UF-FSU atmosphere paying dividends


Valdosta, Ga., Lowndes linebacker Telvin Smith arrived in Gainesville with the thought of watching one of the nation’s most bitter rivalries. Instead, the Florida State commit found himself cheering for the wrong colors.

“When everyone was yelling “Orange and Blue,” I was standing up yelling “Orange and Blue,” Smith said.

Smith was cheering for the Gators, but he was quick to say that he also pulled for FSU at times, especially for former teammate Greg Reid. Smith, who on the phone sounds like a very nice kid, said he’s still committed to FSU, but he’s keeping his options open and right now. Florida and Georgia have pulled even with the Seminoles.

But Smith said he was blown away by the atmosphere Saturday. Sure, he watched FSU get crushed by 27, but he said he had a good time. That can’t be good for FSU. To make things worse for the ‘Noles, Smith said he’s looking to take an official visit to Florida soon. He hasn’t spoken to FSU offensive coordinator Jimbo Fisher in “a while” and hasn’t set anything up for an official. If he gets into Gainesville on Dec. 12, things could really turn sour for the ‘Noles.

Smith said he hasn’t focused on what’s going on in Tallahassee concerning Bobby Bowden, and that it won’t have an effect on his final decision, which he said he plans to make on Feb. 5.

While his final three schools are equal, Smith had some really nice things to say about Florida.

“First of all, I love Coach Meyer,” he said. “He’s a loose coach that likes to have fun and still has that drive to win even though he’s still winning, he always wants to win. Sometimes a team or players will start winning and they’ll get comfortable with what they’ve got, but I feel like Florida is striving to get better and keep winning, and that’s what I like.”

Smith, whom Rivals.com rates as the 29th-best linebacker in the nation, said Florida’s coaches see him as the “the next Brandon Spikes,” but Smith has other thoughts in mind.

“I’m coming in trying to be better than Brandon Spikes,” he said. “He’s an awesome player. I’m not knocking him or anything like that, and I want to learn from him. But at the same time, I’m coming in to make my own name and I’m going to try and be the impact player that I know I can be.”

Smith said he stays in contact with current Gator tight end commit Gerald Christian, who is actively trying to sway Smith. He sounds like he just wants to be comfortable with his school and if he trusts FSU’s staff enough, he’ll stay with the ‘Noles. But if things get foggier in Tallahassee, Smith could end up saying even more good things about the Gators.

“I’m not trying to rush anything,” he said. “I want to make sure the school I commit to is the one I really want to commit to and be a part of.”

Owa enjoys his time
Finally, Owamagbe Odighizuwa got a chance to hang out in Gainesville. He’s tried to make it down here for the longest time, but his journey from Oregon was well worth it.

“It was a good trip,” the Portland, Ore., David Douglas defensive end said of his official visit. “I had a good time.”

Rivals rates Odighizuwa as a five-star prospect and the No. 2 weakside defensive end in the country. All year it’s looked as though California has been his favorite, but Florida is up there. While he had a good time this weekend, I still think Odighizuwa continues to favor Cal. Plus, Florida is hot after Moreno Valley, Calif., Rancho Verde defensive end Ronald Powell and Aurora, Colo., Grandview’s Chris Martin, who sources said decommitted from Notre Dame and committed to Florida Saturday. Martin quickly dispelled the rumor and said he won’t be doing anymore interviews until he makes his final decision on signing day. Still going with the Gators for that one.

It looks like Odighizuwa might be slotted behind both these guys on Florida’s priority list.

Silberman loves return
Every time I look into the south end zone stands after games, I always see Flemming Island offensive lineman Ian Silberman standing there. He committed to the Gators two summers ago and has never looked elsewhere. Things definitely didn’t change after Saturday’s game.

“It was great,” Silberman said of his visit. “(There were) a lot of great prospects (at the game). Great game. Last night was the best game I’ve seen.”