Florida Gators: Stanford Cardinal

MARIETTA, Ga. -- The Nike SPARQ combines have grown with each passing year, and on Saturday there was a record turnout. If the 1,993 prospects who attended weren't impressive enough, the performances by several top prospects who came to compete certainly left spectators turning heads.

Here is a rundown of some of the event's top performers.
  • ESPN Junior 300 running back Taj Griffin posted one of the top SPARQ scores of the day. Griffin checked in at 5-foot-10, 174-pounds, ran a 4.41 40-yard dash and a 4.35 shuttle, had a 46-inch vertical leap and a 36-foot power ball toss for a combined score of 124.29. On the recruiting front, Oregon, Clemson, Florida State, Ohio State and Tennessee continue to stand out the most.

  • No. 3 junior offensive tackle Chuma Edoga posted an impressive score of 94.65. After measuring at 6-4 and weighing 276 pounds, Edoga ripped off a 5.01 40-yard dash, a terrific 4.69 shuttle and had a 33.8-inch vertical jump and 37-foot power ball throw. Following his impressive effort, he said his top four schools in order are Tennessee, Southern California, Georgia and Stanford with a decision likely on May 25, his birthday. The big news might have been that he currently prefers the Volunteers, but his mother is in the corner of the Bulldogs and Cardinal.
  • No. 252 prospect C.J. Sanders made the trip and did not disappoint. He checked in at 5-9 and 176 pounds, ran a 4.57 40-yard dash, had a blazing 4.09 shuttle run, leaped 36.5 inches and tossed the power ball 41 feet. On the recruiting front, USC, Notre Dame and Georgia are the latest to offer, joining Duke, Northwestern, Stanford, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Mississippi State and Ole Miss. He visited USC last week, and lists Reggie Bush as his childhood idol. Sanders is the son of former Ohio State and NFL wide receiver Chris Sanders. His mom played basketball at Michigan. He reports his family favors Duke and USC early on with a decision slated for the summer.
  • Class of 2016 prospect Ben Cleveland is already considered one of the top offensive line prospects in the country, and the 6-7, 317-pounder showed why Saturday. He clocked a very impressive 5.22 40-yard dash and 4.87 shuttle, and had a 25.8-inch vertical leap and 41.5-foot power ball throw for a score of 99.78. He has offers from Georgia, Clemson, Florida, South Carolina and Texas with Alabama expected in the near future. He made an unofficial visit to Clemson two weeks ago.
  • Class of 2015 running back Jaylen Burgess posted a 118.44. The 5-10, 214-pounder ran a 4.66 40-yard dash and a 4.38 shuttle, and had a 36.7-inch vertical leap and 42.5 power ball throw. He is receiving interest from Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Clemson, Duke and a number of other ACC schools. Duke and Tennessee are the coaching staffs Burgess talks to the most. He posted more than 1,500 all-purpose yards as a junior.
  • Class of 2016 linebacker and defensive end Charles Wiley checked in at 6-3, 203 pounds. He clocked a 4.68 40-yard dash and 4.45 shuttle, and also leaped 35 inches and threw the power ball 34.5 feet. He has an early offer from Virginia Tech.
  • Class of 2015 athlete Jeremiah Mercer is flying completely under the recruiting radar. While he had to sit out the 2013 season due to transfer rules, he made his mark Saturday posting a score of 97.47. The 5-11, 163-pound running back and wide receiver ripped off a 4.48 40-yard dash and 4.18 shuttle, and added a 36.2-vertical leap and 31-foot power ball toss. He is receiving interest from Vanderbilt and Mississippi State and lists Florida State as his dream school.
  • Class of 2016 inside linebacker Tyler Reed posted a very impressive score of 104.91. After measuring 6-2, 234 pounds, Reed ran a 4.96 40-yard dash and 4.59 shuttle, and had a 35.5-inch vertical leap and 41-foot power ball throw. He recorded 130 tackles as a sophomore.
  • Class of 2015 running back Eric Montgomery posted a 115.47, one of the day’s top scores. The tailback checked in at 5-11, 185 pounds, ran a 4.46 40-yard dash and a 4.19 shuttle, and jumped 36 inches and threw the power ball 38 feet. On the recruiting front, Kentucky, Cincinnati, Ole Miss and Mississippi State, among others, are showing interest.

Smythe talks Stanford, visit plans 

December, 26, 2012
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HOUSTON -- The decision to decommit from Texas wasn't an easy one for Belton (Texas) High School tight end Durham Smythe. But for him, it was the right decision.

Now, as the weeks pass and national signing day approaches, Smythe is weighing all the options in front of him. He has plenty, but he's still in the process of trying to decide where he'll take his remaining official visits. After checking in for the Offense-Defense All-American Bowl -- set for Sunday at Reliant Stadium -- on Wednesday, he discussed all that has been going on since he made his decision.

"The week that I decommitted it was pretty crazy because the dead period was about to start at that point, so toward the end of that week, a lot of coaches and a lot of schools tried to get in contact with me to schedule home visits and stuff like that," Smythe said. "Over the dead period I've been in contact with coaches once a week on Facebook and stuff like that. It's been busy and right now I'm just in a period where I'm evaluating things and I'm trying to pick a couple favorites so I can take official visits there and have a base to compare."
[+] EnlargeJordan Sherit
Tom Hauck for ESPN.comDefensive end Jordan Sherit is a four-star prospect ranked No. 254 in the ESPN 300.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- The Gators continued their recruiting hot streak, as ESPN 300 defensive end Jordan Sherit (Tampa, Fla./Hillsborough) verbally committed to Florida on Saturday after visiting for UF's Friday Night Lights camp. The 6-foot-4, 238-pound athlete chose the Gators over offers from Florida State, Notre Dame, Stanford and many more.

Sherit, ranked a four-star player, said it was a difficult decision, but in the end, he chose the school that made him feel the most comfortable.

"First of all I want to say this was a very tough decision for me," Sherit said. "The hardest thing for me is when you build relationships with schools like USF and Miami in the beginning and now you have to go away from that. I liked the academics at Stanford, Notre Dame and Vanderbilt. But when it came down to it, it was the family environment I felt at the University of Florida. I felt 100 percent comfortable with Coach [Will] Muschamp and the whole coaching staff.

"The fact it's in the SEC conference, it's close to home and not to mention the networking at the University of Florida in the state is bar-none. It's the biggest and the greatest in the state. You can be anywhere in a Gators shirt and someone will just walk up to you and give you the Gator chomp. Really, as far as networking goes, it's Gator Nation -- it's not just fans, it's a nation. Just getting to know the other commits and the players, it's become second nature to me. It was a no-brainer."

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BRADENTON, Fla. -- Five-star cornerback prospect Vernon Hargreaves III (Tampa, Fla./Wharton) won defensive MVP of the IMG Madden 7-on-7 National Championship tournament on Sunday after Team Tampa beat Max Ex Blue 28-17 to win the tournament.

[+] EnlargeCornerback prospect Vernon Hargreaves III
Derek Tyson/ESPN.comVernon Hargreaves is the No. 1 cornerback in the nation and the No. 4 overall player in the ESPN 150.
The 5-foot-11, 185-pound athlete had several interceptions over the course of the two-day tournament, including one against Michigan quarterback commit Shane Morris in the championship game.

As for recruiting, the talented corner who has more than 50 scholarship offers said three schools are starting to stand out to him.

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Tyson's Take: DE Jordan Sherit 

June, 25, 2012
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- With 18 verbal commitments and just over seven months until signing day, the Gators have filled about 75 percent of their recruiting class. Over the next two weeks, GatorNation will take a look at some uncommitted prospects who could end up in the Florida Gators' recruiting class. Some of them are highly rated and some might surprise you. Next up is defensive end Jordan Sherit (Tampa, Fla./Hillsborough).

Why he could end up in Florida's class

[+] EnlargeJordan Sherit
Tom Hauck for ESPN.comDefensive end Jordan Sherit is a four-star prospect ranked No. 254 in the ESPN 300.
Sherit has visited Gainesville three times since the spring football game and he admits distance could play a factor in his college decision. Florida's depth at defensive end is not very good, and with his athletic ability, the 6-foot-4, 238-pound Sherit could be in a position to earn early playing time if he chose the Gators. The proximity to home combined with his fondness for the Florida coaching staff could be enough to convince the four-star defensive end to pick UF.

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Four-star linebacker prospect Alex Anzalone (Wyomissing, Pa./Wyomissing HS) decommitted from Ohio State on Friday and has eliminated the Buckeyes from contention. The 6-foot-3, 223-pound athlete confirmed his decision to reopen his recruitment via text message.

"After discussing it with my family, it was truly a decision based on my best interest," Anzalone wrote.

Ranked as the No. 5 outside linebacker and the No. 61 player overall in the ESPN 150, Anzalone said he is still considering Florida, Stanford, USC, Penn State and Notre Dame.

Anzalone, who has already committed to play in the Under Armour All-America game, said he has no new timetable for making a decision.

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DE Sherit raves about Florida visit 

April, 28, 2012
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Four-star defensive end prospect Jordan Sherit from Tampa (Fla.) Hillsborough visited Florida with his mother and stepfather on Saturday. The 6-foot-4, 238-pound athlete said he was blown away by his experience.

"It was great, it really was," Sherit said. "I've been to Florida before but this was like the pinnacle. I saw everything from the O'Dome to alligators. I got to share this opportunity with my parents and show them what it's all about. I think their opinion is better than what it was before."

Florida offered Sherit in early April. This was the first time his parents had been to Gainesville with their son holding an offer from a school that was one of his childhood favorites.

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Five schools standing out to Sherit 

April, 25, 2012
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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Four-star defensive end Jordan Sherit of Tampa (Fla.) Hillsborough was one of the top defensive ends to participate at the Orlando NFTC on Sunday. But the 6-foot-4, 238-pound athlete's day was cut short when he went down with a shoulder injury during one-on-one drills and was not able to return.

The competitive Sherit was disappointed with the injury but said he was able to take in some valuable coaching lessons during the camp.

Jordan Sherit
Tom Hauck/ESPNHSDefensive end Jordan Sherit (on the right) of Hillsborough (Tampa, Fla.) is a top recruit at his position, but saw his Sunday cut short at the Orlando NFTC due to a shoulder injury.
"I felt I did well during these drills," Sherit said, "but the one-on-one's I didn't really get an opportunity to do as much as I would have liked. Overall, I thought I learned some things and I did well. I can go back to my school and build on these things and get better all around."

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Anzalone high on Gators after visit 

March, 17, 2012
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- ESPNU 150 Watch List linebacker Alex Anzalone (Wyomissing, Pa./Wyoming Area) visited Florida with his dad this weekend. Anzalone arrived on Thursday and left Saturday after Florida completed its third practice of the spring.

[+] EnlargeAlexander Anzalone
Tom Hauck for ESPN.comAlex Anzalone has offers from Alabama, Florida, Penn State, Ohio State, USC and many more.
Anzalone said his visit was better than expected.

"It went really well. It was awesome," Anzalone said. "We got to see all the facilities and the coaches. We went through schemes to see where I would play. Yeah, it was awesome. The practices were intense. Definitely a lot different than my high school. I know coach [Will] Muschamp was disappointed with the first practice I guess because of the tempo, but I thought it was pretty high-tempo for me."

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California WR has ties to UF staff 

March, 2, 2012
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- The state of Florida is loaded with wide receivers for the 2013 recruiting class, but the Gators have turned their attention to a California receiver because of his ties to the Florida football staff.

Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian receiver Francis Owusu is the younger brother of former Stanford standout Chris Owusu. The older Owusu, a receiver and kick returner, set the Pac-10 record for kickoff returns for a touchdown with three, and more recently tied for the fastest 40-yard dash time (4.36) at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.

Florida's linebackers and special teams coach D.J. Durkin and director of player personnel Jon Haskins both have ties to the Owusu family.

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Best recruiting programs since 2007

February, 4, 2012
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ESPN The Magazine and RecruitingNation compiled the past five years (2007-11) of ESPNU 150 rankings and then crowned college football's top 10 recruiting programs.

Here's how they did it:

Our methodology was simple: We re-tallied the scores following signing day and ranked the schools based on total number of ESPNU 150 recruits (there have been 900) hauled in over the last six years. Of course, like success on the field, recruiting is cyclical -- and fans of programs both on and off this list might look back on Feb. 1, 2012 as the day their team began its rise (or fall) on the trail.


Here's the top 10:

1. Florida
2. Texas
3. USC 4. Alabama
5. Florida State
6. Notre Dame
T-7. Georgia
t-7: LSU
9. Miami
T-10. Ohio State
T-10. Oklahoma

Here's what it says about Florida:

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