Florida Gators: Connecticut Huskies

Raw 2014 DT shows strength in adversity 

February, 27, 2013
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Sometimes it takes a few years for high school prospects to be discovered by major college football programs, but for Brooklyn (N.Y.) Lincoln junior defensive tackle Thomas Holley, it took only eight games.

Holley began his high school career playing basketball at national powerhouse Christ the King in Middle Village, N.Y., but when he began to fill in to his 6-foot-4 frame, he realized his future might be in another sport.

Shaw draws interest in and out of state 

September, 27, 2012
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Please excuse class of 2014 athlete Rashawn Shaw (Fort Pierce, Fla./Central) if he can’t think much beyond his big game against Vero Beach (Fla.) on Thursday.

"So far the season is going real well and we'll be facing Vero Beach (on Thursday),” Shaw said. “The game is going to be streaming on the Internet I believe. It should be a fun game.”

This year Shaw has been getting bigger -- he said Florida coaches measured him at 6-foot-2, 227 pounds -- and making several trips around the state.

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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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Recruiting capsule: St. Thomas Aquinas 

August, 22, 2012
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Program: St. Thomas Aquinas (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)
Head coach: Rocco Casullo
2011 record: 10-3 (lost to Palm Beach Gardens Dwyer in Class 7A quarterfinals)

ESPN 150 prospect: Joey Bosa (No. 7 DT, No. 45 overall).

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WR Camp Watch: Artavis Scott, '14 group 

August, 14, 2012
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With 54 catches and over 1,100 yards receiving as a sophomore, Tarpon Springs (Fla.) East Lake wide receiver Artavis Scott was among the top performing Class of 2014 prospects in the state last season.

Now the 5-foot-10, 175-pound junior is looking for an encore and comes into the 2012 season training camp with tons of momentum after a productive offseason.

Scott took part in several offseason events including Florida State's camp, Friday Night Lights at Florida, UCF's team camp, Al Golden's camp at Miami and most recently the Barbecue at the Big House during a tour of schools that included Ohio State and Notre Dame.

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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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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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GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Florida women’s basketball coach Amanda Butler has gotten a two-year contract extension through the 2016-17 season, the school announced Wednesday.

Butler’s contract was set to expire after the 2014-15 season.

"I like the direction our program is headed," UF athletics director Jeremy Foley said in a statement. "We know Amanda will be our coach for a long time. We’re excited about the future of the Gator women’s basketball program."

Butler -- who played at UF from 1990-94 -- is the only coach in program history to lead the Gators to the postseason in each of her first five seasons. That includes two trips to the NCAA Tournament in which the Gators lost in the second round to the eventual NCAA champion (Baylor in 2012 and UConn in 2009).

Butler’s record in her five seasons at UF is 98-67. She went 40-22 in two seasons at Charlotte before being hired at Florida on April 13, 2007.

"To have the confidence that Jeremy has in my staff and me feels fantastic," Butler said in a statement. "It makes us even more excited about the future of the program and where it's headed. We're at the best university in the country under the best leadership in the country and to have their vote of confidence means everything."
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Florida signed wing prospect DeVon Walker (Winter Haven, Fla./Winter Haven H.S.) on Friday, quickly filling the scholarship of Bradley Beal, who departs for the NBA.

"[Beal] had an amazing, amazing impact on the program and the team, so I wouldn't mind copying him," Walker said just after signing his letter of intent during a ceremony at his school.

As he assisted Beal in assessing his draft stock, UF coach Billy Donovan made a late push for Walker, a well-rounded swingman who averaged 23.8 points, 10.4 rebounds and 2.6 assists as a senior.

"He came a little bit harder towards the end when it got closer to signing," Walker said. "Coach Donovan said Brad was in the process of deciding to go to the league. But before Brad had even decided, [Donovan] had already told me I had a scholarship and everything was good. So I don't really think it came down to Brad leaving."

Walker, who has grown to 6-foot-6 1/2, 187 pounds and can play shooting guard and small forward, was at one point committed to Central Florida. He chose the Gators over Alabama, Florida State and Connecticut.

"It came down to Alabama and Florida, and I really loved both programs," Walker said. "Coach [Anthony] Grant at Alabama, he has something special going on. I feel that their program is one of the best programs in the country, and Florida is also.

"My decision came down to just being closer to home and being able to have my family come to a lot of games, being comfortable at UF's campus, because I've been up there the most times."

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2013 OL talks Michigan offer 

February, 17, 2012
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The offensive line is a big need for Michigan in the 2013 class. Since at least four scholarship offensive linemen will be leaving the roster, the staff will most likely look to add the same amount of recruits for this class, if not more.

One offensive line prospect who recently received a Michigan offer is 6-foot-5, 290-pound John Montelus (Everett, Mass./Everett). The Michigan offer adds to an already hefty list including Florida, UConn, Boston College, NC State and West Virginia among others.

"Michigan (was an offer he was hoping for) because it is a really big school with good academics, good football team and great fans," he said. "I've been talking to Coach (Darrell) Funk, and I'm going to take a Michigan visit soon."

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Bell earns offer from dream school 

February, 13, 2012
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Junior cornerback Tre’ Bell (Jersey City, N.J./St. Peter’s Prep) has picked up a new offer seemingly every day since signing day.

On Monday, his biggest one yet came, as Florida -- his dream school and the program he has rooted for since elementary school -- offered the New Jersey corner.

Bell, 5-foot-11, 170 pounds, heard from his coach that Florida wanted to talk to him, so he called Gators defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, who promptly put him on the line with coach Will Muschamp.

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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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