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July 6, 2012
Beaverton, Ore.--- Day one of The Opening is now in the books. The first day consisted of many current Florida commits and targets fighting hard on the field to represent themselves, their schools, their state and the Gators. Inside the Gators, who is providing up-to-the-minute live coverage of the event, will highlight some key points from day one.
GATOR COMMITS HARD AT WORK
Florida commits were hard at work on the field, not only on drills but networking on behalf of the Orange and Blue. Crescent City (Fla.) Rivals250 defensive tackle Caleb Brantley, who at times can give the appearance that he is anything but solid to the Gators, was one of the busiest UF commits on hand. He took it upon himself to talk with many prospects. A few prospects that mentioned talking with Brantley were Brooklyn (N.Y.) Thomas Jefferson four-star defensive end Ebenezer Ogundeko, and Detroit (Mich.) Cass Tech Michigan Rivals250 offensive guard, and Michigan commit, David Dawson.
A Sunshine State prospect who is receiving much heat from the Florida commits is Jacksonville (Fla.) Sandalwood Rivals250 defensive end Demarcus Walker. Not only did the 6-foot-4, 276-pound end say that he has heard from all seven UF commits while in Oregon, he shared that the mother of Jacksonville (Fla.) Trinity Christian safety Nick Washington has gotten in on the act as well.
When the news broke this week that Class of 2012 defensive tackle Dante Phillips was unable to enroll at Florida, Washington's mother made sure to point out that fact to Walker. Letting him know that there was an opening along the defensive line.
Walker is taking the Gator onslaught in stride.
"It's much worse now that there's more than just Ahmad [Fulwood] and Nick [Washington]," said Walker. "We were at the basketball court here the other day and they just surrounded me talking about "I'm going to be a Gator" and they forced me so much that I almost pulled the trigger."
Walker, who has taken a few visits already this summer, including a trip to Gainesville a week ago, plans on making his commitment in the month of August.
FOUR STAR TO COMMIT SOON
There was word before the even that four-star defensive end Ogundeko could make his commitment a few days early and do the deed while at The Opening. However, he decided to back off that. He told Inside the Gators on day one of the event that he will make his commitment on July 24th in his home state of New York between Florida, Notre Dame, Syracuse he went on to talk a little about what he likes of the three.
"With Florida they have Dominique Easley, he's a Brooklyn guy, great football team and education and just a great environment. Notre Dame has another Brooklyn guy (Ishaq Williams) and a great environment and education. Syracuse is a visit I'll be seeing again on the 16th [of July] and the coaches really want me."
Ogundeko has already visited Florida and Notre Dame this summer and noted the trip to UF was his best visit and that the Gators are looking at him at the BUCK position.
Many at the event say that he is giving off the vibe that it is between the Irish and the Gators.
TEAM TAMPA TARGETS IN OREGON
During Friday morning's SPARQ testing, Tampa (Fla.) Wharton five-star cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III hurt his ankle and did not participate for the rest of the day and is questionable for the rest of the weekend. Hargreaves visited Florida before their summer camp session and did some work at USF's Super Bull camp.
He plans to take advantage of the fact that he is already on the west coast by making a few visits to left coast programs immediately after The Opening. The schools he visits while he's out here include Southern Cal, Stanford, and Oregon.
Hargreaves III said he is excited to see some campuses that are new to him.
"Sunday after the opening I'm going up to Oregon, then I think USC is next and then Stanford," said Hargreaves III. "This is my first time seeing all of these and it's exciting. I don't really know much about these schools so I'm glad to see them."
He also noted some schools he's recently talked with are Florida, Miami, Georgia, Clemson and Alabama.
Hargreaves III said his standouts at this point are South Florida, Florida, and Miami, and that he is in no hurry to make his decision.
Out of all the elite athletes on hand, Tampa (Fla.) Hillsborough Rivals100 defensive end Jordan Sherit was among the most dominant in the SPARQ testing - placing 9th on the list of top prospects with a SPARQ score of 124.80.
Although Sherit has been slow in naming leaders he stated on Friday that he has a top 10 in mind, but is waiting until he narrows it down to a top six before publicly announcing his list.
He did say so far he knows a few that will make the cut.
"If I had to throw any out right now it would be Notre Dame, Stanford, Florida, Vanderbilt and Miami," said Sherit. Those are the definite ones and the other ones would probably be Oklahoma and USF. Schools like that. I plan on narrowing down more at the start of my senior season."
The four-star also noted Stanford is a for sure official visit and that Notre Dame is a possible official as well as the in state Gators.
THIS & THAT
Florida commits Kelvin Taylor and Quinton Powell as well as top target Marcell Harris all looked solid today. ... Fulwood was limited by injury, but said that he planned on taking part in Saturday's 7-on-7 drills. ... The buzz among the players is that Florida is a real option for Michigan four-star lineman Dawson. He will take part in Florida's Friday Night Lights camp later this month. One of his fellow Wolverine commits, offensive lineman Kyle Bosch admitted that Dawson has spoke openly of decommitting from Michigan. ... A week ago tight end Josh McNeil was ready to decide between Alabama and Georgia. Since then he has opened it up to a final five which includes the Gators. He is scheduled to visit Florida on July 21. ... After basically being dominated by Florida State offensive guard Ira Denson during the Orlando Nike Camp, UF defensive tackle commit Brantley recovered today to split his two match-ups with Denson. Brantley won the first with Denson taking the second. ... Speaking of Brantley. Earlier this spring he said that he felt out of shape and needed to slim down. He weighed in at 305-pounds on Friday and the Director of the camp, Brian Stumpf commented that he looks as though he only weighs 285-pounds. ... Though he seems like a longshot, Placer (Calif.) Rivals100 defensive lineman Eddie Vanderdoes listed Florida in his top five and wants to visit Gainesville. ... Former Gator, and current Cleveland Browns cornerback Joe Haden was one of the guest coaches. He spent time with almost all of the current Gators commits talking to them and taking pictures with them. ... With a SPARQ rating of 118, UF safety commit Keanu Neal missed making the Top 10 showdown by just two points.
Check back with Inside the Gators throughout the weekend as we continue our live up-to-the-minute coverage from The Opening.
(Deal ends July 20, 2012)