Florida Gators: LSU Tigers

LSU coach Les Miles doesn't have a problem playing eight SEC opponents every season.

Miles also realizes the Tigers could play nine SEC games in the very near future.

Miles just doesn't think it's fair that LSU has to play Florida every season, while other teams in the SEC West don't.

[+] EnlargeLes Miles
Derick E. Hingle/US PresswireUnder the current SEC scheduling format, Les Miles and LSU play Florida every season.
As SEC presidents, athletics directors and coaches convene this week for the league's annual spring meetings in Destin, Fla., long-term scheduling has become the hot-button issue.

The league is expected to vote whether to change its current 6-1-1 format, in which teams play each opponent from their respective division, along with one rotating foe and one permanent opponent from the opposite division. SEC officials could vote this week to add a ninth conference game or at least eliminate permanent crossover opponents.

The SEC adopted its current scheduling format to ensure that longstanding rivalries like Alabama-Tennessee and Georgia-Auburn would survive expansion.

By drawing the Gators as a permanent crossover opponent, Miles believes the Tigers drew the short end of the stick.

Miles won't complain about the scheduling format publicly, but he knows LSU is at a disadvantage.

And Miles is probably right.

"When they give us our schedule, I'm looking forward to having a great competition," Miles said.

Since 2000, LSU has played Florida and Georgia -- two of the SEC East's best programs -- a total of 17 times. Auburn is the only SEC West team which has faced those teams more often, playing them 19 times. Arkansas, Mississippi State and Ole Miss have faced them a total of 10 times each, while Alabama has played them only eight times.

While it's not fair that LSU has faced the Bulldogs and Gators nearly twice as often as Alabama has played them since 2000, Miles' argument might fall on deaf ears. Auburn and Georgia aren't going to surrender the longtime series -- the Deep South's Oldest Rivalry has been played 116 times since 1892. Likewise, Alabama and Tennessee have played 95 times since 1901, a game so revered it's named for its traditional place on the calendar, the Third Saturday in October.

And Ole Miss would probably rather play Vanderbilt every season instead of Florida, Georgia or South Carolina, and Mississippi State isn't going pass up a chance to play Kentucky every year.

"There's never going to be a fair way," said Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin, whose Aggies drew Missouri as a permanent crossover opponent. "If you look back seven or eight years ago, you would have said the SEC East was the strongest division. You can't say what's fair, because things change in this league. You can't look at tradition. Ten years ago, you might have wanted to play South Carolina. Now you don't want anything to do with them. You don't know what Tennessee is going to do with a new coach. I know Butch Jones is going to do a great job."

Florida-LSU has become one of the league's most anticipated games every season. They've been two of the league's most dominant teams over the past decade. They've combined to appear in seven SEC championship games since 2003, and they've combined to play in nine BCS bowl games, including five BCS national championship games. In their past 10 meetings, LSU and Florida were both ranked in the top 25 of the coaches' poll nine times. Conversely, Alabama and Tennessee were both ranked only once in their past 10 meetings.

The loser of the Florida-LSU regular-season game has paid dearly over the past 10 seasons. LSU's 23-10 loss at Florida in 2006 knocked the Tigers out of the SEC championship game (the Gators defeated Arkansas 38-28 and then blasted Ohio State 41-14 to win the BCS title). Last year, LSU's 14-6 loss at Florida probably cost it a spot in the AT&T Cotton Bowl, if not another trip to a BCS bowl game.

Florida's losses to LSU in 2002, '05 and '07 kept them out of the SEC championship game and potentially BCS bowl games.
Get ESPN 150 safety Jamal Adams (Lewisville, Texas/Hebron) in any competitive environment and you’ll begin to understand very quickly why he’s so coveted.

Take for example the Dallas Nike Football Training Camp in Allen, Texas, on April 7 when he set the tone in 1-on-1 drills by shoving a wide receiver three yards behind the line of scrimmage at the snap of the ball.

Adams, the No. 23 player overall and No. 3 safety, isn’t naming any favorites. But we caught up with him to get a sense for where he stands with a few of the programs generally thought to be in the mix.

DBs from SEC blanket combine

February, 22, 2013
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Several of RecruitingNation's SEC sites took a look this week at the players headed to the NFL combine, which begins today in Indianapolis, and other predraft camps. Click here to read the entire predraft series. Today: Defensive backs and special teams.

Florida Gators


The Gators might have another first-round pick in today’s group and two other players who might not get drafted. S Matt Elam has been projected to go late in the first round -- most often to New England with the 29th pick -- after a junior season in which he was named an All-American. S Josh Evans and K Caleb Sturgis might very well not get drafted in April. Sturgis is one of the nation’s top kickers, but some teams are reluctant to draft kickers even in the later rounds if they have other needs. Then again, there are the Jacksonville Jaguars, who drafted a punter in the third round.

(Read full post)

MILWAUKEE -- Sophomore center Diamond Stone (Milwaukee/Dominican), the No. 1-ranked prospect in the ESPN 25, and his father, Bob, sat down Thursday evening to discuss how Stone's game is progressing and where they are in the recruiting process.

Not surprisingly for the top player nationally in his class, Stone has an elite offer list a mile long but has a plan and is executing it to perfection.


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Florida recruiting: The Hot Five 

November, 6, 2012
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- There are three months left until national signing day and the Gators have a majority of their 2013 recruiting class filled. With 20 verbal commitments, Florida has roughly five remaining empty slots to fill. Here's a closer look at how they could potentially be filled.

1. S Marcell Harris (Orlando, Fla./Dr. Phillips) -- The ESPN 150 safety has a top four of Florida, Florida State, Oklahoma and Texas. The Gators and Longhorns appear to be the top two teams he is considering. Harris announced last week he would make his college decision Nov. 16. Florida looks to be in a good position to land the Under Armour All-American. Florida will likely lose Matt Elam to the NFL and Harris would have a chance to compete for early playing time.

2. OT Laremy Tunsil (Lake City, Fla./Columbia) -- Florida might be a long shot for the No. 3-ranked player in the country, but he is well worth the effort. Tunsil continues to have Georgia and Alabama as his top two schools, but he continues to show interest in the Gators. He has visited Gainesville twice this season and Florida will have depth issues at tackle next year. Tunsil will wait until signing day to make his decision, and as long as he is showing some interest in Florida, the Gators will continue to pursue the talented tackle prospect.

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2014 LB Kain Daub opening things up? 

October, 10, 2012
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- ESPN Watch List inside linebacker Kain Daub (Jacksonville, Fla./Sandalwood) will likely be one of the top linebackers in the country next year. After the 6-foot-3, 227-pound athlete committed to LSU on July 14, he shut down his recruitment. But now he is thinking about opening things back up.

"My LSU commit is still pretty solid, but I think I'm going to open up the doors up again," Daub said. "Anything could happen, there could be a coaching change and I just want something to fall back on and not just close all doors just because I committed to LSU."

[+] EnlargeKain Daub
Courtesy of Jeff Barlis, GatorNationLinebacker Kain Daub could be one of the top defensive prospects in the class of 2014.
Daub recently transferred from Ponte Vedra (Fla.) Nease to Sandalwood High School and is now playing alongside Alabama defensive end commit DeMarcus Walker. Daub, who has more than 15 offers, said Walker continually tries to get him to switch to Alabama.

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Garrett Brumfield (Baton Rouge, La./University Laboratory School) will likely be one of the top interior linemen in the Southeast next season. The 6-foot-3, 270-pound 2014 guard/center prospect visited Florida for its game against LSU on Saturday and came away impressed with what he saw from the Gators.

"I enjoyed it," Brumfield said. "It was my second time getting out to Gainesville. I had a pretty good time. It was a good opportunity and a good experience. Both teams played pretty well and both teams' defenses played awesome.

"Florida was able to capitalize on some mistakes by LSU and it turned out great for them. Florida's offensive line really stepped up in the fourth quarter and was able to get some good blocks and make some big holes."

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Instant analysis: Florida 14, LSU 6

October, 6, 2012
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It had to be surreal for LSU coach Les Miles to see the events that unfolded Saturday in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. That No. 10 Florida upset Miles' No. 4 Tigers, 14-6, wasn't a huge surprise. What was shocking was the way the Gators did it: They beat the Tigers at their own game.

Florida attempted a measly 12 passes for 61 yards and scored only 14 points, forgoing the high-flying offense that has long defined Gators football for a smashmouth, powerful running game and a hard-hitting, opportunistic defense. The Gators looked overwhelmed by LSU for much of the early going but overcame a 6-0 first-half deficit to roar back and make a statement in the SEC pecking order.

Here's how it played out in front of a sold-out Swamp:

It was over when: Just like in the Sept. 8 win against Texas A&M, Florida quarterback Jeff Driskel rolled out on third-and-3 and picked up a crucial first down with his feet in the game's dying minutes. Driskel managed just six yards as opposed to his 21-yard run against the Aggies, but it was enough to kill three minutes off the clock and end LSU's chances of a game-winning drive.

Game ball: Florida running back Mike Gillislee. Stop if this sounds familiar: The senior got stronger as the game went on, tallying an absurd 34 carries for 146 yards and both Gators touchdowns. Gillislee had a hard time running against a stout LSU defensive front in the first half, but he kept pounding and wore the Tigers down. He averaged 4.3 yards per carry.

Game ball, part II: LSU linebacker Kevin Minter. The junior was a one-man wrecking crew on the Tigers' defense, smashing his way to 20 total tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble. It's not a coincidence that Florida pounded its way to its first touchdown of the game while Minter was briefly out injured.

Key stat: Take your pick from several telling ones. LSU notched just eight first downs -- three of which were earned via a Florida penalty. A big reason for that was the Tigers' atrocious performance on third down, a horrendous 1-for-13. Meanwhile, the Gators' halftime adjustments were almost breathtaking in comparison. Florida went into the break with 49 yards of total offense and finished the game with 237 yards -- 176 of those coming on the ground. Florida won the possession battle 37:17 to 22:43.

Perhaps the craziest stat of all: After shutting out the Tigers after halftime, Florida has outscored its six opponents 78-13 in the second half this season.

Key play: It looked as if the Tigers had grabbed hold of the momentum when, trailing 7-6 in the third quarter, LSU quarterback Zach Mettenberger found wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. open for a 56-yard gain to the Florida 23-yard line. What looked like a huge gain for LSU quickly turned into a momentum swing for Florida, though, as safety Matt Elam stripped the ball and recovered it at the Florida 21. What followed was an 11-play, 77-yard Gators touchdown drive to grab the game-winning 14-6 margin.

What it means: With either Georgia or South Carolina guaranteed to lose tonight, Florida controls its destiny in the SEC East. The Gators leave Florida only one more time this season, which has to make them a contender for the division championship. The Tigers' offensive struggles were concerning while they were still winning games, but the ineptitude on display in Gainesville has to be sounding some panic alarms. LSU still has games against South Carolina, Alabama and Mississippi State -- all of which boast equally stout defenses. That said, one loss won't sink the Tigers if they can handle their business the rest of the way.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- ESPN 150 defensive tackle Greg Gilmore (Home Mills, N.C./South View) took an official visit to Florida this past weekend. The 6-foot-4, 285-pound four-star tackle said he enjoyed his trip to Gainesville.

"It was great man," Gilmore said. "I had a great time. It was a good game. The defensive front played well and that's really what I'm looking for is the defensive front. The whole defense, the whole offense, everybody played well.

"I talked to the coaches all the time I was there pretty much. They told me I would be a key essential to putting their defense together. They were saying they need more guys -- more guys that are good coming out of high school and more guys that need less development. I mean everyone needs development, but they are looking for guys that can play early."

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[+] EnlargeKain Daub
Courtesy of Jeff Barlis, GatorNationLinebacker Kain Daub could be one of the top defensive prospects in the class of 2014.
LSU added its first commitment for 2014 in the form of 6-foot-3, 227-pound linebacker Kain Daub (Ponte Vedra, Fla./Nease), who starred with the Louisiana Bootleggers during Saturday's 7-on-7 tournament.

It's early, but Daub is projected by many to be one of the top defenders in the 2014 class. Daub's original intention was to visit LSU and go home Friday, but he said he enjoyed his stay enough to extend it to Saturday.

"I loved the school and campus so much, and I liked the coaches so much I was like, 'Oh man. Maybe I should stay for one more day and get a better feel for everything,' " Daub said.

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BRADENTON, Fla. -- It was easy to see why four-star tight end DeSean Smith (Lake Charles, La./Barbe) is the No. 4 rated tight end in the country at the IMG Madden 7-on-7 National Championships on Saturday. Smith opened the day with a long 30-yard touchdown catch in the first game and never looked back. The 6-foot-4, 225-pound athlete finished with several big plays.

To no one's surprise, the home-state LSU Tigers have always been considered a favorite for the talented tight end, but another team is making a strong push for his services -- the Florida Gators.

"They are recruiting me hard," Smith said. "They are one of the top teams on my list. As of now I'd say LSU and Florida are at the top for me. Coach [Derek] Lewis is doing a great job recruiting me. They respect me and I respect them. As of now it's close. Florida is in it real big. It's going to be a hard decision."

The No. 143 player in the ESPN 150 said he was surprised with what LSU showed him when he visited Baton Rouge for their spring game.

"I loved the way they surprised me at the spring game," Smith said. "They threw the ball excellent, and that's what surprised me the most when I was there."

Smith, who will make his decision at the U.S. Army Bowl in January, said leaving home would be difficult, but that he looks as college as a life-long opportunity.

"It's going to be hard, but at the same time I want to look at other options than just staying at home," he said. "I want to major in criminal justice, which you can really find anywhere, but this will be a decision with me that will stay with me for the next 40 years.

"It's going to come down with how they do this year, how are they producing on the field. It's going to come down to the offense and what quarterbacks they got coming in."

Miami back in the mix for Sherit

Tampa (Fla.) Hillsborough defensive end Jordan Sherit admitted that Miami had fallen behind in his recruitment, but after a late push by the Hurricanes, the Canes right back in the picture.

"I made one comment that I haven't heard from them in a while," Sherit said. "The next thing I know I get messaged from everyone on coaching staff for a couple weeks now. Especially with the addition of Travis Johnson, a great friend of mine that is going there. It makes me think about them again. I'll try to get down there in August."

Sherit, who said Florida and Vanderbilt are recruiting him the hardest, is close to narrowing down his list of top schools, but he already knows several teams that will be on it.

"I think I'll have a top 10 in the next couple of days," he said. "I can't think of all of them off the top of my head but some schools I would put in there are Florida, Miami, Stanford, Notre Dame, Oklahoma and Vanderbilt. I definitely want to take a trip out to Stanford when they play Notre Dame."

The four-star athlete has visited Florida three times since the spring began. Sherit said Florida is the most organized school he has been to.

"Coach [Will] Muschamp and their whole staff, as far as being organized and knowing what they are doing, they are ahead of everybody else," he said. "Just the way they run their junior days. You can tell by their committed class, they are one of the top classes in the nation. It's because they are doing the right things coaching, and they just have a helluva staff. I expect big things from Florida whether I'm there or not."

2014 WR Artavis Scott earns big offer

Tarpon Springs (Fla.) East Lake wide receiver Artavis Scott will be a big-time recruit next year, but the talented junior-to-be, will have to wait his turn to be the star of his 7-on-7 team. Team Tampa features several top 2013 prospects including Sherit, Leon McQuay III, Vernon Hargreaves III, Richard Benjamin, Travis Johnson and Alvin Bailey. Scott said he enjoys the competition.

"I love it," Scott said. "You don't have to come out here and worry about someone else not doing their job. We have it, they are always doing their job. Guys come out here to compete and we have the best on our team."

Scott, who already held offers from FSU, USF, Ohio State, South Carolina, Iowa State, Indiana and Cincinnati, earned an offer from Florida after recently camping in Gainesville.

"I was thankful for it," Scott said. "I was pretty glad that I got that offer. It's close to home and my mom likes that school. So it was pretty good to get that offer."

The 5-11, 165-pound receiver said he hit it off with Florida wide receivers coach Aubrey Hill.

"I think he's a pretty cool coach," Scott said. "After we came back from the field, we sat down in his office and talked for a while. He seems like a pretty nice guy. I communicate with him every now and then. He seems like a pretty cool dude."

Florida commit taking other visits?

Four-star Florida offensive line commit Josh Outlaw (Lithonia, Ga./Martin Luther King) has been committed to the Gators since April, but the guard prospect said he is still receiving interest from other schools.

"I definitely received a lot of attention over the last week," Outlaw said. "I've talked to Miami, Tennessee, Ole Miss and Arkansas. Things have slowed down a little bit, but there are some schools still coming after me. They are still interested."

Outlaw, who said he is still a solid commit to Florida, said he will likely take some other visits.

"Those schools want me to come and check them out," Outlaw said. "I definitely will probably take some because of my teammates. I don't want to be too shy and not take any visits and just sit at my house, so I'll probably be pretty active and check out some things."

Other Notes

  • Hargreaves III (Tampa, Fla./Wharton), a five-star cornerback, might have had the play of the day. He was beaten by a few steps on a deep route but recovered and made an acrobatic interception just before stepping out of the back of the end zone.
  • Florida 2014 commit Ryeshene Bronson (Ft. Myers, Fla./Dunbar) caught a 15-yard touchdown pass in the first game of the day. The 6-3 wide receiver caught the ball over another defender and barely tapped his feet in the back of the end zone for the score.

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- 2014 offensive lineman Garrett Brumfield (Baton Rouge, La./University Laboratory School) attended the Will Muschamp football camp recently. After his trip to Gainesville, the 6-foot-3, 272-pound guard/center prospect named Florida as his leader.

Brumfield, who will also camp at Miami on Wednesday, said he hit it off with new Florida offensive line coach Tim Davis.

"It was a great experience," Brumfield said. "I just came out here hoping to compete and hoping for the best. From working with Coach Davis at practice, he really liked what I was able to do. He liked my flexibility, he liked my athleticism, he liked my effort. He just liked the way I played."

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Vanderdoes names his top 15 

June, 18, 2012
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Monday was a busy day for commitments in the West region, but defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes (Auburn, Calif./Placer) isn't exactly ready to jump into the commitment scene. More than half of the top 30 players in the West have already made verbal commitments, but Vanderdoes is taking things slowly. On Monday, the 6-foot-3, 285-pound lineman took to twitter to release a list of his top 15 schools.

Alabama, Baylor, California, Florida, Georgia Tech, LSU, Miami, Michigan, Michigan State, Nebraska, Oregon, Penn State, UCLA, USC and Washington all made the cut. Vanderdoes included in his tweet that he will be cutting that down to a top 10 group soon.

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[+] EnlargeLaremy Tunsil
Derek Tyson/ESPN.comFive-star offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil now has a top three of Florida, Georgia and Alabama.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Five-star offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil (Lake City, Fla./Columbia) visited Alabama, Georgia and Florida over the last week. The 6-foot-6, 295-pound tackle named a top three after his visit to Florida on Sunday.

"I would say they are my top three," Tunsil said of the three schools he visited. "It's a tie right now with all of them."

Tunsil, who camped at Alabama last weekend, visited Georgia on Friday and Saturday before heading to Gainesville on Sunday. The No. 3-ranked player in the country said he was impressed by what Georgia had to offer.

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Defensive end prospect Gerald Willis III (New Orleans, La./Edna Karr) will only be a junior this coming year, but he is already familiar with what college football recruiting is all about. Willis is the half-brother of Alabama safety signee Landon Collins, the No. 1 safety in the country last year.

[+] EnlargeGerald Willis
Miller Safrit/ESPN.com2014 defensive end Gerald Willis has visited LSU, Alabama and Florida.
Collins spurned the home-state LSU Tigers and instead signed with the Alabama Crimson Tide. Willis said he wants to follow his brother's lead by not being afraid to get out of Louisiana -- but only if it's the best decision for him when it's time to make his college decision.

"It really don't matter if I go far from home," Willis said. "I just know that I have a home to come home to. My brother proved that he wasn't just going to stay at home. He could have stayed at home, but he thought he could go further if he went to Alabama. So I'm going to follow in my brother's footsteps. I might stay at home or I might go somewhere. I just don't know."

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