Recruiting Academy Awards

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Watching the Academy Awards on Sunday night, I felt it would be nice and cliché to have my own sort of Oscar fun with Florida’s 2009 recruiting class. Hey, it’s quiet in recruiting at the moment and watching Will Smith (my favorite actor) made me miss my days as a thespian – see Oxford High’s production of the musicals Guys and Dolls and Cotton Patch Gospel. And the Oscar goes to …

Best Supporting Actor: If the Gators want anyone to be that support player it’s Dee Finley. He’s the guy that everyone might have been excited about in this class, but he wasn’t the main get. That goes to Andre Debose, but like the late Heath Ledger’s character, the Joker in “The Dark Knight,” Finley will steal the show once he gets on the field. He won’t necessarily be the main guy or the leader, but he’s too good and too talented not to be one of the key role players for the Gators when he gets his chance.

Best Animated Feature: Of all the Gator recruits, the liveliest or most “animated” is Jon Halapio. He can be quiet initially, but get him talking about something outside of football and this guy is great. He’s a funny kid that loves the game and should be a media – and team – favorite when he arrives in May.

Visual Effects: Andre Debose was undoubtedly the most exciting player I saw on film out of anyone in the entire country. Urban Meyer said it and I agree. He made cut after cut after cut to make it up and down the field, and he’s just one of those players that looks good in his uniform.

Original Screenplay: Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin walks away with this one hands down. Not only did he shoot his mouth off by attacking Meyer with false claims of a recruiting violation and pretty much ripped the entire town of Pahokee, but he delivered the best script of the year with his plan to have Pahokee star Nu’Keese Richardson deceive the recruiting world by signing with the Vols after being committed to UF for almost a year. Bravo, I can’t wait to see what he has in store for next year.

Short Film: Edwin Herbert takes home the gold in this department, and it’s not because of his size (6-foot-3, 295 pounds). The former junior college standout visited UF on Dec. 12 and committed on Dec. 14. That’s the shortest amount of time between a recruit officially visiting and committing.

Best Actor: Of course it’s Richardson. Who else did the best job of leading everyone – including myself on Signing Day – to think that he was going to sign with the Gators? He said over and over that he had no interest in UT and was all Gator. He then lied about visiting UT all together and donned light orange by the end of Signing Day. It later came out that he and Kiffin planned the whole deception. Kudos to Richardson and his acting ability.

Best Picture: The Gators hoisting the 2008 national championship trophy. It doesn’t get any better than that in the world of recruiting. Sure UF lost a couple of guys, but this just helps for the classes still to come. And with the way 2010 looks, this won’t be the last time the Gators win this award.