Notebook: UF presence in Tampa, Jacksonville


Published: Wednesday, February 6, 2013 at 7:54 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, February 6, 2013 at 7:54 p.m.

Florida coach Will Muschamp and his staff have turned two fertile recruiting areas in the state — Hillsborough/Pinellas and Duval counties — into Gator country.

The Gators signed three of the top players out of Jacksonville (wide receiver Ahmad Fulwood, linebacker Daniel McMillian and defensive back Nick Washington) and three of the top prospects from the Tampa area (cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III, wide receiver Alvin Bailey and defensive end Jordan Sherit).

Hargreaves is the consensus No. 1 cornerback prospect in the nation.

“The guy has been around the game a lot and he really gets the game,” Muschamp said. “He understands the game and is very mature. He's very driven. Works on the things that are important as far as his strength training and speed training is concerned.

“He’s a guy you would certainly point to that will have some opportunities as a freshman to contribute. Now how much will be up to him.”

Muschamp credits UF’s recruiting success in the Tampa area to three assistants who work the area.

“Derek Lewis, Brian White and D.J. Durkin have all done an outstanding job of mining through that area and finding the best fit for the University of Florida,” Muschamp said.

Muschamp said Jacksonville also is a recruiting priority.

“There is no question we did a real nice job in Jacksonville this year,” Muschamp said. “You look at Nick, you look at Ahmad, you look at Daniel, guys that we were able to kind of circle the wagon so to speak on some other guys within the recruiting class. Those were all guys that gained early momentum for us (and helped recruit other players).”

GHS star part of the class

Former Gainesville High standout wide receiver Chris Thompson may have only three stars by his name in the recruiting services, but he won over Muschamp and the rest of the UF staff when he came to camp this past summer and performed at a high level.

“Chris came to camp and competed,” Muschamp said. “You look at our signees here, it’s going to be over 95 percent of them were in our camps and coached by our coaches.

“Chris is a vertical, stretch-the-field guy. He’s really developed himself as a receiver. He’s got good ball skills down the field, and he’s continued to develop that. You just want to build some more girth on his body. When guys can run like that, you certainly can work with it.”

Patchan to BC

Offensive tackle Matt Patchan, whose UF career was basically wiped out by a series of injuries, has decided to try his luck at Boston College, where he will be reunited with former Gator offensive coordinator Steve Addazio, BC’s new head coach.

Patchan, who graduated with a degree from UF in December, signed with Boston College on Wednesday and will have one year of eligibility remaining. He also considered Ohio State, where he would have had the chance to play for Urban Meyer again.

Walking tall

Ocala Forest kicker Danny Krysalka accepted a preferred walk-on status at Florida, turning away full scholarship offers from Division I Florida International as well as Lenoir-Rhyne (N.C.) University and The Citadel.

Krysalka, a Class 7A All-State kicker, booted nine field goals this past season, including a career long of 52 yards, and produced 28 touchbacks on kickoffs. The versatile kicker also led Marion County in punting with a robust 43.3-yard average.

Double duty

Cornerback Louchiez Purifoy will play wide receiver in the first seven days of spring practice, Muschamp said. But he will be a cornerback in the fall, Muschamp said.

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