Ex-Miami commit switches to UF

SEC Media Days
SEC Media Days

Urban Meyer got his 21st verbal commitment when Melbourne Palm Bay linebacker Ramon Buchanan switched from Miami to Florida.

The Tuscaloosa News
Published: Sunday, January 20, 2008 at 9:33 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 20, 2008 at 9:33 p.m.

In the O'Connell Center on Saturday afternoon during his official visit to Florida, Melbourne Palm Bay linebacker Ramon Buchanan was forced to do the Gator chomp cheer by UF quarterback Tim Tebow, who grabbed his arms and guided the reluctant Buchanan through the motion.

The next Gator chomp Buchanan does will be on his own.

The four-star prospect actually became a Gator on Sunday when he de-committed from Miami and committed to Urban Meyer and the UF coaching staff.

Buchanan is the second former Hurricane commitment in the past week to pledge to the Gators, joining Dunnellon linebacker Lerentee McCray, who announced for Florida last Wednesday in Orlando. Buchanan had committed to UM in July. The Gators now have commitments from 21 prospects.

"It's going to be hard to tell Miami I'm not coming, but I know I'm making the right decision to go to Florida," Buchanan said. "I feel good about it and so does my family. My mother and brother went on the visit with me and they're really happy about my decision."

Palm Bay is a school that has been good to UF over the years, most recently sending Mike Degory, Joe Cohen and Reggie Nelson to Gainesville.

Now, Buchanan is on his way.

"Florida is a real popular school at Palm Bay, just about everybody is a Gator," he said. "Even when I was committed to Miami, my friends were all telling me I should go to Florida."

The 6-foot-1, 190-pound Buchanan could play safety or outside linebacker at Florida, depending on where he's needed. As an outside linebacker, Buchanan had a combined 14 sacks in his last two seasons at Palm Bay. He is ranked the No. 2 safety in the nation by Rivals.com and is rated the No. 61 overall prospect in the nation by the same service.

Buchanan said Meyer also told him he might get a look at wide receiver at UF, although Buchanan said he was told he'd likely stay on defense. "I'll play wherever they want me to," he said.

One prospect who was supposed to visit but didn't was Jacksonville Trinity Christian four-star tailback Jamie Harper, who now appears headed to Clemson, the school that has led for him for more than a month. Harper told the recruiting services Sunday that he did not visit UF because the school would not let a close friend and teammate stay with him in his hotel room in Gainesville. Harper said he probably won't visit Florida and may or may not make a trip to Florida State this weekend.

With Harper no longer a possibility, it appears the Gators will not be signing a potentially dynamic, every-down back this year. The only other remaining possibility appears to be Milton Knox, who is from Lake Balboa, Calif., and was an earlier commitment to UCLA.

The Gators expect to finish with a signing class of 24 or 25. The remaining spots likely will be filled by prospects who visited along with Buchanan over the past weekend. Two players who could pull the trigger for UF in the coming days are five-star defensive tackle Omar Hunter from Buford, Ga., and four-star outside linebacker William Green from Hoover, Ala. Green has listed UF as his favorite since last summer, while Hunter has had the Gators No. 1 since he de-committed from Notre Dame about two months ago.

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