Bower or bust for UF with remaining DE targets


Florida’s hopes of adding another defensive end in the 2013 class have dwindled over the past week.

Elijah Daniel (Avon, Ind.) has reportedly fell too far behind academically, while USC commit Jason Hatcher (Louisville, Ky./Trinity) and Mississippi State commit Chris Jones (Houston, Miss.) say they will no longer visit the Gators.

Logan (Ga.) Grayson defensive end Robert Nkdemiche officially visited UF this weekend, but Ole Miss has an insurmountable lead for the nation’s No. 1 overall prospect.

Bower played in the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl on Jan. 4. (Photo by Scott Schmidt)

As of now, Auburn commit Tashawn Bower (Somerville, N.J./Immaculata) appears to be the only viable option left on the board.

The ESPN150 member also took an official to Florida over the weekend, which was his first trip to Gainesville in two years.

“It went well,” Bower said. “I haven’t been down since my sophomore year, so it was nice to see the school and campus again.”

The highlight of Bower’s return to UF was meeting Jeff Dillman, director of strength and conditioning.

“It was impressive to see him and the training staff at work,” Bower said. “That stuck out to me the most. I like the way they develop their players and I definitely feel they could get me to the NFL.”

Former UF defensive coordinator Dan Quinn had been Bower’s primary recruiter, but he left the Gators on Thursday for the same position in Seattle.

However, Quinn’s departure hasn’t hurt Florida’s chances with Bower.

“I talked to coach (Will) Muschamp and he said it’s still his defense. Nothing is going to change with the scheme and he told me he will find the right guy to coach defensive ends. So I’m not worried about anything and I think D.J. Durkin will do a great job,” Bower said.

The 6-foot-5, 241-pounder has now taken officials to Auburn, Florida and Florida State, and he will visit LSU next weekend followed by an unofficial to Auburn on Feb. 1. Bower remains committed to the Tigers, but he’s unsure of how strong his pledge is because he has a lot to digest over the next two weeks.

For the Gators to flip him, Bower said he wants UF to recruit him harder than any other school from now until National Signing Day.

“I actually grew up a Gator fan, but I never really considered them in the beginning because the coaches didn’t recruit me that much,” Bower recalled. “Things have started to pick up this month because they missed on some guys, but I still want to see more from them.”

Bower was informed by the Florida staff that defensive linemen Joey Ivie (an early enrollee) and Antonio Riles will eventually become tackles, and weakside defensive end Jordan Sherit could redshirt next season because he’s recovering the torn ACL he suffered in October.

“The coaches told me they really need me in this class and the opportunity is there for me to come in and play right away,” Bower said.


  1. I hope this kid realizes that he was in the ESPN top 150, they didn’t say he was the # 1,2,3….. DE, Coaches go after the top players first and down the line as the talent goes down. He’s saying since they have missed on the better guys and I’m all thats left not they are recruiting me. Thats how recruiting usually goes, if they are just getting to you you should look at this as an opportunity for you to get with a better team, and if they told you that YOU have or will have an opportunity to get some playing time on one of the best D-Teams in the country, WAKE UP! All this they are going to have to recruit me harder than any team (you mean Kiss your …..) from now tp NSD, Son think again, THIS IS YOUR OPPORTUNITY!!! GO GATORS!!!!

  2. Creek Gator,

    He is the #3 weakside DE in the country according to 24/7 sports.
    It would be terrific if we can add him to the class.

    You are right though, the Gators still have other recruits to pursue.
    This is his opportunity.

  3. Seems that way B. If I where champ i would think of hiring a full time closer. That is all they would do is visit, scout and close. If not Bower then a diamond in the rough will get his shot. Shane we keep missing out on these guys. Champs a great recruiter but not a closer aka sugar bowl and all the last minute guys for last year. 0-8 and climbing it seems. Good thing he filled his needs early this time. Go Gators.

  4. We will see if its #1 in a couple of years Doug. This is paper number 1 that can be given to anyone as they so choose. I love this class as well by the way, but don’t act like you don’t want Robert N. on this board or Walker that chose FSU. Closer doesn’t mean he hasn’t done a great job. Its losing out on instate guys and some out of state guys you have been in good standing with going 0-? number it ends up being. Daniel, Warlker, Adams or someone of that effect would have erased some of those bad feelings and cloud that lingers. You feel it as well at times so don’t be smug Doug. If we closed on Sammy W. this is a team with rings.

  5. B&J,
    Hmmm wonder where those initials came from… Ooops Freudian slip there…

    Bottom line, Be happy with what we have accomplished with this class and don’t get ticked off when your greedy selves think we lost out on kids that we have not even been recruiting for that long anyway. You are both a couple of tools.
    Ooops another Freudian slip there…

  6. I just think it is selfish, unrealistic and embarrassing when UF fans bemoan the few great players who choose to go to school somewhere else as opposed to being satisfied with the ones who choose to join us. These are many of the same folks who complained when Spurrier ‘only’ went 10-2 and won the Orange Bowl by about 50 points. Some people are simply never satisfied and those are the ones I was referring to when I used the word ‘fools’. Nkemdiche was never coming here so, no, I lost absolutely no sleep over his ‘visit’. Let’s get real. This is an absolutely great, top-notch, class, and we don’t yet know how it is going to finish, so anyone criticizing the coach for his recruiting skills is, in my opinion, yes, a fool.
    Go Gators. Win or lose.

  7. What is it with the “close” stuff? The coaches did well closing with Dante flower last year and Robinson and anzalone this year. They stayed on robinson until the last min. Walker followed a coach he felt close to u can’t beat that some times it happens. Ppl seem enamored with guys putting on a UF hat in early feb on espn.

  8. I agree with the thought that Champ has “closed”. Just because a guy commits early doesn’t mean you didn’t have to close. Getting an early commit to sign is just as impressive as flipping a guy committed elsewhere. And how has everybody forgotten About Alex A., Robinson, or even Brantley? Stop being spoiled and enjoy what we have.

  9. Man, a lot of greedy Gators on here. Last I checked, we had the #1 recruiting class in the nation by several recruiting sites. So we locked ’em up early instead of waiting for signing day. It’s the Texas approach and I for one don’t mind at all not stressing about Feb 6th. This class is AWESOME and fills all of our needs. If we miss out on a couple late hour recruits, so be it. Be thankful for the Gators that want to be ON THIS TEAM. Stop being so spoiled

  10. No issues with this class, but thinking back to last year imagine what Agholor or Diggs or both could have done. Fowler was a fantastic late surprise and it showed. Here’s hoping Robinson or Fulwood will be at that level. We are historically weak at WR.

  11. Are you serious? If this staff is not good at closing why have we all but filled the class with future studs? B and J learn how to appreciate what we have, which btw is the number 1 class, and stop worrying about some kid who we didnt want in the beggining. Go Gators!

  12. We are obviously running behind on this guy and we need to flip already committed recruits from other schools to complete our class.

    I don’t think Muschamp will fill in with projects as it hasn’t boded well for us in the past. So, Bower can either wind up at Auburn that won’t be a contender for a few years, or come on down to title town and be a Gator whom he claims he liked growing up.

  13. We are obviously running behind on this guy and we need to flip already committed recruits from other schools to complete our class.

    I don’t think Muschamp will fill in with projects as it hasn’t boded well for us in the past. So, Bower can either wind up at Auburn that won’t be a contender for a few years, or come on down to title town and be a Gator whom he claims he liked growing up.

  14. The name of the game is closing on big name players.Is it because of Muschamp only in his 3rd year of recruiting,and still behind, or something intangible with their recruiting ability.You keep losing big names, they will come back to haunt you.Spurrier made sure Clowney stayed in state and not go some where else.Look what he’s became.A healthy Urban Meyer would have made a good push for him as he did once before.We’ll see next week.