RECRUITING: On the trail with Coach Wickline

Although they face uncertainty with their jobs, the assistant football coaches of Ron Zook's staff continue to work diligently for the University of Florida. They are doing their best to ensure that Florida's new coach will have a nice recruiting class on signing day in February. Coach Joe Wickline has been doing double duty this week, handling his own recruiting assignments as well as covering for Coach Bill Miller, who was indisposed earlier in the week.

Wickline's first stop was Coffeyville Community College in Kansas to pay a visit to everybody's juco All-America safety, Reggie Nelson. There have been reports that the Palm Bay (FL) prospect is wavering with his commitment to Florida, but apparently that is just talk. Nelson is still expected to sign with the Gators during the early signing period which begins December 23.

From Coffeyville, Wickline flew to Tampa to visit Lakewood's outstanding receiver, Louis Murphy. Murphy, who was a true star at the Rising Seniors Camp at UF, confirmed to Coach Wickline that he remains solid in his Gator commitment.

Offensive lineman AJ Trump of Clearwater's Central Catholic HS also got a visit. Trump is a fan of Notre Dame and Florida State, but Wickline has stayed with him. While he's not ready to commit to the Gators quite yet, he remains a very good possibility to be in the February recruiting class.

Quarterback Harrison Beck of Clearwater Countryside remains a Nebraska commitment but Wickline paid him a visit just to tell him to take a look at the Gators in a couple of weeks when the new staff will be in place.

Linebacker Spencer Adkins of Naples and his teammate, running back Jamelle Eugene, are said to be a package deal, and apparently have been offered as such by Auburn. While Adkins is one of the top linebackers in the country, Eugene has not been high on Florida's radar. However, with a new coaching staff and perhaps a new offense, he might rate a second look. Wickline kept the door open for both prospects with his visit.

Because of some defections at the top of the Gator recruiting board due to the uncertainty of the future, Cape Coral wide receiver Taurus Johnson may have a chance to move up strongly on the Florida board. Johnson is an outstanding prospect in a year when there are so many outstanding prospects at his position nationwide. Wickline visited Johnson on behalf of Coach Miller.

Wickline pulled the coup of the week when he visited Ronnie Wilson of Pomano Beach Blanche Ely. The mammoth offensive lineman committed to the Gators the same night Wickline paid him a home visit. Wilson is completely sold on the Gators even though he didn't know at the time who would be the coach. In Wilson's home the same night was his teammate Walter McFadden, an undersized but very speedy corner prospect who also has an interest in the Gators.

Former commitments Gerald Williams of Ft. Lauderdale Boyd Anderson and Vlad Richard of Piper HS got a visit. Both were being recruited by Miller. Florida still covets these two and do not want to lose. It's my opinion that these two are looking for an excuse to be solidly in the Gator camp, but just can't make that final statement. When the new staff is in place, I believe they will be a little more at ease.


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