RECRUITING: 2-Horse Race For DT Brandon Antwine

Right now it's a two-horse race for Brandon Antwine of Garland (TX), the ultra-quick, 6-1, 271-pound defensive tackle. Although he could choose nearly any Division I football program, Southern Cal and Florida have the upper hand as July approaches.

"USC and Florida are my two favorites," he said Thursday night. "Those are one and two right there. USC is the number one team in the nation and they get the job done. Coach Ken Norton Jr. is recruiting me. They say it all depends on how I come up there and act, I have to be hungry."

There has been a question about a USC offer, but Antwine stopped the questioning.

"Yes sir, they offered me about a month ago," he said.

There are several reasons why Florida is in the thick of things. Antwine is the second big time player from the lone star state this year that claims to be a child hood fan of the Gators. That passion has translated to his recruitment and the Gators appear to be really in the thick of things.

"Well the University of Florida ... I wanted to be a Gator ever since I was a little kid," he said. "I was just always a fan because they were pretty good. There is a whole bunch of NFL players from Florida that have made it to be what I want to be.

"(Offensive Coordinator) Coach Mullen is a real cool guy," he said. "He is funny at times, but when it is time to get down to business he is real serious about it. They tell me I just need to come and prove myself and be hungry.

During the 2004 season, Antwine was credited with 54 tackles and six sacks. There was one memorable game against Dallas Carter. This was supposed to be a mismatch with the big boys from Carter doing a number on Garland, but it didn't work out quite that way.

"The Carter game … everyone was saying before the football season how they were going to wax us and drive us in the dirt," he said. "They had the home field advantage and we were just going to get pulverized. I went in there and I did what I had to do. I had four sacks and eight tackles. We won like 47-6."

He describes his play as "aggressive and smart and you have to be ready in the trenches."

He wont be making any summer trips to visit the top two. He plans on talking the trips in November and December, at or near the end of his football season. And though he has a clear top two, he's willing to listen to what other schools have to offer.

"I won't visit them [Florida and Southern Cal] during the summer but will visit both during the school year," he said. "I will probably visit during the middle or the end of my football season. I am going to take all five of my trips but I haven't set any visit dates. I will commit after football season. I don't want to make any mistakes and want to make the right decision."

Antwine is a good student and has one main criterion for the school of his choice. Playing time and team and coaches are important, but Antwine is already thinking well past football.

"Getting my education is number one," he said. "It is not even really about football because there is no guarantee that I will always play football. I could go up there and get hurt at practice. I want to major in business, so I am looking for strong business programs. Florida and USC both have that."

Brandon Antwine is a defensive superstar that will add quickness, smarts and aggressiveness to the middle of the defensive line. The Florida Gators are looking to sign 2-3 defensive tackles this year and Antwine has just the kind of skills and educational commitment that will keep UF interested and recruiting him hard.

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