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Monday, June 17, 2013
Productive summer camp renews Gators

By Jeff Barlis

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Gators fans grumbled through a disappointing month of May, suffering through a couple of decommitments as Florida's 2014 class dropped in ESPN's rankings from No. 2 to No. 10.

But after a week-long summer camp loaded with talent and chocked with big-name visits, UF has firmly regained recruiting momentum and the faith of those frustrated fans.

The first day of the camp set the tone as the Gators got a commitment from ESPN 150 athlete J.C. Jackson (Immokalee, Fla./Immokalee) less than a week after he decommitted from FSU. Three days later, Florida landed a pledge from DE Taven Bryan (Casper, Wyo./Natrona County).

The last few days closed UF's summer camp with a bang. ESPN 150 DT Thomas Holley (Brooklyn, N.Y./Lincoln) visited on Thursday during his swing through the state of Florida. ESPN 150 defensive end Lorenzo Carter (Norcross, Ga./Norcross) spent nearly 10 hours on campus on Friday, as the entire Florida coaching staff rolled out the red carpet for Carter and his family.

Camp closed on Saturday with Florida coaches splitting their attention between two major targets. The nation's No. 1 inside linebacker prospect, Raekwon McMillan (Hinesville, Ga./Liberty County), emerged from his visit with a lot of encouragement for Florida coaches and fans. But the most positive reaction, perhaps throughout the entire camp, came from ESPN 150 safety Jamal Adams (Lewisville, Texas/Hebron), who raved about his visit and referred to UF as "the top SEC program, hands down.”

Here are some more newsworthy items from Florida's camp:

Lorenzo Featherston
ESPN 300 DE Lorenzo Featherston has now made official visits to Clemson, Florida and FSU.
Big ESPN 150 DE feels 'welcome'

Lorenzo Featherston (Greensboro, N.C./Page) visited Florida last Friday, one day after visiting Florida State. Featherston, a shy 6-foot-7, 211-pound athlete ranked No. 26 in the ESPN 150 and the No. 4 DE in the nation, had little to say about his FSU visit other than calling it a good school. He did, however, compare his Gainesville visit to a recent trip to see Tennessee.

"They did more here than they did at Tennessee to welcome me," he said. "[Visiting the Gators] is a new experience. It's different. The campus is great. The coaching staff is great. Everything is great."

As it did with Carter on Friday, the Florida coaching staff pulled out all the stops for Featherston -- tours of campus, facilities and academic interests as well as a snow crab dinner with the coaching staff and their families while Gators highlights played on the two JumboTron screens inside the Swamp.

Featherston drove down with two of his high school coaches, spent the whole day on campus and was joined at dinner by two Gators defensive ends who are also from North Carolina: Jonathan Bullard and Alex McCalister.

2014 UF pledges visit, reaffirm status

Four Florida commits visited Saturday and each said he remains a solid commitment to the Gators -- TE C'yontai Lewis (Tuscaloosa, Ala./Northridge), OG Joseph Paul (New Orleans/St. Augustine), OT Ben Knox (DeLand, Fla./DeLand) and OG Travaris Dorsey (Jacksonville, Fla./Raines), who was the only pledge not to participate in the camp.

Knox and Paul got a lot of attention from UF offensive line coach Tim Davis during position drills. Neither fared particularly well in one-on-ones, however, and went home with a lot of technique to work on. Dorsey, on the other hand, spent some extra time with the coaching staff after the camp and was asked to help more with recruiting others into the Gators' 2014 class.

Lewis
Tight end commit C'yontai Lewis was one of the standouts in Florida's week-long summer camp.
Lewis, who was visiting UF's campus for the first time, performed well in camp, showing athleticism, good hands and enough speed to gain separation. Later in the day he emerged from the coaches' offices with a big smile after some one-on-one time with head coach Will Muschamp and tight ends coach Derek Lewis.

"It's over, I'm through, I'm a Gator," C'yontai Lewis said of ending his recruitment. Though he lives minutes from Alabama's campus, Lewis said he won't be entertaining any other offers. He also said he plans to work on swaying his cousin Bo Scarbrough, a 2014 Alabama RB pledge who is also his high school teammate.

"He likes Florida a lot, but he just feels like Alabama is the place he needs to be," Lewis said. "But I'm going to still be on him about coming down here."

Scarborough has plans to visit Florida in July, and Lewis said he might join him for that visit.

Visits and offers