Gators Grab Third Commitment

Things haven't been good at St. Petersburg (FL) Catholic. They were slapped with a three-year postseason ban by the FHSAA for recruiting violations in 2006, which resulted in a coaching change. But on Friday, there was a glimmer of joy after offensive guard Jon Halapio verbally committed to the Florida Gators.

With Florida graduating three starting offensive linemen after this upcoming season, it's no surprise that they are going after linemen. This is their first O-line commitment from the class of '09.

"I smile all day and all night," Jon Halapio said. "That's how happy I am to be a Gator."

It's been a tough road for Halapio in recent years, adjusting to the postseason bans and a new coach. But he's been a big part of helping head coach Tod Creneti adjust to his new job.

"Jon has been a great leader by example," Creneti said. "He's a very hard worker. He has great decision on and off the field. He's got a great heart and he's a great kid to be around."

As an offensive guard, Halapio is pretty good, too.

"You want to have someone that when the game is on the line you can run the ball behind when you need that one tough yard," Creneti said. "He makes everyone so much better on the offensive side of the ball by being so physical and aggressive."

"My run blocking is aggressive and I have very light feet," Halapio said. "I am quick off the ball. I just love being an aggressive football player."

"He is a very powerful player with a great sense of leverage and he really uses his leverage to finish," Creneti added. "It takes most kids a long time to learn that while Jon does it naturally."

At 6-3.5, 304-pounds, Halapio has the size to play in the SEC, but he also has the strength. He bench presses 340 pounds and squats 515 pounds. He's also extremely athletic with a 26-inch vertical and a 5.2 40-time.

"He is an ideal fit for the UF scheme," Creneti said. "He's very lean and not a heavy kid at all. His feet are very light and he gets out and moves very well. He can get out into space and does a great job on the lighter players as well as the bigger inside guys."

Things happened quick for Halapio and the Gators. Steve Addazio provided the offer Wednesday through Creneti.

"When I got the offer I was shocked and relieved," he said. "I had a lot of mixed emotions because I never thought I would be a Gator. When they offered me, it was a big eye opener."

Halapio visited Gainesville during a spring Junior Day and his family has loved it ever since.

"My parents loved UF," Halapio said. "When they heard about the offer, we all knew that was the final decision."

It didn't take long for Halapio to respond to Addazio and Urban Meyer.

"Thursday night, I called coach Meyer and told him I wanted to be a Gator," Halapio said. "He was very excited and fired up. He told me that he knew he was going to offer me and he was real happy about the decision that I made. Coach Meyer promised me a degree and he was going to take care of me like I was one of his own."

Then Addazio confirmed the news earlier this morning.

"He called today and spoke with me," Halapio said. "He asked me if I was 100 percent sure, and I told him that I was. He was complementing me and I was real happy about the whole situation."

Halapio is Florida's third commitment from the class of 2009.

Questions or comments? Contact's Jason Higdon

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