UF freshman eyes early play

Wharton defensive back Vernon Hargreaves III, center, poses with his dad, Vernon Jr., mom, Jackie, and sisters, Carina, left, and Chanelle, after signing a commitment to play at the University of Florida Wednesday morning during National Signing Day at Wharton High School in Tampa.

Brendan Fitterer/Times
Published: Monday, February 11, 2013 at 9:59 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, February 11, 2013 at 9:59 a.m.
Florida coach Will Muschamp recently said Loucheiz Purifoy will switch to receiver this spring and Jaylen Watkins may play safety in the fall. One of the reasons Muschamp can move two of his best cornerbacks is 2013 signee Vernon Hargreaves III. Ranked the consensus No. 1 corner in the country, Hargreaves is expected to play right away next season and compete for a starting job. The five-star recruit added to his impressive resume on Saturday night when he was named the National High School Defensive Player of the Year at the 58th Touchdown Club of Columbus Awards Banquet in Ohio.

“Getting these awards have been a blessing for me. All the hard work I've put in this year and throughout high school is paying off for me,” said Hargreaves, who also was named the Class 8A Player of the Year by the Associated Press and the Florida Dairy Farmers in 2012. ESPN National Recruiting Director Tom Luginbill said Hargreaves is worthy of every award and accolade he receives. “Vernon Hargreaves is a special player,” Luginbill said. “He has presence on the field. Not only is he physically gifted, but you better have a short memory playing that position and he has enough mental capacity to respond when he's picked on. When you're young it can be a daunting task, but he's unique and mature in that manner.” Muschamp recognizes the same qualities in Hargreaves, which could lead to early playing time in 2013. “I see a very mature young man that's very driven in what he wants to accomplish,” Muschamp said. “That's what really jumps out at me. Highly intelligent. A guy that you would certainly point to who will have some opportunities as a freshman to contribute. Now how much will be up to him.”

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