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Florida Gators preseason No.1; PLUS: Are the Miami recruiting floodgates about to open?

GAINESVILLE -- It should come as no surprise that ESPN columnist Mark Schlabach ranked the Florida Gators his preseason No.1 on Friday. Here's what Schlabach wrote about the Gators:

With 2007 Heisman Trophy winner Tebow and all 11 starters coming back on defense, the Gators are clearly the team to beat this season. Linebacker Brandon Spikes and perhaps the most talented secondary in the country lead what should be a ferocious defense. Tebow will take more snaps from under center, and coach Urban Meyer is determined to make him a more polished passer. Tight end Aaron Hernandez emerged as a big playmaker during the spring, and Carl Moore and Deonte Thompson's consistent play alleviated some of the anxiety about losing speedy receiver Percy Harvin to the NFL draft. Florida plays eight of its 12 games in the Sunshine State, but road games at LSU on Oct. 10 and at South Carolina on Nov. 14 are potential stumbling blocks.

IN OTHER NEWS...


The No.11 Gators' baseball team clinched the SEC East on Thursday night with a win against Kentucky.

The No.1 Gators softball team, a No.1 seed in the NCAA softball tournament, host a regional qualifying tournament beginning on Friday. Florida takes on Florida A&M at 6 p.m. while Texas A&M faces Lehigh at 3:30. The Gators lost to Texas A&M in the College Softball World Series last season.

Former Florida Gators quarterback Cam Newton might be interested in transferring to Tennessee in 2011, according to this blog. Newton will play at a Texas junior college this fall.

Former Florida Gators defensive tackle John Brown recently transferred to Northeast Mississippi Community College, apparently hoping to get his grades in order before returning to the Football Bowl Subdivision in 2011.

Former Gators basketball player Allan Chaney is headed to Virginia Tech.

RECRUITING BUZZ...
According to Rivals.com, a pair of Miami Booker T. Washington football players are high on the Florida Gators and could be committing soon. Defensive end Lynden Trail is a 6-7, 220-pound pass rusher, who is rated by Rivals as one of the nation's top 250 recruits. Receiver Quinton Dunbar (6-3, 170 pounds) is also strongly considering the Gators. Dunbar, another Rivals.com 250 member, recently de-committed from the Miami Hurricanes.

Another receiver with Miami roots, Kenbrell Thompkins of Torrance (Cali.) El Camino Community College, is close to committing to the Gators. Thompkins (6-3, 190 pounds) played high school football at Miami Northwestern before moving out west to get his grades in order. Thompkins' younger brother, Kendall, is a freshman wide receiver for the Miami Hurricanes.

-jo-

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