The Florida staff knew some things were brewing with the #5 rated cornerback in the country. Jalen Tabor of Washington (D.C.) Edison-Friendship was a prospect they recruited very hard during the process, only to see him slip away in the last couple of weeks and finally commit to Arizona in front of a national television audience at the Under-Armour All-American game.
But as tabor would tell me, his parents thought Arizona was too far from home. He really likes the situation with the Wildcats and going with his good friend and high school teammate Jonathan Haden, but that wasn't going to happen. Despite Alabama being the other ‘hat on the table' at the Under Armour game and his parent's choice, Florida was his second team.
So, a lot of work had to get done to make the switch and enroll early at Florida. And he had to let the coaches know as well.
"They didn't know I was coming," Tabor said Sunday night he said with a it of a snicker. "They were unsure. When I told them for sure, I know I made their day a little bit."
Once we broke the story on scout.com, Twitter and Facebook took off. Messages to Tabor filled the Internet and he saw the power that is the University of Florida.
"Yeah it was a little different," he said again with another laugh. "Gator Nation is everywhere. I was actually at school that day and it was just a coincidence that a guy had a Gator bumper sticker on his car. Gator Nation is everywhere and they showed a lot of love."
Since the switch, Tabor now knows he is in the best situation for him. A lifelong Gators fan, he has made friends with Gator greats Joe Haden (Jonathan's older brother) and Janoris Jenkins who coached him at a couple of camps over the summer. But all of the love from Gator nation was something he didn't really expect.
"I think that is the biggest thing," he said about the love.
Finally, Tabor wanted to let those gator fans know just what to expect from this 6-foot-1, 186 pound cornerback that is big and physical and the prototype of what Florida is looking for in a corner.
"They can expect a hungry football player that will go after it on every play," he said. "I'm a guy that is going to play angry and technically sound football. I am full of passion and a guy that will come out every day and work his hardest. On game day, just know on one side of the field I will lay it down.
"They should expect a great person and a great football player. I am just a person that is proud to be a part of the Gator Nation."
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