Florida Gators: Mackensie Alexander

Jackson has new plans post decommit 

June, 3, 2013
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ESPN 150 prospect J.C. Jackson (Immokalee, Fla./Immokalee) became the first 2014 commitment for Florida State when he selected the Seminoles in March 2012. The 6-foot, 185-pound athlete raised some eyebrows earlier this spring when he showed up at the IMG Southeast Regional sporting University of Florida gear. The No. 48 prospect in the country made his intentions clear on Monday after talking to the FSU coaching staff.

We are just hours away from national signing day. I'm going to need all you readers to breathe and count to 10. It's almost here, which means it's almost over.

And with it being almost over, it's time to take one final look at ESPN's RecruitingNation class rankings. On the eve of the biggest recruiting day of the year, the SEC is still keeping it all in the family when it comes to the top classes in the country. The SEC has 12 teams ranked within the top 40 of the class rankings, with five coming within the top 10.

Florida and Alabama remain No. 1 and No. 2. The Gators have 26 verbal commitments, with 11 being ESPN 150 members and 15 being ESPN 300 members. The biggest members of Florida's class are top-rated cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III, who is the No. 3 player in the country, and top-rated running back Kelvin Taylor, who is the No. 8 prospect overall. The Gators have a few spots open and are still in the mix to sign defensive tackle Jay-nard Bostwick, junior college defensive tackle Jarran Reed and wide receiver James Clark. Defensive end and current Auburn commit Tashawn Bower is also on Florida's radar.

Alabama received some good news Monday night when top-rated inside linebacker Reuben Foster picked the Crimson Tide over Auburn and Georgia. Foster gave the Tide its 23rd commitment and its 11th ESPN 150 member. Alabama also has 15 ESPN 300 commitments. The Tide could leapfrog the Gators on national signing day with some big names still interested in the Tide. Top defensive tackle and former Auburn commit Dee Liner seems to be a strong lean to the Tide, while four-star defensive tackle A'Shawn Robinson, who decommitted from Texas last week, could sign with Alabama as well. Running back Alvin Kamara and safety Vonn Bell, both ESPN 150 members, could also sign with the Tide.

Rounding out the top 10 from the SEC are LSU (No. 6), Texas A&M (No. 7) and Georgia (No. 9). Texas A&M and Georgia might have the best chances of the three of moving up. The Bulldogs are still in the mix for a handful of top prospects, including No. 1 offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil, four-star defensive lineman Montravius Adams, outside linebacker Matthew Thomas (No. 6 in the ESPN 150) and ESPN 300 defensive end Davin Bellamy. The Aggies are still in the mix for cornerback Mackensie Alexander, who is No. 4 in the ESPN 150, FSU athlete commit Levonte Whitfield, and committed defensive ends Daeshon Hall (Washington) and Torrodney Prevot (USC).

Keep an eye on Ole Miss and Auburn. Tunsil appears to be favoring Ole Miss over Georgia, and top recruit Robert Nkemdiche is all but signed sealed and delivered to the Rebels. Mississippi State defensive end commit Chris Jones could also flip to Ole Miss, and high-profile safety Antonio Conner is strongly considering the Rebels as well. Auburn is battling Georgia for Adams, and could flip Ole Miss defensive end commit Elijah Daniel, after he officially visited Auburn over the weekend.

Here's a complete look at where SEC teams stand in the final class rankings before signing day:

1. Florida -- 26 (11 ESPN 150, 15 ESPN 300)
2. Alabama -- 23 (11 ESPN 150, 15 ESPN 300)
6. LSU -- 26 (6 ESPN 150, 14 ESPN 300)
7. Texas A&M -- 32 (6 ESPN 150, 11 ESPN 300)
9. Georgia -- 30 (5 ESPN 150, 12 ESPN 300)
12. Ole Miss -- 23 (2 ESPN 150, 7 ESPN 300)
14. Auburn -- 20 (3 ESPN 150, 6 ESPN 300)
17. South Carolina -- 21 (2 ESPN 150, 4 ESPN 300)
21. Vanderbilt -- 25 (0 ESPN 150, 3 ESPN 300)
27. Mississippi State -- 22 (1 ESPN 150, 3 ESPN 300)
29. Tennessee -- 19 (1 ESPN 150, 2 ESPN 300)
36. Missouri -- 19 (0 ESPN 150, 2 ESPN 300)

GatorNation position breakdown: CB 

January, 1, 2013
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Editor’s note: Every Tuesday and Thursday through Jan. 31, 2013, GatorNation will break down each position. We’ll look at 2013, of course, but also try and give you a peek beyond next season, too. Today is cornerback. We will profile safeties on Jan. 3.

CORNERBACK

Two-deep: The Gators have a three-man rotation of sophomore Marcus Roberson, junior Jaylen Watkins and sophomore Loucheiz Purifoy. Freshman Brian Poole has gotten more playing time as the season has progressed. That likely wouldn’t have happened, however, had junior Cody Riggs not missed the final 10 games of the season with a broken bone in his foot. Roberson leads the team with 12 pass breakups and had two interceptions. Watkins has three interceptions and eight pass breakups, while Purifoy has five pass breakups and three forced fumbles.

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Florida commits in all-star games 

December, 21, 2012
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- The Florida Gators will be well represented in this year's all-star games. Thirteen of Florida's 25 verbal commits have been selected to play in postseason games. Here is a closer look at what to look for over the holiday break.

WHAT: Under Armour All-America Game
WHERE: St. Petersburg, Fla.
WHEN: Jan. 4, at 5 p.m. ET

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GatorNation recruiting mailbag 

December, 20, 2012
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- It’s time to dip into the GatorNation recruiting mailbag and answer your questions. Because of the amount of questions we’ve received, we won’t be able to get to all of them today -- but we encourage you to post your questions on our Insider fan forum, The Chompions Club.

Scot5013: How seriously is top RB [Alex] Collins considering UF?

A: Very seriously. He had a great visit to Florida over the weekend and the Gators are at or near the top of his list. He still has an official visit to Miami to keep an eye on. Florida is also very tight on scholarships, so to me the question is will Florida have enough room to take three running backs? They would hate to miss out on one of the top running backs in the country, but they still need to add a defensive end, a receiver and possibly a corner. A lot will depend on if there is any more attrition.

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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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Focusing on five: Defense 

December, 12, 2012
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- The Gators added linebacker Matt Rolin (Ashburn, Va./Briar Woods) on Sunday, but lost linebacker Quinton Powell (Daytona Beach, Fla./Mainland) on Monday. Florida has just a few remaining spots left in their 2013 recruiting class. With less than two months until national signing day, here is a look at five defensive targets that Florida continues to focus on.

[+] EnlargeTrey Johnson
Tom Hauck for ESPN.comTrey Johnson, once committed to Auburn, will visit Florida this weekend. He's already visited Ohio State.
LB Trey Johnson (Lawrenceville, Ga./Central Gwinnett) -- On Sunday it appeared that Florida was done recruiting the linebacker position, but with the deflection of Powell on Monday, the door opened back up for Johnson, a former Auburn commitment. The Under Armour All-American postponed his visit this weekend to Gainesville until January. Florida has only one other inside linebacker commit (James Hearns) and the Gators are not very deep at the position.

DE Elijah Daniel (Avon, Ind./Avon) -- The ESPN 150 end, who originally committed to Clemson before later backing off his pledge, will visit Florida the weekend of Jan. 12 and the Gators are very much in the picture along with Ole Miss. Auburn defensive commit Tawshawn Bower (Somerville, N.J./Immaculata) could also be in this spot, as he is scheduled to visit this weekend. Florida, however, will likely only take one more defensive end.

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What if .... UF's D.J. Durkin left? 

December, 7, 2012
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. – D.J. Durkin has been a valuable member of Florida coach Will Muschamp’s staff, both as a linebackers coach/special teams coordinator and a recruiter. But he’s not going to be around forever.

Durkin is headed for a coordinator’s job, and there are plenty of jobs available across the country. What if Durkin were to leave Florida? What kind of impact would that have on the Gators’ recruiting?

D.J. Durkin
Kim Klement/US PresswireGators special teams coordinator/linebackers coach D.J. Durkin was originally hired by Urban Meyer.
Potentially a pretty significant one.

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#BlueChipBattles in the SEC

October, 5, 2012
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There are still some elite 2013 recruits who have yet to commit, and multiple SEC schools are in the mix. Will OT Laremy Tunsil go with Georgia, Alabama or Florida? How about CB Mackensie Alexander, who likes Alabama and Georgia?

And then there's S Priest Willis (Florida?), WR Robert Foster (Alabama?) and WR Ricky Seals-Jones (LSU?).

To get the inside info -- and follow all the updates -- click hereInsider.

Five-star CB Alexander talks visits 

September, 22, 2012
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LAKE WALES, Fla. -- Five-star cornerback Mackensie Alexander of Immokalee (Fla.) High School revealed some of his future plans after a Friday night loss to Lake Wales (Fla.) High School.

However, the 5-foot-10, 185-pound senior isn’t going to tell everything.

“I’m planning on going to the FSU-Clemson game Saturday, we’ll see what happens,” Alexander said. “I want to see how FSU plays, how they cover [Sammy] Watkins. I talked to Sammy and he says he’s going to do his thing.

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Five-star cornerback Mackensie Alexander (Immokalee, Fla./Immokalee) remains wide open with his recruitment, but the 5-foot-11, 175-pound athlete said Wednesday he is close to deciding which official visits he will take.

"I haven't planned anything right yet, but it's getting close to where I'm going to start to plan some visits," Alexander said. "I'll probably take two unofficial visits out of state and then all five of my official visits."

Alexander, who will play in the U.S. Army Bowl in January, said that although he hasn't officially set his visits, he knows of some schools he would like to see.

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Florida lost two four-star commitments this weekend, as cornerback Tre' Bell (Jersey City, N.J./St. Peters Prep) and offensive lineman Rod Johnson (Delray Beach, Fla./American Heritage) decided to part ways with the Gators.


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GatorNation recruiting mailbag 

July, 17, 2012
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- It’s time to dip in to the GatorNation recruiting mailbag and answer your questions. Because of the number of questions we’ve received, we won’t be able to get to all of them today, but we encourage you to ask your questions on our Insider fan forum, The Chompions Club. Astute readers will also notice a new spot on our homepage where you can submit mailbag questions about the Gators and/or UF recruiting at any time. We read every question we receive.

secrocks2000: With Josh McNeil postponing his announcement and not visiting UGA for their camp and coming to Florida's Friday Night Lights camp do you think UF has a chance?

A: Yes, Florida certainly has a chance with the talented tight end. I think it's very telling that he postponed his announcement and did not visit Georgia for Dawg Night. With a successful Friday Night Lights trip, the Gators could be in good position to land McNeil -- if they decide to take a tight end this early.

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Alexander makes it to Dawg Night 

July, 14, 2012
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ATHENS, Ga. -- The biggest surprise during Dawg Night on Friday had to be the appearance of five-star prospect Mackensie Alexander (Immokalee, Fla./Immokalee).

Although Alexander has had a scholarship offer from the University of Georgia for months, the nation’s No. 6 overall prospect has not mentioned the Bulldogs much when discussing his recruitment. Nevertheless, the 5-foot-11, 175-pound cornerback spoke well of Georgia following the on-campus event, held at Sanford Stadium.

As a junior, Alexander totaled 42 tackles, three interceptions, two fumble recoveries and six pass breakups. Since then, offers have come pouring in from across the country.

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GatorNation recruiting mailbag

June, 28, 2012
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- ESPN's GatorNation took questions on Twitter for this week's recruiting mailbag. Because of the amount of questions we received, we won’t be able to get to all of them today, but we encourage you to ask your questions on our Insider fan forum, "The Chompions Club."

kendallland1 and DK_Thompson: Any sleepers or guys who aren't household names out there we should know about since UF is down to only about five to seven more recruits (barring attrition)?

A: Hard to really call him a sleeper at this point but Gainesville (Fla.) High School wide receiver Chris Thompson performed well at Florida's camp recently and the Gators are seriously considering offering him. If Florida were to miss out on other prospects such as Demarcus Robinson, Florida could certainly end up using that scholarship on a guy like Thompson. Four-star tight end Desean Smith isn't really a sleeper, but you don't hear his name come up much when Florida's class is mentioned. Smith has legitimate interest in the Gators, however, and there is a real possibility he could visit Gainesville in the next few weeks. Also, defensive end Eric Mayes (Sarasota, Fla./Booker) is a prospect on whom Florida is keeping close tabs. If Demarcus Walker falls through, the Gators could look to Mayes to fill their strong-side defensive end hole.

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