Florida Gators Recruiting: Dalvin Cook Officially Decommits; RB Heading to FSU

Dalvin Cook made it official on Tuesday when he announced he would be heading to Florida State. The five-star running back had long been rumored to eventually choose the Seminoles, decommitting from Florida in the process. He, or actually ESPNU, made it official on New Year’s Eve when the network posted a graphic indicating he would commit to FSU.

Dalvin Cook, Florida State Seminoles

While the loss off a recruit of Cook’s caliber stings, his actual decommitment is far from surprising. For months, few believed he would end up at Florida despite Cook himself stating he was 80% or 100% committed at various times during his recruitment. This was a smokescreen of sorts that led him to FSU, a choice that was also not a surprise in any way. For months now, it was widely believed he would play for the ‘Noles and because of that Gators’ fans had already attempted to move on.

The issue that arises about it now being official is what will come next. Five-star wide receiver Ermon Lane is currently considered a Florida commit; however, he has made it clear several times that he wants to play college football with Cook. Cook has said the same about playing with Lane. With Cook committed to FSU now, many think Lane won’t be far behind. The Gators have already felt the sting, losing 2015 wide receiver and Cook high school teammate Da’Vante Phillips last week.

Florida has recently turned its attention to other 2014 running backs–perhaps an indication that Will Muschamp and the staff knew what was coming with Cook. While he has been committed to Oregon for more than three months, the Gators have not stopped their pursuit of Tony James. Florida also recently extended a scholarship offer to Jeff Jones. Jones is committed to Minnesota, but will officially visit the Gators on January 24, 2014.

Florida Gators Recruiting: 2015 Wide Receiver Da’Vante Phillips Decommits

With nearly 14 months remaining until he has to sign his letter of intent, 2015 prospect Da’Vante Phillips has decided to reopen his recruitment. The 6’1″, 189-pound wide receiver from Miami, FL (Central) was Florida’s lone member of the 2015 recruiting class.

Da'Vante Phillips, Florida Gators

Phillips currently receives four stars from each of the four major recruiting services. Only Rivals and Scout have him outside of their top 100 juniors, but barely. Rivals ranks him No. 103 overall while Scout put Phillips at No. 106. He is expected to maintain or improve upon his rankings as one of the nation’s top wide receivers during the 2014 high school football season.

Phillips committed to Florida in late July, joining Miami Central teammate Dalvin Cook as prospective future Gators. Not long after his commitment, he stated he was still looking at other programs, primarily Miami. The Hurricanes are very much back into the mix now and the timing of Phillips’ decommitment makes many wonder where Cook will go when he announces his final choice on January 2, 2014. While the two may not be a package deal, Phillips has decided to see how the 2014 class plays out before making his final decision.

This doesn’t mean the Gators are out of it for the talented wide receiver, but it does mean they now have to fight to get him back. With the hiring of a new offensive coordinator and the upcoming announcements of several currently committed but wavering 2014 recruits, there’s plenty for Phillips to consider. Luckily, and maybe not so much at the same time, Florida has plenty of time before he has to make his final decision.

2014 Football Recruiting: The Florida Gators Look to Build on Strong Class as Summer Approaches

The 2012 football season has long been over. And now with the 2012-13 basketball season coming to an end as well, we turn our attention to football recruiting.

Will Grier - Florida Gators

2013 was kind to the Florida Gators, as the football team put together the type of recruiting class we’ve come to expect. 2014 should be no different and has already produced a group that forms a solid base to build upon.

Before we get knee deep in the entire world of recruiting, player rankings, video analysis, scouting reports and discussions of wants and needs, let’s take a quick look at what the Gators, Will Muschamp and the rest of the Florida coaching staff are working with at this point.

Will Grier, QB, Davidson Day (Davidson, NC) – Grier is not only one of the top quarterback prospects in the nation, but one of the top players overall. While the level of competition is a concern for some, Grier has the tools and talent to succeed at any level and in most systems. He may already be the Gators’ quarterback of the future.

Dalvin Cook, RB, Miami Central (Miami, FL) – Another Florida commit that is among both the top prospects at his position and overall is Cook. There are those already comparing Cook to former Gator great Percy Harvin, but let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. Let’s let Cook become the first Dalvin Cook and not put a label on him as the next Harvin before he is even assigned a locker. All of that said, Cook is an intriguing prospect that can be used in a variety of ways.

Ryeshene Bronson, WR, Dunbar (Ft. Myers, FL) – The Gators are constantly looking to reload at wide receiver. It doesn’t matter what the previous year may have brought, Florida will look for capable pass catchers in each class. Bronson is the first committed for 2014 and has enough height to get fans excited about his arrival. He’ll have to add some bulk to his frame before he can fully compete at the college level, but he should be a contributor once he learns the ropes.

Travaris Dorsey, OL, Raines (Jacksonville, FL) – Dorsey has been working hard to get himself in shape for his senior season and beyond. He’s a true guard and excels at the position. Dorsey has been working on his athleticism and has proven that he is more than just a big body. He will take visits over the summer and is still being recruited by North Carolina and Tennessee, but he remains solidly committed to Florida.

Benjamin Knox, OL, Deland (Deland, FL) – A tackle, Knox is where many high schoolers are at this point in their development. He has the height, but needs the bulk. He’ll have plenty of time to do just that and looks like he could contribute sometime around 2016. Knox has mentioned that an offer from the Gators was a dream and that he is solidly committed.

Joseph Paul, OL, St. Augustine (New Orleans, LA) – While Knox needs to bulk up, Paul–also a tackle–has the size to play at the college level today. He’ll need to develop his game and learn the intricacies of a college offense, but from a size standpoint, Paul has it. Paul was down to Florida and Texas and after picking the Gators has said that the recruiting process is over for him.

Anthony Moten, DL, St. Thomas Aquinas (Ft. Lauderdale, FL) – Do we like players from St. Thomas Aquinas? Yes we do. Thomas is listed as a defensive tackle even if he does has the frame of a defensive end at this point. That doesn’t mean he won’t play DT at the next level though. Moten is hoping a few others from south Florida will join him in Gainesville, among them cornerbacks Chris Lammons and Quincy Wilson.

Christian Miller, LB, Spring Valley (Columbia, SC) – A top-100 linebacker, Miller projects to play on the outside at the college level. He’s one of those that talks academics as much as he talks football and was looking for the right fit from both sides of the equation. Miller has mentioned that his focus will now shift to recruiting for the Gators, but he still may take visits for the experience.

Duke Dawson, DB, Dixie County (Cross City, FL) – Dawson, a cornerback, chose the Gators over in-state rival Florida State. Although much of his family cheers for the Seminoles, one cousin – 2013 Gators’ signee Marcell Harris – may have pushed him toward Florida. When Dawson committed, he mentioned the Gators had always held the lead, but that doesn’t mean the pressure from FSU will stop.