Offensive lineman says yes to 'dream'

Published: Saturday, January 24, 2004 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, January 24, 2004 at 12:22 a.m.

Florida completed its offensive line recruiting class Friday, gaining an oral commitment from a New Jersey prospect with Florida ties.

The latest player - and fourth offensive lineman - to pledge for the Gators is Phil Trautwein, a 6-6, 290-pound tackle from Eastern High School in Voorhees, N.J., who has family living in the Gainesville area.

Trautwein made his announcement at his high school Friday morning after committing to UF coach Ron Zook during an in-home visit Thursday night.

His commitment comes as no surprise. Early in the recruiting process, he refereed to Florida as his "dream school." After visiting UF this past weekend, Trautwein was ready to follow through and commit to his favorite.

"There was never really much doubt in my mind. Florida is where I always wanted to go," Trautwein said. "During my visit I knew my way around and felt very comfortable with the coaches and players. I couldn't wait for Coach Zook to come up here so I could commit to him. He seemed pretty happy. I'm very happy. This is where I've always wanted to go, so I'm following my dream."

Trautwein also was considering Michigan State and Virginia. He is UF's 14th oral commitment, which are not binding. National signing day is Feb. 4.

Trautwein fills out UF's offensive line recruiting class, joining three in-state standouts - Sarasota Riverview's Drew Miller, Crawfordville Wakulla's Jim Tartt and Lakeland Lake Gibson's Jason Watkins.

While the Gators now seem set on the offensive line, they apparently are in danger of striking out at wide receiver. UF had a number of top prospects on its board only a month ago, but they all seem to be heading elsewhere.

The latest to turn down the Gators is Doug Dutch, a top prospect from Washington, D.C., who visited two weeks ago but committed to Michigan on Friday afternoon. UF also probably will be getting more bad news later this weekend, when Melbourne Palm Bay's Xavier Carter, the No. 1 wide receiver in Florida, is expected to give his pledge to co-national champion LSU.

Carter's mother graduated from LSU, and he has relatives living in Baton Rouge. Carter has told the recruiting services he has made his decision and likely will go public with it Sunday night.

With Dutch and Carter both off the board, the Gators' best chance of signing a wide receiver might be the lightly recruited Marcus Baker, a teammate of No. 1 quarterback prospect Cornelius Ingram at Hawthorne. Baker is visiting UF this weekend and could get a firm offer from the Gators on Sunday.

The only other possibilities at wide receiver for UF are D.J. Hall from Fort Walton Beach Choctawhatchee and Derrick McPhearson from DeMatha High in Hyattsville, Md. Hall, who visited UF two weeks ago, has said he's now leaning to Alabama, while McPhearson has expressed a strong interest in staying close to home and signing with Maryland.

You can reach Robbie Andreu by calling 374-5022 or by e-mail at andreur@gvillesun.com.

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