Amidst all the changes, Scout.com and the US Army have teamed up to sponsor the US Army All-America Football Game in San Antonio, the highest profile all-star football game in existence. That game will kickoff Saturday at the Alamo Dome with a national television audience joining in on NBC.
Gator Country is part of all the activity with the Army game, staffing the football game and combines all week in San Antonio to bring Florida fans the most up to date recruiting news in the country. Florida's new coach, Urban Meyer, and staff will be watching all the activities of the week very carefully as there are several potential Gator recruits who will be playing. Bryan Evans, Demetrice Morley, Jerome Hayes, Brian Cushing, David Nelson, DeSean Jackson, Nyan Boateng, and Chris Scott are on the Army game rosters and all are being heavily recruited by the Gators.
On defense, the Gators are in desperate need at two positions, namely linebacker and cornerback. This game features two linebackers and two defensive backs that the Gators are pursuing. Here is a look at the potential defensive recruits for the Gators who will be playing in the game.
Jerome Hayes, Bayonne, NJ (6-2, 225, 4.6)
Statistics: As a senior he rushed for over 1,200 yards and 17 scores. Defensively, he racked up 103 tackles, two interceptions, eight forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries. He carries a 2.8 GPA.
The Skinny: Hayes, from Bayonne, NJ is Scout.com's number 14 linebacker in the country. He visited Gainesville twice, first during the summer camp and then during the regular season. He has stayed linked to the Gators through Coach Mike Locksley and has the Gators tied for the lead for his services.
Brian Cushing, Bergen Catholic, Oradell, NJ (6-3, 227, 4.5)
Statistics: One of the elite players of New Jersey and one of the best in the Northeast for the 2005 class, Cushing has size and speed. He recorded 120 tackles 9.5 sacks and 7 interceptions in a rover position on defense, plus 13 receptions for 456 yards and 7 touchdowns as a wide receiver on offense. First Team All-State as a junior and senior, Cushing was the Bergen County Defensive Player of the Year. Cushing carries a 3.4 GPA and has a 1010 SAT. He bench presses 320, squats 380 and has a 36-inch vertical jump.
The Skinny: Cushing is hard to get a read on. Some will tell you Penn State, some Miami. Recently, there has been a lot of talk about Notre Dame, but in conversations with Gator Country, it seems there is a growing interest in Southern Cal. Cushing would be the Florida's highest impact player on the entire recruiting board at this time because of the outright need at linebacker. He may or may not even visit, but has a lot of friends that probably will. Florida will likely get a look, perhaps more.
Cornerback is maybe the second biggest need position on the team this year. The gators have lacked two solid to great corners forever and a day and no one right now could tell you who will start next to Dee Webb next year in the secondary. The game will feature two premiere athletes from Florida and the Gators have their eyes set on both. Bryan Evans and Demetrice Morley are friends who both attended the Rising Senior Camp in Gainesville in July.
Bryan Evans, Jacksonville Ed White (5-11, 177, 4.45)
Statistics: As a senior (4-5), Evans intercepted five passes (returned two for TDs). He also returned a punt for a score and was in on 47 tackles, caused a fumble and recovered two. Offensively he rushed for 427 yards and three touchdowns and had 343 yards receiving for two more touchdowns. As a junior he rushed for 732 yards and 15 touchdowns on 66 carries and also caught a TD pass. He also picked off five passes, returning one for a score, and returned four kicks to pay dirt. Evans is also a track standout (10.68 100 meters, 21.5 200 meters).
The Skinny: Evans may be the best story in recruiting this year. Most recruitniks expected for Evans to sign with Florida early on in the process. His high school coach was hired at Florida, he has two teammates that play for the Gators and it was the proverbial "done deal" on paper. In reality, it's been anything but a done deal. When the staff at Florida was fired, including his former high school coach, Florida lost its lead for Evans. LSU then had the lead, but their coach bolted to the NFL. Evans was understandably unhappy with the situation at Florida until recently. However, Evans has been in contact with Coach Meyer and it appears Florida may be back in the thick of a battle that will likely feature the University of Georgia.
Demetrice Morley, Miami Killian (5-0, 180, 4.45)
Statistics: As a senior Morley played a lot on both sides of the ball. On defense he excelled with eight interceptions good for two touchdowns. He had 90 tackles and 15 tackles for loss. He had four kickoff returned for touchdowns. He is also an exceptional receiver with 10 receptions for 195 yards and four touchdowns. In the CaliFlorida All-Star Game he had six tackles and two interceptions. He also returned a kickoff 86 yards for the game winning touchdown.
Morley is confident he will practice hard and play well in the Army game. "I am a confident person and I will go in the same way I went into the CaliFlorida game," he said. "If I have a good week of practice it will show in the game. I'll be okay."
The Skinny: Morley has blown up to epic proportions among Gator recruitnik-lore. The well mannered and likeable Morley was so impressive at the Rising Senior Camp in July that he was perhaps the best camper at that event over the past three years. Morley has shut-down corner skills and a strong safety's body. He has great lower body strength and can cloak any receiver he covers. He finished second in the camp in the 40-yard dash only to speedster OJ Murdock. Morley was once committed to the Gators but has since had a strange calling to be a Tennessee Volunteer. Morley is likeable and so it is easy for him to recruit others to play with him and he is doing just that. However, Vol fans are on edge because he has never completely shut the door on the Gators.
Tomorrow, we'll feature the offensive side of the ball whose prospects the Gators are interested in. Stay tuned!