GAINESVILLE -- Here's a good question to discuss in the days leading up to this Saturday's game: Why does LSU out-recruit UF in Miami?
Florida hasn't landed a recruit from the 305 area code since Dorian Munroe of Miami Coral Reef signed with the Gators in February of 2005. Some of LSU's best players are from Miami. What's the deal? Miami is loaded with high school talent and the University of Florida is a major state university with a great football program. Shouldn't UF be able to land at least one or two players from Miami-Dade every February?
And don't give me the line about Miami and UM coach Randy Shannon shutting everyone out. Other SEC schools have had success in Miami. The team Florida is playing this week, LSU, is one of those teams. LSU routinely raids Miami-Dade for some of its best players. Defensive lineman Ricky Jean-Francois of Carol City is a star at LSU and so is receiver Demetrius Byrd [PICTURED, NO.2] of Miami Central.
And what about Patrick Peterson -- formerly Patrick Johnson -- of Pompano Beach Blanche Ely? Peterson claims that UF coach Urban Meyer was so upset that Peterson [PICTURED, NO.7] chose LSU over Florida that Meyer alerted the NCAA Clearinghouse of Peterson's low ACT test scores. The NCAA flagged Peterson's academic record last year.
Here's what Peterson told the New Orleans Times-Picayune about the incident: "I'm not upset. Florida made an issue about the ACT score. They're cowards. They had to go behind my back. But that's OK. We play them this year."
Some blame former UF assistant Doc Holliday for Florida's lack of recruiting success in Miami. I'm not buying that. Why? Because Holliday left for West Virginia this offseason and he already has one commitment from Miami-Dade (Miami Northwestern running back Daquan Hargrett).
Can somebody give me a rational reason why LSU has success recruiting Miami-Dade County and Florida does not?
HEAD HUNTING WITH RICKY JEAN-FRANCOIS
Jean-Francois apparently told the Orlando Sentinel last week that he is going to try his best to take UF quarterback Tim Tebow out of the game on Saturday.
"If we get a good shot on [Tebow], we're going to try out best to take him out of the game," Jean-Francois was quoted as saying. "With his size and his heart, it's hard to get a clean shot. I think every lineman wants to get a good hit on a Heisman Trophy winner."
Does anyone have a problem with Jean-Francois [PICTURED, NO.90] saying this? LSU apparently does. They have made Jean-Francois (and for that matter Demetrius Byrd) off limits to the media this week.