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Monday, July 29, 2013
FNL notes: Dalvin Cook says 'Trust me'

By Jeff Barlis

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Running back commit Dalvin Cook (Miami/Central)†has a message for any Gators fans who might be worried about his visit to Texas today -- follow the lead of Florida head coach Will Muschamp.

"I just told Coach, it's about being loyal and I told him I can be loyal to him and he can trust me," said Cook, the Gators' most highly ranked recruit in the Class of 2014.

The ESPN 300 member, who is rated the No. 4 running back in the country and the No. 22 overall prospect in his class, is expected in Austin today. But before the unofficial visit to Texas, Cook returned to UF for the annual Friday Night Lights camp.

"It was a great experience to be out here again," he said.

There were plenty of eyes on Cook and plenty of questions about his interest in visiting other schools, questions he brushed off as easily as a would-be tackler.

Instead, Cook was focused on helping the Gators add to their recruiting riches. Those efforts paid off quickly with a Friday night pledge from Central teammate Da'Vante Phillips, the No. 1 wide receiver prospect in the Class of 2015.

Cook's biggest recruiting target might be fellow south Floridian Ermon Lane (Homestead, Fla./Homestead), the No. 1 wide receiver for 2014.

"I text him every morning -- 'Gator Nation', " Cook said.

Byron Cowart
Byron Cowart, a 2015 defensive end, brought his mother to visit UF on Friday.
Leaders and top teams

There are strong signals that Florida's signature Friday Night Lights camp is evolving into more of a showcase for future classes. As top 2014 prospects have largely been identified, the Classes of 2015 and 2016 made this year's FNL extremely productive for the Gators.

Two of the top defensive line prospects in the Class of 2015 attended and named Florida their No. 1 school. Byron Cowart (Seffner, Fla./Armwood), the No. 10 DE and No. 90 overall prospect in the ESPN Junior 300, said he hopes to play†college ball with†CeCe Jefferson (Glen Saint Mary, Fla./Baker County)†and†LB Sherrod Pittman (Jacksonville, Fla./First Coast).†Jefferson, the No. 6 DE and No. 48 overall prospect in the ESPN Junior 300, also named Florida his leader†after FNL.

Not to be outdone, a few key 2014 prospects made announcements after the camp as well. Four-star LB Richard Yeargin III (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./University) named Florida his leader.

Teammate and ESPN 300 S Quincy Wilson (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./University) announced his top five and said he wants to play with his good friend Lane, who†also announced his top six teams on Twitter on Friday night.

Not in order.... Alabama Florida Ohio State Miami USC Florida State #Top6

— Support #„5„Jwalk (@_MoneyLane) July 27, 2013

Their schools will meet in a preseason game†on ESPNU on Aug. 25 at 11 a.m. ET as part of the ESPN High School Football Kickoff, a 13-game event Aug. 23-25 across nine states.

Can't make FNL? Commit instead

Last year Florida had a run of six commits in the six days surrounding Friday Night Lights. This year, the Gators got three pledges in three days before FNL got underway. Three-star†OL Dontae Angus (Philadelphia/Martin Luther King) on Wednesday became commit No. 11 in UF's Class of 2014.†On Thursday, 2014 ESPN 300 DE Justus Reed (Clearwater, Fla./Central Catholic) committed to his dream school. Then 2016 cornerback prospect Tre Jackson (Baton Rouge, La./University Lab), the son of Gator star Jack Jackson, pulled the trigger†on Friday afternoon.†All three wanted to attend FNL but could not make it to Gainesville.

Florida extends new offers

Looking for a second tight end for its Class of 2014, Florida on Thursday offered Garrett Dickerson (Oradell, N.J./Bergen Catholic), ranked No. 4 in the nation at his position and No. 277 in the ESPN 300. The Gators sent a 2015 offer on Friday to Taj Griffin (Powder Spring, Ga./MacEachern), the No. 5 running back in the ESPN Junior 300.†Class of 2015 athlete Rashard Causey Jr. (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./University) claimed an offer on Friday, as did his 2016 teammate, WR Sam Bruce, nephew of NFL great Isaac Bruce.

Odds and ends

Former Georgia 2014 WR commit†Krenwick Sanders†(Jesup, Ga./Wayne County) participated in FNL less than two weeks after parting ways with the Bulldogs, something he said he was "caught off guard" by. The three-star prospect did not receive a UF offer but spoke with Florida WR coach Joker Phillips and said there is mutual interest. ... Class of†2014 ESPN 300 WR†Ryeshene Bronson†(Fort Myers, Fla./Dunbar), a former Florida commit, performed well at FNL and still has interest in the Gators but will need to address academic issues to get back on UF's board.

2015 RB T.J. Simmons (Lakeland, Fla./Lakeland Christian) clearly had a good time at FNL.

"Aw man, [committing to Florida] runs through my mind all the time," he said. "When I was out there under the lights, the parents, the fans and just the great atmosphere that Florida brings, it just makes me want to put my trust in them. But I'm just keeping my options open for the moment and enjoying the process." ... 2015 athlete John Burt (Tallahassee, Fla./Lincoln), who is ranked No. 214 in the ESPN Junior 300, displayed blazing speed for his size (6-2, 176).†... ESPN Junior 300 prospects†Garrett Williams†(Orlando, Fla./First Academy) and†Michael Barnett†(Ridgeville, S.C./Woodland) returned to campus after earning offers during UF's June camp. Barnett participated in FNL, while Williams did not.

2016 DE†Jordan Woods†(Ocala, Fla./Trinity Catholic) has already made a strong impression on UF coaches. Of his 10 offers, the 6-3, 258-pound sophomore said Florida, Miami (Fla.) and Georgia are recruiting him the hardest. ... Quarterback†Feleipe Franks†(Crawfordville, Fla./Wakulla County) showed crisp mechanics with a high release and a strong, accurate arm. The 2016 prospect earned an offer at Florida's summer camp in June and has early interest in the Gators and Clemson.