Notebook: UM recruiting rivalry

Florida Gators defensive back Vernon Hargreaves III (16) celebrates with defensive backs coach Travaris Robinson and defensive coordinator DJ Durkin after making an interception against the Toledo Rockets during the second half at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on Saturday August 31.

Matt Stamey/Staff photographer
Published: Wednesday, September 4, 2013 at 4:19 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, September 4, 2013 at 4:19 p.m.

Florida and Miami recruit a lot of the same prospects and have a lot of intense recruiting battles between the two coaching staffs. But it sounds like a friendly, civil rivalry between the Gators and 'Canes on the recruiting trail.

“It's fine. Very professional,” defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin said. “Those guys do a great job, they work hard at it, they're in on a lot of guys, as I feel we do as well. There are no bad feelings or anything.”

Good start for safeties

Durkin said the new safeties — junior Cody Riggs and redshirt freshman Marcus Maye — were solid in their first starts in the opener.

“I thought both guys did some things well, but they both need to clean some things up,” Durkin said. “Marcus, that was his first game out there. A couple times you could tell it was in terms of his awareness of what we were in.

“That team (Toledo) presented a lot of problems coverage-wise. They were very multiple in their formations, their motion, their shifting. We knew that going in. It was a lot of communication on the back end. We've got to clean that up.

“I thought Cody played well. He played physical. We've got to wrap up on some tackles. Overall I thought both of those guys played really well. It was a good performance that we can build on.”

Hargreaves a 'special' guy

Durkin is an emotional guy on the sidelines. Perhaps his biggest show of emotion came when true freshman cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III stepped in front of a Toledo wide receiver and intercepted a pass.

“I was definitely excited about that,” he said. “How that guy responded, reacted and played meant exciting things for all of us. He can make us better.

“It was a heck of a play. For a guy to go and make a play on that ball, you don't see that every day. We think we've got something special with him.”

Riggs, Roberson go own way

Unlike many young football players growing up in south Florida, safety Cody Riggs and cornerback Marcus Roberson were not fans of The U.

“I was never a Miami fan,” Riggs said. “I was a Gator fan and a Seminole fan. When I got to high school (Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas)l, it was strictly Gators.”

Riggs said one of the few UM games he attended, he was there to cheer for his brother, Gerald Riggs, who played at Tennessee.

“I was like the only Tennessee fan in there,” Riggs said. “It was a little rough.”

Roberson, who also went to St. Thomas, said he was pretty indifferent toward Miami.

“I watched a couple (Miami) games growing up, but I wasn't really big on UM,” Roberson said. “I'm at Florida now. I'm a Gator.”

Roberson said he did not have a favorite team growing up.

“Not really, no. I just like football,” he said.

Friendly rivalry Part II

Roberson may find himself going one-on-one against a longtime friend and former high school teammate Saturday. Roberson and leading UM wide receiver Phillip Dorsett have been friends going all the way back to first grade.

Roberson said there will be no trash-talking between the two.

“No, man. We just play football,” Roberson said.

Roberson was asked if Saturday's game is for bragging rights between old friends.

“I mean, we're both competitors, so I'm pretty sure it's going to be a battle between us,” Roberson said. “It's going to be fun just to play against each other knowing that we came from elementary school together and went to the same high school.

“We always like to compete.”

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