Florida Gators: Indiana Hoosiers

Baker cooking up something great 

September, 5, 2013
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A year ago, Jerome Baker Jr. (Cleveland/Benedictine) toiled in obscurity.

Now, the 6-foot-1, 202-pound junior can’t move an inch without someone asking about him.

Such is the life of an ESPN Junior 300 standout that has burst onto the scene as a can’t-miss prospect in the 2015 class.

Delroy Baker
Tom Hauck for Student SportsOffensive tackle Delroy Baker of Ocala, Fla., is headed to the Big Ten.
Offensive tackle Delroy Baker (Ocala, Fla./West Port) verbally committed to play for Indiana on Friday. It comes as something of a surprise since Baker had offers from in-state programs Florida, Florida State and Miami.

The 6-foot-6, 259-pound tackle prospect announced his decision Twitter and later confirmed it with ESPN via text message.

The text message read: "As of 6/18/2013, I, Delroy Baker, OT from West Port High School in Ocala, FL have chosen to commit to Indiana University!!!"

The Hoosiers now have three offensive line commitments and five pledges overall.
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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ESPN 60 PG JaQuan Lyle down to six

March, 11, 2013
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ESPN 60 junior JaQuan Lyle (Evansville, Ind./Bosse) narrowed his college choices to six schools over the weekend. Lyle confirmed the news via his Twitter account on Saturday.

The 6-foot-4 point guard will decide among Illinois, Florida, Indiana, Louisville, Tennessee and Ohio State. Eliminated were Texas, NC State, Georgetown and Cincinnati.

Lyle's junior season came to an end on Saturday in an 82-65 loss to Greensburg in a regional semifinal. He scored 25 points and added 10 rebounds in the defeat.

OSU extends offer to Watch List DT 

February, 27, 2013
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Urban Meyer was at it again Wednesday with yet another offer to a defensive lineman.


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Most people would think that being the son of an NFL tight end coach would result in long, laborious, tactical conversations about the position and schemes.

And don’t get it wrong, Watch List wide receiver Austin Roberts (Carmel, Ind./Carmel) has had a few of those conversations with his father, Colts tight ends coach Alfredo Roberts. But more often, the two will talk about the recruiting process, with Alfredo giving advice to his son about how to handle it as a player.

“He was at FAU before he was in the NFL so he’s able to give me the recruiter’s perspectives,” Austin said of his father. “He has been a really big help so far.”

The 6-foot-2, 208-pound receiver (who some colleges are looking at as a flex-tight end-wide receiver) holds nine offers from the likes of Florida, Miami (Fla.), Ohio State, Stanford and Indiana.


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Jones talks visitors and Feb. OSU visit 

January, 23, 2013
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WESTMONT, Ill. -- When coaches from Big Ten, Pac-12 or SEC programs fly into Chicago, De La Salle is always one of the first stops on the itinerary. Among the several FBS-level juniors at the school, none is garnering more attention than offensive tackle Jamarco Jones.


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Hoophall Classic: Players to watch 

January, 18, 2013
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The Spalding Hoophall Classic held near the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass., is annually the nation’s best in-season high school basketball event -- and this year may be its best field ever. Which is saying something considering the likes of Kevin Durant, Anthony Davis, Jared Sullinger and Kyrie Irving have played in the showcase.

The elite national matchups will get rolling on Saturday and then really kick into gear on Sunday and Monday, when six games will be televised across ESPN, ESPNU and WatchESPN. In those six TV games alone, 25 players ranked in the ESPN 100 and seven teams ranked in the ESPN 25 Power Rankings will be featured, including the No. 1 and No. 2 prospects, six of the top 12 recruits in the country and a showdown between the No. 1 and No. 2 teams. Recruits for Kentucky, Duke, Florida, Syracuse, Indiana, NC State, Georgetown, Washington, Baylor, BYU and more will be on display.

To get you set for all the action, here are the players to watch for each of the 12 teams playing on TV this weekend.

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Clemson loses ESPN 150 DE Eliah Daniel 

November, 19, 2012
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After months of speculation, Clemson lost an ESPN 150 defensive end. And his name is not Robert Nkemdiche.

Avon (Ind.) lineman Elijah Daniel, No. 82 in the ESPN 150, decommitted from the Tigers on Tuesday days after returning from an official visit to Mississippi State.

"Interested in other schools," Daniel wrote in a text message.

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Elijah Daniel still committed to Clemson 

October, 21, 2012
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Despite a Twitter posting to the contrary this weekend, ESPN 150 defensive end Elijah Daniel (Avon, Ind./Avon) remains committed to Clemson.

In a telephone conversation Sunday night, Daniel said he is still verbally committed to Clemson while he considers other schools.

"I'm still committed to Clemson," Daniel said.

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DT Darius Latham parts with Wisconsin 

October, 15, 2012
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With only a few spots left in its 2013 class, Wisconsin was hoping to put the finishing touches on its 2013 class and continue building an already strong 2014 group.

Instead, the Badgers suffered a major blow to their 2013 efforts Monday when ESPN 300 defensive tackle and their highest-rated commitment Darius Latham (Indianapolis/North Central) decommitted.

“Honestly I don’t know the exact reason but it was something he felt uncomfortable with Wisconsin and he just wanted to open things back up,” North Central assistant coach Taj Darby said. “I knew he wasn’t totally sold and it had nothing to do with Wisconsin.”

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Junior college tight end Beau Sandland (Woodland Hills, Calif./Pierce College) is making the most of his first foray into the recruiting process. A non-qualifier out of high school, the 6-foot-5, 250-pound athlete turned in an impressive showing on the recruiting trail this offseason. Beginning in February, Sandland said it felt as though he collected an offer -- and sometimes two -- each day, through the end of spring. Though things have slowed considerably since then with the end of the spring evaluation period and fall camps starting, Monday proved that it isn’t over completely, as Tennessee stepped forward with a scholarship offer.

“It’s been fun,” Sandland said of recruiting. “This is the first time I’ve ever gone through it, so I didn’t fully know what to expect. You hear stories and see the sophomores from last year, but it’s been a really exciting and fun time. It can get a little hectic, but in a good way. It’s been really humbling talking to these schools and having offers from some of the top programs in the nation.”

Several SEC heavyweights extended offers to Sandland, including Florida, Georgia, LSU and Mississippi, though he took opportunities this summer to get a better feel for programs in other conferences. Pac-12 programs Arizona State, California and UCLA received unofficial visits, while Nebraska was the recipient of an official visit. This weekend, Sandland will travel for Oklahoma for his second official visit.

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DeSean Smith has fast start at IMG 

June, 30, 2012
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BRADENTON, Fla. -- It was easy to see why four-star tight end DeSean Smith (Lake Charles, La./Barbe) is the No. 4 rated tight end in the country at the IMG Madden 7-on-7 National Championships on Saturday. Smith opened the day with a long 30-yard touchdown catch in the first game and never looked back. The 6-foot-4, 225-pound athlete finished with several big plays.

To no one's surprise, the home-state LSU Tigers have always been considered a favorite for the talented tight end, but another team is making a strong push for his services -- the Florida Gators.

"They are recruiting me hard," Smith said. "They are one of the top teams on my list. As of now I'd say LSU and Florida are at the top for me. Coach [Derek] Lewis is doing a great job recruiting me. They respect me and I respect them. As of now it's close. Florida is in it real big. It's going to be a hard decision."

The No. 143 player in the ESPN 150 said he was surprised with what LSU showed him when he visited Baton Rouge for their spring game.

"I loved the way they surprised me at the spring game," Smith said. "They threw the ball excellent, and that's what surprised me the most when I was there."

Smith, who will make his decision at the U.S. Army Bowl in January, said leaving home would be difficult, but that he looks as college as a life-long opportunity.

"It's going to be hard, but at the same time I want to look at other options than just staying at home," he said. "I want to major in criminal justice, which you can really find anywhere, but this will be a decision with me that will stay with me for the next 40 years.

"It's going to come down with how they do this year, how are they producing on the field. It's going to come down to the offense and what quarterbacks they got coming in."

Miami back in the mix for Sherit

Tampa (Fla.) Hillsborough defensive end Jordan Sherit admitted that Miami had fallen behind in his recruitment, but after a late push by the Hurricanes, the Canes right back in the picture.

"I made one comment that I haven't heard from them in a while," Sherit said. "The next thing I know I get messaged from everyone on coaching staff for a couple weeks now. Especially with the addition of Travis Johnson, a great friend of mine that is going there. It makes me think about them again. I'll try to get down there in August."

Sherit, who said Florida and Vanderbilt are recruiting him the hardest, is close to narrowing down his list of top schools, but he already knows several teams that will be on it.

"I think I'll have a top 10 in the next couple of days," he said. "I can't think of all of them off the top of my head but some schools I would put in there are Florida, Miami, Stanford, Notre Dame, Oklahoma and Vanderbilt. I definitely want to take a trip out to Stanford when they play Notre Dame."

The four-star athlete has visited Florida three times since the spring began. Sherit said Florida is the most organized school he has been to.

"Coach [Will] Muschamp and their whole staff, as far as being organized and knowing what they are doing, they are ahead of everybody else," he said. "Just the way they run their junior days. You can tell by their committed class, they are one of the top classes in the nation. It's because they are doing the right things coaching, and they just have a helluva staff. I expect big things from Florida whether I'm there or not."

2014 WR Artavis Scott earns big offer

Tarpon Springs (Fla.) East Lake wide receiver Artavis Scott will be a big-time recruit next year, but the talented junior-to-be, will have to wait his turn to be the star of his 7-on-7 team. Team Tampa features several top 2013 prospects including Sherit, Leon McQuay III, Vernon Hargreaves III, Richard Benjamin, Travis Johnson and Alvin Bailey. Scott said he enjoys the competition.

"I love it," Scott said. "You don't have to come out here and worry about someone else not doing their job. We have it, they are always doing their job. Guys come out here to compete and we have the best on our team."

Scott, who already held offers from FSU, USF, Ohio State, South Carolina, Iowa State, Indiana and Cincinnati, earned an offer from Florida after recently camping in Gainesville.

"I was thankful for it," Scott said. "I was pretty glad that I got that offer. It's close to home and my mom likes that school. So it was pretty good to get that offer."

The 5-11, 165-pound receiver said he hit it off with Florida wide receivers coach Aubrey Hill.

"I think he's a pretty cool coach," Scott said. "After we came back from the field, we sat down in his office and talked for a while. He seems like a pretty nice guy. I communicate with him every now and then. He seems like a pretty cool dude."

Florida commit taking other visits?

Four-star Florida offensive line commit Josh Outlaw (Lithonia, Ga./Martin Luther King) has been committed to the Gators since April, but the guard prospect said he is still receiving interest from other schools.

"I definitely received a lot of attention over the last week," Outlaw said. "I've talked to Miami, Tennessee, Ole Miss and Arkansas. Things have slowed down a little bit, but there are some schools still coming after me. They are still interested."

Outlaw, who said he is still a solid commit to Florida, said he will likely take some other visits.

"Those schools want me to come and check them out," Outlaw said. "I definitely will probably take some because of my teammates. I don't want to be too shy and not take any visits and just sit at my house, so I'll probably be pretty active and check out some things."

Other Notes

  • Hargreaves III (Tampa, Fla./Wharton), a five-star cornerback, might have had the play of the day. He was beaten by a few steps on a deep route but recovered and made an acrobatic interception just before stepping out of the back of the end zone.
  • Florida 2014 commit Ryeshene Bronson (Ft. Myers, Fla./Dunbar) caught a 15-yard touchdown pass in the first game of the day. The 6-3 wide receiver caught the ball over another defender and barely tapped his feet in the back of the end zone for the score.

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The 7th annual Heath Evans Foundation 7-on-7 tournament will be loaded with FBS talent when the first pass is thrown Saturday morning in West Palm Beach, Fla.

ESPN 150/300 Prospects

Vernon Hargreaves III, CB, Tampa (Fla.) Wharton (No. 4)

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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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