But he also put the finishing touches on what could end up being a memorable 2012 class.
On Monday night, video interviews from half of Florida’s visitors — TE Colin Thompson, DT Jafar Mann, DE/LB Bryan Cox Jr., DE/LB Dante Fowler Jr. and CB Brian Poole — will be up on GatorSports.com.
I’ll eventually get an update on five-star CB Tracy Howard, but QB Skyler Mornhinweg, RB Matt Jones, WR Stefon Diggs and DE Alex McCalister are hard to get a hold of. But I’ve been able to gather some info on their trips.
With so much that went on, what I’ll do is run down the visitors list by position and give an update on each recruit.
LSU wide receiver commit Avery Johnson (Pompano Beach, Fla./Blanche Ely) didn’t show up for his trip, but the Gators still had 10 official visitors this weekend with the addition of quarterback Skyler Mornhinweg (Philadelphia, Pa./St. Joseph’s).
He came down at the request of new UF offensive coordinator Brent Pease, who is trying to sign a 2012 QB and has targeted the Penn State commit. The two talked at length this weekend and Mornhinweg’s father and Pease have known each other since college.
The 6-foot-3, 215-pounder had a great visit according to UF tight end commit Colin Thompson, who knows Mornhinweg personally and thinks the Gators will land him. The three-star QB has an official visit planned to Virginia Tech next weekend.
Pease is also looking at Jacob Guy (Dade City, Fla./Pasco) and Paxton Lynch (Deltona, Fla./Trinity Christian Academy), who will visit Indiana this week and Florida on Jan. 27.
Four-star commit Matt Jones had this to say about his trip.
“It was great,” Jones told Scout.com. “I’m ready to go. I love the staff, it’s the best. I love the fans. I am so happy to be a Gator.”
Five-star WR Stefon Diggs (Olney, Md./Our Lady of Good Counsel) enjoyed his official to UF, despite reports that he was “bored.” Diggs made that comment on Friday night because at the time he had only done things with his family and he wanted to go out with players and recruits.
He got his wish.
“The Florida trip was an awesome trip,” Diggs told ESPN. “The people, the atmosphere, the family, the coaches — everything about it was awesome.”
Diggs also tweeted this on Saturday afternoon.
“I love it. Love the environment and just the thought of being a gator.”
Diggs did not commit (at least publicly) and he’s pushed back his decision to Feb. 10 so he can check out Maryland and … hold your breath … Ohio State.
However, the fact that he visited UF with his whole family and went to Cal and Auburn alone speaks volumes to me. Whether they accompany him on his remaining officials or not, I think Diggs’ family members are sold on UF and if today were National Signing Day he would be a Gator. I don’t see that changing, either.
Nelson Agholor, another five-star WR from Tampa Berkeley Prep, didn’t make it in for his unofficial visit because he couldn’t find a ride to Gainesville and also had a basketball game Saturday.
There’s a lot of smoke out there that Agholor is leaning toward USC (where he’s officially visiting next weekend) and could be a Trojan in the end. I have no inside info on Agholor at this time and he rarely does interviews, but two of his best friends (Marcus Maye and Kent Taylor) recently told me Florida is his top school. And until they change their tune, I’m not changing mine. Agholor’s distance factor, relationship with current commits and fondness of Muschamp will be too much for him to pass up.
Three-star commit Jafar Mann (Stone Mountain, Ga./Stephenson) spent most of his weekend with current players and loves the social life at UF. For what it’s worth, Mann said he had a talk with Diggs and the five-star WR told him “I got you” when Mann asked him to come to Florida.
Florida found its 2012 buck prospect in Bryan Cox Jr. (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla./St. Thomas Aquinas), who formally committed to the coaching staff Saturday. Cox is happy to be a part of Gator Nation and already made some teammates.
On Saturday night, Cox tweeted that UF would land a commitment Monday from fellow official visitor and three-star DE Alex McCalister (Clemmons, N.C./West Forsyth).
“Shout out to (McCalister) he gone commit to the Gators on Monday!!! #GatorNation show him love.”
Cox confirmed that tweet to me Sunday morning and said McCalister told him he’s committing to UF. I’ll have a story up as soon as he announces Monday, which is scheduled to be at 1 p.m.
The Gators also had their final shot at five-star DE/LB Dante Fowler Jr. (St. Petersburg, Fla./Lakewood), who got the full-court press from coaches, commits, parents and current players. My video interview with him is a must-see. Although his commitment to Florida State is still “100 percent solid,” he will make a hat pick on Feb. 1 between UF and FSU. He cancelled his visit to USC next weekend.
Four-star commit Brian Poole (Bradenton, Fla./Southeast) has put two rumors to rest. The first was that he’s wavering after an in-home visit from Notre Dame last week. Poole said he’s all-Gator and can’t wait to get to Gainesville for good.
The second was that he and Miramar cornerback Tracy Howard have an issue with each other. That got squashed with this photo from Poole.
As for Howard, the five-star told me his offical visit was going great at Saturday’s basketball game. Howard is no longer visiting LSU next weekend and will go to Miami instead. His finalists are Florida, Florida State and Miami and he will commit on NSD.
Howard’s top schools have shifted around a lot, but UF has been the one constant. I overheard some very positive things about him Sunday afternoon and the vibe from this weekend is that he’s a Gator.
Florida also received unofficial visits from 2013 prospects Adam Lane (Winter Haven RB commit), Ryan Green (St. Petersburg/Catholic RB), Alvin Bailey (Seffner, Fla./Armwood WR) and Vernon Hargreaves III (Tampa/Wharton CB), whose sister Carina attends UF. The 5-foot-11, 180-pounder will be one of the nation’s top corners next year and the Gators lead for his services.