Prospects display skills at Swamp


High school players and head coach Will Muschamp watch highlights on the big screen during Friday Night Lights at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on Friday, July 27, 2012 in Gainesville, Fla.

Matt Stamey/Staff photographer
Published: Friday, July 27, 2012 at 11:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, July 28, 2012 at 12:27 a.m.

Friday Night Lights produced another star-studded turnout in The Swamp.

And before the event even began, Florida got good news on the recruiting front.




The Gators landed coveted defensive end Antonio Riles (Lawrenceville, Ga./Archer), who committed to UF coach Will Muschamp by phone because his ride to FNL fell through.

But many of his future teammates made it in, including four-star running back Kelvin Taylor.

Ranked No. 1 at his position by ESPN, Taylor has attended the showcase since his 8th-grade year and was one of several top-tier prospects on hand Friday.

“I love Friday Night Lights,” Taylor said. “A lot of our commitments came down this year, and we had fun just hanging out and recruiting guys to come here. Florida is a special place, and you can see it on nights like this.”

Orlando Dr. Phillips safety Marcell Harris, Jacksonville Sandalwood defensive lineman DeMarcus Walker and Tampa Hillsborough defensive end Jordan Sherit were the top 2013 targets in attendance. The talented trio did not work out with 200-plus participants and spent the majority of the night with Florida's commits and coaches. They plan on making their decisions before summer's end, and UF is believed to be the front-runner for all three.

As for Riles, the 6-foot-4, 267-pounder camped at UF in June and visited three times this year. He chose the Gators over offers from Alabama, Clemson, Georgia and South Carolina, among others.

The Bulldogs were Florida's biggest competition and had the edge early on in his recruitment.

“I actually hated the Gators growing up,” Riles said. “I was a Georgia fan and I told myself if I get an offer from Georgia, I'm taking it. I had never ever seen Florida. Once I did, everything changed. I got over the whole fan factor real quick after I met everybody down there and saw how nice it was.”

His family members also grew fond of Gainesville, and their interest in UF sealed the deal for Riles.

“When my family went down there, all of them liked it and that was big deal to me,” Riles said. “They just liked the whole area and they're trying to move down to Florida later on in life. And with it being so close to our home now, it was just convenient for everybody.”

Riles felt he fit in at Florida athletically and academically, and he looks to excel in both departments over the course of his college career.

“I want to compete at the highest level I can to help the team win,” he said. “I'm also going to focus on my education and take everything one step at a time.”

Riles is the third defensive lineman Florida has picked up in this recruiting cycle. He joins Crescent City defensive tackle Caleb Brantley and Dade City Pasco defensive end Joey Ivie, who is the only Florida commit not rated four stars or higher by ESPN.

The Gators now have 19 members for their 2013 class. Verbal commitments are not binding until prospects sign their national letters of intent the first Wednesday in February.

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