RECRUITING: Gators move too late for Surgan

Ft. Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas kicker Joe Surgan is interested in a school that can satisfy his quest for strong academics and football. He attended the University of Florida camp last summer, hoping to see what Florida had to offer and getting a better understanding of their thoughts about him.

Joe Surgan is not your stereotypical kicker whose first lust is academics. You won't find a pocket protector for his sun glasses. The 6-4, 220-pound All-State performer has an imposing physical stature and strong leg that immediately captures your attention.

"I went up there [Florida] for the camp late June," he said. "From what I had heard, they either weren't going to sign a kicker or I wasn't high enough on their board for one reason or another. So, as soon as I heard they weren't interested, I moved right along to the next school."

He stayed true to his course. Surgan committed to Duke University during the season with an eye focused directly on his future.

"I'm committed to Duke," he said. "I'm scheduled to visit Duke on January the 14th. The University of Florida has been around in recent weeks, and has expressed a strong interest. I spoke with Coach Meyer right around Christmas break, December 17th, I guess. Coach Meyer had come to the school to talk to my coach [George Smith] about a couple of guys and I got called down and spoke to him for just a couple of minutes."

While Florida is making a push, he is determined to honor his commitment to Duke.

"As of yesterday I told them [Florida] that I'm not interested and that I'll be signing with Duke on February 6," he said. "I spoke with Coach [Dan] Mullen [yesterday] and told him that I'll be going to Duke. From what I understand, I was in their top two, and they are going to offer a kicker."

Clearly, Surgan would have liked the opportunity to see what the Gators had to offer back in the summer, but he didn't sound especially pleased that about the fact that he heard nothing from the Florida program for quite a long time. Without hesitation, Surgan stated that he had to move on.

"I'm 100% with Duke," he said. "The whole program has sold me. From the coaches to the academics to the facilities, it was really everything that I was looking for going into a college. I really do think they're going to get this thing turned around and I want to be a part of that. Also, should anything happen football wise, where I'm not able to perform or compete, I think that I'm still in a great situation with a Duke degree."

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