Gators add top recruit


Published: Tuesday, January 23, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 23, 2007 at 12:00 a.m.

Urban Meyer beat Steve Spurrier at the final gun again Monday.

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Dunlap

A little more than two months after Jarvis Moss blocked Ryan Succop's game-deciding field goal attempt on the final play to give Florida a victory over South Carolina, the Gators picked up a prospect who might be the next Moss.

And he comes smack from Spurrier's backyard.

Meyer and UF kept up their recruiting roll Monday when North Charleston Fort Dorchester defensive end Carlos Dunlap said he is going to be a Gator. The top prospect in South Carolina — and the overall No. 5 prospect in the nation, according to Rivals.com — picked the Gators over the Gamecocks.

In an announcement ceremony at his high school that was televised live on a local station, Dunlap quickly made his choice known and then began doing the Gator chomp.

Dunlap visited Gainesville this past weekend and spent extensive time with co-defensive coordinator Charlie Strong, who showed Dunlap how his skills would be utilized in UF's defense at rush end (Moss' old position).

Dunlap said Monday night he chose UF because of the family atmosphere among the players and coaches, the defensive scheme and the opportunity to play early.

"The family atmosphere is something that really stuck out," he said. "I had a chance to spend time with the players and the coaches and their families. We were at Urban Meyer's house and I got to meet all his family and the families of the other coaches. They didn't do that anywhere else. The feeling was just there. It just feels like the right fit for me."

The 6-foot-7, 240-pound Dunlap is similar in size and playing style to Moss, the junior who is leaving early for the NFL after a strong showing in the national championship game against Ohio State.

"Florida does things with their defensive ends that I love to do," he said. "I'm going to have a chance to come in and play early. I really have to be focused the next few months and come in ready to play."

In his senior season at Ft. Dorchester, Dunlap recorded 105 total tackles, 35 tackles for loss and had 24 sacks. The five-start prospect is rated the No. 1 weakside defensive end in the country by Rivals.com.

Dunlap runs so well that he returned kickoffs his senior season.

After finishing with the consensus No. 2 recruiting class in the nation a year ago, the Gators, who now have 24 commitments, are building what could be America's strongest class.

UF is currently No. 1 in the Scout.com rankings and No. 3 in the Rivals.com ranking and several of the country's top prospects are still strong considering the Gators, including the nation's No. 1 wide receiver (Terrence Toliver) and Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas safety Major Wright, the No. 4 player nationally at his position.

NOTES

Four Florida players — quarterback Chris Leak, linebacker Earl Everett, wide receiver Dallas Baker and defensive end Ray McDonald — are among the 100 top NFL Draft prospects participating in the Senior Bowl this week in Mobile, Ala. The game is set for 4 p.m. Saturday and will be televised by the NFL Network.

For more information, visit the bowl's Website at www.seniorbowl.com

Contact Robbie Andreu at 374-5022 or andreur@gvillesun.com.

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