Gators, fans make strong impression on recruits

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The Miami game set up perfectly for Florida to make a huge impression on a plethora of in-state talent. Despite the Gators 26-3 win over the ‘Canes, style points were hard to come by. While there were no verbal commitments over the weekend, just getting that much talent – approximately 75 registered recruits – to come in for a rivalry game in front of a record crowd of 90,833 is stylish in itself.

The most impressed of the recruits on hand had to be Gideon Ajagbe. The 2010 Coconut Grove, Fla., Ransom Everglades linebacker said his visit was “perfect” and that he rated it a 10 out of 10. I won’t get into what he said too much (more coming during the week), but he loved the atmosphere in The Swamp and was mostly impressed by the defensive performance of the Gators.

Just as a tease – Ajagbe said after his visit that the Gators are No. 1 on his early list.

Another 2010 prospect that left Gainesville feeling a little better about UF was Eagle Lake Fla., Lake Region safety Marvin Robinson.

Robinson already has pretty good size at safety (6-foot-1, 190 pounds) and is the perfect example of a ball hawk. On film, he not only gets to the ball before receivers can adjust, but he’s all about technique. Coaches stress catching the ball at the highest point and it’s obvious that he listens.

Robinson said he was able to talk to coaches and some of the current players during the game, but that the best part of the visit was the game itself. He was actually very impressed with both UF’s offense and defense and said the crowd was “amazing.”

He’s a pretty quiet and humble guy and has had a pretty level head when it has come to recruiting. Even with offers from UF, Michigan, Ohio State, Southern Cal, Tennessee and UCLA, Robinson said he still has to keep impressing in all areas of his game in order to prove himself.

“It (gets) me to work harder,” he said of getting attention from big-time programs. “There are still things I have to do to be successful in the future, such as grades, (his performance) on the football field and also being a good kid.”

After Saturday, UF is now solidly in Robinson’s top five, which includes Michigan, Ohio State, USC and Georgia. It may be pretty early for a top five at this point, but Robinson said he feels most comfortable with these schools. He’s visited all but Georgia.

All five schools are pretty much even for Robinson and he doesn’t expect an early decision. He wants to visit Michigan this season and maybe get out to USC. He’ll visit UCF at some point this fall.

Two guys looking to work their magic on some of these stellar 2010 recruits are current Gator commits Ian Silberman and Trey Burton. Burton has been working especially hard on some guys and spent a lot of his time with Royal Palm Beach, Fla., Royal Palm Beach receiver Chris Dunkley.

It seems fitting that Burton, a quarterback, is putting the press on Dunkley. Dunkley is expected to be one of the top receivers in next year’s class. As a sophomore he caught 29 passes for 610 yards and six touchdowns. Burton said that right now he thinks Dunkley is wide open when it comes to schools but is definitely interested in UF.

Burton is doing his best impression of a car salesman for the Gators and has been in constant communication with guys in his class.

“Every time I saw somebody that I kind of remembered from a camp I talked to them,” he said. “I asked how they were doing and how they did last night (in high school games). (He and Silberman) want to have a really good class and we’re going to have the best class, so we’re going to work really hard on that.”

In other news, Burton set his school’s record for single-game passing yards Friday night against Riverview with 262 yards. He also had 64 yards rushing. Venice defeated Riverview 21-14.

But Saturday wasn’t all about the 2010 kids.

Tampa, Plant tight end Orson Charles was on hand for his first-ever live college football game Saturday and he said he came away from The Swamp impressed with what he saw from both teams.

The one thing that really impressed Charles was the atmosphere.

“I didn’t think The Swamp could get so loud,” said Charles, who is a four-star prospect and the No. 2-rated tight end by Rivals.

The only thing that’s a little confusing about Charles is that he said before and after his visit that Miami is his top school, but he also said that he doesn’t have a list of favorites and that he won’t truly get into the meat of the recruiting process until after his football season.

But it’s clear that Charles isn’t afraid of any sort of competition. Miami currently has three tight ends on board for its 2009 class and Florida has one (Desmond Parks). It was also rumored early that Charles and his quarterback, Aaron Murray (Georgia), would play in college together, but after the Bulldogs picked up Arthur Fontaine, the Georgia rumblings died down. If Charles is indeed not afraid of competition, look for Georgia to emerge near the top of his list if he gets up there for a visit.

Charles also said he’s waiting for a few schools, including Ohio State and USC, to offer him this fall.

It seems like the Gators are always looking for new talent on the defensive front, and Miami, Fla., Columbus defensive tackle Antwan Lowery already has the build to compete immediately. The 6-foot-4, 335-pound lineman, who is a four-star prospect and the 59th-rated player in Florida by Rivals.com, came up the day of the game and left Sunday morning.

Lowery said he didn’t talk to any current Gator players or recruits, but talked with coach Urban Meyer and defensive coordinator Charlie Strong.

UF is still in his top three (UF, Rutgers and now Clemson), but he said the visit didn’t have much of an effect on Florida moving ahead or behind. He said he isn’t sure of any other visits he’s planning at the moment and expects to make a late season commitment.

Of note: Gastonia, N.C., Ashbrook receiver Jheranie Boyd was unable to attend because of transportation issues. – The same can be said for Pensacola, Escambia running back Trent Richardson (Alabama). – Despite the early rumors, Miami, Palmetto running back Jamaal Berry (Ohio State) didn’t travel to Gainesville this weekend.

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