need to fix that at the next level.
His high school won the AAA state championship. He is the third player from Georgia that Muschamp has recruited.

Friday, July 1, 2011

2012 Recruiting Rundown: Jafar Mann

Jafar Mann
Defensive Tackle
Stephenson High School, Stephenson, Ga.
6’-3”, 275 pounds
40-yard dash: 5.3 seconds
Vertical Leap: 21 inches

Position Ranking
ESPN: #27
Rivals: #34 #27

The Skinny
Jafar Mann touts himself as a run-stopper. He has good technique coming out of his stance and has the ability to get low and stand up offensive lineman, which translates to good penetration and disruption along the line.
The downside is he can be inconsistent at times staying low and with his height it can be a problem. He lacks the explosive quickness needed to be a real disruptive force. Look for him to play more in obvious running situations like early in the set of downs and on goal-line stands.
Mann’s teammate, Mike Davis, has also committed to the Gators.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

2012 Recruiting Rundown: Jessamen Dunker

Jessamen Dunker
Offensive tackle
Boynton Beach High School, Boynton Beach, Fla.
6’-6”, 315 pounds
Position Rankings
ESPN: #2
Rivals: #11 #7

The Skinny

Dunker is exceptionally quick off the ball for a big man, which means he will be able to block in space and will be good at pulling and trapping. He is very athletic and plays with good balance. He displays an excellent motor. He has all of the tools to be an exceptional player at the collegiate level.

He will need to work on his technique, as most big and athletic high school players find out. He will need to shore up his hand and footwork while pass blocking. He will also need to get lower when firing out of the box.

There is not a lot of information on Dunker out there right now. I couldn't find any combine reports nor could I find a video of his work on the field. Here is a video of Dunker talking about his UF committment:

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

2012 Recruiting Rundown: Mike Davis

Mike Davis
Stephenson High School, Stephenson, Ga.
Running Back
5’-10”, 190 pounds
40-yard dash: 4.73 seconds
Vertical Leap: 37.5”

Position Rankings
ESPN: #18
Rivals: #10 #23

The Skinny
Mike Davis is built solidly and has great balance. He is adept at running in traffic because he has great quickness, vision and cutting ability when running through holes. He breaks high tackles and with his low center of gravity can bounce off low tackles. He has good hands out of the backfield
Davis lacks breakaway speed and may only be a adequate pass blocker. Though his quickness will get him outside he won’t run away from a lot of people at the collegiate level.

Below is a tape of Davis junior season highlights.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

2012 Recruiting Rundown: Jeremi Powell

Jeremi Powell

Pinellas Park Senior High School, Pinellas Park, Fla.
Outside Linebacker
6’-2”, 200 pounds
40-yard dash: 4.41
Vertical Leap: 35”

Position Rankings
ESPN: 23
Rivals: 19 29

The Skinny
The upside on Jeremi Powell is his athletic abilities. He is fast enough to run track and competes at a state level in high jump and triple jump. He played running back and linebacker in high school. As a linebacker he is known for punishing hits. His tapes show a knack for taking proper angles to the football and plays downhill. He can play up or in the three-point stance.
The only real downside is his weight, which should not be a problem once Mickey Mariotti gets a hold of him.
Powell should contribute immediately on special teams and be a good fit in the Buck position or at the other OLB spot, especially rushing the passer. He had 15 sacks and two defensive touchdowns his junior year.

Monday, June 27, 2011

2012 Recruiting Rundown: Matt Jones

Matt Jones
Armwood High School, Seffner, Fla.
Running Back
6’-3”, 210 pounds
40-yard dash: 4.72
Vertical Leap: 24 inches

The Skinny
Matt Jones, the third player to verbally commit to the 2012 Gator recruiting class, has the frame and ability to be an every down back the Gators have been missing of late. Jones has the size of a linebacker but good speed and running back instincts. He can break tackles on first contact and has the power to move the pile. He has good hands catching passes out of the backfield and he has the size and strength to be a good pass blocker, both things that will be of value in the Charlie Weis pro style offense.
He will need to do a better job of pumping his knees higher if he wants to improve his yards after contact. He doesn’t have the blazing speed of a Demps or Rainey the gators are used to, but then his other traits might fit the new offense a little better. The word is he fell in love with the coaches and the new offense.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

2012 Recruiting Rundown: Omari Phillips

Omari Phillips
Venice High School (Venice, Fla.)
Offensive Tackle
6’-5”, 270 pounds
40-yard dash: 5.6
Vertical leap: 28.5

Position Rankings
ESPN: #16
Rivals: #18 (listed as Dante Phillips) #35

The Skinny:
Omari Phillips is the second player to commit to the 2012 Gator recruiting class. The upside to Phillips is his size, motor and footwork. He has good size and room to add more weight to his frame, which means he could top out around 310 or so. He is very active and has a good motor, which translates well to the offensive line. He is a good run blocker and has a knack to keeping his feet moving when driving people off the ball. His footwork should help him in the pass blocking schemes once he improves his technique.
The downside is he loses technique at times, overextending and losing balance because his feet stop moving. He also tends to lose technique when facing speedier rushers. He will need to clean up those technique flaws in the SEC.
Look for him to work in at right tackle, his skill set is not at the level to beat Xavier Nixon for the left tackle spot just yet.

Friday, June 24, 2011

2012 Recruiting Rundown: Latroy Pittman

Over the next two weeks, we at Ode will be documenting the 2012 Gator football recruiting class beginning with the first recruit signed, Latroy Pittman. Following that, we will talk about which of the top players being recruited have Florida high on their list.
Here we go, enjoy!

Latroy Pittman
Wide receiver
North Marion High School (Citra, Fla)
6'0", 195 pounds
40-yard dash: 4.64 seconds
Vertical jump: 30.5 inches

Position Rankings
ESPN: #15
Rivals: #37
Scout: #47

The Skinny
The upside on Pittman is his size, strength and quickness. His tapes show the ability to overpower DBs, catch the ball in traffic and make plays on the ball while it is in the air. He uses his hands well to go get the ball. He has played safety and returned kicks so he is not afraid to mix it up. As a sophomore, Pittman had 35 catches for 612 yards and seven touchdowns. He also plays safety and returns kicks.
The knock on Pittman is he doesn’t have great speed and has a tendency to run imprecise routes, rounding them off and using his muscle to get position. He will have to clean that up in the SEC as the competition will be able to shut that down.
Look for Pittman to be more of a possession receiver with abilities similar to Carl Moore or Omarius Hines.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Jenkins lands at North Alabama

Former Gator cornerback Janoris Jenkins has signed with Division II North Alabama. Former Auburn coach Terry Bowden is the coach at North Alabama.

No. 1 High School kicker commits to Florida

The Gators received a verbal committment Wednesday from the No. 1 rated kicker in the nation. Austin Hardin had offers from Georgia and Tennessee. Hardin will immediatelt be installed as the kickoff specialist. At the gator camp on Wednesday he averaged 75 yards per kickoff with a 4.1 hang time. He made every PAT his senior season and kicked a 59-yarder with three seconds to play to win one game.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Recruiting update

The Gators are working on three top recruits that can bring some excitement to the 2012 class and make it a potential No. 1 class.

1. The Gators had Alabama native Beniquez Brown (ATH) in for a visit and he came in very impressed with what he saw.
Here is Brown's 2010 highlights:

2. The Gators got an up-close glimpse of Alton "Pig" Howard (ATH) at a recent camp and they liked what they saw. He has great speed, moves, hands and an instinct for going after the ball while its in the air.
Here is a video of Howard's highlights:

3. The Gators have set their sites on the No. 11 Rivals rated player, Dante Fowler, an LB/DE prospect, who is currently committed to the Seminoles. Fowler was impressed with what he saw and is coming back for more visits.
Here is his highlight reel:

Friday, June 17, 2011

Wuerffel diagnosed with rare disorder of the nervous system

Gator Heismann winning quarterback Danny Wuerffel has been diagnosed with Guillain-Barre syndrome, a rare disorder of the nervous system that causes the body to attack its immune system. The disease was diagnosed early and his doctor is confident of a complete recovery.

Gators add 12th commit for 2012

The Gators picked up their second linebacker commit for the 2012 class - Lorenzo Phillips, a 6-1, 200-lb Louisana native who earlier committed to Teaxas A&M.

Here is the 2012 class so far:
LaTroy Pittman, North Marion (FL), ATH, 6-1, 201
Dante Phillips, Venice (FL), DT, 6-6, 265
Matt Jones, Armwood Seffner (FL), RB, 6-3, 225
Mike Davis, Stephenson (Stone Mountain, Ga.), RB, 5-11, 185
Jeremi Powell, Pinellas Park (FL), OLB, 6-2, 200
Jessamen Dunker, Boynton Beach (FL), OL, 6-6, 315
JaFar Mann, Stephenson (Stone Mountain, Ga.), DT, 6-4, 275
Quinteze Williams, Sandy Creek (Tyrone, Ga.), DT, 6-4, 295
Willie Bailey, Hallandale (FL), CB, 6-2, 165
Colin Thompson, Archbishop Wood (Warminster, Pa.), TE, 6-5, 255
Brian Poole, Southeast Bradenton (FL), DB, 5-11, 187
Lorenzo Phillips, Patterson (Patterson, La.), OLB, 6-1, 200

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Gators might be getting some O-Line help this Fall

Dan Wenger, a fifth-year senior from Notre Dame who was recruited and played for Charlie Weis, is reportedly transferring to Florida in time to play for the Gators this Fall. Wenger started 13 games at center in 2008 before switching to guard, but only played one game at guard due to injuries.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Tennessee Blog adds new feature

The folks at "Checkerboard Chatter", a blog about Tennessee Volunteer football, have started a new feature that I think is a great idea: "Interview with the enemy." We at Ode participated in the Q&A session, which was just posted on their site. I suggest bookmarking this site-it is always a good idea to keep up on the SEC competition and what their fans are saying and thinking. I also want to thank Derek Lusk for inviting me to be a part of his new feature! I enjoyed participating.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Gators return nearly all of their TD makers

An interesting post appears in ESPN's SEC blog with a list of all the people who scored TDs for the SEC teams in 2010. Florida is right up there at the top. Even with their poor offensive showing in 2010, just 43 offensive TDs-12 passing, 31 rushing, the Gators return the folks responsible for 41 of them. Only Arkansas and Mississippi State have that many TDs coming back. Where do the SEC favorites rank? Alabama has 27 and LSU, 19. The bad news for the East is the Gamecocks have 39 coming back.

ESPN Blog: Florida a dark horse for SEC Title

ESPN SEC blogger Edward Aschoff picks three teams he feels are dark horses to win the SEC Title. Mississippi State, Georgia and Florida. Florida may be looked at more favorably if they had not experienced the offensive woes they had last season and if they weren't installing a totally new system. Aschoff points out the Gators have a lot of talent and what looks like a dominant front 7 heading into the Fall. We will see, afterall who had Auburn winning it all in 2010?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Demps has freakish talent

ESPN's Bruce Feldman released his top 10 College Football Freaks of 2011 yesterday and Jeff Demps is listed No. 1 because of his incredible speed (10.1 in the 100). You can access the entire article if you have ESPN Insider. Here is an excerpt from Feldman's story:

"Demps -- who led the Gators in rushing last season with 551 yards despite missing some time due to a foot injury -- arrived at Florida weighing 170 pounds, and is expected to play this fall at 188. Gators strength coach Mickey Marotti says the back can squat "an ungodly amount of weight." And despite the added pounds, Demps has gotten faster. "He was a 10.1 guy, is now a 9.9 guy and probably will be a 9.8 guy," said Marotti, who adds that Demps has really improved his acceleration."

Rounding out the list are:

2. LSU RB Mike Ford - benches 435; vertical leap of 42"

3. Texas WR Marquis Goodman - long jumps 26 feet, 93/4 inches

4. Syracuse WR Dorian Graham - at 185 lbs he can hang clean 341 and runs a 4.31 40

5. Troy LB Kanorris Davis - at 203 pounds he benches 225 nearly 50 times; vertical leap of 42"; runs 4.4 40

6. Georgia Tech ILB Julian Burnett - 600-pound squat; 350 power clean; 460 bench

7. North Carolina WR Jheranie Boyd - scored 312 on Max Jones Quad (look it up, very impressive)

8. Illinois FB Jay Prosch - power cleans 382; hang cleans 401; benches 405 for two reps

9. Boise State RB Doug Martin - at 205 pounds he benches 405; hang cleans 374; squats 530 and runs 4.42 40

10. Cincy P Pat O'Donnell - broad-jumps 9-2; 10-yard split of 1.53 faster than Demps

Thursday, May 12, 2011

ESPN's SEC Spring Wrap

ESPN is breaking down the Spring sessions for each of the SEC teams. Here is the link to the Gators: It is pretty much what most Gator fans already know. We should have a really good defense, even though we have some holes (Janoris Jenkins and Ahmad Black) to fill. The offense is a big question mark because it performed so poorly last year and in the Spring game, plus it lost most of its offensive line. But hey, anything can happen with Charlie Weis calling the shots on offense.
Her is a link to the SEC Blog where you can read about all the Spring wrapups:


Monday, May 9, 2011

Powell, Floyd and Easley

We heard a lot about the talents of Ronald Powell, Dominique Easley and Shariff Floyd last year, but the hype never materialized on the field. All three had very solid springs and look to make Florida a much better defensive team in the fall. Here is an video of former Gainesville Sun staffer Edward Aschoff talking about the maturation of these three prospects.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Gators add coveted tight end to 2012 class

The Gators added's No. 3 ranked tight end to their haul for 2012. Colin Thompson is a prototypical tight end who can block and catch passes and should fit very wel into their new pro style scheme.

Division I playoff

As you know I whole-heartedly endorse a playoff system for D-1 college football. Apparently the discussion has reached the highest levels as the justice department now wants to know why there isn't a playoff for D-1 college football.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Jenkins getting agent

Janoris Jenkins is reportedly looking to sign with an agent and possibly enter the supplemental draft in July where academic and disciplinary casualties have a second chance to be drafted by NFL teams. The problem is the millions Jenkins would have received if he had gone the traditional route has gone "up in smoke." Funny how Cheech and Chong never mentioned how smoking pot could cost you the big bucks.
Speaking of Jenkins, Gator coach Will Muschamp is confident either senior Moses Jenkins or junior Jeremy Brown are quite capable of filling his shoes. If they can't handle the load, he can always turn to a bevy of talented underclassmen in sophomores Jaylen Watkins and Cody Riggs or freshman De'Ante "Pop" Saunders.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Gator sportswriter rates UF 2011 schedule as third toughest in SEC

Gainesville Sun Sportswriter Pat Dooley rated the Gators as having the third toughest schedule this year in the SEC just behind LSU and Auburn. Time will tell how tough the schedule really is, but it is shaping up as the toughest schedule for the Gators since their 2005 national title year.

Speaking of Dooley, he has weighed in on the whole "Meyer going to OSU" specualtion running rampant right now with a resounding "No he won't."

Time for Florida's secondary to step up

The season has yet to start and the Florida defense is already facing a big test--how will they plug the hole left by the dismisall of All-SEC corner Janoris Jenkins. The guys behind Jenkins have some experience, but are they capable of shutting down elite wide receivers like Jenkins is known for doing. Former GatorSports blogger Edward Aschoff talks about the secondary in his new ESPN role as SEC blogger in this article:

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Jenkins dismissed

Will Muschamp dismissed Janoris Jenkins from the team today. In a post yesterday I guessed he would miss 4-6 games. He still could be brought back provided he does all the right things, similar to what Rainey did last year. Although ESPN's Chris Low thinks otherwise.

Gator Bait

A Florida woman returned home Saturday to an unpleasant surprise -- a 7-foot gator had taken up residence in her guest bathroom. It seems he had been eyeing her cats the past few weeks and decided to make a meal out of them.

Another Pouncey first rounder

Miami Herald Sportswriter Mike McCall sees Mike Pouncey going in the first round of the draft. Gator fans who suffered through the year of the bad snap might disagree, but Pouncey is the type of talented, high-motor, quick-footed lineman that the pros love. Plus, he won't have to shotgun it that often in the pros. Prediction: Late first round (20-22)

Meyer for Tressel?

I guess it is to be expected that every time there is an opening at OSU or Notre Dame, Urban Meyer's name comes up. Meyer, just five months removed from retiring a second time as head coach of the Gators, is Beano Cook's nod to replace Tressel at OSU. I know, Tressel is stil the coach for the Buckeyes, but most believe his goose is cooked.
I don't know how malicious Tressel was in his rules violations, it seems more like a parent trying to cover up the bad deeds of his wayward kids than out and out criminal mastermind stuff, but at least one bloggger disagrees.
I can't see Meyer jumping back into the coaching ranks. As they say, timing is everything, and the timing is bad on this one. Meyer should stay out a full two years before entertaining new job offers or his credibility will take a huge hit.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Preseason ranking has Gators at No. 18

College Football Live (ESPN) has the Gators at 18 in their preseason ranking unveiled on Friday. Three SEC team are in the top 10 and seven SEC teams total made the Top 25. They are:
2. Alabama
4. LSU
8. South Carolina
12. Arkansas
18. Florida
21. Mississippi State
22. Auburn

Alabama and LSU I can see in the top 10, but not the Gamecocks. Gators will finish higher than 18 even though they have a brutal schedule in October (Bama, LSU, Auburn and Georgia). I don't see Auburn finishing in the top 25 this year.

Doobie in the ashtray?

Gator corner Janoris Jenkins was arrested last week for the third time (second arrest this year). This time he was sitting in a parked car with a joint in his car's console. His arrest in January was also for marijuana posession. His other arrest was for a fight when police had to taser him to get him under control. Perhaps the weed was to help mellow him out so he didn't get into fights. This will be handled internally and my bet is he will be out 4-6 games. Janoris is probably wishing he would have entered the draft.

Speaking of trouble, the NCAA is all over Ohio State coach Jim Tressel. Anyone taking bets that Tressel will be out of a job pretty soon? My guess is he is gone.