FNL success shows in days that followed

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When Friday Night Lights arrives, there’s one question that always get asked the most β€” who will commit?

Florida’s annual showcase has a reputation for churning out commitments over the course of the camp and having the Gators jump atop several leaderboards by the end of the night.

This year, however, was different.

There were only a few big targets on hand, none of them named UF their leader afterward and the only commit coach Will Muschamp landed didn’t even attend.

Disappointment, right?

Not in the least.

This year was different because of Florida’s absurd amount of verbals. The Gators have never entered the event with a class size of 19. That’s unheard of for most schools in July.

Names like Kelvin Taylor, Ahmad Fulwood, Caleb Brantley, Daniel McMillan and Vernon Hargreaves III are usually undecided around this time of year. But in this cycle, Muschamp already has special talents like those in the commitment column.

Moreover, with so many players pledged and so little spots left, the Gators were not in a position to pick up a bunch of prospects.

But what they did do was help themselves with their final needs for 2013 and get a head start on 2014.

Tampa Hillsborough defensive end Jordan Sherit didn’t commit to UF on his trip to Friday Night Lights, but it didn’t take long for him to do so as he pulled the trigger the very next day.

Florida’s next commit, 2014 defensive tackle Travonte Valentine, said late Friday that FSU had an edge over UF. But after two days of letting FNL sink in, he realized Gainesville was where he wanted to be and made it official.

β€œIt was an incredible experience,” said Valentine, who plans on getting a Gator tattoo.

Wide receiver Chris Thompson, Florida’s newest 2013 member, was also an FNL participant.

From left to right, UF commits Tre' Bell, James Hearns and Quinton Powell hang out with Jordan Sherit and Marcell Harris. (Photo by Matt Stamey/The Gainesville Sun).

Although the camp didn’t produce its typical splash, there was still a special atmosphere in The Swamp given the number of commits that came and recruited. Their class camaraderie had an impact on Sherit, Thompson and Valentine in the days that followed and will likely influence safety Marcell Harris and defensive end DeMarcus Walker, who announces his decision on Aug. 24.

“They’re going to want to be a part of that,” Fulwood said. “It’s going to be a snowball effect, we just got to get it going. Once we get it going, it’s not going to stop.”

26 COMMENTS

  1. Amen. Harris and Walker need to come on home so we can rap this thing up and focus on their personal alone at home side training. Get them ready for next season. Get them signed and studying the play book. Lets Go!! Gator Nation!

  2. You don’t let Harris or Walker loose because you’re waiting on an OL to commit. You absolutely must ink those two. Any one of the top 6 remaining OL prospects on our board would be +1 – and we make room. The problem is most of those OL guys will not be making decisions until later in the season. And UGA and Bama have a pretty sizable lead on us right now for Tunsil.

  3. Don”t forget we got Max Garcia the offensive tackle that started for Maryland every game last year and transferred to Florida for the 2013 season. He will have to sit out 2012 but will be well versed in the system by next year.

  4. Many of us had forgotten about Max Garcia, with him coming in in the 2013 class, that’s an even stronger class. He is already an experienced player and should be ready to step in and be an instant example and a leader.
    By the way, does anyone know how many scholarships we have left to offer. i’M TALKING ABOUT FLORIDA COUNTING, NOT ALABAMA COUNTING. BECAUSE IF WE USED THAT COUNTING METHOD WE COULD SIGN ANOTHER 12 TO 15 PLAYERS. It’s something special about that BAMA team and how they seem to be able to sign so many kids each year, if someone will please reveal their secret!! GO GATORS!!!!

  5. @Kyle- at least half of the big 4 from the ’10 class (Elam/Easley/Floyd/Powell) will declare after this season. And you will hear another couple of names that want to transfer between now and NSD. In other words we’ll make room for special players i.e Tunsil, Walker, Harris.

  6. The Topic is Recruiting So—- (1) Aubrey Hill departure is two years over due, (2) Hopefully, UF will not lose any WR b/c of this rather poor decision by WM to keep a guy who, if reports are true, was significantly involved in behavior he knew or reasonably should have known broke NCAA rules, (3) WM demonstrated poor judgment by (a) keeping Hill on the staff once his name was associated with scandal, and (b) named him coordinator of recruiting, and that is no joke. WM really did that!! Great Selection!! EMK is rested and has returned!!

  7. EMK, I get it that you are not a W/M fan or supporter but I think you are wrong on this one. Hill has been named in the allegations and he may even be guilty, but you don’t FIRE a guy because of allegations. Hill knows if he is guilty of anything and W/M did the right thing allow the guy to remove himself. As far as the poor judgement for him being the recruiting coordinator, this guy has done a good job. South Florida was the target when he came aboard, we have gotten some very good kids out of south Florida or was in great shape to get them until the end. I think things played out as well as possible in this case. GO GATORS!!!!

  8. The NCAA ‘targets’ people thought to be ‘cheaters’. From his days at Miami Hill was one of those guys. An experienced HC would not ever get near such a guy. Such a guy is an invitation to problems. Once these allegation were public Hill should have resigned to ‘spend more time—-etc.’. Now, the NCAA may, repeat may, be wondering about Hill’s behavior at UF. Now, we have at least one recruit who is now a ‘soft’ commit. Blindly supporting WM is fine if one is that type of person but one must wonder about his judgment, experience and maturity. Florida deserves the best in a HC, WM has yet to prove he deserves this job!!

  9. Hi Doug: Great reply; intelligent, insightful, articulate and providing a fresh and thoughtful perspective one would naturally anticipate from—-well, thanks for your input. With warmest personal wishes, EMK

  10. Again I still disagree with you and I have read many of your post, and I know that it is OK to respectfully disagree. Now about the “soft commit”, I would prefer he come to UF for the program and the fact that he WANTS to be a member of the “GATOR NATION” not because Aubrey Hill is here. What if Aubrey left after he signed on NSD, what would he do lose a year and transfer somewhere else?? What that kid decides to do is his business, but at some point an Adult needs to step in and give him some prospective on his decision and what he should be looking for in a University or a program. Building relationships are fine, and I here this all recruiting season and I know it is real to each one of the players but my opinion they should be looking beyond someone holding their hand for a couple of years. And I don’t mean that in a mean and vicious way, relationships are fine but you must look beyond that. Again what if that personality left just before the start of his first season??? GO GATORS!!!!

  11. Creek gator: I agree with you 100% in your evaluation of the thought-process a kid should go though when deciding on a school to attend. Your looking at it as a mature adult. Unfortunately, many guys coming out of HS do not. Actually, it is probably best for a coach to ‘sell’ the school as well as establishing a relationship with the recruit. Hopefully, WM and staff will get though this little ‘bump in the road’.