RECRUITING: Weekend Was Special For Rickerson

It just doesn't get any better than this for four-star rated (by cornerback Jacques Rickerson of St. Augustine. His official visit to the University of Florida started the day after Rickerson helped his high school team finish an unbeaten dream season by winning the state 3A championship in Miami. For the Florida commitment, the whole weekend was a whirlwind of excitement.

(Jacques Rickerson profile)

Rickerson was one of eight who took an official visit to Florida this past weekend. The 5-10, 180-pounder arrived in Gainesville Saturday, still glowing from Friday's win over Sarasota Booker for the state championship. The visit only helped to solidify his commitment to the Gators.

"It was definitely a ten," he said. "It was everything I was looking for. The players, the facilities, the coaches, really everything I was looking for. The players are really like my teammates at home they get along so well. My host was Avery Atkins. I knew of him but I never met him before. He acts the way I do so he and I got along well. I can see being the cornerback opposite him for the next few years."

As soon as he arrived on campus, the Florida staff got down to business with Rickerson. He's one of the important targets on the Florida recruiting board and he plays a position that is a critical need for the Gators. That should translate to early playing time.

"They want me to come in and play right away," he said. "They want me to come in physically and mentally ready. That would be the only thing that could hold me back. It's all on me. I have to build up my neck a little bit."

The defense suits his taste and Rickerson looks forward to the learning experience under Florida's cornerback coach, Chuck Heater.

"Coach Heater is a nice guy," said Rickerson. "He is down to earth and will work with the techniques you can use. He will coach you to your abilities. The defense is what I am looking for. They play a lot of man, they blitz a lot, and they switch it up a little bit. Every one is young so the same defense will be there for a while."

Of course recruits get a taste of the nniversity and what it has to offer academically and socially when the recruits arrive for their official visits. Rickerson took the full 48 hours to soak it all in.

"We went and saw the facilities, went to the lake and ate a little bit," he said. "We met with the academic counselors and let them know I want to major in criminal justice or computer science. I stayed over till 9 a.m. on Monday."

Winning the state championship culminated a dream season for Rickerson and his St. Augustine teammates. He says that it took a lot of hard work and dedication to get the team over the hump for the state title.

"It is a great feeling," he said. "It is something we worked hard and something we worked for all season. It was our main goal."

He isn't planning on taking any more visits, but didn't rule that out when asked. Rickerson is a big time cornerback that fills a desperate need for the Gators. He is a key cog in the big time recruiting class the Gators are putting together. Of course on Tuesday there is one more addition to the class the Gators are looking for.

Cross-town rival Nease is home of quarterback Tim Tebow, set to announce his school of choice on ESPN at 5:15 Tuesday. Tebow is the only quarterback currently left on UF's recruiting board and also a desperate need. Rickerson is a long time friend and adversary, but would certainly like to be teammates in the future. Rickerson didn't hesitate when asked where he thought Tebow might end up.

"I think he is heading to Florida," he said.

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