Finley: They Know I am Solid to Florida

For a lot of kids that sign college scholarships the waiting is the hardest part. In Dee Finley's case, the waiting has been agonizingly slow for his arrival on the University of Florida campus. A member of the 2008 recruiting class, Finley missed qualifying by the narrowest of margins. He has spent a couple of semesters at Milford Prep in New Berlin (NY) and can't wait to get to Gainesville.

A safety by trade, Milford runs a non-standard 4-4 alignment which means Finley plays in the box a lot but also get some coverage assignments. It isn't exactly what he is used to but he is making the most of it.

"It is going pretty well, it isn't going fast enough but it is going well," the 6-3, 210-pound Finley said. "We are 6-1 right now. I have 25 tackles, an interception, a sack, and a forced fumble. They have me playing a strong safety/outside linebacker position because we play a 4-4 defense. I play a lot of man defense on the second receiver at times."

Finley says he is in the best shape of his life and when he arrived at Milford he went through the toughest training he has ever gone through. He knows it has and will pay off but he lost a lot of weight at first and has slowly put it back on.

"I lost some weight in camp because it was strictly conditioning," he said. "I was down to 193, but now am back up to 210 pounds. We were doing some hard, hard conditioning. We were conditioning two times a day."

Finley wanted to be in The Swamp for the game against LSU, but a silly NCAA rule kept that from happening. Instead after working it out with secondary coach Chuck Heater, he will likely be down for an official visit for the South Carolina game.

"I just talked to Coach Heater and we were talking about setting up a visit and mostly about how school is going," Finley said. "I was going to come up for LSU, but for an NCAA have to wait a year from your previous visit to the same school. I plan on coming in for the South Carolina game for my official visit."

Although there are some inquiries into Finley, he has made it known to his Milford coaching staff that he isn't interested in looking at any other schools. Therefore, he really doesn't get contacted by anyone else these days.

"No, I think everyone knows I am pretty solid," Finley said about his commitment to Florida. "We have coaches here all the time, but they know I am solid to Florida."

The last important question needed to be answered was his progression to getting qualified. While that hasn't been absolutely cleared, it looks to maybe a mere formality now as he was as close as one could possibly be before, and is now improving his GPA and likely his test score that should be back soon.

"It was my test score that didn't match up with my GPA," Finley said about the culprit that left him not qualified for June enrollment. "I took it last week and where I am at is like an ACT/SAT prep school. All of our classes basically prep us for that. I think a couple of my classes can also count towards my GPA, so that will help also."

Finley is so ready to get to Florida he can just about taste it.

"I can't wait to get down there and work on my speed with the other guys," he said. "The way I am playing right now I haven't been able to really work on covering receivers and my speed. I am getting stronger right now with the work out DVD I got from Florida. My squat is up to 430 right now and I probably want to get down on my weight a little bit, as long as I can still run.

One of his best friends on the recruiting trail last year was fellow Gator signee and safety Will Hill. Finley still keeps in contact with Hill and talked to him earlier this week.

"I talked to Will last night," Finley said. "He said he is dong good. He had a hamstring problem but he is doing better. He said it was really hard, it takes a bit but he is getting it now. I saw him do some things on special teams against LSU.

Finley was pumped like any Gator fan for the LSU game. He couldn't control himself when he and others ere watching the prime time match up and the Gators blew out third ranked LSU Saturday night.

"You know I watched it this week," he said matter of fact like. "Will made a big hit on special teams, I liked that. I was so excited about the game I lost my voice. I knew we were going to win."

A little more than a couple of months away, Finley will be able to enroll at Florida. He just wants to come in and progress as a player and a person like he has in this great learning experience he has had at Milford.

"I will be there in January and they can expect me to be a hard worker and I can add some reliable depth to the secondary," Finley said of his humble expectations. "I have learned so much here about responsibility and I need to take accountability for my actions. I have worked so hard, it is really hard."

The Gators have been lucky at the safety position so far this regular season. A position of scary lack of depth at the start of the season has survived because the two starters have remained relatively healthy. Dee Finley will come in and provide immediate help and depth at the position and with a spring under his belt, could be a force next September for the Florida Gators.

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