- Derek Tyson, RecruitingNation
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A trio of Jacksonville Trinity Christian underclassmen decided to announce their college destinations on Thursday morning. ESPN Junior 300 defensive tackle Kendrick Norton made his pledge to the national champion Florida State Seminoles, while 2015 safety Deontai Williams gave his pledge to Florida. Sophomore running back Jalin Buie joined in on the action by giving his commitment to Auburn.
Norton said his comfort level with FSU was a primary reason for his decision.
"I just felt the most at home there,” Norton said. "They are the school that recruited me the hardest. All of my family is up there and that’s where I’m from so it was just very comfortable for me.”
The 6-foot-2, 275-pound athlete, who’s the No. 118-ranked 2015 player in the country, can play either offensive guard or defensive tackle on the next level.
"I prefer defensive line and that’s what they are recruiting me for,” Norton said, "but they said I could play either side of the ball.”
Florida, meanwhile, received a surprise Thursday morning when, ESPN 300 cornerback Jalen Tabor (Washington, D.C./Friendship Academy) announced that he would enroll at Florida on Monday. The Gators got more good news when Williams, too, joined the Gators.
Williams, who also held offers from Louisville, Mississippi State, North Carolina and Memphis, decided to end the process early.
"I’ve been a Florida fan since a very young age,” the hard-hitting safety said. "I grew up as a Florida fan. I bleed orange blue so that’s why I committed to Florida. Their season didn’t matter. I bleed orange and blue.”
Buie, a 2016 prospect, said he was impressed with how Tre Mason was used in Auburn’s offense and could see himself in a similar role.
“Well really I just felt comfortable with coach [Gus] Malzahn,” Buie said. “He runs the ball a lot and his offense does a lot of what we do. They run a lot of dives and I like how they use their running backs.”
Holland, Ford name favorites
Jeffery Holland, the No. 8-ranked junior in the country, has narrowed his choices down to six: Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Ohio State, Alabama and UCLA.
The No. 1-ranked outside linebacker in the 2015 class sees positives about each.
“Auburn, my uncle went there and played with Charles Barkley, so that’s a factor,” Holland said. "With Florida State, I like [defensive coordinator Jeremy] Pruitt -- he coached at Bama and he’s a pretty good coach. Ohio State, that’s just far from home but I could probably play early.
"Florida, that’s the team I loved growing up, I loved Florida, and it’s right up the road only an hour and half away. Bama, that’s just a powerhouse. You can get to the league from there and they have a pretty good tradition on defense. And UCLA, I just want to go see new things. I’m going to take a visit there in February and we will just go from there.”
Though Holland said the schools he listed are not in order, he does have a clear favorite right now.
“Auburn, they stand No. 1 probably right now. My uncle went there, my family likes it, I liked it,” Holland said. "So it is what it is. Florida’s probably No. 2 but I really don’t have an official order or anything at all."
Former Louisville wide receiver commit Isaiah Ford said he is still interested in the Cardinals after it was announced that Bobby Petrino would be the new head coach.
“I haven’t heard from them yet, but we’ll probably reconsider Louisville because with coach Petrino being there, their offense will probably be rolling and that’s a big thing, but at the same time coach [Charlie] Strong was a big reason I committed so early.”
In addition to Louisville, Ford said he is still considering Florida, Virginia Tech and South Carolina. Ford admitted South Carolina and Virginia Tech have a slight advantage at this point.
3dGreg Ostendorf and Alex Scarborough