Florida Gators Recruiting: Athlete Deiondre Porter Commits to Florida

Jefferson has been good to Florida. The Tampa, FL high school gave the Gators the Caldwell brothers and has now given Florida it’s latest star, Deiondre Porter. Porter committed to the Gators on Monday night over Central Florida, Miami, and South Florida. If Porter turns out to be anything like Reche Caldwell–another Jefferson quarterback turned Gators’ wide receiver–we’ll be looking back fondly at his career one day.

Deiondre Porter, Florida Gators

What position Porter does play at Florida remains to be seen, but wide receiver is as good of a guess as any other. However, there are also many who believe Porter will end up playing defensive back as his raw athletic ability could turn him into a better-than-average cornerback. The Gators have some experience with one of those as well. Joe Haden came to Florida as a quarterback-turned-athlete. He turned into one of college football’s better cornerbacks. All Haden has done since is be selected to the 2013 NFL Pro Bowl while making his first All-Pro team as a second team selection. Porter has two great former Gators to model himself after, depending on which side of the ball he ends up on.

As for where he wants to play, Porter said during his announcement that he’ll play wherever Florida coaches feel he’ll help the team the most. It’s a good guess that Will Muschamp and staff will evaluate further once he gets to Gainesville to find the best place for him and the team.

A one-time USF commit, Porter reopened his recruitment upon receiving offers from the Gators and Hurricanes. When he visit went well this past weekend, it was a good indication he would commit to Florida. Porter becomes the 22nd member of the Gators’ 2014 recruiting class.

Heroes Of The Series: Mike Nattiel – Florida Gators vs. Auburn Tigers

Heroes of the Series explores stars of past. These players or coaches either excelled for Florida or the Gators’ opponent of the week – in this case Auburn. They may have been the star of the game or provided a spark that shifted momentum. In the past, there has been a hero for both the Gators and their opponent. This week you only get the Florida hero and rightfully so. Auburn’s Wes Byrum has already been mentioned and he will NOT be associated with the word “hero.”

In 1996, when Florida won the national championship, the Gators scored 611 points. Over the following three seasons, Florida would score 430, 370 and 403 while only making it to the SEC Championship Game once – a 34-7 loss to Alabama in 1999. When the 2000 season came along, Steve Spurrier had found a quarterback again and brought back some of the scoring. The Gators’ output of 468 points wasn’t a complete turnaround, but Florida did score 34 or more in all but one of their first 10 games, including 35 in a loss to Mississippi State. The defense was a different story though; the Gators allowed 276 total points – the most they had given up in a season since 1992.

There were a few shining moments for the Gators though. In back-to-back weeks against LSU and Auburn, Florida allowed a total of only 16 points to the dual Tigers. The defense would take a step back in the four games after that, allowing at least 20 points in every contest. Heading into the SEC Championship Game against Auburn, the Gators were confident because of what they had done to the Tigers earlier that season, but Florida would need the ball to bounce their way to gain an advantage. And bounce it did.

Rex Grossman passed for four touchdowns during the game, Reche Caldwell caught two of those scores, and Earnest Graham had a career-high 169 rushing yards. Any of those three could have been picked as this week’s hero and they would all be deserving, but, in a twist of sorts, the honor goes to a defender.

Florida would jump out to an early 21-0 lead thanks to three turnovers and two of those three would come courtesy of linebacker Mike Nattiel. On Auburn’s first play of the game, the Tigers fumbled and Nattiel was there to pick up the ball. Not long after, Grossman would hit Caldwell to give the Gators a 7-0 lead.

After a Lito Sheppard interception led to another Grossman-to-Caldwell score, Florida was up 14-0. Auburn would begin to move the ball after that and got all the way down to the Gators’ three yard line before yet another turnover. Nattiel recovered his second fumble at the three and the Florida offense followed it up with a 97-yard touchdown drive.

Nattiel would end the game with eight tackles and those two fumble recoveries that led to Florida scores. It just goes to show you how important turnovers are. If Auburn had been able to score from the three, they could have made it 14-7. Instead, Nattiel recovered the fumble and a few minutes later it was 21-0 Gators. You can play a great game without causing a single turnover, but they sure help. This season’s Florida squad needs that help.

Heroes Of The Series: Rex Grossman – Florida Gators vs. LSU Tigers

Heroes of the Series explores some of the stars of past. These players or coaches either excelled for Florida or the Gators’ opponent of the week – in this case LSU. They may have been the star of the game or provided a spark that shifted momentum. They might be remembered for their entire careers or just for that single game. To get you riled up and more ready than you already are for the week’s matchup, it’s a two-part series with part one covering an opposing player and part two highlighting a Gator. For part one, looking at the Tigers’ night of fourth-down conversions, click here.

Rex Grossman’s final season in orange and blue was one to be forgotten. Really, the entire Ron Zook era was. Grossman was coming off a great 2001 in which he was a Heisman candidate and put up gaudy numbers during Steve Spurrier’s last hurrah in Gainesville. In 2002, the quarterback would return to earth looking uncomfortable at times trying to run the offense under a new coaching staff. 2001 was a great season for the gunslinger though and we’ll focus on one specific game.

Exactly 10 years ago today – October 6, 2001 – Grossman put on a passing clinic as the Gators dismantled the Tigers in Baton Rouge. As if going 22-for-32 for 464 yards wasn’t good enough, Grossman also threw five touchdowns and led Florida to a 44-15 victory. The Gators put up 632 yards of total offense in a game the Tigers were never in. In the first quarter alone, Grossman threw touchdowns of 13, 34, and 63 yards. His near perfect arm that day led to Jabar Gaffney and Reche Caldwell both going over 100 yards receiving (164 and 120). Even tight end Aaron Walker averaged 17.6 yards on five receptions as the LSU defense could do nothing to stop Grossman and the Florida pass game.

For those of you that remember the game, it was everything we loved about the Spurrier offenses. For those of that don’t, all the highlights are in the video below.