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Florida camp notebook: Brantley is back

6/9/2012

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Florida commit Caleb Brantley didn't participate on the first day of the Will Muschamp Gators Football Camp on Saturday, but he did plenty off the field.

The ESPN 150 defensive tackle dispelled any notion that his pledge to Florida was soft, proving it by doggedly recruiting a few other notable defensive line prospects in attendance.

"I'm solid, man," Brantley said. "Today was awesome. I got to do a lot of recruiting."

Brantley, who said he will make the relatively short trek from Crescent City, Fla., back to Gainesville to participate in the camp on Thursday, spent a lot of time on Saturday with defensive end Antonio Riles.

"I'm in his ear," Brantley said when asked if he'd like to play next to Riles, who participated in the morning session but then took himself out with a nagging groin injury.

Brantley said he also went after defensive tackle Greg Gilmore and end Ebenezer Ogundeko, both of whom are in the ESPN 150.

"I'm trying to get them boys," said Brantley, now clearly an ambassador for Florida.

Florida still on top for RB Mercer

Three-star running back Josh Mercer (Guyton, Ga./South Effingham) felt he had a strong performance at the camp. Now the 5-foot-11, 190-pound speedster must wait to see if Florida will take a third running back in this class.

While that remains unclear, Mercer is clear on his interest in the Gators -- he loves them and maintains Florida as his leader.

"I just like how coach [Brian] White coaches, how he encourages us to keep going. I feel like I could bring a lot of talent to this program," Mercer said. "They'll put me at slot, they'll put me at running back. They said I can do everything, so it doesn't even matter that they've got two [running backs] committed."

Mercer, who says N.C. State, Georgia Tech and Tennessee are recruiting him the hardest, plans to visit South Carolina next week, then Georgia. He also wants to visit Auburn and Alabama this summer.

Daub a standout 2014 prospect

Kain Daub, an emerging prospect in the class of 2014, participated in camp and strengthened an already special connection with the Gators.

Former Florida quarterback Shane Matthews was hired in January as coach of Daub's school, Ponte Vedra (Fla.) Nease, the same school that produced Gator legend Tim Tebow.

"My whole coaching staff is from Florida," Daub said. "There's only two coaches that aren't from Florida, and they know everyone at Florida.

"It's just a big school, good education, good football program that puts kids to the next level. ... I just like how everyone around here, everyone in the state of Florida supports the Gators."

Florida was also first to offer the 6-2, 235-pound linebacker, who has eight offers that also include Alabama -- where he'll visit next weekend -- LSU, Florida State, Ohio State, South Carolina, Miami and UCLA.

Daub, who has no early leaders, clearly has something going with UF, where he said he has visited five times already and said he really doesn't need to see any more.

"I'm just here to meet everyone, build a relationship with them and get some competition," he said.

Massive 2014 OL Brown likes UF

The biggest man on campus was easy to spot. It was 6-8, 360-pound Orlando Brown Jr., son of the late NFL offensive lineman Orlando Brown.

There may not be another 2014 prospect with a bigger or better offer list. Though Brown grew up more of an NFL fan, he now claims 27 offers from a who's who of college football programs and is starting to make the rounds.

The Duluth (Ga.) Peachtree Ridge product, who went to Alabama's camp last weekend, plans to visit Florida State on Wednesday, would like make it to Oregon on Friday and then Southern Cal and Iowa the following week.

Saturday, Brown took a tour of Florida's campus and facilities and met UF head coach Will Muschamp. The offensive lineman did not participate in camp, but said he would like to come back and show off in Florida's signature showcase camp, Friday Night Lights, on July 27.

"It went pretty well. I got a chance to meet Coach Muschamp," he said. "It's a great college. I liked coach [Tim] Davis, offensive line coach. He's a great coach."

The Florida coaches told Brown they were impressed with his athleticism at his size. Brown already held an offer, given to his high school coach by UF's D.J. Durkin in early May.