Florida Gators: Maryland Terrapins

Notebook: IMG 7v7 Championship 

June, 23, 2014
Jun 23
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BRADENTON, Fla. -- The IMG 7v7 National Championship held at IMG Academy over the weekend featured some of the top 7-on-7 teams from all over the country and even a few teams from Canada. The event, which included 12 prospects ranked in the top 50 of the ESPN 300, showcased some of the best talent you will find in a single tournament. Led by Alabama verbal commits Calvin Ridley and Shawn Burgess-Becker, the Florida Fire from South Florida defeated Tampa’s Unsigned Preps 20-18 in the championship game to take home the title.

Quarterbacks shine

There were several high-profile quarterbacks in attendance, and they lived up to the hype for the most part. Deondre Francois, who recently transferred to IMG Academy, made numerous impressive throws. The 6-foot-2, 188-pound signal-caller has a top three of Oregon, Auburn and Florida State and is planning to make his decision at the end of July.

The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today’s offerings: With coaches on the road visiting high schools in the spring, they bump into prospects all the time wearing gear of a rival school. So does that make coaches think differently of those prospects? Plus, one of the nation's top quarterbacks makes his decision Friday.


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CLIFTON, Va. -- Five-star defensive tackle Tim Settle, No. 10 in the ESPN 300, will not be making an early commitment, that much has been known from the start. What is also known about Settle is that he intends to go through the entire process and take all five of his official visits.

What wasn’t known is that Settle has started to think about what schools will make the cut.

“I’m going to trim it down in August to 14,” said Settle, who earned an invitation to The Opening Saturday after a stellar performance at the Nike Football Training Camp at Centreville High School in Clifton, Va. “The reason I’m going to trim it down in August is two-a-days and getting ready for the season. I don’t want a lot of pressure on me. I just want to play and have fun my senior season.


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This is part of a series on the nation's top uncommitted recruits leading up to signing day. Click here for the full series.

FORESTVILLE, Md. -- The D & S General Store is the type of place you would expect to find Willie Prince. There was a charm in the worn-out shingles and the chicken-and-waffles special, a reprieve from the big, corporate gas stations throughout the rest of the Beltway. There are just two tightly packed gas pumps and payment is only accepted inside, a homage to the human touch of the local general store of Prince’s upbringing.

Nobody there called him Willie Prince, though. Nobody around town did, for that matter. He was Mr. Prince or Pops, Sgt. Prince or Dad.

“That was probably a daily routine for him, to stop at the gas station,” Damian Prince said.

[+] EnlargeDamian Prince
Jared Shanker/ESPNThe D&S General Store in Mitchellville, Md., is a throwback to a different era, and Willie Prince was a regular customer.
For?

He grins. “Playing numbers,” he said.

It was one of Prince’s fondest memories of his great grandfather -- Dad, as he knew him. Before Damian Prince turned into a hulking 6-foot-6, 305-pound offensive tackle and the 26th-ranked senior in the 2014 ESPN 300, the two might stop at D & S for a lottery ticket and some banter before practice.

Flashbacks to those memories were changed forever on Nov. 28, 2011.

A look in his eye

LaKeyia Chappell was determined to have a son. Her first three children were all girls, but she needed a boy.

“I wasn’t gonna stop until I got one,” she said.

She finally gave birth to Damian DeVaughn Prince II in April 1996. He looked just like Damian’s father, Mr. Prince’s grandson.

“[Mr. Prince] had this look in his eye that was just like, 'Wow.' I was giving them something that had been taken away from [them],” Chappell said.

Five months earlier, Damian DeVaughn Prince I, Damian’s biological father, was shot and killed. No arrests were made, and to this day, Chappell seeks clarity.

At the time, Chappell was living in southeast Washington, D.C., in one of the city’s roughest neighborhoods. She raised Damian as an infant, but without a male role model in the home and the inner-city streets only a few feet from her doorstep, beckoning to swallow another impressionable young son, Chappell sat down with Mr. Prince and Damian’s great grandmother, Jean. They offered to take Damian into their home in the Maryland suburb of Mitchellville.

“There wasn’t a whole lot for me to think about,” Chappell said.

Damian called Mr. Prince his "dad" from the time he was born. He is the only father Damian ever knew. He reflected several times on how lucky he was that Mr. Prince and his wife opened their home to him.

[+] EnlargeDamian Prince
Tom Hauck for Student SportsDamian Prince blossomed into one of the top offensive line prospects in the country, and will choose between Florida and Maryland on national signing day.
Whatever Damian needed, Mr. Prince was there. He would drop him off at school before going to work as a police officer at the Washington D.C. Veteran Affairs Medical Center. During basketball season, Mr. Prince would leave work and get home at 6:30 p.m. to have Damian back at the school by 7. A boxer in the military, Mr. Prince didn’t have any background in basketball. But Damian’s basketball coaches opened the floor to Mr. Prince at the end of every practice, begging him to address the team.

“Coach would ask, ‘Dad, you having anything to say?’ And he always knew what to say and how to say it,” Damian said.

A star basketball player in the youth ranks, Mr. Prince approached Damian about playing football before his eighth-grade season. Damian brushed it off, wanting to stick with basketball, as some of the area’s most prestigious basketball programs were recruiting him. Mr. Prince insisted.

“Ninety-five percent of the time he was always right,” Damian said.

Damian became a football player, and will commit to either Florida or Maryland at 10:25 a.m. on national signing day, Feb. 5, on ESPNU at Bishop McNamara High School in Forestville, Md.

'Daddy gone'

Myron Jeter worked the same shift with Mr. Prince for a decade, and they were close. On the evening of Nov. 28, 2011, Mr. Prince’s shift ended at 7 p.m., but he stuck around, trading fishing stories with Jeter, joking he’d bunk with Jeter’s family in Amelia, Va., to fish for Atlantic croaker.

“He said, ‘Don’t be surprised if I’m on your porch when you get there,’ ” Jeter recalled.

It would be one of the last times anyone would talk to Mr. Prince. When Jeter came in the next morning, a co-worker met him at the gate. “Daddy gone,” he told him.

Mr. Prince left an hour after his shift ended, prompting a call from his daughter to Jeter at about 8:20. He told her Mr. Prince had just left and should be home in the next few minutes. On his way home, Mr. Prince made a stop at the D & S General Store. As he left, a car was stalled across the street of Maryland Route 193, a two-lane highway aligned with horse barns and lavish two- and three-story homes.

[+] EnlargeDamian Prince
Jared Shanker/ESPNWillie Prince was struck by a car when helping a stranded motorist on a Maryland road on Nov. 28, 2011.
The oldest of 13 kids and a Korean War veteran, it was Mr. Prince’s nature to help, “even if you weren’t blood,” Damian said. He helped the owner of the disabled vehicle jump-start his car, but as Mr. Prince walked back across the street, an oncoming vehicle struck the altruistic 78-year-old.

Damian was at home playing video games when his best friend and neighbor knocked at his door.

“Is Pops home?” It was more prayer than question.

The neighbor saw Mr. Prince’s car outside D & S, with him nowhere to be found and an ambulance speeding toward Prince George’s Community Hospital.

Damian and his Aunt Donna were the first to arrive, where they saw the car that hit Mr. Prince.

“It looked like they had hit a wall,” Damian said.

Willie Prince was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Devastated their beloved patriarch was lost, there was comfort among family and friends that Mr. Prince died the way he lived.

“He’s been taking care of people his whole entire life,” Damian said.

Said Jeter: “The thing that eased my mind was he pretty much died doing what he did. He didn’t care who needed it -- if he had it, you got it.”

“That wasn’t a fluke or anything; that was just him,” said Tommie Boozer, another VA officer.

The hospital allowed family members to go into the room and say their goodbyes to Mr. Prince. Damian never got out of the waiting room chair, though. He lost the only father he ever knew, 15 years after losing the one he never met.

“Me, I couldn’t do that. I wasn’t strong enough for that,” he said.

‘I wouldn’t attribute it to anything else’

The death came at the end of Prince’s sophomore season. The summer before a prospect's junior season is an important one for football recruits as they look to build a national profile and offer sheet. But Damian wasn’t interested.

“Losing Mr. Prince, it was different. It changed him for a while,” Chappell said. “He didn’t want to play football anymore. He was losing his drive.”

After all, it was Mr. Prince who guided Damian to football. By bringing Damian into his home, it kept Prince away from the D.C. streets that often turned teenagers into troublemakers. With Mr. Prince, the only time he called Chappell to tell her Damian was giving him trouble was when Damian would spend his weekly lunch money allowance by Wednesday.

“I wouldn’t attribute [Damian staying out of trouble] to anything else other than Mr. Prince,” Bishop McNamara athletic director Anthony Johnson said.

Damian returned to the football field in August 2012, knowing that’s what Mr. Prince would have wanted. And the first game of the season happened to fall on Mr. Prince’s birthday. He wore No. 79 instead of his normal No. 55 to honor him.

Damian wishes his great grandfather was once again there to mentor and offer advice. He could use his wisdom to whittle more than 40 scholarship offers to the only one that matters.

“Anyone who knows me,” he said, “knows he was the dearest person to me.”

Manziel or Winston? Prospects weigh in

December, 29, 2013
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ORLANDO, Fla. -- There are many topics of conversation among prospects playing in the 2014 Under Armour All-America Game. One of them centers around the past two Heisman Trophy winners.

On Saturday, upon checking in for the prestigious game, a number of prospects weighed in on a hot topic involving Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel and Florida State's Jameis Winston.

If they had to choose between the two, who would the players take as their college quarterback? Here are their responses:

[+] EnlargeMarlon Humphrey
Courtesy of IntersportNo. 9 overall prospect Marlon Humphrey likes how Johnny Manziel makes others around him better.
Five-star cornerback Marlon Humphrey (Hoover, Al./Hoover High): Ah man, I think I’m going to have to go with Johnny Manziel. I just feel like he kind of made a team out of nothing. Jameis Winston is a great quarterback too, but he doesn’t have the scrambling skills that Manziel has. This year, you could tell that his teams defense wasn’t that good, the players around him weren’t as good, but he kept making his team better. He’s has the fight in him I would want on my team.

Florida commit and No. 20-ranked Dalvin Cook (Miami/Central High): I would say Jameis Winston. He’s really a pure quarterback, and I think he sets up things more for a running back than Johnny Manziel does.

Auburn running back commit Racean Thomas (Oxford, Al./Oxford High): I would probably pick Jameis Winston. The reason behind that is because he is more of a leader for a young quarterback, and I think he can make his team a more mature team. I really think he would be a great quarterback to play with.

Florida wide receiver commit and No. 28 Ermon Lane (Homestead, Fla./Homestead Senior High): Whew, I don’t know. I think Jameis Winston. I look at how both of them played as a freshman, and I like how Jameis Winston leads his team. He is also more pro-ready than Manziel.

Texas defensive end commit and No. 78-overall Derick Roberson (San Antonio, Texas/William J. Brennan High): I guess I would say Johnny Manziel. I like how he plays with his swagger and confidence the most, so I would probably say him.

Notre Dame commit and No. 76-ranked Tyler Luatua (la Mirada, Calif./La Mirada High): I would take Manziel just because of the way he plays. If he doesn’t have a wide receiver open, he can make plays himself. He can get the ball to his players if and when he wants to, but can also do it on his own when he needs to.

No. 38 overall John Smith (Long Beach, Calif./Long Beach Polytechnic High School): That’s a hard one. As of right now, I would go with Jameis Winston. Overall, he’s a great player. I think Winston has an awesome football IQ. Johnny had his year too, but I think Winston is just a great player. Outstanding.

Dylan Sumner-Gardner: Jameis Winston, man. I feel comfortable with Jameis Winston as my quarterback because he’s smart and accurate. Johnny is accurate too, but Johnny is Johnny. How he runs around, people may get nervous. I would just feel more comfortable with Jameis as my quarterback.

No. 22 overall Laurence Jones (Monroe, La./Neville High): That’s a hard one right there. Let me think ... maybe Johnny Manziel because I don’t think I’ve ever seen a white boy get down like that. It would have to be Johnny Manziel.

Penn State wide receiver commit Chris Godwin (Middletown, De./Middletown High): I think Jameis Winston. I think overall he’s a better passer. I want a quarterback back there that can get me the ball on a consistent basis, but Johnny Manziel is a great player, too. I’m actually a big fan of both of them.

Five-star and Virginia defensive tackle commit Andrew Brown (Chesapeake, VA
Oscar Frommel Smith High)
: Dang, that’s a good question, man. I would go with Jameis Winston. His leadership qualities, coming in as a freshman and doing the things he is doing is definitely uncommon. It just foreshadows what he is going to do in the future, too. He’s already established a great foundation for himself, and I would definitely take him in the future.

Maryland commit Will Ulmer (Washington, D.C./Saint John’s High): I’m going with Johnny Manziel. I think he’s more dynamic, and more of a game-changer. Jameis Winston is a great quarterback too, but you have to think about all the dudes he has around him at FSU -- all the great receivers and good running backs. I would go with Manziel because if you put him on the Florida State team, or a stacked team like that, it would be a scary sight.

ESPN 300 corner Tabor down to two 

December, 28, 2013
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ORLANDO, Fla. -- With less than a week before he is scheduled to announce his college choice, cornerback Jalen Tabor (Washington, D.C./Friendship Collegiate Academy), the 15th-ranked prospect in the nation, said he is closing in on his final decision.

Holding a laundry list of offers and having considered many of the top programs in the country, the 6-foot-1, 188-pound prospect said only two remain. He will announce his commitment during the 2014 Under Armour All-American Game (Jan. 2, 4 p.m. ET, ESPN).


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UA Game jersey tour: Damian Prince

November, 8, 2013
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Forestville, Md. -- Offensive tackle Damian Prince (Forestville, Md./Bishop McNamara) was presented his honorary game jersey during for the 2014 Under Armour All-America High School Football Game at Bishop McNamara High School Thursday.

Prince, who has an official visit scheduled to Maryland this weekend, is one of 90 players selected to compete in the seventh-annual Under Armour All-America Game Jan. 2 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla.

“I just want to thank the whole school, Bishop McNamara for allowing Under Armour to come here and do this for me,” Prince said. “This is really just been a testament for my hard work. I have been working real hard for this. This is something I prayed for and dreamed for.”

Bishop McNamara head coach and former Penn State linebacker Keith Goganious says the reasons for Prince’s success are easy to figure out.

“I think what makes Damian special is his work ethic and attitude,” Goganious said. “He’s very goal focused and he really wants to be successful.”

Along with the chance to play against the best, and follow in the footsteps of some of the stars of the game, Prince is excited to live out a dream at the Under Armour Game.

"I decided to accept the invitation to the Under Armour All-America Game because of the legends that have played in the game … A.J. Green, Jadeveon Clowney and Julio Jones -- they're awesome players. … I’m a competitor, I love to compete, and I’m ready to get down there and really gauge where my talent level is with the best players in the country.”

And the 6-foot-5, 286-pound tackle has special motivation for the game.

“What motivates me as a player and person is definitely my family, and the past what I have been through,” Prince said “Losing my great grandmother and great grandfather who raised me from the time I was born until they passed on, they really gave me everything that a kid could possibly asked for. … They said work hard, and just understand the importance of a good work ethic. I just really want to make them proud, and I know they are looking down right now, and I know today I’m definitely making them smile today.”

Prince is the No. 26 overall prospect and the No. 3 offensive tackle in the class. He is considering Maryland, Florida State, Georgia, Florida, Ohio State and others.

UA Game jersey tour: Jalen Tabor

November, 1, 2013
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Senior cornerback Jalen Tabor (Washington, D.C./Friendship Collegiate Academy) was presented his honorary game jersey at his school on Thursday, during the American Family Insurance Selection Tour for the 2014 Under Armour All-America High School Football Game. The event was part of the three-month tour.

Tabor, is one of 90 players selected to compete in the seventh-annual Under Armour All-America Game presented by American Family Insurance, a nationally televised competition spotlighting the country’s top high school seniors. The 2014 Under Armour All-America Game is set for 4 p.m. ET on Jan. 2 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., and will be televised on ESPN.

“Thank all of y’all for coming out,” Tabor said. “It’s truly a blessing for me. I want to thank my parents, coach [Aazar Abdul-]Rahim, all the coaches … this is just a very special moment. I want to thank God. I want to thank all my teammates, y’all come in every day and fight with me.”

Abdul-Rahim says his star player's work ethic sets him apart.

“What makes Jalen special is one, he has God given ability," the coach explained. "He’s got great ball skills. And the main thing and most important thing is his work ethic. He’s a tireless worker. He’s been a consistent worker on and off the field. From weight training to individual DB work to work on his own.”

Tabor is always looking to test himself, and selecting the UA Game was the best way for him to do that.

"I decided to accept the invitation to the Under Armour All-America Game because I definitely wanted to play against the best kids from around the country, to test my skills, and to let the whole world know who I am," Tabor said. "In the game, it’s definitely playing against all the best kids. Every snap, you have to be on your 'A' game. Definitely to test myself, that’s going to be the best thing I’m looking for in the game is to see where I’m at. It's definitely a blessing to be invited to this game.

"You got Julio Jones, A.J. Green and guys who are top-10 receivers in the NFL, and that’s what I want to be one day … a top-10 corner in the NFL. I can't wait to go to Florida and see everyone, and to be on national television each day of the week. I’m looking forward to showing the whole country who I am and what I can do on the football field."

The 6-foot, 188-pound Tabor is the No. 15-ranked prospect overall, and the No. 5 corner in the class. He is considering Maryland, Florida, Alabama, Arizona, Florida State and possibly USC.

ACC predictions: Week 2

September, 5, 2013
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Not a bad start to the season for the ACC or us bloggers. Heather Dinich and I each went 11-1 with our picks. Hopefully another strong week awaits.

FRIDAY

Wake Forest (1-0) at Boston College (1-0), 8 p.m. ET, ESPN2. The Eagles opened as an early favorite, which is somewhat surprising considering the Deacons have the better team. Both squads had some ups and downs in their openers against FCS competition last week, but from my seat, the Wake defense looked much better than BC's. The Deacs produced six turnovers, including an interception return for a touchdown. That is why I give Wake the advantage in this game.

AA picks: Wake Forest 20, Boston College 17

HD picks: Wake Forest 24, Boston College 20

SATURDAY

No. 12 Florida (1-0) at Miami (1-0), noon, ESPN. The Hurricanes have an excellent opportunity to make a statement against their former archrivals in the final scheduled regular-season meeting between the programs. Miami has the best offensive player on the field in Duke Johnson, but he will be playing against a formidable defense -- perhaps the best he will see all season. I do not think Miami can physically match up on the offensive and defensive lines and will get worn down as the game goes on. Florida might not have as many explosive players on offense, but its defense will rise to the occasion.

AA picks: Florida 23, Miami 17

HD picks: Florida 31, Miami 24

Middle Tennessee (1-0) at North Carolina (0-1), 12:30 p.m., ESPN3. The Tar Heels had a disappointing performance in a loss to South Carolina, especially from their defense. UNC's defensive front got no pressure on the quarterback and could not stop the run. The secondary got beat on several long passes downfield. Middle Tennessee upset Georgia Tech last season, but I don't see a similar outcome in this one. North Carolina will get a much better game out of Bryn Renner and its defense.

AA picks: North Carolina 44, Middle Tennessee 20

HD picks: North Carolina 42, Middle Tennessee 21

South Carolina State (0-1) at No. 4 Clemson (1-0), 12:30 p.m., ESPN3. The Tigers have to guard against the letdown factor after such an emotional win over Georgia last week. They now have their highest ranking since 1988, and the nation will be expecting a blowout against an FCS team. Offensive coordinator Chad Morris wants the offense to play faster, so that is one key to watch.

AA picks: Clemson 63, South Carolina State 7

HD picks: Clemson 55, South Carolina State 0

Western Carolina (0-1) at Virginia Tech (0-1), 1:30 p.m., ESPN3. The Hokies have all sorts of issues to work out on offense and special teams. Coach Frank Beamer promises changes to correct the mistakes that allowed Alabama to score twice on kick returns last week. Receivers have got to do more to help out Logan Thomas. One injury note: Virginia Tech hopes to have running back J.C. Coleman available. This is a team the Hokies should dominate. Now, they have to do it.

AA picks: Virginia Tech 41, Western Carolina 3

HD picks: Virginia Tech 35, Western Carolina 3

No. 2 Oregon (1-0) at Virginia (1-0), 3:30 p.m., ABC. Oregon makes its first trip to ACC country on Saturday, becoming just the third top-three nonconference team to play in Charlottesville. The UVa defense looked strong in its Week 1 win over BYU, but the Ducks present quite a different challenge given the pace and production they get out of their offense. Oregon rolled up 772 yards last week in a win over Nicholls State. Gulp. Simply put, the Hoos just do not have the personnel on offense and defense to keep up.

AA picks: Oregon 45, Virginia 17

HD picks: Oregon 45, Virginia 17

Old Dominion (0-1) at Maryland (1-0), 4 p.m., ESPNews. The Terps hope to build off an impressive performance in Week 1. C.J. Brown was terrific in his return to the field, and we all saw what this offense is capable of with Stefon Diggs and Deon Long. Taking a peek ahead, the schedule sets up for Maryland to go 4-0 in nonconference play.

AA picks: Maryland 48, Old Dominion 10

HD picks: Maryland 42, Old Dominion 7

Duke (1-0) at Memphis (0-0), 4:30 p.m., ESPN3. This is not going to be a walk-over for the Blue Devils. Memphis is a much improved team than it was several seasons ago. And much improved over the team Duke beat at the start of last season. The Tigers have a new quarterback but return a majority of their starters, including two standouts on the defensive line in Johnnie Farms and Martin Ifedi. This will be a good early road test for the Blue Devils.

AA picks: Duke 35, Memphis 20

HD picks: Duke 38, Memphis 24

Syracuse (0-1) at No. 19 Northwestern (1-0), 6 p.m., Big Ten Network. The Orange dropped a heartbreaker to Northwestern to open last season. Now they hit the road to face them again after a disappointing loss to Penn State. Syracuse has some problems to fix on offense, and it needs a better effort out of quarterback Drew Allen in this game. The Orange also have to do a better job of establishing the run if they are going to have any chance to win.

AA picks: Northwestern 28, Syracuse 21

HD picks: Northwestern 35, Syracuse 17

Richmond (1-0) at NC State (1-0), 6 p.m. ESPN3. The Spiders are one of the best teams in FCS and have notched wins over Duke in the past, so this is not a team that should be taken lightly -- especially after the FCS upsets in Week 1. Quarterback Pete Thomas gets his shot to start, but keep an eye on the running back rotation now that Shadrach Thornton returns to the lineup. Freshman Matt Dayes had a big game last week against Louisiana Tech, so coach Dave Doeren says he will use a three-man rotation with Tony Creecy, Thornton and Dayes.

AA picks: NC State 38, Richmond 13

HD picks: NC State 41, Richmond 10
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Unhappiness has turned out to be a good thing for Florida’s offensive line in 2013.

It’s the reason Tyler Moore and Max Garcia left their respective schools a year ago and transferred to Florida. The addition of those two versatile players gives the Gators their toughest, most physical and best offensive line in coach Will Muschamp’s three seasons.

Now everybody’s happy.

"Oh, man, it’s the greatest decision of my life," Garcia said.

Garcia was one of several Maryland players who transferred after the 2011 season, which was coach Randy Edsall’s first in College Park. Though he started all 12 games at left tackle as a sophomore, Garcia said he had personal, academic and athletic issues during his freshman season.

When it was over, he decided he needed a change.

"I think you come to college just to be happy personally and athletically and academically, just find the right fit for you," Garcia said. "It’s all about being happy. As a player you don’t really get much more than being happy."

[+] EnlargeTyler Moore
Brad Barr/US PresswireTyler Moore set a Nebraska record with four starts on the offensive line as a true freshman before transferring to Florida.
After looking at several schools, Garcia said he believed he could be happy at Florida. It didn’t take him long to realize he was correct.

"I met Coach Muschamp and [offensive line] Coach [Tim] Davis and I met the offensive line here and I just felt at home coming down here to Florida," said Garcia, who is a 6-foot-4, 307-pound redshirt junior. "Aside from football, this is where I found Christ. He came into my life here so since I’ve been here last August my life has just changed forever and it’s for the better."

Moore’s situation was a bit different. He started the first four games and played in nine as a freshman tackle at Nebraska in 2011, but he was unhappy with the amount of playing time he got and he also believed he wasn’t being treated fairly.

He was so disgruntled that when he left school just before practice began in August 2012 he thought he was done with football.

"Little things that I had to deal with at Nebraska made me slowly hate the game after so much time being there," said Moore, whose father, great uncle and cousin played at Nebraska. "Of course everyone wants more playing time, but I believe I should have gotten more playing time throughout the year. I was busting my butt all year practicing and trying to get some playing time and still only got a few plays here and there. It’s just what the coaches want to do."

The 6-5, 315-pound Moore returned to St. Petersburg, Fla., and spent the 2012 academic year at St. Petersburg College. But as time passed, he realized he missed playing football and he considered Florida State before choosing UF.

They took different paths, but Moore and Garcia have one thing in common: Both can play multiple spots on the line. That makes them among the Gators’ most valued players.

Moore, a redshirt sophomore, was expected to battle with redshirt senior Chaz Green for the starting right tackle spot but instead has spent the entire camp working at right guard in place of injured starter Jon Halapio (torn pec). He can play all five positions, although he hasn’t snapped at UF yet.

"He’s very intelligent. He gets it," Muschamp said. "We’ve been able to plug him in across the board. He could play center if he had to. You can’t ever not emphasize enough the intelligence, and [he’s] a guy that can go in and play different spots, different angles, different assignments and different techniques from playing inside as opposed to playing outside.

"He can do a lot of things for us. He’s going to be a huge member of our football team."

Garcia is the starter at left guard and pairs with left tackle D.J. Humphries to instantly upgrade the left side. The staff moved him to left tackle for a practice and Muschamp said he performed well despite not having taken a snap there since he arrived in Gainesville.

"We got rave reviews from some of the assistant coaches there at Maryland about the type young man he was," Muschamp said. "So he was highly endorsed as a football player but more than anything as a person."

Moore and Garcia aren’t the only offensive linemen who can play multiple spots on the roster. Redshirt senior Kyle Koehne, Green and redshirt sophomore Trip Thurman can as well, and Muschamp said that will be a staple of his linemen going forward.

"We always try to recruit guys who can play multiple positions," Muschamp said. "That means they’re smart and they can do some different things for us. You’d like to be two-deep at every position and two guys that can rotate other than that. You better have a bunch [of versatile offensive linemen] and you’ve got to prepare for injuries."
ESPN 300 offensive tackle Damian Prince (Forestville, Md./Bishop McNamara) has said he’s going to concentrate on his senior season and then take his official visits.

Right now, the 6-foot-5, 286-pound Prince has a top 10 of Alabama, Florida, Florida State, Georgia, Maryland, Ohio State, Rutgers, South Carolina, Tennessee and Vanderbilt.

Here’s a look at why each school could fit for the third-ranked tackle and 22nd-ranked overall player in the nation.

Alabama

Why the Crimson Tide makes sense: Let’s not kid ourselves. Three national championships in four seasons is always enticing for a senior. So is the fact Alabama has a strong lineage of sending offensive linemen to the NFL. Prince isn’t one to shy away from competition either.


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ESPN 300 CB Tabor has two on top 

June, 30, 2013
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LAKE OSWEGO, Ore. -- ESPN 300 defensive back Jalen Tabor (Washington, D.C./Friendship Collegiate Academy) has a top five consisting of Alabama, Maryland, Florida State, Florida and Vanderbilt, but two might be inching ahead of the others.

Tabor, who is No. 16 in the ESPN 300 and the nation's No. 4 conerback, talked about his favorites during registration for The Opening football camp:

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ESPN 150 CB Jalen Tabor taking his time 

April, 23, 2013
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ASHBURN, Va. -- Cornerback Jalen Tabor (Washington, D.C./Friendship Collegiate), the No. 19 overall player in the ESPN 150, is in no rush to commit.


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ATHENS, Ga. -- For most high school players, the end of practice means they get a break from the incessant nagging and ceaseless instruction of their coaches. They go home, eat dinner, study and enjoy the respite until the whistles start blowing next time. For ESPN Watch List safety Quincy Wilson (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./University School), that is not the case.

Wilson’s father is the defensive coordinator and the defensive backs coach at the University School, so Wilson jokes that he gets no respite.

“Oh no, there’s no break, there’s no break,” Wilson said. “Monday through Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Yeah, I get it at practice, before practice, after practice, in the car, at the dinner table ...”

The talented junior laughed about the nonstop instruction but he also credited his father with making him the player he is today -- one of the most coveted safeties in Florida.


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GatorNation position breakdown: G/C 

January, 10, 2013
1/10/13
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Editor’s note: Every Tuesday and Thursday through Jan. 31, 2013, GatorNation will break down each position. We’ll look at 2013, of course, but also try and give you a peek beyond next season, too. Today is guard/center. We will profile tight end on Jan. 15.

GUARD/CENTER

[+] EnlargeJon Halapio
AP Photo/Phelan M. EbenhackGuard Jon Halapio has been UF's most consistent lineman for the last three seasons.
Two-deep: With the graduation of sixth-year senior James Wilson, redshirt freshman Jessamen Dunker and redshirt junior Max Garcia will compete for the starting job at left guard. Jonotthan Harrison and Jon Halapio will return as starters at center and right guard, respectively. Both will be redshirt seniors. Redshirt senior Kyle Koehne and Ian Silberman, provided his shoulder injury is healed, are the reserves.

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