St. Petersburg Lakewood five-star defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. stunned a lot of people — especially the Florida State coaches — when he flipped to Florida on National Signing Day.
The news did not come as a surprise to Will Muschamp and the Florida coaches. They knew it was coming. Fowler had told them weeks earlier that he was going to sign with Florida instead of FSU, the school he had committed to more than a year ago.
At Wednesday’s signing day news conference, Muschamp was asked if there was a lot of FSU stuff in Fowler’s house when he visited Fowler and his family two weeks ago. Muschamp smiled and said, “no.” There wasn’t because Fowler was already a Gator.
Fowler should be the poster boy for top prospects who flip late in the process. He maintained throughout that he was 100-percent committed to FSU, while quietly being turned by Muschamp and the Gators. Had he publicly wavered on his commitment, he would have had to deal with all kinds of pressure from Jimbo Fisher and the FSU coaches. Instead, he made the switch to Florida a few weeks ago and sat on that decision until signing day. No pressure, no problem.
Of course, Fowler has been bashed by Seminole supporters on Twitter and Facebook, but he’s OK with that because the decision has been made, it’s final, and he’s a Gator now.
Third OL was not coming
A lot of UF supporters were holding out hope on signing day that standout offensive lineman Avery Young would fall Florida’s way. But it was never going to happen. Here’s the reason: D.J. Humphries.
Young wants to be a left tackle in college (which certainly would boost his NFL stock), but he did not see that opportunity happening at Florida, where Humphries is UF’s future left tackle — and he’s already in school and ready to compete for playing time this spring.
With Humphries in the fold, Florida was not an option for Young. The only surprising thing about his decision Wednesday was the fact he put on an Auburn hat instead of a Georgia hat.
Howard seemed a lock
The Florida coaches were not surprised at all when wide receiver Nelson Agholor called them late Tuesday night to tell them he was signing with Southern Cal. They expected it all along. The phone call they didn’t expect is the one from cornerback Tracy Howard telling them he was going to be a Hurricane.
When Howard left from his UF visit two weeks ago, he was pretty much all Gator. He knew it, the coaches knew it, so did the other Gator commitments who were on the same visit.
But everything changed with his visit to Miami last weekend. Even though he had shown very little outward interest in the ‘Canes, UM managed to turn him completely. This is the one signing day miss the Florida coaches were not expecting at the first of the week.
Stephon Diggs prediction time?
After my lousy record predicting where nine uncommitted Gator targets would sign, I’m staying away from this one. I know he and his family like Florida a lot, and there is a great chance this is where he’ll sign next week. But I’m reluctant to pull the trigger on this one, especially after Howard’s unexpected switch earlier this week.