Running back Mike Blakely (5-9/195, Bradenton/Manatee) was in Gainesville last Saturday to watch the Gators lose to SEC Western Division rival Louisiana State.
“I had a good time,” Blakely said. “I didn’t sit with the other recruits because my family has tickets, but it was a lot of fun.”
Blakely, who was decked out in a Gator hat, shorts and shirt, also wore a protective boot on his foot because of a foot injury he suffered in Friday night’s 45-10 victory over Sarasota. He said he will probably miss the game this Friday against Braden River because of the sprained foot but won’t miss any other games.
Even though Blakely enjoyed his visit he still was not ready to name a leader. “Right now Auburn and Florida are my leaders,” he said, “and I’m not sure when I will make a decision.”
Blakely is the No. 6 running back according to ESPNU and the No. 69 player overall. My feeling is that he will eventually end up with the Gators. The couple that Blakely lives with attended Florida, and his position coach at Manatee is former Gator fullback Rod Frazier. Blakely took a visit to Auburn to watch a thrilling come-from-behind victory over Clemson and still did not commit. The longer this plays out the better the chances for the Gators.
LEONARD UPDATE: Tight end A.C. Leonard (6-2/240, Jacksonville, Fla./University Christian) de-committed from Florida on Wednesday. After taking a few other visits, speculation began about his wavering commitment to the Gators. Wednesday Leonard finally came out and said he has de-committed. Leonard is intrigued by the idea of possibly playing a stand-up outside linebacker/defensive end role for Alabama. His coach Heath Nivens said that Leonard has not eliminated Florida and that pretty much it will come down to Florida, Alabama and possibly Miami.
With the deflection of Leonard expect the Gators to really turn the heat up on Jay Rome (6-5/255, Valdosta, Ga./Valdosta) and Junior Pome’e (6-3/215, Moreno Valley, Calif./Rancho Verde). Pome’e would have visited last week but needs an improved test score before he can officially visit. He will attempt again to come back for the South Carolina game in November.
FUNDERBURK UPDATE: Wide receiver Quinta Funderburk (6-5/204, Chesapeake, Va./Oscar Smith) took an official visit to The Swamp this past Saturday. He was hosted by Leon Orr and, according to Funderburk, he had a good visit. Funderburk said his favorite part about the visit was the atmosphere in The Swamp. Despite enjoying his visit, Funderburk has named Arkansas as the current leader for his signature. He still has visits set up to Michigan and West Virginia.
I expect Florida to only take one more wide receiver in this class. It appears the attention has turned to Kelvin Benjamin (6-6/230, Belle Glade, Fla./Glades Central.) Benjamin is a huge prospect that is very athletic for his size. He enjoyed his visit to Gainesville last weekend and will visit again for the South Carolina game in November.
WARD UPDATE: Four-star offensive lineman Xzavier Ward (Moultrie, Ga./Colquitt County) visited Florida last weekend. Ward enjoyed his visit, and the Gators are now listed in his top five. Ward also likes other SEC programs Auburn, Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee. He will probably wait until National Signing Day, Feb. 2, 2011, to make his decision.