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Thursday, February 7, 2013
Robinson helps UF land touted DBs

By Michael DiRocco

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Most of the attention has been on the five receivers Florida signed on Wednesday.

But the Gators had a pretty good haul in the secondary, too.

UF signed four defensive backs, including the nation’s No. 3 overall player in CB Vernon Hargreaves III (Tampa, Fla./Wharton), on Wednesday. But more importantly, those players were committed to UF as early as last February and never wavered.

Vernon Hargreaves
Vernon Hargreaves III is the nation's top CB and should make an instant impact at Florida.
That’s a credit to defensive backs coach Travaris Robinson, who was an integral part of each player's recruitment.

"Travaris does an outstanding job," UF coach Will Muschamp said. "He’s a great people person. He relates very well with people. He’s an outstanding football coach and a guy that’s got a very bright future here at the University of Florida."

Robinson was integral in the recruitment of Hargreaves, ranked the nation’s top cornerback, as well as three of the nation’s top 11 safeties: No. 6 Keanu Neal (Bushnell, Fla./South Sumter), No. 7 Marcell Harris (Orlando,Fla./Dr. Phillips) and No. 11 Nick Washington (Jacksonville, Fla./Trinity Christian). All four are expected to compete for playing time next season, and Hargreaves could find himself in the mix for a starting job at corner.

All four had also been Florida commitments for a while and never backed out -- at least not publicly. Neal and Washington committed in February 2012, Hargreaves committed in July, and Harris in November. Washington and Hargreaves, in particular, were active in helping recruit other players, too.

Robinson -- who isn’t allowed to speak to the media per team policy -- wasn’t the main recruiter for all four players, but he was involved because UF always makes sure the position coach is a main part of a player’s recruitment. Sometimes it’s easy to overlook the players who have been longtime commitments because coaches are concentrating on uncommitted players, but Robinson maintained contact with the four through calls, texts and visits.

"Recruiting is about building relationships," Muschamp said. "The way we do our process, you have an area that you recruit and we like to have multiple coaches. Each coach has an area, then the position coach is involved, the coordinator on that side of the ball and myself."

The highlight of the group -- and possibly the entire signing class -- is Hargreaves, who was named the defensive MVP of the Under Armour All-American game. Muschamp coaches safeties, so he’ll spend more time with Neal, Harris and Washington, but Robinson works with the cornerbacks. Hargreaves is talented enough to compete with Jaylen Watkins, Marcus Roberson and Loucheiz Purifoy for a starting job in 2013.