UF lands 5-star athlete

Published: Sunday, January 4, 2009 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 5, 2009 at 12:53 a.m.

ORLANDO — One out of three isn’t bad, especially when that one is Andre Debose.

Debose, one of Seminole High School’s “703 Trio” announced his intent to attend UF during Sunday’s Under Armour All-American football game at the Citrus Bowl. His former teammates at Seminole, Dyron Dye and Ray Ray Armstrong, listed the Gators in their final four schools, but both announced at the game their commitments to attend Miami.

“I feel like a 100-pound weight has been lifted off of my shoulders,” said Debose, who says he can run a 4.37 40-yard dash. “I made the decision and I feel great about the decision.”

Debose, a five-star rated recruit and the No. 2-rated athlete according to Rivals.com, plays much like current Gator Percy Harvin. A speedy receiver with elusive moves, he showcased his skills on a 92-yard touchdown reception early in the second quarter. After a short catch, he spun future SEC opponent, South Carolina safety commit Stephon Gilmore, like a top as he ran downfield.

Debose’s black squad fell 27-16 to the white team.

Debose made the decision to attend UF earlier in the week, but kept a lid on his choice before calling Gator coach Urban Meyer on Saturday night with the news.

“He seemed very happy about it,” Debose said. “(Receivers coach Billy Gonzales) was screaming on the phone.”

The 6-foot, 180-pound Debose said he feels secure in his decision, but still plans to visit USC on Jan. 24 and Miami later this month. He is also in the process of scheduling another visit to UF.

Debose’s decision could have a ripple effect through the rest of the recruiting season. Game co-MVP, safety Greg Reid, said his de-commitment from UF over the weekend doesn’t rule out his becoming a Gator on national signing day, Feb. 4.

“I think I just made a decision too fast,” said Reid, who has yet to schedule any visits. “I really wanted to wait and see what (Debose) chose before I did anything else.”

Debose could also be joined next year by Rivals.com No. 8 overall receiver Marlon Brown. The 6-5, 205 Brown, who finished with four catches for 98 yards for the white team, said that he “loves” Florida, and has a visit set for Jan. 24. He’s still set to visit Tennessee later this month before making his decision on signing day.

“It’s going to come down to where I feel most at home at,” he said.

That didn’t stop him from making a prediction for Thursday’s BCS title game.

“Man, I hope that Florida murders (Oklahoma),” he said, “and that’s the truth.”

Lafayette’s Jamal Reid, a Miami commit, had a standout performance, grabbing a 35-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter and finishing second on the white squad, behind Brown, with 65 yards on four receptions.

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