On Oct. 8, the Gators received two silent verbal commits.
Less than a month later, they are gone.
Offensive guard David Dawson (Cass Tech/Detroit, Mich) and linebacker Alex Anzalone (Wyomissing, Pa./Wyomissing) both committed to UF coach Will Muschamp the Monday following Florida’s 14-6 win over LSU.
Dawson was ready to join the Gators in the summer and made it obvious at The Opening, but his commitment to Michigan kept him from attending Friday Night Lights. Muschamp & Co. continued to recruit Dawson, though, and he eventually committed to them by phone after watching their upset over the Tigers. He officially parted ways with the Wolverines on Oct. 14.
The Wednesday before his official visit for the South Carolina game, Dawson did a story with The Sun about his decision, which he planned to go public with that weekend.
“When they beat LSU, I was sold,” Dawson said. “The score probably didn’t say much, but Florida really beat up on LSU’s defensive line. I know that came from hard work by those guys and the techniques and drills from offensive line coach Tim Davis. A couple days after the game, I told my mom that’s where I wanted to go and got her to OK my silent commitment.”
“(The UF coaches) were so excited when I told them. They didn’t really believe that I was going to actually come down. I had to cancel my first trip because of Michigan’s no-visit policy for commits. But this is my life and the college I’m going to be at for the next four years, and the University of Florida is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”
However, Dawson had a change of heart when he came down to Gainesville and realized it wasn’t the place for him. He also discovered a desire to stay close to his mother, who lost her husband (David’s father) in a tragic accident on April 11 and moved back home to Detroit less than a year ago after working a new job in Texas in 2011.
Dawson released a new Top 3 of Michigan State, Ohio State and Wisconsin on Oct. 29 and told The Sun that UF is no longer being considered.
Anzalone’s recruitment is just as crazy. He committed to Notre Dame on July 8, but Florida (his second choice) was never out of the picture with him. He grew up a Gator fan, his dad graduated from UF and they have family in Gainesville.
Anzalone made a surprise appearance at Friday Night Lights and then took an unofficial visit for the LSU game that lasted until Monday. Several sources told The Sun that Anzalone committed to the coaches before leaving, and he declined to do any interviews afterward.
Anzalone cancelled his trip to Notre Dame for the BYU game on Oct. 20, and it seemed like only a matter of time before he publicly pledged to Florida.
Then on Halloween, things got tricky. Rivals.com national recruiting analyst Mike Farrell reported that Anzalone had indeed committed to the Gators and already filled out his early enrollment and admissions paperwork with UF. But Notre Dame defensive coordinator Bob Diaco reached Anzalone and his father by phone and tried to get them to reschedule their visit.
Anzalone agreed to give the Irish one last look and traveled to South Bend after his game Saturday. He left Notre Dame on Monday and reaffirmed his commitment hours later via twitter, saying his recruitment is now shut down completely with all other schools.
National Signing Day is three months away and Muschamp still has time to find other options at those positions if need be, but he had two ESPN150 members in the bag and he’s now empty handed.
Such is life in recruiting.