Florida Gators Recruiting: Wide Receiver C.J. Worton Signs with Florida Over West Virginia

Former Florida State commit C.J. Worton has signed with Florida. The wide receiver announced his decision on National Signing Day, selecting the Gators over West Virginia.

C.J. Worton, Florida Gators

When Worton first reopened his recruitment, many believed Florida was the school to beat, but West Virginia came on strong. The Mountaineers pushed Worton until the very end, hoping to add the three-star wide receiver. In the end, his familiarity with Gainesville–his brother Cody was there from 2006-2010–won out.

Worton joins a wide receiver class that may not be completely closed. Adoree’ Jackson is still in the play for the Gators.

Week 8 College Football BlogPoll: Where The Florida Gators Get One Spot Closer To No. 1

Week 8 of the college football season has come and gone, while my entry in the SB Nation College Football BlogPoll Top 25 has remained much the same. The players in the top 10 are the same names you saw one week ago, but there has been some movement. Even if that movement is minimal.

A few points:

• While some have moved our mighty Florida Gators to No. 1, I haven’t gone that far just yet. However, I do move the Gators to No. 2 with an eye on the top spot. Both Florida and the Alabama Crimson Tide have looked impressive, but the Tide’s balance at the moment gives them the edge for me. The Gators scored 44 against the South Carolina Gamecocks with minimal offensive production. Imagine what they could have done if firing on all cylinders. Until that happens though, Florida is just off of that top spot.

• The Oregon Ducks take the hit for Florida’s success and the continued rise of the Kansas State Wildcats. Oregon has done nothing to hurt itself, but Florida and Kansas State have been that much more impressive against better competition. The Ducks are a great team that could play for a national championship, but not if that game were played today.

• No. 5 and No. 6 continue to be held by the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Oklahoma Sooners. That won’t be the case much longer as the two face off this coming Saturday. One will drop (if only slightly), while the other may find itself ranked even higher. Most have the LSU Tigers as their top one-loss team, but if the two faced off today on a neutral field, I think the Sooners would take it…easily. That’s a Fantasyland game that isn’t on the schedule, but I’d still imagine most would take Oklahoma.

• The West Virginia Mountaineers are in serious danger of falling right out of the top 25. Two weeks ago I had them at No. 4. After the blowout loss to the Texas Tech Red Raiders, they fell to No. 17. After another convincing defeat–this time to Kansas State–they have fallen to No. 24. Not only can’t the defense stop anyone, the offense is starting to struggle to score points as well. We have to all believe that those two losses won’t be the only ones the Mountaineers experience this season.

• Finally, the No. 19 Ohio Bobcats rose three spots this week. At 7-0, the Bobcats deserve the ranking, but even if they manage to get through the regular season undefeated, this isn’t a top-10 team.

Week 7 BlogPoll: Where The Florida Gators Become (A Justified) Top-3 Team

We’ve come to the week where the college football landscape is taking shape. Teams are halfway (or more) through their regular seasons and, while some are dead in the water, others still hold on to national championship hopes. Suddenly – and rather abruptly – our own Florida Gators are among those that remain in the discussion. You may not believe it, but the polls say so, and now so does the first official BCS rankings of the 2012 season. But that’s not this; this is my ballot in the week 7 SB Nation College Football BlogPoll.

A few points:

• I don’t have Florida No. 2. I don’t have them far behind at No. 3, but Oregon is my No. 2. Tell me I’m wrong. That’s fine, but the Ducks’ ability to score in bunches makes me believe that if the two played right now, the Gators would struggle to keep up. It would be the best defense Oregon would face by far, but they match Florida when it comes to speed. It would be a great game and in a couple of weeks I’d imagine I may change my stance on that, but for now, the Ducks are No. 2. Of course, I also have the feeling this matchup could very easily become West Virginia/Texas Tech.

• Maybe I’m subconsciously keeping the Gators away from the top spot or getting them too close to it. Look what I did to South Carolina. Gave them the top spot and now they need some luck to put themselves back into title contention.

• Oklahoma didn’t just impress me; the Sooners impressed a lot of people. That’s a defining win if there ever was one. The one loss hurts, but Oklahoma looks like they’ve rebounded nicely. No, much more than nicely. Tremendously.

• I don’t know what happened to West Virginia, but it was ugly, ugly, and a whole lot more ugly. Texas Tech enters the poll, although the delta doesn’t reflect that. No they weren’t No. 17 last week; they weren’t ranked.

• Duke didn’t last long at all. They lasted one entire week. My jinx is alive and well y’all. (Taking “y’all” out for a spin there. It didn’t work, did it? No. Moving on.)

Week 5 BlogPoll: Where 5 SEC Teams In The Top 10 Is Not Only Encouraged, It’s Justified

For a number of reasons, or just for two, I waited until October to join the BlogPoll fun this season. Reason number one has to do with time being precious and all those sorts of things. Reason number two is because long ago I planted my feet in the No Polls Until October camp and although I’ve broken that belief many, many, many times, I’m sticking with it for 2012. So without any additional rambling, here’s my first BlogPoll ballot of the 2012 college football season…just in time for week five.

A few points:

• Putting five SEC teams in the top 10 is acceptable, reasonable, and right. The SEC is that good. I know it. You know it. We all know it.

• Having to play three of those plus Florida State over the remainder of the Florida Gators’ regular season schedule is not acceptable reasonable, or right. But it’s what makes college football, and especially the SEC, great.

• I value unblemished records. Winning all of yours games is a good thing, but less-than-impressive wins over teams you should have beaten soundly is not. Take care of business appropriately and you will be rewarded.

• West Virginia at No. 4 is high considering they don’t play anything resembling defense. Still, someone has to outscore them to win and I’m not quite sure they don’t have more 70-point games in their future.

• The Urban Meyer-led Ohio State Buckeyes may very well be the Big Ten’s best team. That still means there are five SEC teams better than them. BOOM!

Florida Gators Drop To No. 17 In AP, No. 18 In Coaches

Losing means a drop was inevitable, but losing to one of the nation’s top teams seems to have softened the blow. After rising to no. 12 in both polls last week, Florida finds itself at no. 17 in the AP and no. 18 in the Coaches after the loss to no. 2 Alabama.


Unfortunately things don’t get any easier for the Gators. Florida faces no. 1/no. 3 LSU next week and no. 15/no. 23 Auburn the week after that. Moving ahead to November, the Gators take on no. 18/no. 14 South Carolina and no. 23/no. 22 FSU. With Georgia surging, that could be five ranked opponents in the Gators’ final seven games. Oh SEC, how I love/hate you.

Another loss against LSU (although we’re not wishing that to happen) could actually keep Florida in the polls for another week. As yet another top team, a loss by anyone to the Tigers doesn’t hurt as much as it could. Two current teams that fell at the hands of LSU – Oregon and West Virginia – are doing just fine. Of course, that was their only loss of the season to this point. If the Gators were to fall to the Tigers, that would be their second defeat. So to make things easier on everyone, let’s just go ahead and win that game. That way we don’t have to worry about where Florida falls and can instead focus on how far they rise.

Now it’s my turn to determine where I’d put the Gators in this week’s BlogPoll. Stay tuned to find out.

The Long Snapper (6/21/10)

College football.  Quick and to the point.
USF sports the cheapest season ticket of all the BCS schools.  You can see every Bulls’ home game for the low price of $75 in certain sections of the end zone.  Not too shabby for BCS conference football.  On the other end of the spectrum, West Virginia’s cheapest season ticket comes in at more than four times USF’s at $325.  There are 18 other FBS schools that rank lower than the Bulls, but none are in BCS conferences.  For the low, low price of only $30 (about what you might spend to get The Devil Wears Prada on Blu-Ray) you can attend every Western Kentucky home game.
The Bulls’ athletic department is getting upgrades in a number of areas, one of which includes the football practice fields.  In addition to a new baseball stadium and a new softball stadium, USF will put in new football practice fields.  A good head coach and a winning program only go so far in winning over recruits.  Facilities are an important part of what prospective student-athletes look for.  The Bulls continue to upgrade various parts of the program making USF even more attractive.
Arkansas has done the smart thing and said they are remaining in the SEC and that they do not plan on jumping ship anytime soon.  It makes perfect sense for the Razorbacks to stay, but the decision may have already been made for them.  The Big 12 has decided to squash any plans of expansion for at least the new few years.  The conference is happy moving forward as a 10-team league and will not look into expanding for the near future as it hopes to solidify itself with its current members.
Jamel Turner – a defensive lineman who signed with Ohio State – is in critical condition after being shot over the weekend.  Reports as to what happened are unclear at this point, but Turner was shot multiple times and a teenage girl was killed.  Initial reports said Turner was lucky to make it through the first night, but if he could, it would be a great sign of progress.

Add Another to the List; WR Robert Clark Commits to Florida

Want even more affirmation stud recruit Matt Elam will stick with his pledge to attend Florida?  You may have just gotten it.  Another one of Elam’s high school teammates and closest friends has pulled the switch and is now a Gator.
Dwyer (West Palm Beach, FL) wide receiver Robert Clark was the only member of the Dwyer trio (him, Elam, and Gerald Christian) not committed to Florida.  Clark had actually gone a different route completely and had committed to West Virginia.  But recently, Clark waivered as his main recruiter – former Florida assistant Doc Holliday – was mentioned as a candidate for the Marshall head coaching vacancy (Holliday will be announced later today).
After the Gators looked closer at Clark and presented him with a committable offer, he made the switch.  The 5’9”, 170 lb. Clark is a speed receiver who also plays quite a bit in the defensive backfield.  He’s actually been recruited as a cornerback by a number of schools and could end up at either position.  Expect to see Clark in orange and blue quickly.  His goal is to graduate early and enroll in time for the spring semester at Florida.
 

What to Watch – Week 8

Another full Saturday ahead of us as conference races begin to take shape…
USF @ Pittsburgh – 12:00 – Is Pittsburgh as good as their 6-1 record makes them out to be?  They are 3-0 in the Big East, but two of those wins are over teams who have yet to notch a conference victory.  They have a quarterback with a 14-to-3 touchdown-to-interception ratio and a running back averaging over 131 yards on the ground per game, but lost to an NC State team that hasn’t won since.  It’s hard to get a good read on the Panthers, but we’ll see them in action first thing on Saturday.
UConn @ West Virginia – 12:00 – While you watch USF play, get a look at their next opponent – West Virginia.  The Bulls and Mountaineers face off on Friday, October 30th.  See what WVU can bring against the Huskies.
Arkansas @ Ole Miss – 12:21 – The Razorbacks are talked about as a team on the rise.  One week after taking down previously undefeated Auburn, Arkansas went down to the wire with the #1 team in the country.  BUT, we still have to remember that on the rise or not, the Hogs currently sit at the bottom of the SEC West.  A win over Ole Miss would be a huge step in the right direction.
Tennessee @ Alabama – 3:30 – The debate over who should be #1 will continue for the rest of the season, but we’ll gain a little more insight after Saturday.  Alabama and Florida have faced two common opponents, but Tennessee adds another.  If the Crimson Tide have their way with the Vols, we could see a switch in the BCS standings.  Not that it really matters, Bama and Florida will get their shot at one another soon enough.
Clemson @ Miami – 3:30 – The Tigers might just be better than you think.  Their three losses are by a combined 10 points and two of those defeats were at the hands of teams ranked in the top 12.  That isn’t to say they’ll get by the Hurricanes on Saturday, but they might stand more of a chance than many believe.
Penn State @ Michigan – 3:30 – Michigan has a big chance to take a leap forward in their progression with a win over Penn State.  If the Wolverines can pull off the upset (although I’m not sure if it really can be considered too much of one) they will put themselves in a great position to rejoin the rankings.
Iowa @ Michigan State – 7:00 – Could this be the upset special of the weekend?
Florida @ Mississippi State – 7:30 – The Gators square off against their former offensive coordinator.  The Bulldogs – like Clemson – are better than you think.  Florida needs a big victory to prove its place atop the standings.  Many are labeling the Arkansas game as this season’s version of the 2008 Ole Miss game.  If true, Mississippi State could be in for a world of hurt, but we’ll have to see it to believe it.
TCU @ BYU – 7:30 – Warrants mention because One Eyed Willy accurately picked this as this weekend’s College Gameday location.  He was very happy to point out to me how right he was and how wrong I was.
Auburn @ LSU – 7:30 – Not too happy this game is on at the same time Florida plays, but that’s what multiple televisions are for.  Pick the Tigers.  You can’t lose.  (How old is that joke?)
 

Morning Reading: Matt Elam Reconfirms Commitment to Florida

As we get ready for the weekend and the fall of another undefeated team, one was lost last night. Nebraska – starting to look better and better – was shut out for three quarters before scoring 27 unanswered in the fourth to take down Missouri. The Cornhuskers have quickly become one of those teams to look out for. At 4-1 (the lone loss by 1-point to Virginia Tech), Nebraska has a remaining schedule that could see them continue to climb the polls. The Huskers avoid Texas this season and have top remaining games against Oklahoma and Kansas. The Jayhawks are actually the bigger matchup since they’re in the Huskers division. Get by them and Nebraska could be looking at a Big 12 Championship Game appearance.

Recruits always get away. It’s just part of the process. Last season, for Florida, it was Greg Reid, Nu’Keese Richardson, and Marsalis Teague. The year before, Ramon Buchanon dropped Miami to commit to the Gators, only to drop Florida and sign with the Hurricanes in the end. It’s definitely a process that has its highs and lows. The highs come when stud prospects pull the trigger early in the process and your favorite team gets off to a great start. But those are generally the ones to watch. The ones that have plenty of time to still look around and ensure they made the right choice.

Gator Nation was a little up in arms recently over the news that super safety Matt Elam might not be as solid on his commitment as we all thought. Elam wanted to explore his options and had become more interested in Tennessee and West Virginia after official visits to both. He also intended to take an official to FSU this weekend.

After spending a few hours on the phone with Urban Meyer, Elam now thinks his original decision is once again the right one. He will not be visiting FSU and he has reconfirmed he will become a Gator. Elam was initially worried about depth and how many others Florida would have at his position. But his talent alone should allow him to compete for plenty of playing time and not all of those others really play the same position he will.

We can’t completely rest tight on Elam just yet, but he has said he will enroll early, meaning we only have a few shorts months before he should be safe and secure in Gainesville where we want him.

Morning Reading: Rich Rodriguez Denies Allegations, Becomes Verklempt

When did we all start to hate Rich Rodriguez? It all happened around the time he left West Virginia for Michigan, but it’s amazing how quick we all made the turn. As the Mountaineers head coach, he was regarded as one of the top minds in the game. He turned WVU into a power and despite being a chief rival of USF; I had a lot of respect for him as a coach. But then came a bigger and better job offer and Rich Rod became public enemy #1. Michigan turned into a program we like to see go 3-9. And we usually reserve that sort of hatred for the Notre Dames and Tennessees of the world.

Since Rodriguez took over at Michigan, there’s been a defection of players we haven’t seen at any program in quite some time. There are those that left due to his offensive system, which is completely understandable in some circumstances. Honestly, how well would Ryan Mallett have fared in his offense? The answer is not well. Not well at all.

There are those that left due to a lack of a family atmosphere. This is one I’m on the fence for. I get certain player personalities attracting to certain coaching philosophies. By all accounts Urban Meyer is a family-oriented coach and it’s very important to him to convey a family atmosphere throughout the program. But some coaches feel the exact opposite and that’s understandable as well. To some, football is football. It’s not full of niceties and good times. It’s a battle and whether its practice or a game or just a team function, it should be treated as such. Some players won’t fit in well with that. That’s okay too. You only get a limited time in college and you should enjoy where you are.

And there are those that leave for reasons unknown. But regardless of why they leave, players are going to talk once they do. They’re going to be asked why they did and what it was like at their former school. And they are definitely going to tell. The former Michigan players have and now the Wolverine coaching staff is being accused of running over the NCAA-allotted amount of practice time. We’ve heard that Michigan went way over the weekly allotment of hours. We’ve heard they only went a little over. We’ve also heard players have missed class in order to practice.

There’s no telling what’s true or what’s false at this point, but Rodriguez addressed the allegations and, as expected, denied them (I’ll just link to all of MGoBlog, they have plenty on the subject over there). In the end, this is one of those situations where it’s most likely nothing will come out of it. It’s too much of a “he said, he said” where very little will probably be able to be proven. Rodriguez will continue his rebuilding effort, get a little emotional along the way, and probably, at the very least, improve upon last season’s record.