RECRUITING: Kicker Phillips Commits to UF

On a day when information was flowing like the rapids on a fast river, the Florida Gators landed a commitment that had almost gone un-noticed in the recruiting process. Wellington placekicker Jonathon Phillips was a name that had been heard on occasions, but it wasn't until Sunday that Phillips became prominent on the Gators recruiting board.

That's because Phillips is now a commitment to the Gators. He made it official Sunday afternoon, speaking of a scholarship offer that caught him by surprise.

"Coach Meyer just showed a little bit of interest," said Phillips. "I was just so happy about it that I took the offer. It was my dream school. I have been a Gator fan since I was little."

The future Gator kicker has a favorite Gator kicker, too.

"Jeff Chandler was one of my favorite kickers," said Jonathan Phillips of Florida's all-time leading scorer, who finished the season as the kicker for the Washington Redskins.

Although Gator fans may not know much about Phillips, his gaudy statistics say plenty.

"Well my last couples of seasons have gone pretty well," he said. "I made 18 of 21 field goals inside the 45. My touch backs average for my junior and senior year is 95 percent.. My game long (field goal) is 47 yards, but my practice long is 67.

What makes those numbers even more impressive is the fact that Phillips has been kicking off the ground. He's been prepping to play college football by eliminating the tee and kicking with the same rules used by college kickers.

"I have been kicking field goals off the ground since I was a freshman," Phillips said. "That is definitely one of the factors in my recruitment. They know I will be ready to come in and play right away."

He never had an official visit and with the Gators number of officials being at a premium, it would be great if they didn't have to use one on Phillips. He's not really concerned if he does or doesn't.

"I don't know if I will take an official visit, but I am real excited about Florida," he said, recalling that he's been here plenty of times including one electric night in October.

"I went to the LSU game (Florida lost 24-21) and I also met with coach about a week ago," he said.

The Gators are expecting Phillips to come in and win the job from day one. With the departure of All-SEC kicker Matt Leach the Gators have a clear vacancy at the spot.

"Coach definitely told me I will have to be there right after the summer, almost right after I graduate because they want me to be in perfect shape going into the season," he said.

As with a lot of kickers, Phillips grew up a soccer player. Hi size of 5-11, and 210 pounds will make him one of the bigger kickers in the SEC. Look for Phillips to be hanging them high on Florida Field and "The Swamp" starting in September.

GATOR COUNTRY TAKE: It comes as a surprise only because this is a name that was flying under the radar. When you look at his stats and the fact he won't have to adjust to kicking off the ground, it's no surprise at all that the Gators offered Jonathon Phillips.


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