Florida Gators: SEC

With a combined six national titles and five Heisman Trophy winners since 1993, Florida State-Florida has been one of the top rivalries in college football during the past 30 years. The intense rivalry extends beyond the field and into the recruiting world.

The two schools, which are located roughly two hours apart from each other, are being considered by many of the top recruits in the talent-rich state of Florida. Florida State signed 14 ESPN 300 recruits from Florida in 2014, two of whom (Dalvin Cook and Ermon Lane) flipped their commitments from Florida. The Gators, meanwhile, where able to flip three prospects (J.C. Jackson, Treon Harris and Ryan Sousa) from FSU.

Flipping commitments from an in-state rival is an inevitable part of the recruiting process. Florida State quarterback commit De'Andre Johnson is stuck right in the middle of this heated rivalry and knows just how intense the process can be.

Getting to know: CeCe Jefferson 

June, 2, 2014
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — CeCe Jefferson is one of the top defensive ends in the country, ranked No. 9 in the ESPN 300. Yet the 6-foot-3, 248-pound, five-star prospect found himself playing middle linebacker, defensive end and even fullback in his team's spring football game.

That’s exactly how Jefferson likes it.

"I like moving around because it shows the coaches at the next level that I’m versatile enough to do it,” Jefferson said. "I don’t mind playing multiple positions in college. Linebacker is probably what I’m going to be because I’m not really that big to play defensive end against 300-pounders all night. So moving around is definitely not a problem to me. I feel like I’m versatile enough to do it, so if a coach asks me to do it, I’m going to do it.”

It’s Jefferson’s versatility and ability to cause so much disruption for opposing offenses that has college coaches from across the country flocking to Glen St. Mary, Florida, to try to land the talented defender from Baker County High School.


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Getting to know Jeffery Holland 

April, 1, 2014
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video Throughout this recruiting cycle, RecruitingNation will profile a number of ESPN 300 prospects in the 2015 class, including an inside look at the prospect, his recruitment, a scouting report and what college program could benefit when he ultimately makes his decision.

BRADENTON, Fla. -- On a team loaded with talented prospects, do-it-all athlete Jeffery Holland takes a back seat to no one. The 6-foot-2, 226-pound outside linebacker plays multiple positions for Jacksonville (Fla.) Trinity Christian, including running back, tight end, wide receiver and, of course, linebacker -- the position most schools recruiting him want him to play. Holland even lined up at cornerback for a game during the IMG 7v7 Southeast Regional championships in Bradenton, Fla., over the weekend.

The No. 8 player in the country, his athleticism is something that comes naturally, but it doesn’t hurt that he has pretty good bloodlines too. Holland’s uncle, Carey Holland, won an SEC basketball title at Auburn in 1985.


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Weekend recruiting wrap: SEC 

January, 27, 2014
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Less than two weeks remain until national signing day, and this was the second-to-last official visit weekend before Feb. 5. There were a couple of big decommitments, a few commitments and several key official visits. Here’s a closer look at all the latest recruiting news around the SEC.


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Gators add ESPN 300 RB Brandon Powell

January, 10, 2014
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Florida was able to get its second commitment in as many days as four-star athlete Brandon Powell (Deerfield Beach, Fla./Deerfield Beach) switched his commitment from Miami to Florida on Friday morning.

The news was first reported by Zach Abolverdi of the Gainesville Sun, and Deerfield Beach head coach Allen Jackson later confirmed via text message. The 5-foot-9, 171-pound athlete, who is being recruited by Florida to play running back, is expected to enroll in classes at Florida sometime on Friday.

The Powell addition is important for the Gators. After Dalvin Cook (Miami/Central), the No. 4 running back in the country, flipped his commitment from Florida to Florida State, the Gators were left with a void at running back. Powell has speed and playmaking ability that has been missing from the Florida backfield in the last two seasons.

"Powell is reminiscent of Miami's Duke Johnson, but shorter and leaner,” his Recruiting Nation scouting report reads. "On pure skill-set alone, Powell would be considered one of the elite backs in this class, but he just isn't blessed with the measurables coveted by coaches. High-risk, high-reward player who could be a feature return specialist. Durability is always going to be a concern.”

With Powell on board, the Gators now have 21 verbal commitments including 12 ranked in the ESPN 300.

As for Miami, Powell was the second South Florida prospect to change his commitment in the last two days. The other, cornerback Nigel Bethel II (Miami/Booker T. Washington) flipped his commitment from Miami to Texas Tech on Thursday evening. The Hurricanes still have 26 commits including 11 ranked in the ESPN 300.

Gators land Watch List offensive lineman 

February, 16, 2013
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- The Florida Gators are making the junior day recruiting haul an annual thing.


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4-star Rod Johnson added to UA roster 

December, 31, 2012
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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Four-star offensive lineman Rod Johnson (Delray Beach, Fla./American Heritage) has been added to the Under Armour All-America Game roster.

The 6-foot-6, 315-pound Florida commit said he was excited when he found out the news.


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DeMarcus Walker wavering? 

December, 30, 2012
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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Four-star defensive end DeMarcus Walker (Jacksonville, Fla./Sandalwood) will take an unofficial visit to Florida this upcoming weekend.

The 6-foot-4, 271-pound ESPN 150 member has been committed to Alabama since Aug. 24, but Walker said taking a trip to Florida has been on his mind for a while.

"It's just been on my mind for a long time," Walker said. "Even though I've already taken a 1,000 visits, I'll just take another one."

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Florida commits look to get early start 

December, 24, 2012
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- The Florida Gators could have as many eight players enroll early and be eligible for for spring football. Three players -- Tyler Moore (Clearwater, Fla./Countryside), Darious Cummings (Titusville, Fla./East Mississippi Community College) and Trenton Brown (Albany, Ga./Georgia Military College) -- have already signed their letters of intent with Florida.

After losing offensive linemen James Wilson and Xavier Nixon to graduation, Florida will get immediate help from Brown and Moore. Brown is expected to compete with D.J. Humphries for playing time at left tackle, while Moore is likely to start off competing with right tackle Chaz Green for playing time.

Defensive tackle Omar Hunter graduates, and Florida could potentially lose Sharrif Floyd and Dominique Easley to the NFL draft in April. Cummings will likely work his way in to Florida's defensive tackle rotation early on next season. He'll battle with Leon Orr, Damien Jacobs, Quinteze Williams and Florida verbal commit Caleb Brantley for playing time next season.

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Thompson still hearing from other schools 

December, 18, 2012
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ORLANDO, Fla. -- Despite having been committed to Florida since July, three-star Florida wide receiver commit Chris Thompson (Gainesville, Fla./Gainesville) is still receiving interest from other programs.

The 5-foot-11, 170-pound athlete said after Gainesville's disappointing loss to Miami Central in the FHSAA class 6A state championship game on Saturday that Marshall and Florida Atlantic continue to recruit him despite his pledge to the Gators.

"I still talk to a couple of them -- like Marshall and FAU," Thompson said. "But I'm still solid to Florida."

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LB Jarrad Davis switches to Florida 

December, 15, 2012
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Florida continued its recruiting hot streak on Saturday, as three-star outside linebacker Jarrad Davis (Kingsland, Ga/Camden Co.) switched his verbal commitment from Auburn to Florida. The 6-foot-1, 210-pound athlete had been committed to Auburn for 10 months prior to the switch.


Davis informed Camden County head coach Jeff Herron this afternoon of his decision to switch to Florida.

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3-star LB Kelsey receiving SEC interest 

December, 15, 2012
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ORLANDO, Fla. -- Three-star linebacker Keith Kelsey Jr. (Gainesville, Fla./Gainesville) has offers from USF, Louisville and Iowa State, but now a few SEC schools are starting to show interest.

The 6-foot-1, 213-pound athlete has scheduled a visit to Louisville and could soon schedule a visit to South Carolina.

"I got Louisville scheduled so far and South Carolina has been recruiting me too, Iowa State and USF has been talking to me too. South Carolina is fixing to offer me. I'd be interested in taking a visit there."

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UF commit Hearns sets Ohio State visit 

December, 15, 2012
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ORLANDO, Fla. -- With Florida coaches on hand to watch, Gators linebacker commit James Hearns (Tallahassee, Fla./Lincoln) did the Gator chomp as he was introduced before the FHSAA class 7A state championship game on Friday evening. Despite the gesture, Hearns said after the game he still plans to visit Ohio State on Jan. 11.

Hearns, who totaled five tackles in the 41-25 loss to Ft. Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas, said he was impressed that Florida sent coaches to watch him play.

"It felt good that they get a chance to come out to see me," Hearns said. "Especially being in bowl week. They actually moved up their bowl practice today just so they could get on the road and get here on time."

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WR Robinson can play early at UF 

December, 13, 2012
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Florida quarterback Jeff Driskel might be the happiest guy on campus. Not just because of his sudden success this season, but because the Gators are bringing in a plethora of talent for him at wide receiver.


After Florida's leading wide receiver, sophomore Quinton Dunbar, totaled just 306 yards and four touchdowns this year, Florida coach Will Muschamp made it a priority to sign several playmakers at the position.

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What to watch this weekend 

December, 13, 2012
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- This will be a big weekend for Florida recruiting. Not just because Florida is bringing in some key recruits for official visits, but also because the Gators have a few current commits and key targets who are playing for state championships in Orlando.

[+] EnlargeDemarcus Robinson
Tom Hauck for ESPN.comThe Gators were able to flip Clemson WR commit Demarcus Robinson before his official visit to Gainesville this weekend.
New wide receiver commit Demarcus Robinson (Fort Valley, Ga./Peach Co.), a four-star prospect, will take his official visit to Florida this weekend. Robinson flipped his commitment from Clemson to Florida on Wednesday, the same day Gators head coach Will Muschamp and assistants Brian White and Joker Phillips made an in-home visit.

With Robinson now in the fold, the headliner of the weekend might be Alex Collins (Plantation, Fla./South Plantation), a former Miami commitment who is officially visiting. The Gators have two four-star running back commitments in Kelvin Taylor (Belle Glades, Fla./Glades Day) and Adam Lane (Winter Haven, Fla./Winter Haven), but Collins is too talented not to recruit.

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