ST. PETERSBURG — News and notes from an exciting Under Armour All-American football game, won 24-22 on a last-second field goal by Team Click-Clack (Red) kicker Taylor Bertolet.
The contest took place Wednesday night in front of an announced crowd of 23,259 at Tropicana Field.
GATOR GET: The biggest news for the Gators came in the first quarter when Miami Monsignor Pace defensive back Jabari Gorman committed to Florida.
Gorman listed his finalists as UF, Miami and Ohio State, but the Hurricanes had fallen back a bit after the coaching change from Randy Shannon to Al Golden. Gorman visited Gainesville on the weekend of Dec. 10. He took in Ohio State the weekend of Sept. 24.
Recently hired Gator receivers coach Aubrey Hill was in charge of Gorman’s recruitment to Miami, so any familiarity there certainly didn’t hurt. However, a source close to the situation said it was new coach Will Muschamp who “sealed the deal.”
At 6-foot, 180 pounds, Gorman worked out at cornerback and safety during practice for the game and showcased outstanding tackling ability.
Gorman said his goal at UF is simple.
“I want to win a national championship, and I think I have a great chance of doing that at Florida,” said Gorman, who finished the game with two tackles.
As expected, two other prospects who listed UF as finalists committed to other schools.
Soon after the Gators got Gorman’s commitment, Miami Jackson safety Robenson Therezie picked Auburn over UF and Alabama. He will be joined on The Plains by Lagrange (Ga.) Troup running back Quan Bray, who also considered Florida, Georgia and Alabama. Bray said he still plans to visit Florida on Jan. 15.
All verbal commitments are non-binding. National Signing Day is Feb. 2.
ROBERSON & CHICKILLO: Two prospects UF didn’t appear to be frontrunners for just a month ago now have the Gators at or near the top of their lists.
Red defensive end Anthony Chickillo, who seemed to be seeking residence in the White backfield, remains committed to Miami. However, the Tampa Alonso product also said Florida is “gaining ground.”
Chickillo is scheduled to meet with Golden soon, and that will make a big difference in how seriously Chickillo takes any flirtation with UF and FSU (which has a commitment from Chickillo’s close friend, James Wilder, Jr.). Either way, Muschamp will get an audience with Chickillo (as well as highly coveted linebacker Stephone Anthony and 320-pound defensive tackle Shawn Underwood, among others) this weekend when the 6-3, 240-pounder visits Gainesville.
Chickillo earned Red MVP honors by finishing Wednesday’s game with four tackles, one-and-a-half sacks, a fumble recovery and a quarterback hurry. Jarvis Landry, an LSU commitment, was named the White MVP after catching eight passes for 70 yards and a touchdown.
Also, Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas defensive back Marcus Roberson has narrowed his list to Auburn, Florida, Texas Tech and Georgia. But it looks like it could be down to the Tigers and Gators for the 6-1, 170-pounder, who had an interception in the game.
Not only would Roberson be a good get for teams the next few years, it never hurts any coach to get in with Aquinas, arguably the nation’s No. 1 program. Coach George Smith, a Florida High School Athletic Association Hall of Famer, sent cornerback Cody Riggs to UF last season.
Roberson finished Wednesday’s game with an assist to go along with the interception he returned 20 yards for the White. He is scheduled to visit UF the weekend of Jan. 21, one week after he takes in USC.
Roberson already has visited Georgia (Sept. 17), Auburn (Sept. 24) and Texas Tech (Nov. 5), so Florida will be getting his final trip.
TRANSFERS?: The mother of a somewhat highly recruited defensive player in the Class of 2010 called a Gator staff member recently to inquire about her son transferring to UF.
She was told that while they thought her son was a fine player, there just were not enough scholarships available. No word on whether her son will stay at his current school (which is based in Florida).
(MUS)CHAMP RECRUITER: A source close to UF recruiting said Muschamp shares a similar passion for recruiting as his predecessor, Urban Meyer.
“Will is unbelievable,” the source said. “He has so much energy and enthusiasm. He hit the ground running with the kids we are going after, and he develops good relationships quickly. He’s really easy to get along with.
“We are going to get a lot of elite players in here because of him.”
OTHER SELECTIONS: In addition to Gorman, Bray and Therezie, Griffin (Ga.) defensive end Xzavier Dickson committed to Alabama over Georgia, Akron (Ohio) St. Vincent-St. Mary’s cornerback Doran Grant selected Ohio State over Michigan State, and Vero Beach offensive guard Marcus Jackson chose Tennessee over Michigan State and Miami (where he once was a commitment). Grant attends LeBron James’ alma mater. Also, Hollywood (Calif.) defensive end Greg Townsend, Jr. committed to hometown Southern California over Texas Christian, and Fontana (Calif.) athlete Devon Blackmon chose Oregon over USC and UCLA.
FUTURE GATOR STATS: UF quarterback commitment Jeff Driskel didn’t have the most efficient of games, but he was impressive for the Red.
Driskel completed just 2-of-8 passes for 18 yards, including a dropped potential touchdown and a tipped interception that was returned by Florida State safety commitment Karlos Williams for a touchdown. However, the Oviedo Hagerty product did lead all rushers with six carries for 80 yards, a game record. That total included a spectacular 63-yard touchdown (also a record) he concluded with a Gator chomp.
Receiving commitment Ja’Juan Story caught one pass for nine yards. Tight end commitment A.C. Leonard recorded a tackle on special teams, but did not catch a pass. He took perhaps the game’s hardest hit (from Williams) early in the contest on a ball Leonard could not hang onto.