Nation's top prospects will swarm to Swamp


Published: Thursday, September 15, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, September 15, 2005 at 12:00 a.m.
Saturday's Swamp showdown will have many implications for both Florida and Tennessee. One important one for the Gators will be in recruiting.
Numerous prospects are expected to attend the game, several on official visits, including Virginia Beach, Va., wide receiver Percy Harvin, the No. 1 prospect in the nation, according to rivals.com.
Some other top prospects expected to visit include cornerback Darrin Walls (Pittsburgh), wide receiver/defensive back Jamar Hornsby (Jacksonville Sandalwood), wide receiver Chris Bell (Norfolk, Va.) and defensive tackle Jared Odrick (Lebanon, Pa.).
"We can't release names, but there are going to be some of the best players in the country here. A lot of them," UF coach Urban Meyer said. "I think for any program, any game of this caliber, the entire country is watching. They want to see the style; they want to see the atmosphere. I know it's going to be electric. This is a big part of recruiting."
  • INJURY UPDATE: Backup safety Nick Brooks was in a non-contact jersey Wednesday after sustaining a bump on the head in Tuesday's practice. He is expected to return today.
    "I think he'll be fine," Meyer said. The only serious injury the Gators have suffered since the start of two-a-days in August is a broken ankle to tight end Markell Thompson.
    "We're really fortunate," Meyer said. "The muscle pull, the strength, the conditioning, those type of things you can control. It's called offseason conditioning. We have a great program and the guys are committed. We're fortunate, but we've also trained very hard."
  • OLD GATOR WALK RETURNS: After experimenting with a new route for the Gator Walk last week, the Gators are going back to the original one they took before the opener against Wyoming.
    The players will exit the team buses on University Avenue and walk south in front of the stadium to Gate 8. Fans will be allowed to line the sidewalk leading to The Swamp. The team is scheduled to arrive two hours and 10 minutes before the 8 p.m. kickoff.
  • MEYER-CLAUSEN CONNECTION: Tennessee starting quarterback Rick Clausen had a chance to meet Meyer when Meyer was an assistant at Notre Dame and Clausen and his older brother Casey attended the Irish's summer football camp. Meyer also tried to recruit Casey to Notre Dame.
    "Coach Meyer was recruiting Casey to Notre Dame," Rick Clausen said. "On the unofficial visit, it was Casey, me and mom and dad.
    "We talked to him for a while. He was a very nice guy, a very cordial guy. He treated my family with respect. So I have the utmost respect for him."
  • VOL COMING HOME: Standout Tennessee wide receiver Chris Hannon will be celebrating a homecoming of sorts in The Swamp on Saturday night.
    Hannon is from Sarasota Riverview and grew up hoping to play for the Gators. A quarterback in high school, he was overlooked by the Gators until late in the recruiting process and ended up at one of UF's biggest rivals as a wide receiver.
    "I wanted to go to Florida my whole life," Hannon said. "I'm looking at (this) like a home game. There will be a lot of friends and family wearing orange and white."
  • SILER COULD HAVE BEEN VOL: Two years ago, the Vols made a late recruiting push for Brandon Siler and nearly swayed him to Knoxville before he decided to stay closer to home and sign with Florida.
    "Tennessee was on my list," said Siler, UF's starting middle linebacker. "But (UF) is a great place; the best place I could think of academically and playing football.
    "They had everything I wanted right around the corner from my house (in Orlando). It's sweet. I couldn't have found a better place."
    Robbie Andreu can be reached at 352-374-5022 or andreur@gvillesun.com
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