For a few minutes Wednesday night, anyone Gator fan with a Twitter account let out a giddy, school-girl squeal.
At around 8 p.m., 247Sports.com recruiting expert JC Shurburtt tweeted that he had reason to believe Tampa Plant athlete, and top high school prospect, James Wilder Jr. committed to Florida.
“Got an e-mail from James Wilder saying he had committed to Florida,” Shurburtt’s tweet read.
A cyber roar erupted throughout Gator Nation when that tweet popped up.
The recruit whom every Gator fan — and Gator coach — wants to see wearing the orange-and-blue next year, appeared to finally be locked up, making the rest of the recruiting season almost irrelevant.
However, shortly after his original tweet, Shurburtt shut down all Gator celebration parties with a few strokes on his keyboard.
“I will caution that I am trying to confirm the James Wilder Florida commitment e-mail,” he wrote. “This very well could be a hoax.”
Shurburtt then followed with the most crushing blow …
“And here we go — reliable sources say that the James Wilder “I committed to Florida” e-mail is false,” he tweeted.
It didn’t get any better for Gator fans as Shurburtt discovered “some clown” created a Facebook page under Wilder’s name. He put it together and after talking to sources discovered the real Wilder had NOT committed to Florida. It was comparable to a World Cup goal that appeared to be totally legit being disallowed because of an offside call.
OK I’m still in Cup mode, sorry.
“Fake James Wilder Jr.” tricked everyone, including many other members of the media, who were sent scrambling to get a hold of Wilder for quotes. “He” had one fan base going from giddy to frustrated in a matter of minutes. That can’t be good for the heart.
It’s just another incident that makes recruiting both great and incredibly silly.
Fake high school superstar? Genius. The phone calls that littered both Wilder’s and Plant head coach Robert Weiner’s cellphones must have truly been obnoxious.
But no worries Gator fans. You can all have a chance to get back at the person who ruined your Christmas-in-July moment Wednesday. Shurburtt decided to make the e-mail address public in his final tweet on the incident. Enjoy!
“firstname.lastname@example.org was the e-mail address that the e-mail came from,” he wrote. “Have at it.”