GAINESVILLE -- A few items to address before we begin breaking down the spring game.
1. Urban Meyer received his third commitment of the 2011 recruiting class this weekend when prep standout Jeoffrey Pagan of Asheville, N.C., committed to the Gators. A 6-4, 250-pound defensive end, Pagan committed to Meyer on Friday. Pagan, who is from Miami, made the trip to Gainesville for the spring game and told Meyer of his decision in person. Meyer apparently did a little dance when Pagan committed. Meyer can dance? Well, he was a shortstop in the minors. I've always contended that shortstops are the best dancers. On the bucket list: Dance with Urban Meyer at a Jimmy Buffett concert. ANYWAY, Pagan had scholarship offers from Alabama, USC, FSU, LSU, Notre Dame and Georgia. He told recruiting websites this weekend that he doesn't plan on taking any official visits (other than his official to UF, of course).
2. Sticking with the recruiting theme, Fort Lauderdale Pine Crest guard Brandon Knight will announce his basketball commitment at 4 p.m. Wednesday on ESPNU. Knight will choose between UF, Kentucky, Syracuse, Kansas and Connecticut.
3. I'm still sticking by my prediction that the Seattle Seahawks will select Tim Tebow with the 14th pick of the NFL Draft. Call me crazy.
4. While my original blog post on the idea was presented with a what-if slant, I now have serious reason to believe that if the Big Ten adds five schools and one of those teams is Notre Dame then the SEC will in fact consider adding teams but only if it's a slam dunk and benefits the league. Again, think big here: Texas and Texas A&M in the SEC West and FSU and Miami or Georgia Tech in the SEC East. Just a guess, but Florida would likely try and block the addition of Miami into the SEC. Of course, UF could always be outvoted by other members in a collective power play. FSU recruits primarily against UF, Miami, Alabama, Auburn and Georgia. Miami recruits primarily against UF and FSU. Also, keep in mind that Georgia Tech was an original member of the SEC. Of course, Notre Dame has a pretty sweet deal going with the BCS. My guess: As long as there is a BCS, Notre Dame will remain independent. If Notre Dame joins the Big Ten, then the gears of a national playoff might -- MIGHT -- slowly begin turning.
NOW TO THE SPRING GAME ...
5 TOP NEWCOMERS
1. Trey Burton, QB: Gator Clause must take the time and thank Mr. Burton for making our editorial board look like a collective genius. The Gator Clause Board of Directors named Burton the spring's most improved player on Thursday. On Saturday, Burton accounted for 243 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns. Burton's 76-yard run was a thing of beauty and set an spring-game record for longest run from scrimmage. (UF began keeping spring-game stats in 1996.) Burton also did an excellent job at the end of the second quarter in leading the Gators' no-huddle offense. Burton completed five consecutive passes to get his offense in field-goal range.
2. Carl Moore, WR: Moore isn't really a newcomer but since he missed all of 2009 and played sparingly in 2008, we're including Moore in this list. Officially, I have no idea why Moore missed those two practices this spring, but it certainly wasn't because he feared competition. Moore was UF's best possession receiver on Saturday, accounting for eight receptions, 130 yards and a touchdown. Welcome back, Carl. Be smart this summer.
3. Mike Gillislee, RB: The rising sophomore from Deland was his usual steady self on Saturday. He had 10 carries for 47 yards and a touchdown on tired legs. No one worked harder this spring than Gillislee.
4. Josh Shaw, CB: Shaw was picked on plenty Saturday but the Californian kept battling and finished with a spring-game high eight tackles. He also had an interception. Shaw also made a nice play when he knocked down a pass over the middle intended for Carl Moore. Moore created a little separation but Shaw recovered quickly to make the play in one-on-one coverage.
5. Andre Debose, WR: After sitting out last season with a hamstring injury, Debose showed everyone in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium that he still has plenty of speed. In limited duty, Debose had two receptions for 30 yards. I like Debose and I like his aggressive demeanor. As much as he hates being compared to Percy Harvin, Debose and Harvin certainly share some of the same characteristics: toughness, confidence, quick first step, speed, play-making ability, etc.
Frankie Hammond, Jr., WR: Hammond of Hallandale is such a smart receiver. It's fun to watch him play. His awareness on the field helped UF's quarterbacks on Saturday. Hammond had four receptions for 20 yards, including a touchdown. On the touchdown, Hammond noticed quarterback John Brantley scrambling, adjusted his route and got open in the end zone for his quarterback. Nice play, Frankie!
Moses Jenkins, CB: Jenkins of Lauderdale Lakes Boyd Anderson had a solid spring game. He made several impressive tackles, including one that prevented a touchdown and another that forced a fourth down inside the red zone. Jenkins finished with four tackles.
TOP FIVE PLAYS
1. Burton's 76-yard run was the day's rushing highlight. He made just about everyone on the Gators' second-team defense miss at least once.
2. John Brantley's 47-yard bomb to Deonte Thompson on the first play from scrimmage was a REAL football play. (sarcasm, people!)
3. Brantley's 14-yard touchdown strike to Carl Moore in the second quarter was excellent. Moore was at his best in the red-zone on Saturday.
4. Burton's 20-yard touchdown pass to Omarius Hines in the second quarter showed everyone that Burton is certainly capable of making quality throws.
5. Jordan Reed's 31-yard touchdown pass to T.J. Lawrence in the fourth quarter excited coaches, including offensive coordinator Steve Addazio who gushed about Reed's arm strength after the game.
1. The first-team offensive line struggled at times to form a pocket for Brantley. Of course, the offensive line was without some of its projected starters.
2. Which reminds me. Offensive guard Carl Johnson, who sat out with a shoulder injury, was on the sidelines looking a little beefy. Let's hope Johnson's shoulder heals in time so he can be in shape for two-a-days.
3. The interception throw by Burton on the second-team offense's first play from scrimmage was a coach's fault. Of course, the coach who called the play was a student. Two students won contests to call the first offensive plays for each team. Brantley completed his bomb on the first-team offense's first play. Burton's bomb was predictable and was picked off by Josh Shaw. (Still, it was a great play by Shaw.) After the game, Burton said he didn't agree with the student's call, and instead wanted a designed quarterback run.
4. Plenty of South Florida recruits made the trip to Gainesville for the spring game. Some I've been able to track down: Eli Rogers, a wide receiver at Miami Northwestern; Jeremy Cash, a safety at Plantation; Ryan Shazier, a defensive end from Plantation; Curt Maggit, a defensive lineman was West Palm Beach Dwyer.
5. Other top recruits in attendance: Lateek Townsend, a top linebacker prospect from South Carolina; Mike Bellamy, a running back from Punta Gorda; Nick Waisome, a defensive back from Southlake; Ray Drew, a defensive end from Thomasville, Ga.
6. Defensive coordinator Teryl Austin told me that cornerback Adrian Bushell is currently not with the team while he deals with personal issues (most likely grades).
GATOR CLAUSE POST-SPRING DEPTH CHARTS
QB: John Brantley, Trey Burton, Jordan Reed
RB: Jeff Demps, Emmanuel Moody OR Mike Gillislee, Chris Rainey
FB: Steve Wilks, T.J. Pridemore
Z-receiver: Deonte Thompson, Omar Hines, Frankie Hammond Jr., T.J. Lawrence
Y-receiver: Carl Moore, Frankie Hammond Jr., Justin Williams, Stephen Alli
Slot-receiver: Chris Rainey, Andre Debose, Frankie Hammond Jr., Solomon Patton, Robert Clark
TE: Jordan Reed, Gerald Christian
RT: Marcus Gilbert, David Young, Jonotthan Harrison?
RG: Maurice Hurt, Nick Alajajian?
C: Mike Pouncey, Sam Robey
LG: James Wilson, Jon Halapio?
LT: Xavier Nixon, Matt Patchan?, Ian Siberman?
DE: Justin Trattou, Kedric Johnson OR Lerentee McCray?
DL: Terron Sanders, Jaye Howard
DL: Lawrence Marsh, Omar Hunter
DE: Duke Lemmens, William Green
SLB: A.J. Jones, Lorenzo Edwards
MLB: Jon Bostic, Brendan Beal, Jelani Jenkins
WLB: Brandon Hicks, Dee Finley
CB: Janoris Jenkins, Josh Shaw
FS: Will Hill, Matt Elam
SS: Ahmad Black, Miguel Carodine/Jordan Haden
CB: Moses Jenkins, Jeremy Brown, Jaylen Watkins
NB: Matt Elam, Jeremy Brown
Kicker: Caleb Sturgis, John Crofoot
Punter: Chas Henry, David Lerner
Punt return: Chris Rainey, Robert Clark
Kick return: Chris Rainey, Mike Gillislee