GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- With seven verbal commitments and numerous other targets in Beaverton, Ore., for The Opening, the Florida Gators were well represented at the prestigious event. Here's a look at five things we learned:
Florida's DB commits leave impression
The Gators had three defensive back commits at The Opening with safeties Keanu Neal and Nick Washington and cornerback Tre' Bell. Bell, rated a four-star prospect, is not in the ESPN 300, but ESPN national scout Tom Luginbill said Bell turned some heads after his standout performance at The Opening. Neal had several interceptions over the course of the camp. The big safety prospect is known for his physical play, but Neal proved he can more than hold his own in coverage as well.
Washington said being around the other top prospects helped him improve his game.
"It was a great time," Washington said. "I thought the competition was great. It made everyone step up and their game. It was good bonding with all the other Florida commits."
Bell, who is from New Jersey, reiterated Washington's thoughts on the competition.
"The competition was great and fast," Bell said. "I felt it was good to hangout with the other commits and talk to them more in person."
In addition to the defensive backs playing well, wide receiver commit Ahmad Fulwood and defensive tackle commit Caleb Brantley both did well over the course of the camp. Fulwood had a few nice receptions and Brantley had some success in the one-on-one drills.
Florida commits target other prospects
The seven Florida commits in attendance at The Opening used the event as an opportunity to recruit other top prospects to join them in Gainesville. Washington said he targeted Michigan offensive line commit David Dawson, uncommitted defensive end Jordan Sherit and Georgia cornerback commit Shaq Wiggins. Bell said he spent extensive time working on defensive ends Ebenezer Ogundeko and Demarcus Walker and safeties Marcell Harris and Leon McQuay III.
Ogundeko is set to make his announcement on July 24 between Florida, Syracuse and Notre Dame, while Walker will choose on Aug. 3 between schools such as Florida, Auburn, Alabama and Clemson.
Dawson reverses, won't visit Florida
After word quickly spread that Dawson would be taking a trip to Gainesville to attend Florida's Friday Night Lights event on July 27, the No. 1 guard in the ESPN 150 changed his mind after speaking with Michigan coaches. Dawson confirmed his decision via text with WolverinesNation's Tom Van Haaren.
Dawson tweeted on Monday: "Just talked to coach Hoke, love that man! BEST HEAD COACH IN NCAA!" and "He just cool , love that I'm a #MichiganMan. This should help us all feel better!"
That should make Michigan fans feel better about Dawson.
Not a good event for Taylor
It's not that Florida running back commit Kelvin Taylor didn't perform well in Oregon, but in a seven-on-seven environment, unless you are a scatback, this event is intended to showcase the passing game. Taylor, who is the state of Florida's all-time leading rusher, didn't make any highlight plays or really stand out, but that's OK. Florida isn't recruiting him to catch 30 passes a year. Florida wants to pound the ball with Taylor, and that's exactly what his strength is.
Florida moving on after Anzalone chooses Notre Dame
Florida linebacker target Alex Anzalone committed to Notre Dame on Sunday over UF and Penn State. The former Ohio State commit had visited Florida several times and the Gators looked to be in good position to land the talented athlete. Florida now has some decisions to make. Will the Gators target another linebacker or will they focus on prospects such as Ogundeko and Sherit who can play multiple positions along the front seven? For now, it appears the Gators will focus on Sherit and Ogundeko, but don't be surprised to see another linebacker pop up on Florida's board.