Florida Gators: Memphis Tigers

Florida gets commit from 2014 PG 

May, 14, 2013
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Prior to the spring, junior Chris Chiozza (Memphis, Tenn./White Station) was mentioned as a fringe Top 100 player. Following a series of standout performances, Chiozza’s stock soared. On Tuesday, he accepted an offer from the Florida Gators to follow the point guard lineage in Gainesville.

Ohio State and Memphis provided the most competition for the 2014 defensive guard with a passing bend. Chiozza averaged 17 points, nine assists and six rebounds as a junior.

Florida, which scouted Chiozza extensively in April, offered, and the guard didn’t mull it over too long before calling his recruitment off.

Lavon Hooks a basketball player no more 

October, 12, 2012
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Lavon Hooks went to Booneville (Miss.) Northeast to be a basketball player. He'll leave a football player.

"He wasn't on anybody's radar," Northeast head coach Ricky Smithers said.

Now he is. Once a 6-foot-4, 245-pound hoopster, Hicks is now a 6-foot-4, 295-pound defensive tackle.

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ESPN 100 SG Keith Frazier likes eight 

September, 19, 2012
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Senior shooting guard Keith Frazier (Dallas/Kimball), the No. 19 overall player in the ESPN 100, is one of the best shooters/scorers in the country regardless of class.

Right now Frazier likes Providence, Florida, Texas, Texas A&M, LSU, Arizona, SMU and Memphis. Frazier will likely commit in April, which will allow him to get a better feel for programs, coaches and players. Without a doubt he will be a prime target for many elite programs.

[+] EnlargeKeith Frazier
Courtesy of Anthony Scott KurtzESPN 100 SG Keith Frazier will make his college announcement on March 28 between Texas A&M, SMU, Texas Tech and Auburn.
"I am looking for a school where I can instantly play big-time minutes, the coach is loyal and with me when I do something good or bad, and someone that can help me get to the next level. Make me a pro," Frazier said.

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Five-star junior Leron Black picks Baylor 

September, 17, 2012
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Class of 2014 small forward Leron Black put an end to his recruitment on Monday with a verbal pledge to Baylor, according to sources.

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Facey
Courtesy of Long Island Lutheran.Kentan Facey has seen his stock soar in the span of a year.
It seems that every summer one under-the-radar prospect emerges and grabs the attention of college coaches and basketball analysts alike. This year it appears to be Kentan Facey.

The native of Jamaica, who came to the United States a couple of years ago, is 6-foot-8, 190 pounds and has a 7-1 wingspan. In 2011, he enrolled with Upper Room Christian in Long Island before transferring after the season to his new school, Long Island Lutheran. This time one year ago he was playing AAU basketball for the New Heights Program, but wasn't really a factor. He was trying acclimate to the culture. To say he was raw would be an understatement

"When I came to the States I had no idea what to expect," Facey said. "The speed of the game was at another level. It was a huge adjustment. I had a hard time just catching the ball."

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Jefferson tires of calls, tidies up his list

June, 25, 2012
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This month, the NCAA opened Pandora’s box and lifted regulations on texting and phone calls to recruits. Ten days into the experiment isn’t enough time to evaluate the effects of unlimited contact between recruits and coaches.

With that said, senior small forward Rondae Jefferson (Chester, Pa./Chester) isn’t a fan. “I don’t think that rule was all that,” Jefferson said. “It’s non-stop phone calls, and nobody wants to go through that. I just want to enjoy basketball.”

Within five minutes of the rule’s implementation, Jefferson had at least 12 missed phone calls and it was only shortly after midnight. Mark down Jefferson, ESPN’s No. 23 senior, as a “no” vote for the new rule.

“I don’t like it in my opinion," he said. "It affects the kids. When a coach gets that number he can (call) non-stop. ‘What are you doing? How are we going to make this work?’ This is the biggest decision of my life.”

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Gators get their quarterback

June, 18, 2012
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- After missing missing out on several quarterbacks, the Florida Gators finally landed one on Monday. Four-star prospect Max Staver (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood) camped at Florida last Saturday, and after patiently waiting more than a week, was offered a scholarship on Monday. Staver quickly jumped on it and committed to head coach Will Muschamp.

Max Staver
Tom Hauck for ESPN.comFour-star quarterback Max Staver chose Florida over Mississippi State, Louisville and Memphis.
"They have been in contact with me for a while now," Staver said. "They kept telling me be patient. I actually called coach [Brent] Pease. He said I have coach Muschamp right next to me. Muschamp said, 'Are you ready to be a Gator?' I said, 'Yes sir.' I told him, 'I'm the guy, I'm going to lead the program. I'm ready to get it rolling. I'm ready to serve the school, the football team and the community. It's a blessing.' "

The 6-foot-6, 238-pound quarterback chose Florida over offers from Louisville, Mississippi State and Memphis. Ranked the No. 251 player in the country and the No. 15 pocket passer, the strong-armed signal-caller says he wants to be the leader of the Gators over the next four years.

"[I'm] a guy that's going to prepare well. I have a great work ethic. I've been working out twice a day," Staver said. "I'm a guy that is real mentally tough. I'm a guy that's been pushed my entire life. I've had to fight through injuries. I've been put in positions where I've had to stay the course. I've kept God with me. I think my preparation and work ethic are what sets me apart."

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ESPN's GatorNation brings you the 30 things you need to know about Florida’s upcoming 2012 season. Over the next 30 weekdays, we’ll preview games, talk about trends, spotlight players and positions, and give you pretty much everything you need to know to be ready for the season before the Sept. 1 opener against Bowling Green.

Jeff Driskel, Jacoby Brissett
Icon SMI, Getty ImagesWith true freshmen QBs Jeff Driskel and Jacoby Brissett forced onto the field, Florida struggled to convert third downs in 2011.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Offense is what kept Florida from being a better team in 2011.

The Gators had one of the nation’s better defenses last season. UF ranked in the top 10 nationally in third-down defense (second, 27.3 percent), pass defense (seventh, 166.8 yards per game) and total defense (eighth, 299.5 yards per game). But that couldn’t overcome an offense that scored just 27 points in losses to Alabama, LSU and Auburn, and scored 12 or less points in five of its six losses.

The biggest reason for the offensive struggles -- other than the injury to quarterback John Brantley -- was the Gators’ ineffectiveness on third down. UF converted just 32.1 percent of its third downs (51-of-159), which ranked 111th nationally (out of 120 teams) and was the second-worst percentage in school history. Only the 1979 team (26.1 percent) was worse.

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Quarterback Paxton Lynch (Deltona, Fla./Trinity Christian), one of the fastest-rising prospects this winter, has committed to Memphis while on campus for an official visit, multiple sources report.

Florida A&M was Lynch's only other scholarship offer but Florida was also heavily recruiting the 6-foot-5, 220-pound senior. However, the Gators are expected to land a four-star quarterback this weekend.

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If Trinity Christian (Deltona, Fla.) quarterback Paxton Lynch ends up playing for Florida, or even South Florida, it's going to take a commitment from those schools.

"He's good enough to be offered a scholarship," said David Lynch, Paxton's father. "A preferred walk-on offer is not going to be considered."

While the 6-foot-6, 220-pound senior remains in limbo as the Gators await a response from prospect Skyler Mornhinweg (Philadelphia/St. Joseph's), he is moving on with his recruitment and will be visiting Memphis this weekend.

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Mornhinweg undecided, Lynch in limbo 

January, 26, 2012
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Florida's quarterback situation for the 2012 recruiting class still remains uncertain as the Gators await a decision from four-star prospect Skyler Mornhinweg.

The Florida coaches gave Mornhinweg a deadline of Thursday morning to make a decision, but as of Thursday afternoon a decision had not been made.

Not only are the Florida coaches waiting, so is Deltona (Fla.) quarterback Paxton Lynch. Lynch was planning to visit Florida this weekend, unless Morninweg committed to the Gators. Lynch has decided to go ahead and visit Memphis this weekend.

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Jarnell Stokes puts himself on the clock 

December, 21, 2011
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[+] EnlargeStokes
Andrew Shurtleff for ESPN.comJarnell Stokes is currently ranked No. 24 in the 2012 class, but not for long.
Here’s what I know about Jarnell Stokes (Memphis, Tenn./Southwind). I’ll keep it real simple per a conversation we had on Tuesday. Stokes will decide at 7 p.m. ET Thursday evening between five schools: Memphis, Tennessee, Arkansas, Florida and Kentucky.

As of Tuesday at 5 p.m. ET, Stokes had a big decision to make and he wasn’t very close to coming up with a conclusion. “I feel like I can’t go wrong with any of the schools,” Stokes said.

Stokes will make a push to play at the break. He hasn’t played competitively since the summer but contends he’s been working out and has stayed in good shape. Once he makes the decision, he’ll join a team and start working as soon as possible.

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Updates on unsigned ESPNU 100 recruits 

November, 17, 2011
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The early period concluded Wednesday night but there’s a chance a letter of intent or two could be post-dated and arrive within the next two weeks. However, outside of that possibility, the period is over. That means its time to check in with the big dogs and take a pulse of what’s up with the remaining ESPNU 100 players.

No. 1 Shabazz Muhammad (Las Vegas/Bishop Gorman) sat back and watched the early period come and go without a decision. This was exactly what we expected him to do. The biggest development in his recruitment might be the early season play of UCLA. The Bruins, the perceived clubhouse leader, dropped their first two games. Everyone’s asking what this means for UCLA and Shabazz. The reality is, Ben Howland’s pitch now becomes stronger: “We need you” is something I’m sure he’s heard by now and now UCLA can cite examples of why. That’s the only silver lining in the early season losses if you can call it that.

No. 7 Anthony Bennett (Brampton, Ont./Findlay Prep) had no intention of signing early and he followed through with that. His list is long. I’d say pay attention to Florida, Kentucky and Connecticut but remember, his list is long and he’ll be armed with the capacity to take five official visits.

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What I learned this weekend 

November, 14, 2011
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Elder sets first official
Four-star safety Chaz Elder (College Park, Ga./Banneker) has set up his first official visit and will hit South Carolina on Nov. 25. Elder, 6-2 and 185 pounds, will likely also set up visits to Georgia and Vanderbilt. If the list grows, watch out for are Arizona State and LSU. Don’t be surprised if he visits one of both of those schools.

But Elder could go ahead and decide to pull the trigger in two weeks when he’s in Columbia as the Gamecocks are thought to be the frontrunner at this time.

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