Ordeal Over, Demps A Happy Gator

Pensacola Washington linebacker Jon Demps made the biggest decision of his life on Wednesday when he decided to be a Florida Gator. The 6-4, 230-pound all-star linebacker, faxed in his letter of intent late Wednesday morning to the delight of Gator fans and coaches. His was the exclamation point on a great first class by Coach Urban Meyer and his new coaching staff.

The night before signing day was a very long one for Demps. He was on the phone until 2 a.m. with Florida co-defensive coordinator Charlie Strong after an internet report was posted that he had given his commitment to Florida State. The report was soon retracted, but enough to trigger the staff to spring into action on a player that they thought firmly was going to be a Gator.

"Oh yeah, there were a lot of calls and a lot of things being said," Demps said as I could just picture him shaking his head. "It was a hard decision to make. It was a long thought out process and everything."

The next morning the calls came early and often also. The coaches have unlimited phone interaction with recruits right now. At 6 a.m., Coach Meyer was on the phone with Demps. The importance on signing Demps, if it hadn't been noticed before, was getting noticed now. That phone call was followed by Demps' cousin, Brandon Siler, at 6:30 a.m.

The impressions being made had to be something special, because the Gators had a lot of other high profile players still waiting to make their decision, yet they were all over Demps.

Once he made his final decision that he would be a Gator, Demps had high praise for Meyer.

"The guy is unbelievable," he said. "He is energetic, he loves his players. He is a player's coach. He will do anything he can for his players."

The need at linebacker at Florida would seem exaggerated as much as the topic comes up. With Javier Estopinan bulking up to 275 pounds and being moved to defensive end, the linebacker unit on the Gainesville campus is down to three scholarship players. Demps has been told to start learning the playbook as soon as possible. He will undoubtedly be counted on early and often.

Demps expects that and plans on rising to the challenge.

"I want to go out there and just play at first," he said. "Whatever accolades [there will be] come after that, freshman all-American or whatever. As long as I can get out there and go play."

He sounded eager to get started and can't wait to hit the practice field in August.

"I am looking forward to see how that first season is going to go. How far are we going to get," he said. "I want to see what expectations levels we are going to meet and not meet. I am looking forward to the whole season. We will start with Wyoming and take it game by game and see how we end up. I will be working out two times a day every day before I show up."

Demps is already aware of the scheme that will be used by the staff and is aware of the exact position they intend to use him.

"We are going to run the same defense that we (the Gators) ran last year, a lot of man defense and a lot of nickel," he said. "We are going to keep it basic. He wants me to come in on the outside and play the strong side. It is going to be good."

When asked about winning championships at the University of Florida Demps didn't hesitate on what he expects before he leaves.

"I have to get me at least three," he said.

That ought to bring a smile to the faces of Gator fans everywhere.

Jon Demps recruitment was one of the big stories of the 2005 recruiting class. His last minute decision to sign with the Gators may have been the biggest single event for the entire process. The way it came about was even more intriguing. He is one guy who will most likely be difference maker early and often for the Gators


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