US ARMY: Spikes Makes It Official - Gator!

By Franz Beard Managing Editor SAN ANTONIO --- Less than two minutes officially into Saturday's US Army All-American Bowl, Brandon Spikes, the four star-rated linebacker from Shelby (NC) Crest, ended all the speculation about where he will attend school next season. With cameras rolling and a national television audience on NBC, Spikes made it official --- he'll be a Gator next year.

(See Brandon Spikes profile)

Spikes chose Florida over Alabama and Virginia Tech. There had been some speculation that he would choose Alabama because the Crimson Tide graduates All-American DeMeco Ryans but at the first television break of the Army game, Spikes put the rumors and speculation to rest by putting on a Gator cap and telling the large crowd that included several Gator coaches at the Alamo Dome that he was going to the University of Florida. Spikes has been a dazzling yet hard hitting presence at the East practice sessions all week. A natural middle linebacker, the 6-4, 240-pounder dominated practices all week long, showing great instincts for getting to the football and the ability to wrap up running backs and put them down with a clean, hard hit.

"The name of the game is to hit hard but hit clean," said Spikes in an interview with Gator Country earlier in the week. "I don't play dirty and I don't hit late, but when I hit, there's going to be some pain. My job is to make you think 'oh no, not again' next time you've got the ball and you see me coming."

Throughout the week Spikes wouldn't tell anyone where he was going but he did drop a couple of hints. He told Gator Country earlier in the week that he hated cold weather and that one of his favorite players in the NFL that he watches all the time is former Gator middle linebacker Channing Crowder.

Spikes had three sacks, five forced fumbles and seven interceptions in his senior season at Crest. Gator Country will provide an exclusive in-depth story on the field with Brandon Spikes following today's game.

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