- Greg Ostendorf, ESPN Staff Writer
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- ESPN Watch List linebacker Shaun Dion Hamilton (Montgomery, Ala./Carver) thought he was close to making a commitment. He had Auburn and Clemson at the top of his list since before the season started, and a decision seemed imminent.
However, with an offer from Florida on Friday and a visit to Gainesville, Fla., this weekend, Hamilton has decided to open up the recruiting process.
“I had been really thinking about it hard, just to open everything up, because I don’t think I’d be ready to make a decision between just Auburn and Clemson,” he said. “Both of those are real good schools, but I know there are plenty of schools that I haven’t visited, and I know there are plenty of schools that are going to come after me hard.
“I know that it’s going to be a really tough decision, so there’s no reason for me to have any leaders or what not.”
Over the weekend, Florida made quite an impression on Hamilton. The 6-foot-1, 224-pound junior received an offer from the Gators on Friday, which prompted he and his father to make a trip to Gainesville the next day for the Jacksonville State game.
“It was amazing,” Hamilton said of the visit. “I kind of grew up as a Florida fan, right around when Tebow got there, so I was a a Florida fan for those four years. I just loved it, knowing that as a little kid I always played video games with Florida and all that. Come to find out now, I’m going on a visit there.”
The UF coaching staff had been trying to get Hamilton down on a visit since the season began, and they were happy to finally meet with the Alabama native in person.
“It went real good,” Hamilton said. “They really showed me why they’ve been wanting to get me down there for so long. They made me feel like I was at home, and I just really really enjoyed talking to Coach [Will] Muschamp and my linebackers’ coach, Coach [D.J.] Durkin.
“Coach Muschamp has done a great job changing the program around, and I know they’re getting back to where they were years ago when they were a top BCS program.”
In addition to Auburn, Clemson and Florida, Hamilton also has scholarship offers from Florida State, Miami, Ole Miss, Tennessee and Vanderbilt among others, and he’s still waiting on Alabama and LSU to extend an offer.
This weekend, he plans to visit Clemson for the South Carolina game.