Florida Gators: Washington State Cougars

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.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Florida coach Will Muschamp has decided to go with a special teams coordinator after all.

Muschamp announced the hiring of UTEP defensive coordinator Jeff Choate on Wednesday morning as the Gators’ special teams coordinator and outside linebackers coach. He replaces Bryant Young, who resigned last week for personal reasons.

"He is a high-energy coach, an outstanding recruiter and evaluator, and has a reputation as one of the top special-teams coaches in the nation," Muschamp said in a statement. "He sees the big picture and will be a great addition to our staff.

"I got to know Jeff several years ago when I as at Texas and he was at Boise State. He visited Austin and we spent a lot of time talking defensive and special teams schemes. He also visited us in Gainesville last spring, and we are very much on the same page philosophically."

The Gators split up special teams duties in the spring because D.J. Durkin was promoted from linebackers coach/special teams coordinator to defensive coordinator after Dan Quinn resigned to become the defensive coordinator of the Seattle Seahawks. Young’s resignation, however, gave him an opportunity to bring the units under one person’s control.

Choate, who joined the UTEP staff after spending the 2012 season as the linebackers coach at Washington State, has been a special teams coordinator for nine seasons at Utah State (2003-05), Eastern Illinois (2005) and Boise State (2006-2011). Choate also coached running backs, linebackers and nickel backs at Boise State.

"I’m excited about the opportunity to join the Gator staff and have the chance to compete at the highest level," Choate said in a statement. "I’ve gotten to know Coach Muschamp over the past couple of years and have a tremendous amount of respect for him as a coach and a person. I’m looking forward to continuing the great special teams tradition that has been established here and can’t wait to get to work."

2015 D-back earns early attention 

March, 12, 2013
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The 2013 class of defensive backs in Southern California was the best it has been in years, and the 2014 class appears to be following up with another crop of terrific talent. While the 2015 class hasn't quite come into focus, there's a good bet that, with Iman Marshall (Long Beach, Calif./Poly) leading the way, it's going to be another good one.


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McNeil commits to Alabama

July, 21, 2012
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After losing a commitment from Andy Dodd earlier in the day, the University of Alabama responded by adding a commitment from ESPN 150 tight end Josh McNeil, the No. 4-ranked tight end in the country.

McNeil, a native of Durham, N.C., visited Tuscaloosa on Thursday and Friday before making his decision public via Twitter late Friday night.

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When Steve Sarkisian took over as head coach of the Washington Huskies, many thought his years as an assistant at USC would enable him to see continued success recruiting Los Angeles. On Friday afternoon, the former quarterback again reached into Southern California to grab his future quarterback, Troy Williams (Harbor City, Calif./Narbonne).

Williams selected Washington over Arizona, his other finalist, as well as offers from schools such as Florida, Arizona State, UCLA and Washington State.

The 6-foot-1, 185-pound quarterback has been a known commodity in the area since his freshman season, when he participated with the varsity team and then took over as the starting quarterback as a sophomore. Last year, Williams led the Gauchos to a CIF title, as he threw for 3,247 yards and 34 touchdowns, and rushed for 587 yards and 11 scores.

Williams took a recent visit to Washington and raved about the trip. The quarterback nearly committed while on campus, but decided to give himself until Friday to think it over. He is Washington’s seventh commitment in the 2013 class, and fourth from Southern California.

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Top defensive back Priest Willis (Tempe, Ariz./Marcos De Niza) has received three new scholarship offers, including a big one from the SEC, ESPN's Craig Haubert reports.

Florida, Colorado and Washington State are the latest programs to offer Willis, an ESPNU 150 Watch List prospect, who is one of the most coveted prospects out West in the Class of 2013.

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