Florida Gators: Miami Hurricanes

video
Year in and year out, the “big three” Florida schools always battle for the top in-state high school prospects. Last year was one of the wildest in recent memory for Florida, Florida State and Miami.

The Gators were able to land commitments from three prospects -- Ryan Sousa, C.J. Worton and J.C. Jackson -- who were previously committed to Florida State. The Noles responded by flipping Florida commitments Ermon Lane and Dalvin Cook. Miami was able to flip former FSU running back commit Joseph Yearby and Florida defensive tackle commit Anthony Moten. The Gators then flipped athlete Brandon Powell the day he was supposed to enroll at Miami.


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

video
South Florida is arguably the most fertile area in the country for recruiting, and college football coaches annually flock to the talent-rich area to try to land a small piece of a very large pie. The large area located south of Lake Okeechobee that includes the football hotbeds of Broward, Palm Beach and Dade counties has produced 45 ESPN 300 members in the last two recruiting cycles and almost half (22) signed with out-of-state schools.


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Getting to know Torrance Gibson 

March, 20, 2014
Mar 20
9:00
AM ET
video Throughout this recruiting cycle, RecruitingNation will profile a number of ESPN 300 prospects in the 2015 class, including an inside look at the prospect, his recruitment, a scouting report and what college program could benefit when he ultimately makes his decision.

MIAMI -- Athlete Torrance Gibson, the No. 11-ranked player in the ESPN Junior 300, is a jack of all trades. The 6-foot-4, 195-pound prospect threw for 1,864 yards as a junior with 19 TDs and only three interceptions. Gibson also rushed for 1,032 yards with 10 more scores. In addition to his impressive numbers, he’s arguably the best wide receiver on his 7-on-7 team, the South Florida Express, which features other top receivers such as Da'Vante Phillips and Calvin Ridley.

Though Gibson has many talents, there is only one position in which he feels like he can fully utilize his abilities.


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Orlando/Miami NFTC notebook 

March, 16, 2014
Mar 16
8:00
PM ET
video
The Florida leg of the Nike Football Training Camp series didn’t disappoint. Top prospects from all over the Sunshine State made their way to Orlando (Fla.) and Miami to take part in the ultra-competiive camp. An incredible 11 prospects from the Orlando NFTC were invited to The Opening, an elite camp and 7-on-7 tournament held in early July at the Nike Headquarters in Beaverton, Ore. Here’s a closer look at the top news from over the weekend.

Orlando NFTC/Elite 11


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Biggest flips: SEC 

February, 3, 2014
Feb 3
10:30
AM ET
As expected, with the plethora of commitments followed by decommitments and second and third verbal pledges, it's no surprise that the hotly contested Southeast and SEC feature a number of impactful flips in 2014.


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Shifting power: Florida 

January, 23, 2014
Jan 23
8:00
AM ET
College football is cyclical. So is recruiting, which is priority No. 1 for coaches and often referred to as the lifeblood of a program.

No state offers more credence to that claim than Florida. Seemingly every few seasons, one of the Big Three from the Sunshine State -- Florida, Florida State and Miami -- asserts dominance in the state. The same goes for recruiting.


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Gators add ESPN 300 RB Brandon Powell

January, 10, 2014
Jan 10
10:37
AM ET
Florida was able to get its second commitment in as many days as four-star athlete Brandon Powell (Deerfield Beach, Fla./Deerfield Beach) switched his commitment from Miami to Florida on Friday morning.

The news was first reported by Zach Abolverdi of the Gainesville Sun, and Deerfield Beach head coach Allen Jackson later confirmed via text message. The 5-foot-9, 171-pound athlete, who is being recruited by Florida to play running back, is expected to enroll in classes at Florida sometime on Friday.

The Powell addition is important for the Gators. After Dalvin Cook (Miami/Central), the No. 4 running back in the country, flipped his commitment from Florida to Florida State, the Gators were left with a void at running back. Powell has speed and playmaking ability that has been missing from the Florida backfield in the last two seasons.

"Powell is reminiscent of Miami's Duke Johnson, but shorter and leaner,” his Recruiting Nation scouting report reads. "On pure skill-set alone, Powell would be considered one of the elite backs in this class, but he just isn't blessed with the measurables coveted by coaches. High-risk, high-reward player who could be a feature return specialist. Durability is always going to be a concern.”

With Powell on board, the Gators now have 21 verbal commitments including 12 ranked in the ESPN 300.

As for Miami, Powell was the second South Florida prospect to change his commitment in the last two days. The other, cornerback Nigel Bethel II (Miami/Booker T. Washington) flipped his commitment from Miami to Texas Tech on Thursday evening. The Hurricanes still have 26 commits including 11 ranked in the ESPN 300.
National signing day is approaching quickly. With three official visit weekends remaining before Feb. 5, here is a look at a number of prospects who could flip to and/or from SEC schools in the coming weeks.

Florida commit Ermon Lane (Homestead, Fla./Homestead): Lane, No. 28 in the ESPN 300, is scheduled to officially visit national champion Florida State with the Gators fighting hard to keep the uber-talented wide receiver. The flip from Florida to the Seminoles by Dalvin Cook (Miami/Central High), the nation’s No. 20 prospect, makes the chore even tougher for the Gators


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

video
As expected, Day 2 at the Under Armour All-America practices were smoother, more concise and much more productive. The players are now starting to think less and play more. Natural ability is starting to come to the forefront, which allows for them to be more productive. There have been fewer dropped passes, fewer misses by the QBs and the offensive lines are starting to jell quicker than expected. Perhaps the most impressive thing about this group is there have not been any true letdowns. They have stepped up and been as advertised almost top to bottom for both squads. Let’s hit the highlights of the day:

Top performers

WR Cameron Sims (Monroe, La./Ouachita Parish): Sims might not wow anyone with his 40-yard dash time, but it may not matter. Sims is so similar to Mike Evans at Texas A&M. He just makes plays. He has extremely long arms and is outstanding when in contested matchups. The ball will look like it is uncatchable and then next thing you know he jumps out of nowhere, extends and makes a play and the defender is left scratching his head. When it comes down to it, the QBs for Team Highlight can trust that if they need to throw it up, Sims will make a play. The most basic thing about the position is catching the football and Sims has no problem doing that.


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Lane rethinking final decision 

December, 28, 2013
12/28/13
8:43
PM ET
ORLANDO -- Four-star wide receiver Ermon Lane (Homestead, Fla./Homestead) has been committed to Florida since August but the No. 28-ranked player in the country could be wavering on his pledge to the Gators.

And some of Florida’s rivals could be in a position to make a move for the nation’s No. 2 receiver prospect.


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

Early Offer: All eyes on Austin 

December, 16, 2013
12/16/13
5:30
AM ET
The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today's offerings: Texas doesn’t need to rush to make a hire, but it also can’t take forever; five-star running back Dalvin Cook says he’s 100 percent committed to Florida but will make a final decision in little more than two weeks; and Kansas State and Texas Tech added several big pieces this weekend from the junior college ranks.


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

ORLANDO, Fla. -- On Saturday, Jacksonville (Fla.) Trinity Christian won the FHSAA class 3A state championship game 34-7 over Clearwater Central Catholic.

Louisville wide receiver commit Isaiah Ford, had a big day with two touchdowns, but for the most part, Trinity was led by several talented junior prospects including two, Kevin Toliver II and Jeffery Holland, that are ranked in the top 10 of the ESPN Junior 300.


To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

The Early Offer is RecruitingNation's regular feature, giving you a daily dose of recruiting in the mornings. Today's offerings: If you think Baylor’s offense is explosive now, just wait until the 2014 class makes it to campus; USC enters the mix for four-star QB Brad Kaaya; and a longtime Auburn linebacker commitment is going to take all five of his official visits.

To continue reading this article you must be an Insider

3-point stance: Embracing tradition

September, 6, 2013
9/06/13
5:00
AM ET
1. The more that college football progresses, the more schools that seem to be reaching back into their tradition. Arizona State has put up a portrait of College Football Hall of Famer Pat Tillman at the end of the tunnel the team goes through to the Sun Devil Stadium field. I hope more schools do something like that. It ties the players and the fans to the school’s history. College football, without history and tradition, would be a far duller sport.

2. Good news is that Stanford and San Jose State have christened Saturday’s game the Bill Walsh Legacy Game. Walsh played at and graduated from San Jose State. He started and finished his legendary head coaching career at Stanford. The bad news is that the two schools, only 25 minutes apart, are putting the series on the shelf after playing nearly annually since 1948. The rivalry may not be Notre Dame-Michigan, but this is one more sign that progress leaves casualties in its wake.

3. Florida-Miami is another one that should be played more but won’t be. As Pat Dooley wrote at GatorSports.com, since Florida plays one neutral-site conference game (Georgia) already, the Gators have a greater financial imperative to play home games against the three non-conference opponents that aren’t Florida State. Florida’s last non-conference road game? Miami in 2003, and the Gators lost. The last non-conference road game out of state? Syracuse in 1991, and the Gators lost. No wonder they want to play at home.

Johnson gives Miami advantage at RB

September, 5, 2013
9/05/13
1:00
PM ET
Miami has one clear advantage over No. 12 Florida in their matchup Saturday: a proven star-caliber running back.

Duke Johnson gives the Hurricanes a marquee name at the position, continuing a tradition that dates back to the 1980s. Florida, on the other hand, has not had a national standout at running back since Fred Taylor in 1998.

Although it is true Mike Gillislee had a 1,000-yard season for the Gators last year -- the school's first since 2004 -- you would be hard pressed to find anybody outside the state who could name him.

For Florida, it has been a constant battle to find a consistent running back. There have been a few since Taylor left: Earnest Graham, Ciatrick Fason, DeShawn Wynn.

But in the years after Wynn, quarterback Tim Tebow and receiver Percy Harvin made the running game go. Backs such as Kestahn Moore and Emmanuel Moody merely served as window dressing.

Jeff Demps and Chris Rainey were not big backs, but coach Will Muschamp and former coach Urban Meyer tried to get a lot out of them. They were simply never big enough to truly carry the load.

The Gators, however, do have hope that they have a guy in Matt Jones who can reverse the recent trend and become a heralded standout. Jones makes his debut this weekend for the Gators, after missing last week with a viral infection. He could end up doing what Johnson has done for Miami.

The Hurricanes have a proud running back tradition, with eight backs drafted in the first four rounds since 1990. But they did not have much in the way of a marquee national player before Johnson, either. Between 2003 and 2012, Miami had only one 1,000-yard back: Lamar Miller in 2011.

Johnson came close to 1,000 yards last year, splitting time with Mike James while earning acclaim as one of the top freshmen in the country. He opened the season against FAU last week with 186 yards -- the highest rushing total in the entire nation in Week 1. He even picked up a vote in the ESPN.com Heisman Watch.

Florida recruited Johnson out of high school. Muschamp calls him a complete back.

"You have to be disciplined in your gaps. He's a guy who can take the ball anywhere," Muschamp said.

Indeed, the most intriguing matchup in this game is between Johnson and the Gators' defense, a formidable group against the run.

Consider this stat from ESPN Stats & Information: The Gators have given up just two rushes of 50-plus yards in the past 10 seasons, three fewer than any other team in FBS. Johnson, meanwhile, has six runs of 50 or more yards. None of those runs, however, came against a top rush defense. Against the top two defenses Miami played last year -- Florida State and Notre Dame -- Johnson went for a long of 7 yards.

"It’s going to be a great challenge. They’re big, physical up front," Miami coach Al Golden said. "It’s a great defense. It’s a very talented defense, and they play a lot of guys. It’s a great challenge for our offense -- our offensive line, our tight ends, our fullback. But it’s a great opportunity."

Here is a look at the leading rushers for Miami and Florida since 2002:

Miami

2012 Duke Johnson

2011 Lamar Miller

2010 Damien Berry

2007-09 Graig Cooper

2006 Javarris James

2005 Tyrone Moss

2004 Frank Gore

2003 Jarrett Payton

2002 Willis McGahee

Florida

2012 Mike Gillislee

2011 Chris Rainey

2010 Jeff Demps

2007-09 Tim Tebow

2005-06 DeShawn Wynn

2004 Ciatrick Fason

2003 Ran Carthon

2002 Earnest Graham

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Scene and Heard: Top 10 Predictions
In a conversation with ESPN's Antonietta Collins, national recruiting reporter Gerry Hamilton breaks down the recruiting momentum building at Auburn and offers predictions for where the top 10 recruits will commit.Tags: Trenton Thompson, Kerryon Johnson, Jeffery Holland, Martez Ivey, Torrance Gibson, Cece Jefferson, ESPN 300, RecruitingNation, high school football recruiting, Gerry Hamilton
VIDEO PLAYLIST video