Crazy Eight

What a wild and whacky eight days it has been for the University of Florida football program in terms of recruiting. There have been some sore spots, but overall the excitement in the last eight days in recruiting has been as crazy as ever with some real surprises involved.

Throughout the Under Armour week of practices for the All-American game, there wasn't really a positive vibe in recruiting for Florida except for several commitments that showed up well. One of the cornerstones of the class at that time, Dalvin Cook, teased and taunted early in the week doing the Gator Chomp and talking about his commitment to Florida only to be the big buzz kill in the middle of the week when he flipped his commitment to rival Florida State. But, since then it has been a fun ride.

Eight days ago it started with a bang. Early on the day of the big game in St. Petersburg, there started a buzz about one particular prospect that was going to have a Florida ‘hat on the table' so to speak. After months of most folks believing 5-star defensive end Gerald Willis would sign with the home-state LSU Tigers, Willis was one of several surprises on the day and chose the other hat ( and gloves) with orange and blue and the Gators logo on it.

It was a breath of fresh air for a Gator nation that was anticipating some recruiting rewards from the hire of new offensive coordinator Kurt Roper and his high flying offense. Defense is fine when it comes in big packages like Willis.

A couple of days later a new offensive player on the board was heating up big and really another surprise. Louisville commitment Kavaris Harkless was set to enroll with the Cardinals this week until the sudden departure of head coach Charlie Strong to be the leader of the Texas Longhorns.

The Jacksonville (Fla.) Trinity Christian star was getting the full court press from Florida head coach Will Muschamp a couple of months earlier. That recruiting time paid off and suddenly Harkless turned his attention to Gainesville and a few days later would enroll in classes at Florida.

But that was just another crazy step in the last eight days.

Harkless, oddly enough was the fourth offensive line commitment and the third in a month when Florida didn't even have an offensive line coach. As it turns out, he only beat the offensive line coach by a day when Mike Summers came abourd after serving a year at USC and the previous three years as the offensive line coach for Florida receiver coach Joker Phillips when he was the head coach at Kentucky.

By Tuesday evening something else was brewing. This one would be one of the major stories of the whole recruiting process for anywhere in the country.


At the same all-star game that Willis committed, Washington (DC) Friendship cornerback Jalen Tabor shocked the world after having an Alabama hat and Arizona hat on the table and committing to the Wildcats out west. Five days later we were able to bring you the shocker when Tabor switched that commitment to the Gators and will enroll early and arrive on campus this Monday January 13.

Thursday night we did see a blip of sorts. Talented cornerback Chris Lammons decided that the Gators were signing too many cornerbacks and so he decided he would drop his commitment to the Gators and begin to look elsewhere. It is a tough loss for Florida, but at least he went about doing things the right way.

You would think all of that would be enough for the faint of heart, the recruiting fan that can take only so much pleasure or pain from the process at one time.

But, nooooooooooooooo.

Muschamp and crew pull off another big time get in the 11th hour as they persuade running back Brandon Powell from Deerfield Beach to join the fight to rise again in the SEC. The scat back is a great fit in a wide open offense that Roper wants to feature at Florida. A home run hitter.

Powell was set to enroll at Miami this week, but a delay from their end caused the hesitation enough for the Gators to pounce. Powell is now enrolled at Florida and attending classes starting on Friday (today).

Three surprise early enrollees that are already or will be in classes by Monday. A total of nine new faces to add to the spring football roster and guys that can get started learning the offensive or defensive schemes at Florida.

And for us that report and follow recruiting so closely, we hope for this kind of week every week.

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