3 JUCO players sign with UF football
Published: Wednesday, December 19, 2012 at 3:05 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, December 19, 2012 at 3:05 p.m.
Florida coach Will Muschamp added three players to his football program Wednesday, the first day junior college prospects could sign their national letters of intent.
The Gators received signatures from defensive tackle Darious Cummings (Scooba, Miss./East Mississippi C.C.) and offensive tackles Trenton Brown (Milledgeville, Ga./Georgia Military) and Tyler Moore (Clearwater/St. Pete College).
“I've said a number of times that the Southeastern Conference is a line-of-scrimmage league and all three of these players will help us with our depth on the line of scrimmage,” UF coach Will Muschamp said.
The trio of JUCO linemen enroll at UF next month and will be eligible to play next season.
Cummings could make the most immediate impact, as Florida is expected to lose junior defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd to the NFL Draft and return just three players at the position.
“I'm just excited to be a part of the Gators and have the opportunity to play real early,” Cumming said. “I'm looking to get myself better in the spring so I can have a chance to start and contribute enough to help the team out.”
The 6-foot-2, 305-pounder signed with Florida State in 2010 as an ESPN150 member and spent two years with the Seminoles, redshirting one. Cummings feels fate brought him to Florida.
His uncle is former UF wideout and receivers coach Dwayne Dixon, and his father is close friends with legendary Gator linebacker Wilber Marshall, who is from the same high school (Titusville Astronaut) as Cummings. He will also be teammates with UF defensive tackle Damien Jacobs, who signed with FSU the year that Cummings did and attended the same community college.
“All of this was meant for me, I really believe that,” said Cummings, who is ranked No. 31 in the ESPN Junior College 100. “I think about it in the back of my head. I feel like this is where I'm supposed to be at and everything was supposed to happen the way it did. So I'm ready to take this next step in my life and I know it's going to be a lot of fun.”
Moore was a heralded recruit in 2011 out of Countryside Clearwater. Rivals.com ranked him as the top lineman prospect in the state and No. 67 in the Rivals100. He signed with Nebraska and was only the 10th lineman in school history to start as a true freshman.
But Moore left the Cornhuskers in early August to be closer to home, and his family is happy to have him back.
“He felt sort of isolated when he was at Nebraska,” said Brian Moore, Tyler's father. “Now he's just a two-hour drive from his family and friends, and everyone is excited about him going to Florida. We've turned a few people into Gator fans already.”
The 6-6, 305-pounder was reclassified as JUCO prospect because he attended St. Petersburg College to earn his Associate of Arts Degree. Moore took 20 credit hours this fall so he could enroll at UF next month. He has three years of eligibility remaining, starting in 2013.
“He really worked hard in the classroom because he wanted to get on campus as soon as possible,” the elder Moore said. “With the help of (strength coach) Jeff Dillman in the offseason, he feels he'll be able to compete for a starting job. Tyler isn't cocky by any means, but he's confident in his abilities and his Division-I experience should help him a lot.”
Brown checks in at No. 65 overall in ESPN's JUCO rankings, but he wasn't a highly rated recruit out of high school like Cummings or Moore.
He received interest from schools such as Alabama, Auburn and Georgia, but he had one issue. And it wasn't size.
“Athletic ability has never been a problem with me,” said Brown, who is 6-8 and 350 pounds. “I could already be a Division-I player. But the academics held me back. I was never a dumb kid, I just didn't put forth the effort in high school because I thought teachers would just give me the grades because I was a football player.”
Brown said everything changed for him when it was time to graduate. He only had one scholarship offer and couldn't qualify academically for any Division-I program.
“I came to a rude awakening my senior year when I was going over my transcript,” Brown said. “That was really when I started turning the page on my life, and now I'm here with my AA degree. I was a JUCO All-American this year, and I want to be the same thing at Florida."