Florida Gators: nelson agholor

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- There's no consolation prize when you lose a recruiting battle, just an empty feeling and an empty space on the big board.

It hurts even more to lose a player on signing day, when there is no tomorrow and no other players on the big board to turn to.

Under coach Will Muschamp, Florida has had its share of wins on the recruiting trail. It's also had some impactful losses.

Here's a look at some of the top players the Gators missed on in recent years.

2011
ESPN class rank: No. 12


[+] EnlargeTimmy Jernigan
Melina Vastola/USA TODAY SportsThe Gators were once a frontrunner for Timmy Jernigan, but he ended up at FSU where he became one of the nation's top defensive tackles.
It would hardly be fair to pin most of the Gators' head-to-head recruiting losses in this class on Muschamp, who was hired in mid-December 2010. He inherited a recruiting class ranked in the top 10 from then-retired coach Urban Meyer, and Muschamp was commended for keeping the bulk of the class together. For example, Muschamp had less than a week to make an impression on Nick Waisome before the nation's No. 2-ranked cornerback decommitted from Florida and flipped to FSU. Not Muschamp's fault.

But the head coach and his staff did have several weeks to take the recruiting baton and try to close with a couple of uncommitted gems from the state of Florida. The Gators were considered frontrunners at one time for DT Timmy Jernigan and LB Curt Maggitt, who ended up at Florida State and Tennessee, respectively. In both cases, Muschamp was unable to capitalize on his reputation for defense and lost the two prospects to offensive-minded head coaches.

2012
ESPN class rank: No. 4

The Gators suffered a painful loss in January when DE/LB Jordan Jenkins picked Georgia. He was a top priority and the UF coaching staff had put a lot of time and effort into his recruitment. The bad news foreshadowed what can only be described as a signing day nightmare, as Florida struck out with eight uncommitted recruits and another who made his decision shortly thereafter.

Desperate for help at receiver, Florida was spurned by two of the top prospects in the nation, Nelson Agholor (USC) and Stefon Diggs (Maryland), who have already shown flashes of brilliance on the field. The Trojans were also the beneficiary of defensive tackle Leonard Williams, who said he made up his mind on the morning of signing day. Florida was a painfully close second, and Williams made an instant impact as a freshman starter.

Muschamp also felt good about keeping offensive lineman Avery Young in his home state, but he ended up at Auburn, where he started on last season's national runner-up. Another Floridian, the nation's No. 1 cornerback, Tracy Howard, was considered a lock for the Gators until he took a visit to Miami on the last weekend before signing day and changed his mind.

And who could forget the gripping saga of No. 1 outside linebacker prospect Josh Harvey-Clemons? He announced his decision to go to Georgia in the morning on ESPNU's signing day show. His family was shocked. They wanted him close to home in Valdosta, Ga., and thought he would choose UF. The situation turned surreal when his grandfather and legal guardian refused to sign the letter of intent. It took a full day to sort out, but Harvey-Clemons faxed his letter of intent to attend Georgia the morning after signing day.

2013
ESPN class rank: No. 2


The headline in the local newspaper was "Muschamp set up for stress-free signing day". Indeed, most of the drama took place in January when Florida signed eight early enrollees, including three top-rated players who flipped to Florida late in the process. It was a strong rebound for a coach who took some criticism with the way he closed out his class the year before.

But there were some misses, recruits who could have played a big role for the Gators in what turned out to be a woeful 2013.

Cornerback Jalen Ramsey and defensive lineman DeMarcus Walker, both top-40 prospects in the ESPN 300, picked FSU over Florida. Walker, from Jacksonville, Fla., originally committed to Alabama over UF. When he wavered many thought the Gators would be the beneficiary. Instead he flipped to the Seminoles just before enrolling in January. Ramsey, who had been committed to USC for months, changed his mind when Trojans coach Lane Kiffin came under fire. Instead of choosing the Gators, where his high school teammate QB Max Staver was committed, Ramsey ended up at FSU and made a huge impact as a starter on the Noles' national championship team last season.

Offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil, ranked No. 1 at his position and No. 5 overall, was another tough loss. Like Jernigan two years before, Florida was a frontrunner at one time. Both prospects went to the same high school in Lake City, Fla, just 45 minutes north of Gainesville. Tunsil ended up at Ole Miss, where he started all but four games as a true freshman.

Chomp Confidential: Signing day intel 

February, 2, 2012
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- GatorNation brings you the latest installment of Chomp Confidential, a look inside Florida football recruiting for GatorNation subscribers only. As with anything exclusive, what's reported in the weekly Chomp Confidential must stay here. A few things discussed in this week's update:

• Signing day recap
• How close was Howard to choosing Florida?
• Inside scoop

Florida's NSD filled with near misses 

February, 1, 2012
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- The Florida Gators started off Wednesday hoping to build on what already was considered by most to be a highly ranked class. But as the ink on the letters of intent began to dry and faxes started pouring in, the hopes for a No. 1-ranked class faded.

Florida got off to a hot start with nine signatures from committed players before 9 a.m., ET. Outside linebacker Josh Harvey-Clemons then committed to Georgia, followed by cornerback Tracy Howard, who selected Miami over Florida.

The Gators received good news mid-morning when four-star defensive end Dante Fowler Jr., switched his commitment from Florida State to Florida. Fowler had been committed to FSU for more than a year before flipping to Florida.

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Southern Cal has won the seemingly wide open recruiting battle for Under Armour All-American athlete Nelson Agholor (Tampa, Fla./Berkeley). The 6-foot-1, 180-pound talent selected USC over Florida, Florida State, Notre Dame and Oklahoma on Wednesday on ESPN.

Auburn, South Florida, Georgia, LSU, Michigan, Nebraska, Ohio State, Vanderbilt, Texas, Alabama, Miami-FL, Oregon, TCU and Tennessee also offered the nation’s No. 47-rated prospect in the ESPNU 150.

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What to expect on signing day 

January, 31, 2012
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Will it be boom or bust for the Gators on signing day?

The hoopla actually gets started early, as defensive end Darius Hamilton will make his decision on Tuesday at 8 p.m., ET. He's down to Rutgers, Florida and Miami.

On Wednesday, several top prospects who have the Gators near the top of their lists will announce. Wish so many unknowns heading into signing day, here's a chronological look at announcement details for some of the top prospects.

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Florida recruiting: Hot Five trending 

January, 30, 2012
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. --Two weeks ago GatorNation released its Hot Five list of Florida's top targets remaining on the board. With only a short time remaining until signing day we will revisit that list. Here is the Hot Five prospects and where they are trending.

1. Stefon Diggs (Olney Md./Our Lady of Good Counsel) -- Trending:
Diggs visited Ohio State this past weekend and by all accounts enjoyed his visit to Columbus. He will make his announcement on Feb. 10. Diggs' mother did not make the trip with him, as she did on his Florida visit. The Gators still stand a great chance with him, but Ohio State has certainly closed the gap.We have him as trending down, not because of anything Florida has done, but more based on what Ohio State has done recently.

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WR Agholor heads west in final trip 

January, 28, 2012
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Four-star wide receiver Nelson Agholor (Tampa/Berkeley Prep) couldn't believe the hot streak Tampa Catholic went on in the third quarter of their basketball matchup on Friday.

"They couldn't miss," said Agholor, who finished with 21 points in the 66-53 loss. "In the third quarter everything they threw up went in."

Agholor takes his basketball serious, as he's been playing AAU for years, but even he understands that the two hours on the court is the best opportunity he has to avoid the same questions about his recruitment.

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Where UF recruiting stands on offense 

January, 24, 2012
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[+] EnlargeMatt Jones
Davide De Pas2012 running back prospect Matt Jones committed to Florida on Feb. 15, 2011.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- The countdown is on until national signing day. With just over a week left until the big day, Florida's recruiting board is taking its final shape. Here is a position-by-position look at where the Gators currently stand:

QUARTERBACK
Commits: none
Prospects: Skyler Mornhinweg, Paxton Lynch and Jacob Guy

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Video: Recruiting Nation 411

January, 23, 2012
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In this edition of Recruiting Nation 411, ESPN’s recruiting experts take a look at all of the top news from the weekend including some good news for Penn State, more success for Vanderbilt, and some heated battles in the state of Florida.

Chomp Confidential: Recruiting notes 

January, 19, 2012
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GatorNation brings you the latest installment of Chomp Confidential, a look inside Florida football recruiting for GatorNation subscribers only. As with anything exclusive, what's reported in the weekly Chomp Confidential must stay here. A few things discussed in this week's update:

• Big recruiting weekend
• Latest on Diggs
• Miles a LB

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Florida Recruiting: Hot Five 

January, 17, 2012
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[+] EnlargeStefon Diggs
John Albright/Icon SMIStefon Diggs is the No. 2-ranked athlete in the ESPNU 150.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- With just two short weeks left until national signing day, the Florida Gators have 18 verbal commitments. Florida's recruiting class is expected to exceed 25 players. Here is a look at the top five uncommitted prospects still on the Gators' recruiting board.

1. Stefon Diggs (Olney, Md./Our Lady of Good Counsel)
Florida has lacked elite playmakers at the wideout position over the last two years and Diggs is electric with the ball in his hands. The Florida offensive coaches visited Diggs at his home on Monday night. It was Diggs' first chance to meet new Florida offensive coordinator Brent Pease. Diggs' mom is expected to accompany him on his official visit to Florida this weekend. The Gators have positioned themselves nicely to land the talented receiver.

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Stefon Diggs, Nelson Agholor get visitors 

January, 16, 2012
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With just a few short weeks left until national signing day, the Gators are turning the heat up on two of the country's top uncommitted players.

On Monday, top wide receivers Nelson Agholor (Tampa, Fla./Berekely Prep) and Stefon Diggs (Olney, Md./Our Lady of Good Counsel) were set to receive in-home visits from the Florida offensive coaching staff. Offensive line coach Frank Verducci will be the only offensive coach not able to attend, because the Gators have an official visitor, OL Jake Meador, still on campus.

This marks the first time that both players will get to meet Brent Pease, Florida's new offensive coordinator. Pease was hired last Tuesday to replace Charlie Weis.

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Nelson Agholor visits FSU; one visit left 

January, 16, 2012
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ESPNU 150 athlete Nelson Agholor (Tampa, Fla./Berkeley Prep) had great things to say about his official visit to Florida State.

The 6-foot-1, 190-pound senior has his final official scheduled for Jan. 27-28 at USC.

"I had a good trip and a good opportunity to talk with Coach [Jimbo] Fisher and Coach [Lawrence] Dawsey," Agholor said. "They are good coaches and good people."

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Agholor highlights huge FSU visit weekend 

January, 13, 2012
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Florida State will entertain ESPNU 150 prospects Nelson Agholor, Ronald Darby and Leonard Williams this weekend.

Agholor (Tampa, Fla./Berkeley Prep), the nation's 41st-ranked prospect, has said that the Seminoles are part of his top group of schools with Notre Dame, Florida, USC and Oklahoma.

This is his fourth official visit, with the final one expected to be USC.

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Gators try to hold off charging Dawgs 

January, 12, 2012
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Florida lost a key recruiting battle to rival Georgia earlier this week and as a result the Bulldogs are right behind the Gators in ESPN's final pre-Signing Day Class of 2012 rankings.

The Gators remained fourth in the rankings, but the Bulldogs moved up from seventh to fifth after landing ESPNU defensive end Jordan Jenkins (Hamilton, Ga./Harris County). The two schools will be competing for several other high-profile recruits in the coming weeks -- including four-star linebacker Josh Harvey-Clemons and four-star offensive tackle Avery Young -- and the Gators will need to close strong in order to avoid a repeat of what happened between the schools on the field last October: a come-from-behind victory by the Bulldogs.

Florida's class includes one five-star recruit (D.J. Humphries) and 12 four-star recruits, including two (receiver Latroy Pittman and offensive lineman Jessamen Dunker) who have enrolled early. Humphries also has enrolled early. The Gators also have a chance to make the class even better and possibly crack the top three in the final rankings should they finish strong in the next few weeks.

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