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3 posts from February 5, 2014

February 05, 2014

No Sunshine State Triple Crown: Jackson signs with Gators

GAINESVILLE -- The roller-coaster recruitment of Immokalee cornerback J.C. Jackson ended Wednesday morning when the four-star defensive back held firm in his commitment to Florida, rebuffing strong advances by in-state rivals Miami and Florida State.

Following weeks of speculation of a possible third flip, Jackson, once an FSU commit, was actually one of UF's first signees to officially fax in his National Letter of Intent.

The Under Armour All-American is purportedly close friends with former UF pledges Dalvin Cook and Ermon Lane, leading many to believe he too would decommit from the Gators.

Wednesday afternoon, Florida coach Will Muschamp discussed Jackson's recruiting saga and much of the "misinformation" on the Internet.

“It’s amazing, I don't really follow the Internet much, but there's so much hearsay and as much information there is out there, in my opinion, there's a lot of misinformation,” Muschamp said.

“I get tons of phone calls about, ‘Well, I heard this, I heard that.’  I mean I can't keep up with all the what‑I‑heard stuff.  I have to go off fact, and I go off talking to Lisa, his mother, and Chris, his father, and J. C. I deal with the family and I talk to them.  And certainly I don't think our season helped, but I think that he saw his best opportunity to come in and play corner at Florida.  You know, seeing Marcus [Roberson] and Loucheiz [Purifoy] and Jaylen [Watkins], our three top corners leaving and moving on that were upper classmen, seeing his opportunity here to play here at Florida, it was something he was excited about.

“I know he looked at some other places, no different than a lot of kids do, and I encourage kids to do, to go make sure they're making the right decision, to go take a look at another place.  And so, you know, again, I never ‑‑ we never felt it was that much in the balance, maybe as what a lot of people seemed to think.  We never felt that way.  And you never know till you get the facts in.  Any coach that tells you they know what was going to happen, they can't say that.”

Jackson, at 5-foot-10, 175-pounds, projects as an immediate contributor in Florida's depleted secondary and/or as a play-making returner.  

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NSD Live Thread - How will Gators finish???

GAINESVILLE -- Time for coffee. Lots and lots of coffee. 

First, Florida flipped its eighth prospect on the eve of National Sigining Day, landing the committment of  offensive tackle Andrew Mike (Tucson, Az.). The three-star prospect was formally pledged to Vanderbilt, but his commitment late Tuesday night likely means the Gators will miss on five-star tackle Damian Prince.  

CONFIRMED LOIs (not including nine early enrollees) 

WR Ryan Sousa

DB Quincy Wilson

DB J.C. Jackson

DT Khairi Clark

TE C'yontai Lewis

TE Moral Stephens

ATH Deiondre Porter

DL Justus Reed

DL Gerald Willis III

DT Thomas Holley 

OL Andrew Mike

OL Travaris Dorsey

OL David Sharpe

QB Treon Harris 

WR C.J. Worton

--- UF has received the LOIs from all 24 members of its 2014 class. 

FLORIDA'S BIG BOARD (with announcement times)

DB J.C. Jackson (Immokalee) **** (8 a.m.) - CONFIRMED UF PLEDGE 

WR Isaiah McKenzie (American Heritage) **** (8:15 a.m.)  COMMITTED TO GEORGIA

WR CJ Worton (South Dade) *** 9 a.m. - COMMITTED TO FLORIDA 

QB Treon Harris (Booker T. Washington) **** (9 a.m.) - FLIPPED TO FLORIDA 

OT Damian Prince (Bishop McNamara, Md.) ***** (10:20 a.m., ESPNU) COMMITTED TO MARYLAND

OT Derrick Kelly (East Gadsden) *** (1 p.m.)  COMMITTED TO FSU

ATH Adoree' Jackson (Junipero Serra, Ca.) ***** (2:10 p.m., ESPNU) COMMITTED TO USC

DE Lorenzo Carter (Norcross, Ga.) ***** (3 p.m., ESPNU) COMMITTED TO GEORGIA

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HOOPS: Flight School... And on another Gators victory

BfraZYhCAAA8coQ.jpg-large(Courtesy @journo2go)

GAINESVILLE -- Freshman forward Chris 'Sky' Walker took flight Tuesday evening, but it was No. 3 Florida's brilliant backcourt that dominated the Missouri Tigers in UF's 14th straight win. 

Backed by Scottie Wilbekin's 19 points, including shooting 13-of-16 from the charity stripe, Michael Frazier's 14 points and Kasey Hill's six assists, UF scooted past Mizzou 68-58 for its 28th consecutive victory at home.

Florida (20-2, 9-0 SEC) held Missouri (16-6, 4-5 SEC) to its lowest scoring output since its last trip to the O'Connell Center on Jan. 2013, frustrating the Tigers into 12 turnovers and 39 percent shooting Tuesday night. 

“We know since we're the top team in the SEC, we’re going to get everyone’s best shot,” said senior center Patric Young, who finished the evening with 13 points and six rebounds.

“We don’t want any letdowns. We have to bring our A-game every night, and we know it."

The Gators again struggled to score in the half-court in the first half (just 1-of-11 from downtown), but Florida shot the ball from the perimeter much better after halftime -- mainly Frazier.  

The sophomore sniper drilled three treys in two minutes, busting a close game wide open late in the second half. 

"This was a really hard game for us, " UF coach Billy Donovan said. "It was a struggle all the way through. Nothing was easy."

The Gators everntually sprinted to a 15-3 run to put away a pesky Tigers team, as Donovan acknowledged UF’s ability to play inside-out allowed them to slowly exploit Mizzou's zone defense. 

But while Florida's win was the ultimately entree on the evening, Walker's highly-anticipated debut was a delicious desert for UF fans. 

The five-star freshman, who sat out 12 games after the NCAA ruled he received impermissible benefits from five different people, entered the game to a raucous standing ovation with 11:28 remaining in the first half. 

The 6-foot-10 McDonald's All American immediately made his presence felt, delivering a vicious block and a silly two-handed slam off a lob from former AAU teammate Hill in a three minute span. 

"It was nice," Walker said. "I kept a positive mind and just kept working." 

Journo2go(Courtesy @journo2go)

"I just looked in [Hill's] eyes and it brought back flashbacks," Walker said. 


Later, Florida's freshmen duo connected again, sending a packed O'Dome into a frenzy.

With seconds remaining in the first half, Walker flushed another thunderous alley-oop on a sweet feed from Hill. The scintillating slam was soured a bit, however, as Jabari Brown drilled a 3-pointer at the buzzer.

In all though, it was a solid debut for a tantalizing talent. Walker finished with four points, two blocks, two fouls and a rebound in just seven minutes. He missed a couple defensive rotations, displaying some brief (and expected) confusion, but he played with the energy, effort and swagger teased for weeks.

"I really had no idea what to expect," Donovan said. "I thought he contributed very positively."

VIDEO: Walker, Donovan talk debut, NCAA ruling & more...


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