For me it started just after covering the Florida Rising Seniors camp. My days as a recruiting writer on this site got a huge boost when four recruits decided to commit at one time. I tried to get one of the silent commitments to make it five but he decided not to. He ended up spending all night in chat so people could try to lure him in. I knew then that two of them would turn out to be kids that would end up missing their position coach when he left like a baby misses a pacifier, cranky big ole kids that wanted their coach back. After the change, their attitudes just got worse and worse. They would eventually sign with another SEC school. Another one would be led astray by someone he trusts that maybe he shouldn't. He signed with the same school. I knew all of this. Don't you remember me telling you?
Of course the one player that eventually signed with the Gators in that quartet is the guy that may have had Gator recruitniks worried the most all year. Avery Atkins was a Gator from day one even thoough he wavered publicly. Behind the scenes there were lots of reasons to know he would be a Gator on signing day. Don't you remember me telling you?
In the mean time one of the silent commitments that signed with another SEC school suddenly got cold feet when he came to the Florida camp and saw superior Florida athletes that he couldn't compete with. It didn't take long for him to start to lose interest in the Gators. But you knew. I remember telling you that.
Two days later I got a hot tip on a player that not many were high on. Some site from the School Out West made this guy to be the ultimate in receivers but after his camp here and the subsequent unofficial visit on campus, he was too hooked not to be a Gator. Louis Murphy committed to the Gators and never wavered. Don't you remember me telling you that would happen?
Shortly after a quarterback attended camp and caught the eye of the coaching staff. He was a teammate of one of the earlier commitments and showed great promise. He pulled the trigger at a quarterback camp out west. Certainly you guys weren't surprised. I told you that would happen.
When the season began and the recruiting thing slowed down, a few recruits came in for official visits. These were big time players from all around the country. There were a couple of them that gave silent commitments. They would eventually sign with the same school up north after the coaching change. I just happened to find out, and can't remember how. But you guys knew. I told you, don't you remember?
The rocky season came to a crash and the old staff was shown the door. In the meantime the staff was asked to recruit to Florida and did so to a certain degree. In the midst of this came a commitment from Tony Wright. That's right, even without a new coach and staff the Gators were able to land the commitment of a four-star running back. But I knew ahead of time, and of course, I made sure that you did. Don't you remember?
In the meantime two very high quality offensive linemen were looking to be a part of the Gator's future. These guys were no secret to Gator fans --- big linemen from the southern part of Florida, early enrollees to boot. Eddie Haupt and Ronnie Wilson were Gators long before they made it public. This would make three commitments to the Gators without the present coaching staff here to recruit them. It was no secret that this would happen. I remember telling you so.
When the new staff was named, new prospects popped up everywhere that were nowhere on the Gator's old recruiting board. Of course, I knew who they were. I started telling you guys. You were well informed. I remember telling you.
The first major prospect on the board was a quarterback of great stature out west. The QB was a commitment of Coach Urban Meyer at Utah and was also expected in as an early enrollee. He decided to de-commit from Utah when the coaching uncertainty there started happening. Coach Meyer re-recruited him to Florida where he eventually signed and enrolled for the spring semester. This also created a logjam for the other committed quarterback. He soon decided to look elsewhere. Of course, I knew all of this would happen and, of course, you did too. I told you, don't you remember?
Then there was this little matter of a guy named Reggie Nelson. Mr. Nelson has been everyone's favorite recruit for three years now. The Site Out West has always maintained that Nelson's heart is at the SOW. Well they always maintain wrong. Of course you guys knew where he would sign since December. I know this because I told you so.
Then it was January. The staff wanted a slow start for the recruiting process. The staff needed to get acclimated to the campus as much as the recruits they wanted to sign here. It was a star-studded small group that made it in that weekend. The group left with two silent commitments, one of which was the son of a former Gator basketball player. Darryl Gresham was a commitment to Virginia, but you know he was going to be a Gator. I don't know why I am telling you all of this. You knew it, I remember telling you so.
The next week, the Gator Country recruiting team spent a week out in San Antonio. We watched America's best play out there all week including one of the silent commitments and another future Gator. In all we were "scouting" nine potential signees. Another silent commitment happened while we were at the bowl week practices. Far from Gainesville, the news couldn't escape my ears. When the silent commitment from the week before, Nyan Boateng, broke on Saturday of the US Army All American Bowl game, you guys weren't surprised. I already told you that would happen. I remember doing it.
The weekend of that bowl game the Gators hosted just three more recruits. One would be a future Gator but none would commit that weekend. That was okay though. You guys were prepared for another weekend of not much news. I prepared you well. I remember telling you to expect it.
A weekend of fifteen visitors would be the impetus of a great haul of commitments that Sunday. In all, five commitments to the Gators were broken on the Sunday of the third week in January. The silent from the previous week was the first to go early in the morning as Gator fans were treated to great news all day long. David Nelson gave us an interview at 7:30 in the morning that day. Dorian Munroe, Eric Sledge, Ryan Stamper and Jonathan Phillips were a quartet that put a smile on Gators fans faces and stunned the four teams from which they defected. None of this surprised you guys. I remember telling you it would happen.
The rest of the visitors that weekend were some real heavy hitters. One was a running back that everyone coveted and shocked everyone but our readers with his commitment to the SOW. One was a big Army All-American defensive end that signed with Michigan. One was a big defensive tackle that committed here silently and glowed about his visit but would later sign with another SEC school. One was an offensive lineman that I thought at the time may have been committed to a school with a little red bird on their helmets. He signed at that school. One was a corner back that had problems with dad and gave his word to one too many places. He ended up staying in the ACC. One was an underweight offensive lineman that didn't get offers from the big three and ended up in the ACC, also. The last, well his fate is still up in the air and will be answered at the end of this piece. You guys knew all of this. I remember telling you so.
That week the Gators got their first real running back commitment of the season. Kestahn Moore's silent commitment was broken by a Big-12 site because the coaches from that school wanted to play him against another Gator recruit that would visit the following weekend. The Gators and Pokes happened to be recruiting the same two guys. The thought was that a commitment by one would mean the other would look elsewhere and maybe play into their hands. The Cowboys struck out. But you guys knew this would happen. I could see it clearly, and I remember telling you so.
The middle of the week brought something bad. I don't want to call it news, because you guys all expected it. A particular Army All-American that was expected to go the Gators way decided he wanted to wear another color orange. Man oh man, I can't for the life of me figure out why the board melted down. You guys knew it was coming. I told you so.
The last recruiting weekend was another medium sized list of heavy hitters. The aforementioned Avery Atkins was here helping the coaches recruit. There was a wide receiver whose dad told one story after he made a silent commitment one night then told another after he changed his mind was here. He eventually ended up with the Gators' ex-skipper in Big-10 territory. There was the other running back that would spurn the Pokes and then later spurn the Gators to end up on another SEC team. There was his buddy, the wide receiver, who deep into signing day tried to convince mom Gainesville was the place to be. He wound up with his buddy. There was the wide receiver from New York that no one liked to interview. He ended up staying in New York. There was the linebacker that left here on Sunday, committed to an ACC school on Monday, then later that day committed to another SEC school. Brian Ellis was the lone commitment who went public that day. The other commitment remained silent and was one of the best stories of the entire class. But you guys knew all of this. I told you it would happen before it did, and it did.
Another agonizing day for Gator fans and numerous requests to call this recruit and that recruit came up fruitless until a Miami defensive lineman decided he would put on a show. That same lineman thought he would mock the Gators and commit publicly to the University of Florida only to turnaround the next day and have a "change of heart." Of course no one here worried a bit. You guys knew it was coming. I made sure you did when I told you so.
That same night the Gators got the worst news of the recruiting class. Another site which will go unnamed released a story that quoting Jon Demps that he had committed to the SOW. A quick call to arms was in order by the Gator coaching staff and a long night on the phone with the entire Demps family was needed to change the young man's decision. In the meantime, the pair of July commitments that signed with another SEC school were almost begging for LOI's from Florida that had not arrived. But you all knew this. I made sure of it. I told you so.
Signing day was upon us and the Gator recruitniks were reeling from the "change of heart" and the slip of the lip by the other site on the Jon Demps story. But you guys already knew the coaches were working overtime to reel him back in. By midday they did just that. Jon Demps was suddenly a Gator and headed to Gainesville. In the mean time another commitment came over the wire. Miami's Simon Codrington pulled the surprise on the SOW and gave the Gators his signature on signing day. Of course you guys had no doubt. I made sure of that when I told you it would happen that way.
Now there is one guy left. There are lots of things going on behind the scenes. This is a big time player and he is coveted by the Gators and the SOW. The early returns have him heading to the other place. The word is he is torn and isn't sure what to do. Well I know exactly what he is going to do. Tune in tomorrow so I can say I told you so.