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June 4, 2012
The Silver Lining: 6/4 Orange & Blue News
FLORIDA FOOTBALL & RECRUITING: Four-star receiver rates UF visit a nine | First & 10 with Jeremi Powell | Roster Review - Defense | First & 10 with Kent Taylor | Roster Review - Offense | Florida commitments and targets in the Rivals100
In order to make sure Florida Gators-related news stories don't fall through the cracks, once or twice a week The Silver Lining will take on a "news and notes" format to keep you up-to-date with the latest goings on in the world of University of Florida athletics.
Leading up to the 2012 MLB Draft, members of the Florida baseball team claimed the day was the furthest thing from their collective mind. But with the event set to begin Monday and last through Wednesday, 13 members of the team (five seniors, eight juniors) are undoubtedly curious as to where they will be selected. Leading the pack is junior catcher Mike Zunino, a consensus top-10 pick and the best catcher in the draft of any age. Juniors left-handed pitcher Brian Johnson and shortstop Nolan Fontana are also potential first-round selections. Johnson will be selected for his arm and not necessarily his bat, while Fontana will be picked for his variety of tools despite the fact that scouts do not believe he does one thing "great." Also likely to be selected are junior lefty Steven Rodriguez (rounds 2-4), junior right-hander Hudson Randall (rounds 2-5), junior righty Austin Maddox (rounds 3-5), senior right fielder Preston Tucker (rounds 5-10) senior lefty Greg Larson (rounds 20-30). Five other players - senior OF Daniel Pigott, junior INF/OF Vickash Ramjit, senior OF Tyler Thompson (a 46th-round pick in 2011 who has been injured most of the season), senior INF Jeff Moyer and junior INF Cody Dent - are also eligible based on their class.
In a move that may be a bit of a surprise, Gators basketball transfer forward Walter Pitchford announced over the weekend that he has officially committed to Nebraska. Originally citing distance from home as his main reason for leaving, Pitchford will still be about 650 miles (a two-hour flight) from his home of Michigan and is unlikely to receive the hardship waiver he will apply for in order to play immediately. "I just thought it was the right decision," he told Rivals. "I'm comfortable with everyone on the staff and the players. I just felt like I really got along with everyone and this was the right fit for me." Pitchford visited Nebraska over the weekend and committed after leaving the campus. He was a former three-star recruit and late Florida commitment during the 2011 cycle that played very limited minutes in his rookie season.
Now a year removed from college, former Gators forward Adam Allen has also decided to return to the court. Allen, who severely injured his knee as a true freshman and never recovered despite undergoing numerous surgeries, left the team as a redshirt junior following the 2010-11 season. He had already completed his undergraduate courses and was ready to move on with his career off the court at the time. However, he had been interested in playing somewhere and has now received that chance as he will attend Rollins College in Winter Park, FL for graduate school and have the opportunity to play for their basketball team. Allen will likely play and practice limited minutes in order to ease the workload on his knee, which still bothers him to this day. Though he will be in pain while playing, Allen is not in danger of doing further damage to the knee just by playing basketball on it.
Instead of visiting Florida and seeing what the Gators had to offer, four-star power forward Montrezl Harrell - a four-star 2012 recruit who had decommitted from Virginia Tech and was still looking for a home - committed to Louisville on Monday after visiting the school over the weekend. Despite the fact that Florida does not currently have an available scholarship, the Gators were in pursuit of Harrell to join their four-member 2012 class. UF has already acquired one transfer in former four-star PF Damontre Harris since National Signing Day came and went and is likely done adding players for the time being though former four-star forward Dorian Finney-Smith remains undecided his transfer destination after playing for Virginia Tech last season.
Now under 100 days away from the beginning of the 2012 college football season, ESPN's "College Football Live" program is counting down the top five individual player performances of the last 50 years. Coming in at No. 5 on their list is former Gators quarterback Tim Tebow's Heisman Trophy season in 2007 in which he passed for 3,286 yards and 32 touchdowns while also running for 895 yards and 23 scores. Speaking of Tebow, he recently told New York reporters that he plans to attend fellow QB Mark Sanchez's "Jets West" camp, a set of workouts that Sanchez holds every summer between organized team activities and training camp. As expected, the media coverage surrounding Tebow has only intensified since he joined the Jets; however, just as he did in Denver, Tebow seems to be taking everything in stride while concentrating on improving as a football player.
Gators fans may want as many wide receivers as possible to join the team for the 2013 season but four-star wideout Reggie Davis will not be one of them after committing to play for Georgia over the weekend. Davis, who quite vocally declared his love for Florida over the last few months, believes the offer he had to play for UF went out the window when offensive coordinator Charlie Weis left the team. He told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution over the weekend that since Weis's departure, Gators coaches wanted him to come to camp and show them what he could do before giving him a committable offer. "Why would I do all of that when I still have a Georgia offer sitting here and they have other coaches that know what I can do," he rhetorically asked, according to the paper. "Why should I have to go through that when I have a bunch of other schools lined up and waiting for me? I'm not trying to sound cocky or nothing, but I'm just saying...it's my senior year, and I don't want to have to be waiting for that last-minute call trying to pick up and offer." Davis is likely referencing Florida's recruitment of his Lincoln teammate Raphael Andrades, who wasn't offered by the Gators until a day or two before this past Signing Day. No one can blame Davis for making this decision, but Florida fans will certainly be upset at their coaches' handling of his recruitment if he winds up burning UF down the sidelines in the next few years.