Florida Gators: Ole Miss Rebels

Numbers to know from signing day

February, 7, 2013
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1 – Alabama’s class rank. Every year that head coach Nick Saban has had a full season to recruit (since 2008), the Crimson Tide have had a top-three class. No other school has even had a top-10 class each of the past six years. Alabama received commitments from three of the top-10 running backs, plus Derrick Henry (No. 9 in ESPN 300, No. 1 Athlete), the leading rusher in high school football history.

3 – Number of Ole Miss’s recruits ranked in the top 20 of the ESPN 300. Since ESPN recruiting rankings were introduced in 2006, Ole Miss had never had a single top-20 recruit. Head coach Hugh Freeze received letters of intent from two of the top five recruits, including the top ranked player in the ESPN 300, DE Robert Nkemdiche.

7 – Number of players since November who have decommitted from USC, and all were in the ESPN 300. USC’s class was ranked No. 1 for more than three months between July and November, but now it's ranked 14th. Two of those decommits, Eldridge Massington (No. 172 in ESPN 300, No. 21 WR) and Kylie Fitts (No. 86 in ESPN 300, No. 8 DE) flipped their commitments to rival UCLA. The Bruins finished the day with the 12th-ranked class, the first time since 2006 they finished ahead of their crosstown rival.

7 – The number of top-10 recruiting classes Urban Meyer has had since 2006, and not one of those classes ranked lower than sixth. The only other coach with seven top-10 classes is Mack Brown. This year, Meyer and Ohio State scored the No. 3 recruiting class, headlined by CB Eli Apple (No. 11 in ESPN 300, No. 3 CB).

7 – The number of top-five recruiting classes Florida has had since 2006, most among all schools. Entering National Signing Day, the Gators had the top-ranked class before finishing the day second. Florida is one of three schools with multiple five-star recruits this year (Ole Miss and Notre Dame).

12 – The number of four-star recruits Vanderbilt has received letters of intent from. The past two seasons, James Franklin has recruited 15 players with a grade of 80 or better. In the previous four seasons, Vanderbilt didn’t recruit a single such player.

14 - The number of SEC schools with top-40 recruiting classes. All 14 schools have top-40 classes, with none lower than 36th (Kentucky). Six of those schools are ranked in the top 10, the most any conference has had since 2006.

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Fourth-ranked Florida was finally tested in Southeastern Conference play on Saturday night.

The Gators had a little trouble, but they still aced it.

[+] EnlargeScottie Wilbekin
AP Photo/Phil SandlinFlorida's Scottie Wilbekin shoots a 3-pointer on his way to 13 points against Ole Miss.
Florida never trailed and led by double digits for more than 30 minutes in a 78-64 victory over Ole Miss in front of 12,522 at the O’Connell Center. The 14 points was the lowest margin of victory the Gators have had in SEC play -- and they still were never in danger of losing the game.

"This was our toughest game, by far," point guard Scottie Wilbekin said. "They didn’t make it easy on us. We had to come out and play our best basketball. They had a lot of different weapons and we just had to try and shut them down."

Florida (18-2, 8-0 SEC) had won its previous seven SEC games by an average of 28.3 points. The Gators had beaten four opponents by 31 or more points and the closest game they had played was a 17-point victory at Georgia -- a team they had beaten by 33 points to open league play.

Florida took a double-digit lead with 10 minutes, 20 seconds remaining in the first half and Ole Miss (17-4, 6-2) never got closer than 12 points in the second half. That’s despite getting 25 points from Marshall Henderson, who made 7-of-11 3-pointers. The SEC’s leading scorer had to work for his points, though, and made several leaners and tough shots over Wilbekin and guard Kenny Boynton.

"He’s going to get his shots up," UF forward Erik Murphy said. "He’s going to get to the free-throw line. He’s really good at that. He’s crafty. We just wanted to try to limit his open shots. I think we did a pretty good job of that. He hit some tough ones. Some of the shots he hit, up-and-under, step-in, floater 3s, I don’t think I’ve ever seen anybody do that."

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4-star DE Daniel visiting Florida 

December, 30, 2012
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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- ESPN 150 defensive end Elijah Daniel (Avon, Ind./Avon) recently visited Ole Miss. The 6-foot-3, 249-pound athlete said he was impressed with the Rebels had to offer.


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DT Cummings makes switch to UF 

November, 18, 2012
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Junior college defensive tackle Darious Cummings (Titusville, Fla./East Mississippi CC) has switched his verbal commitment from Ole Miss to Florida after taking his official visit to UF this weekend.

The 6-foot-3, 292-pound lineman, who previously signed with Florida State in 2010 before transferring to EMCC, also had offers from Mississippi State, Arkansas and Texas A&M. Cummings will enroll in January and be a redshirt junior next season for the Gators.

Cummings, who is close friends with Florida defensive tackle Damien Jacobs, said Florida was just a perfect fit for him.

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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. -- Jackson (Miss.) Jackson Prep quarterback Ryan Buchanan has seen his stock continue to climb. The 6-foot-3, 203-pound prospect has started to hear from the Florida Gators recently.

Buchanan says three Florida coaches have been in contact.

"I've talked to coach [Derek] Lewis," Buchanan said. "He is the recruiting coordinator for my area, and I got some good feedback from him. Coach Aubrey Hill is coming by my school (today) and then coach [Brent] Pease is coming by my school next week sometime to watch me throw. I talked to Coach Pease for a while. He wants me to come down and see Florida when I can, so I'll probably get down there as soon as possible."

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WINTER GARDEN, Fla. -- ESPNU Watch List wide receiver Richard Benjamin (Tampa, Fla./Tampa Bay Tech) boasts several scholarship offers, including new ones from Oklahoma and Alabama. Benjamin said on Sunday that some schools are starting to stand out for him.

"Florida, Miami, USF and USC are starting to standing out to me right now," Benjamin said from the Nike SPARQ combine in Winter Garden (Fla.). "I really like the coaches at atmosphere at all of those schools."

Benjamin declined to name a leader, but did say there are several out of state schools he will likely visit over spring.

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- City College of San Fransisco offensive tackle Pierce Burton visited Ole Miss and Florida this past weekend and is planning to make his decision sometime this week.

Burton said both visits were filled with the normal recruiting activities.

"I got to Ole Miss on Friday, we went out to eat, met all the coaches," Burton said. "I went off with my host Evan Swindall. The next day they showed me around the facilities, talked to the head coach, then got on a plane and went to Florida. I got there around dinner time, then went out with my host Matt Patchan. The next day I saw all the facilities and what not -- then got to watch practice."

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Weekend visitor preview 

December, 16, 2011
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Florida won’t have many visitors this weekend, but all four will be important in how the Gators' 2012 recruiting class unfolds. Here’s an unofficial list of who will be here:

Leonard Williams (6-4/260, Daytona Beach, Fla./Mainland) Williams is being recruited by Florida as a strongside defensive end or defensive tackle. At 6-foot-4, 260 pounds, he is big and athletic enough to play either. Williams has said recently that Auburn and Florida were his top two schools but sounded like Auburn seemed to have the slight advantage over the Gators. This visit and the departure of Auburn defensive coordinator Ted Roof to Central Florida could go a long way in Williams recruitment.

Visesio Salt (6-3/340, Walnut, Calif./Mt. San Antonio C.C.) Salt visited Cal last weekend and came away very impressed. With his massive frame, Salt is the big defensive tackle Florida is looking for to play in their 3-4 defense. Cal appears to be the leader at this time, but things could change after he visits Gainesville.

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