Recruiting notebook: Jenkins a hit in Orlando
Published: Monday, January 5, 2009 at 9:28 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 5, 2009 at 9:28 p.m.
Among Jelani Jenkins' five tackles in Sunday's Under Armour All-American game at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando was a massive collision with Rivals.com five-star running back Trent Richardson. If Gator fans have it their way, it's not the last time Richardson, an Alabama commit, will be meeting at the line-of-scrimmage with Jenkins.
The 6-foot-2 inch Jenkins, rated as the top linebacker by Rivals, has Florida in his list of favorite schools. His parents were in Gainesville over the weekend to tour the campus, and according to Jenkins, they liked what they saw.
"They really liked the whole place," said Jenkins, of Olney, Md. "They looked all around and saw everything they could. They said a lot of good things about it."
Jenkins will get a chance to see the campus for himself when he takes an official visit to Gainesville on Monday. He intends to make a decision on where he'll play college football on Feb. 4, national signing day.
He currently has a list of 11 schools that he's considering. Among those vying for his services is the University of Miami, where he's being recruited by former Gator Aubrey Hill.
"(Hill) hasn't said anything bad about (Florida) to me," Jenkins said. "He said it's a good school and a good place to go. I think he'd rather me go to Miami, though."
The read on Reid
Greg Reid didn't sound like a player that had totally de-committed from UF after Sunday's game. He seemed more like an athlete who just wanted to go out and enjoy the whole recruiting experience a little longer.
"A couple of nights ago, I sat down and thought about it," he said. "I think I need to just calm down and take some time. I made a decision too fast. I see some of these other guys and I feel like I want to be out there a little more, too."
Reid doesn't have any visits scheduled yet, but dismissed any notion that former Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville swayed him into de-committing after a talk with a group of athletes about keeping their options open.
"I made up my mind (after taking to him)," he said. "But that didn't really have anything to do with it."
One thing that will help in bringing Reid back into the fold for UF is the commitment of Andre Debose. Reid said that he wanted to see where Debose would go before scheduling any visits.
The two hooked up a bit during the Under Armour game, where Reid took home the co-MVP award. After Reid intercepted a pass deep in his black squad's territory, Debose turned around on the next play and took a short pass 92 yards for a touchdown.
"We can work it out like that," Reid said. "(Debose) is a really good football player, and I believe we can work together."
What can Brown do for UF?
Another Gator commitment that has been rumored to be wavering in his dedication to UF is defensive tackle Gary Brown. After a strong week of practice for the Under Armour game and a standout performance Sunday night, there was Internet speculation that Brown may want to re-open his college courtship.
"No way man," Brown said after the game. "I'm Florida all the way. I'm going to be in front of the big screen Thursday (for the BCS title game). I hope my boys win."
Brown said he'd report today if he was allowed to, but figures that he'll enroll over the summer. That's when he'll begin work on his first goal as a Gator.
"Getting better," he said. "I'm really looking forward to just getting better."
Debose takes a stand
Sure-fire NFL Hall-of-Famer and current ESPN analyst Cris Carter attended Sunday's game in part to watch his son, Duron, play. But he took time to speak to both teams over the weekend.
During part of his speech, Carter asked the group if anyone thought they could be as good, or better, than he was. Only one player stood up — the latest Gator commit, Debose.
"I had to stand up," he said. "I feel like I can be as good as I want to be."
Debose is being compared to current Gator speedster Percy Harvin, which he says is nice but not necessary.
"He's a great player," Debose said. "It's nice to be compared to him, but I don't want to be Percy Harvin, I want to be Andre Debose."
But for Debose, who also wears jersey No. 1, watching Harvin and the Florida offense a few times this season made the decision a little easier to make.
"The way (Florida) gets receivers the ball, it seemed like it was a perfect fit for me," he said. "I really enjoy their spread offense and I feel like I can help them out a lot."
Many thought that Debose was wrestling between Florida and LSU, but when it came time to choose a hat on Sunday, he quickly eliminated the Tigers, saying that he was definitely staying in Florida. Despite taking several trips to Baton Rouge to tour the campus, he decided in the end that it would be better to stay close to home.
"It was one of the hardest decisions in my life, but I had to do what's best for me and I made the decision for myself," he said. "I really wanted my family to be able to come to every one of my games. It came down to what was best for me between Florida and LSU, and that was Florida."
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