FLORIDA FOOTBALL

Academics sideline recruit


Published: Tuesday, July 1, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, June 30, 2003 at 10:47 p.m.
The start of Reggie Nelson's football career at Florida has been put on hold by academic deficiencies.
The standout cornerback prospect from Melbourne Palm Bay, the high school teammate of fellow UF signee Joe Cohen, has not qualified academically and was not allowed to enroll in the Summer B semester, which began Monday. Nelson is now exploring other options and likely will enroll in a junior college with the hope of re-signing with the Gators in two years.
Nelson was a two-time all-state performer and the Class 4A player of the year in Florida his senior season. He played linebacker, safety, wide receiver and returned kicks at Palm Bay and was rated the No. 4 safety prospect in the nation by Rivals.
Nelson is the only academic casualty from the consensus No. 2 recruiting class in the nation.
Another standout cornerback prospect - junior college transfer Reynaldo Hill - is the only other member of the class not enrolled in classes at UF this semester. Hill, however, has qualified academically, is living in Gainesville, and will join the team for the start of two-a-days in August.
Hill is expected to challenge for immediate playing time, along with several of the true freshman, on a young UF team lacking depth on the defensive front seven and at the skill positions.
In other news, senior cornerback Keiwan Ratliff and senior strong safety Guss Scott have been named to the Jim Thorpe Award watch list for 2003. The award is given annually to the nation's best defensive back.
Ratliff started every game at corner last season and also played wide receiver. He was the only Division I-A player to score on an interception return and catch a touchdown pass in 2002. Scott is the most experienced player on the roster with 2,343 career plays.
Three Miami players also are on the watch list, including true sophomore cornerback and former Suwannee standout Kelly Jennings.
You can reach Robbie Andreu by e-mail at andreur@gvillesun.com or by calling (352) 374-5022

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