Appeal Denied, Defensive Tackle Dante Phillips Commits To Tennessee

After Dante Phillips was told he wouldn’t be able to enroll at the University of Florida, he tried again. After his appeal was denied and it became painfully clear he wasn’t going to play college football for the Florida Gators, he looked elsewhere. That elsewhere became clear this week. Phillips has committed to play for one of Florida’s fiercest rivals – the Tennessee Volunteers.

Phillips had also looked at Miami after he was told Florida wasn’t a possibility. In the end, his desire to stay in the SEC and “show Florida what they missed out on” may have won out. The Gators will see plenty of him in the future…in the wrong orange.

Dante Phillips Denied Admission To Florida; Defensive Tackle Looking Elsewhere

Four-star defensive tackle Dante Phillips has been denied admission to Florida. The Venice, FL (Venice) DT was cleared academically by the NCAA, but not by the University of Florida. He has been informed that he will not be allowed to enroll and subsequently won’t play for the Florida Gators.

Although there’s a small chance Phillips could still end up at Florida (the path would probably mean heading somewhere to improve his grades before joining the Gators for the 2013 season), that seems extremely unlikely at this point. Miami has reached out to the defensive tackle, but he has mentioned his preference to play in the SEC.

“Florida is a great program; I love the school, but it’s time to open my recruitment. I’m just ready to play football. I want to show Florida what they missed out on. I’d like to go to a school in the SEC. That’s my preference.” – Dante Phillips, 2012 Defensive Tackle

While similar situations have occurred in the past, they aren’t as frequent this late in the game. The deadline to enroll for Summer B classes is Tuesday at 11:59pm.

One high profile similarity was Frostproof, FL (Frostproof) running back Travis Henry. It was rumored that Florida was Henry’s first choice, but he wouldn’t be able to qualify academically. He was cleared by the NCAA however and spent four seasons in the Tennessee backfield. The difference, of course, is that Henry wasn’t a Florida signee.

At this point, Florida doesn’t replace Phillips (the 2012 class has long been signed); they simply move on without him. Junior college transfer Damien Jacobs becomes the only defensive tackle to join the Gators as part of the class.

Jonathan Bullard, Dante Fowler Jr., Dante Phillips Have Yet To Report; Could Arrive At Florida Soon

The Florida Gators put a heavy emphasis on the defensive line during the 2012 recruiting cycle. That added focus paid off with the signings of Jonathan Bullard and Dante Fowler Jr. among others. Considered two of the nation’s top prospects, Rivals gave both five stars, ranking Bullard No. 6 overall and Fowler No. 28. Just outside of the Rivals100 was defensive tackle Dante Phillips coming in at No. 120. Unfortunately, at this point, none of the three have reported to Florida.

Bullard was one of the stars of the class and also one of the incoming freshman expected to contribute immediately. He’s the one we may not have to worry about. The latest reports have Bullard qualifying. He has completed the necessary coursework and should be with the Gators as soon as all of the necessary paperwork is where it needs to be. Take a sigh of relief Florida fans.

Fowler may not be far behind. Some say he could report as early as Monday, while others expect him to arrive later in the week. Whatever the case, it appears Fowler either has completed the necessary academic requirements or is about to. He should be in Gainesville soon, joining fellow five-star Bullard.

Phillips is the wild card because, well, we just don’t know. His status is up in the air and he’s the one we’ll have to continue to watch.

For now, there doesn’t seem to be too much to worry about, but just a situation to keep on eye on. All signs point to the positive for Bullard. Fowler should be close behind. Phillips is the question mark.

Gators Defensive Tackle Nick Alajajian Has Wrist Surgery

Senior Nick Alajajian underwent wrist surgery on Tuesday. The Florida Gators defensive tackle had been having trouble with his wrist throughout spring practice. With the Orange and Blue Debut having come and gone, now was the perfect time for Alajajian to have the surgery and have the time to get healthy for fall practice.

Already a senior, Alajajian’s career at Florida seems to have gone by almost too quickly. Having spent his first three years as a reserve offensive lineman, Alajajian made the switch to defensive tackle in preparation for the 2012 season.

He has appeared in 32 games and got his first start in the Gator Bowl following the conclusion of the 2011 season. Although Alajajian will provide depth at DT, his path to significant playing time won’t be any easier. He shares the position with Sharrif Floyd, Dominique Easley, Omar Hunter, Leon Orr and Damien Jacobs. JaFar Mann and Dante Phillips will join the Gators in the fall.

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Recruit Report: Dante Phillips, DT, Venice

We continue to go through the committed recruits over at Alligator Army. This time around, I profile Venice (Venice, FL) defensive tackle Dante Phillips.
Phillips is a powerful, but slim defensive tackle who despite his commitment to Florida has mentioned that he will take additional visits. Schools involved include Alabama, Auburn, LSU, USC, and USF. Although he remains solid to the Gators, he will look around.
At 6’6″, 268 pounds, Phillips needs to add bulk (who doesn’t?) to compete successfully at the next level. In high school, he uses his strength to push opposing blockers into the backfield. While this works for him now, he’ll have a difficult road ahead at his current size. Regardless, Phillips is quick off the snap and has good recognition skills when it comes to knowing where the play is headed.
Expect former Venice players and current Gators Trey Burton and little brother Clay Burton to remain in Phillips’ ear right up until national signing day.