RECRUITING: Surprise visitor highlights weekend

A surprise visitor was one of the highlights of the Florida Gators' first recruiting weekend for 2005. Five players who were expected showed up for the weekend, but Jared Gaither, a 6-8, 330-pound defensive tackle who rates five stars from, came in under the radar and spent a majority of the weekend in Gainesville in as much anonymity as someone his size could possibly expect.

By all accounts, the weekend was highly successful and the Gators apparently have a better than average shot at all six of the recruits who were in for their official visits.

Jared Gaither, originally from Greenbelt (MD) Roosevelt, was a high school teammate of Gator defensive end Derrick Harvey and of Gator commit Derrick McPhearson, who also prepped this year at Hargrave. Gaither was seen enjoying himself at the Florida-Arkansas basketball by bystanders who wondered who was this enormous prospect? A few Gator Country members checked the name tag he was wearing, then put two and two together before they put the word out. We got wind of it from Hargrave last week, but decided it was being kept silent for a reason. After the basketball game and from other sources we can say with much certainty that he had a great trip. Look for us to bring you his story as soon as possible.

Daryl Gresham Jr. visited from Roanoke, Va. Gresham is a Virginia commitment but he's left the door open for the Gators. He was hosted by freshman All-America linebacker Brandon Siler, the Gators second straight freshman All-America linebacker in as many years. Our reports are that Gresham, whose dad played basketball for the Gators under Norm Sloan, was impressed that the Gators numbers are thin at linebacker, raising the chances that he would get early playing time at UF.

Miami Norland's Richard Gordon, a four star defensive end, told Gator Country that the trip to Gainesville was a 10. He also eliminated Florida State, but still has an impending trip to Miami coming up later in the month. So far, Miami hasn't shown Gordon much interest, so the Gators look to have a wide lead here.

Two outstanding offensive linemen were in for the weekend. US Army All American Chris Scott of Lovejoy, Georgia was in. He's big on academics and wants to major in engineering. Our reports are that he was wowed by the engineering school and the outstanding academics. It's down to Florida and Tennessee for Scott. If all things football are equal, the Gators should rate the edge because of the superiority of UF's engineering school. Apparently, Scott also came away highly impressed with Coach Urban Meyer and staff.

Also visiting was lineman Curtis Crouch of Fayetteville (NC) EE Smith. Crouch has cleared some academic hurdles to get on the Gators visit list, but it's unclear if Florida has moved to the head of his recruiting class. He had a solid visit and is well aware that Florida offers a chance to rise quickly on the depth chart.

Nyan Boateng, a US Army All American wide receiver with a four star rating, came to Gainesville on the heels of comments to that he was 90 per cent Gator. Boateng all but committed to the Gators and might be waiting for the Army All-America Game to announce his choice. He says it's between Florida and Nebraska for the final commitment, but it seems Florida's chances grow stronger by the day.

Florida could end up with six commitments from the weekend, but it might be another week or ten days before the intentions of the six become public.

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