Athletic Hybrid Eli Harold Likes Gators

Getting to the quarterback is going to be a top priority for Will Muschamp and his future defenses at Florida. The Gators had a very hard time of doing that in 2010 and will need to get better. It all starts up front and on the edge and one top prospect from Virginia is high on the Gators wish list. Eli Harold is an athletic freak and one that terrorizes offenses, and he likes the Gators.

The Tidewater area of Virginia is known for putting out great athletes. Gator fans have to look no further than Gator Great Percy Harvin to find maybe the best wide receiver to ever play for the Orange and Blue.

Lucky for Florida fans, Harvin's status is paying off and maybe in a big way with the attention that has been captured from Virginia Beach Ocean Lakes' hybrid linebacker / defensive end Eli Harold. Harold started liking the Gators because he followed the path of Mr. Harvin.

"When Percy was there I just really started looking at them and liking them," Harold told FOX Sports Monday. "He was my idol and I started watching him in high school. Florida also has a very good winning tradition."

Will Muschamp has been recruiting Harold himself and has told the young star that he reminds the coach of one of his big time players he coached at Texas before arriving at Florida. Brian Orapko was the winner of the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, given to the best defensive player, the Ted Hendricks Award, given to the top defensive end, and the Lombardi Award, given to the best lineman or linebacker after his senior year in 2008.

"They like me as a defensive end and outside linebacker -- a hybrid," Harold said of Muschamp and the Gators. "They say I am athletic and that I can run and I am very aggressive. When I talk to Coach Muschamp he says I play like Brian Orapko. I've seen him a lot because he plays for my Redskins."

Right now there is little doubt that Florida is up there on his list, but he also likes a couple of other programs a great deal and isn't going to narrow things down just yet.

"I am pretty high on Florida," he said. "I am still going to take my time. Virginia and North Carolina are up there as well. Right now I have 13 offers and the last one was Vanderbilt." He talked about the three main schools a little more.

Virginia: "Their coaches keep it real with you. There are a lot of players there that I know. When I visited it felt like it was home. I have a great relationship with Coach London and Coach West."

North Carolina: "They signed a friend of mine in Travis Hughes. I have a great relationship with Coach Browning and sat down with Coach Davis and that talk went real well. I went to a basketball game and really liked the campus and the great people."

Florida: "They are saying I can come in and make an instant impact. Coach White recruits the area but I talk to Coach Muschamp and Coach Hill the most. I am going down there in April."

He will be camping at the Top Gun camp being held in Richmond and may travel with the Virginia team that qualified for the 7 on 7 tournament in Detroit. When he gets around to choosing a final college destination, he really wants a place and a school that will set him up for life.

"I just want to have a place that I can have a great education so when I finish I can have a good paying job," he said.

That will likely come after he is done playing on Sundays. And the Gators hope he is playing in Gainesville on Saturdays.

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