February 3rd, 2014 09:30am

Junior Day notebook


2015 Apopka offensive tackle Martez Ivey. (Photo by Zach Abolverdi/The Gainesville Sun)

The Florida Gators held their second Junior Day of the 2015 recruiting cycle Saturday, and there was a much bigger turnout than last weekend’s event.

The visitors list included three recruits ranked in the Top 10 of the ESPN Junior 300. One of them was offensive tackle Martez Ivey, who made the drive from Apopka with teammate Chandler Cox.

Ivey has been to UF four times dating back to June, but Saturday’s trip offered something new.

“I got to meet the O-line coach Mike Summers,” he said. “He’s a smart man. He knows what he’s doing. With 34 years of experience coaching the offensive line, that’s pretty good.”

ESPN ranks Ivey as the nation’s No. 2 offensive tackle and 7th overall prospect. The Gators have been pushing for a commitment from him since he attended summer camp, and that continued on his latest visit.

“Coach Derek Lewis said, ‘Why not?’ He told us to list some reasons why not to come here, and I couldn’t think of one,” Ivey recalled.

However, the 6-foot-5, 265-pounder doesn’t plan to pull the trigger anytime soon. He wants to visit other schools and has interest in Alabama, Auburn, Florida State, LSU, Ohio State and Oklahoma.

Ivey hopes to decide after his senior season, possibly at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

“I don’t have any top (schools) or anything,” he said. “Florida has positioned themselves well though.”

2015 Apopka fullback Chandler Cox. (Photo by Zach Abolverdi/The Gainesville Sun)

Cox is a 6-foot-2, 220-pounder who is being recruited by the Gators as an H-back. He has seven offers so far, but one stands out early.

“Florida is definitely at the top of my list right now,” Cox said. “I’ve been here a lot and developed a good relationship with the coaches.

“That’s very important not just to me, but my mom and my family. So that’s something I really about like Florida, just the people, the atmosphere and the facilities.”

Cox is looking to make a summertime decision, and there’s a chance he and Ivey wind up at UF together.

“That would be awesome” he said. “We live an hour and 15 away, so it’s close (to home).

“And to play with him again at the next level would be awesome. It would be a dream come true. We are like brothers. He’s at my house like four times a week.”

Holland feeling pressure 

2015 Jacksonville Trinity Christian linebacker Jeff Holland. (Photo by Zach Abolverdi/The Gainesville Sun)

Jacksonville Trinity Christian linebacker Jeff Holland, another familiar face at Florida, decided to visit again Saturday instead of attend Alabama’s Junior Day.

It was his first time in Gainesville since his teammate, 2015 safety Deontai Williams, committed to the Gators. UF’s coaches and players are now expecting him to do the same.

“It’s a lot of pressure,” Holland said. “They’re waiting on me to commit. It looks like I will because my teammates has.

“But I’m cool with all the coaches. I know all of them. I just joke with them and have a great time. I hung out with Vernon (Hargreaves III) and Nick (Washinton). Vernon is on me bad. He’s telling me to commit every time I see him. I get texts from him and Nick, so it’s a lot.”

Holland is ranked the No. 1 outside linebacker and 8th overall prospect by ESPN. The 6-foot-2, 226-pounder lists Auburn as his leader ahead of Florida, but his Twitter feed is full of tweets about the Gators.

Is he tipping his hand?

“Not really,” Holland said laughing. “It’s nothing big. I just tweet what’s on my mind. Maybe I’ll start tweeting more about Auburn.”

He was right on cue Sunday.

Johnson enjoys UF

With no safeties in Florida’s 2014 class, the Gators are looking to load up at the position for 2015.

One of their top targets is Miami Killian’s Jaquan Johnson, who visited Saturday.

“Junior Day was nice, I got to see the campus again,” he said. “I haven’t seen it in like two years. I brought my family with me so it was a pretty good experience for us.”

Defensive backs coach Travaris Robinson talked Johnson about what his role would be in UF’s secondary.

“Basically I could come in, and they were going to give me the opportunity to play,” he said of their conversation. “They see me like a Matt Elam safety, sticking with slot receivers.”

Johnson, ranked the No. 10 athlete by ESPN, claims no leaders and doesn’t have a timetable on his decision.

“No one is at the top of the board,” he said. “We are giving everybody an opportunity to talk to me, and we will see who we like the best.

“We plan on visiting several colleges. I’m not really sure right now, but when we get back home we’re going to talk about more and go from there.”

Lawson meets with Roper

2015 Tampa Hillsborough QB Dwayne Lawson. (Photo by Zach Abolverdi/The Gainesville Sun)

Another ESPN Junior 300 visitor was quarterback Dwayne Lawson.

The Gators offered him in early December, and he spent Saturday looking at tape with new Florida offensive coordinator Kurt Roper.

“Spread offense, no-huddle,” Lawson said of what he saw. “I’m not going to get into too much detail because I’m not sure what coach Roper wants me to say. But it was great watching film with him.”

Lawson played with Jordan Sherit at Tampa Hillsborough, and the UF redshirt freshman defensive end has already told his former teammate why he should join the Gators.

“They’re ballers. They ball here. That’s obviously what you want to go to college for —  to ball,” Lawson said of Sherit’s sales pitch.

The 6-foot-5, 215-pounder plans to take his recruitment to all the way to signing day. He currently has a Top 3 of Florida, UCF and Tennessee.

Scenes from Saturday

Some other 2015 attendees for Junior Day were Tarpon Springs East Lake receiver George Campbell, Orlando Timber Creek running back Jacques Patrick, Orlando Olympia quarterback Deondre Francois, Orlando Oak Ridge receiver Nyqwan Murray, Deerfield Beach defensive end Jason Strowbridge and Lawrenceville (Ga.) Central Gwinnett linebacker Adonis Thomas.

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  1. February 3rd, 2014 10:20 am

    Sounds like great news! Let keep after it and keep stocking up!

    by AZG_77

  2. February 3rd, 2014 11:01 am

    What does it mean?

    You know a recruit is important when he gets escorted out. D.J. Durkin & Coleman Hutzler just sent off 2015 LB Adonis Thomas from Jr. Day.

    — Zach Abolverdi (@ZachAbolverdi) February 1, 2014

    by Homer J

  3. February 3rd, 2014 11:16 am

    Homer J,
    The coaches personally walked him out of the building to his car. I’ve only seen them do that with three kids. Most just walk out of the football offices by themselves.

    by Zach Abolverdi

  4. February 3rd, 2014 11:41 am

    That means he is probably a potential impact player. He will be able to come in (with hard work) and play on our defense from day 1. He is a grown man!!

    by Brother Love

  5. February 3rd, 2014 12:48 pm

    Bring them Apopka Blue Darters on! That is one stud school on the offensive side of the ball. Would love to see us get both of those guys.

    by MTGATOR

  6. February 3rd, 2014 12:50 pm

    I think its going to be hard to get any of these players to come here next year. In all probability, we will be looking for a new coach and that instability will cause most top recruits to go elsewhere.

    by TJ-Gators

  7. February 3rd, 2014 1:26 pm

    “They’re ballers. They ball here. That’s obviously what you want to go to college for”

    I love it.

    The vibe is shifting. Doom and gloom is long gone.


    by gatorcooken

  8. February 3rd, 2014 1:37 pm

    I think Holland looks small. They say he is 6′ 2″ and 226 but that is hard to believe.

    by TJ-Gators

  9. February 3rd, 2014 1:44 pm

    Are they going to the white helmets and F logo next year? Saw that in the background…..fine with me, need to change things up!

    by GG

  10. February 3rd, 2014 3:26 pm

    Love the list of junior visitors. Hopefully we get several commits out of this group.

    by Gator863

  11. February 3rd, 2014 4:42 pm

    I’m now deleting any post under the name AZG_77. Use a different name, real Arizona Gator.

    by Zach Abolverdi

  12. February 3rd, 2014 5:18 pm

    Whoever is having someone post under their name, send me an email address with your new name and IP address if you know it.

    by Zach Abolverdi

  13. February 3rd, 2014 7:07 pm

    I like that Holland kid. Seems like a little bit of a jokester. He’s got a good attitude.

    by Gator Todd

  14. February 4th, 2014 8:51 am

    For those of you still latched on to that negative terminal, it’s time to let go and get behind our coaches and players. We are the “12th” man and will play a key role in turning things around. We need to set a record for attendance at the Spring game and show that we aren’t the kind of fans that hang our Gator gear in the closet when things get tough. Notice all the FSU fans that have come out of nowhere? We’re better than that. Muschamp has shown that he is committed to having a great year and has defied the thinking of most recruiting analyst, by putting together one of the top classes in the country. There are going to be things to complain about and some are justified; however, we, as fans, can be criticized, as well, if we only show up during the good times. It’s going to be a great year to be a Gator!

    by GIGator

  15. February 4th, 2014 9:42 am

    Going to be a very interesting day tomorrow. The Gators are at least in the running to pick up several top commits. It seems that most are predicting a majority of the recruits staying close to home. Hopefully at least in few cases they are wrong. Great job recruiting by the Gator staff to be in the running for these kids.

    Nice to see that quite a few of the top 2015 recruits are from close to Gainesville.

    by Gator863

  16. February 4th, 2014 9:56 am

    GI, the speeches really aren’t necessary. A lot of people have a bad tatse ion their mouth after watching this dismal season. I myself was a huge proponent of replacing Muschamp but have moved on from that and am concentrating on recruiting now.

    Muschamp is doing a very good job at recruiting, but it’s up to the HBC’s own ability to adapt or perish that will determine our seasons to come, but he was undoubtedly “committed to a great year” last pre-season and we saw what happened… 4 – 8.

    The point is, I think most who are anti-Muschamp have relegated themselves to supporting the program and the players like they always have and there’s no need for some (not saying it’s you in particular), to constantly preach at others as if they have the market cornered on fan class and loyalty.

    We are all Gators here, whether we like Muschamp or not. I think that is lost on a few around here.

    by Gator Todd

  17. February 4th, 2014 10:01 am

    Unfortunately, I’m hearing stories that OT Damian Prince might stay in Maryland?

    I really hope that’s untrue, because he said his trip to UF was his best so far and that new OL Mike Summers was his “favorite OL coach”. I’m hoping he chooses UF tomorrow and doesn’t decide to “chase championships” at Maryland like WR Stephon Diggs did. I mean, look at all the NC and ACC trophie4s he has in his trophy case now (sarcasm intended). ;-)

    I just don’t know what those Maryland coache sare telling these 5* kids up there, because unless they manage to bring in a group of about 15 – 16 5* at one time, the Terps are not going to be hoisting any kind of trophies for a long, long time.

    by Gator Todd

  18. February 4th, 2014 10:43 am

    where are the last day predictions on prince, mckenzie, adoree, jc etc etc???

    by Shariff

  19. February 4th, 2014 10:57 am

    Gator Todd – I think it is more likely what his parents are telling him. I think a lot of these kids stay closer to home so their parents can come see them play.

    by Gator863

  20. February 4th, 2014 11:19 am

    Gator Todd, exactly what can UF say about championships? The team was 4-8. When was the last time the Gators won the East division of the SEC? To talk of winning championships, don’t you need to have done so in the last 5 years? UF is not this juggernaut of the college football world, nobody is scared to play the Gators. I predict UF will lose to UGA for the fourth straight year. You can relive glory days all you want, but until the Gators actually win the East division at least, it’s not something that applies to this team.

    by ntcrze

  21. February 4th, 2014 11:33 am

    agree 100 percent. It is easy to forget these are 17 and 18 year old kids- even those in their 20′s with all due respect didnt catch all of the glory days of Spurrier. They mindset is last year and a few years before. Meyer and Spurrier are really the only two successful coaches the school has ever had.

    by Shariff

  22. February 4th, 2014 12:15 pm

    How convenient that you picked 5 years, so that you could exclude the championship the Gators won in 2008. If these kids were 10 years old, you may be right that they would not remember the Gators winning a National Championship. At 17 & 18 they certainly can remember when the Gators won.

    by Gator863

  23. February 4th, 2014 12:22 pm

    for some of them yes- the urban championsihips they would be 13-14 etc -this is. ot a criticism it is the reality- these are 17 and 18 year olds who for some of them may have seen the good years os urban meyer- I suspect even many of them werent huge college football fans at that age- so we are relying on two good years meyer had- otherwise they have no idea what steve spurrier was all about- not an easy sell especially with the year last year

    by Shariff

  24. February 4th, 2014 12:34 pm

    Bottom line is recruiting is not about championships, but championship have a ton to do with recruiting. Top prospects are mostly looking at exposure and the quickest way to the NFL. That is why SEC schools do so well in recruiting. But enough about that, it is time for Zach to release his final prediction for our 2014 class. So come on Zach release the final article!

    by MTGATOR

  25. February 4th, 2014 12:58 pm

    With Prince, A. Jackson and Carter is more of a distance thing than a championship thing. Urban had three good years as the Gators finished 3rd in the country in Tebow’s senior year. The Gators also went 11 -2 and finished in the top 10 the year before last. The fact that the Gators are a finalist for these top recruits tells you they see a lot more positive things about UF than some of the posters here.

    by Gator863

  26. February 4th, 2014 3:34 pm

    zook was a great recruiter- better than spurrier- whether or not muschamp is a good gameday coach is anyone’s guess but so far he hasnt shown that. Recruiting is just part of the puzzle even thought it is hyped on social media nowadays.

    by Shariff

  27. February 4th, 2014 3:51 pm

    Seems like in 2012 he was able to make great adjustments at halftime and we went 11-2. Maybe that was mostly Quinn looking back?? Hard to tell last year with all the injuries, he had noting to work with….we’ll see next year, no excuses allowed.

    by GG

  28. February 4th, 2014 4:15 pm

    he had enough to work with to beat georgia southern

    by Shariff

  29. February 4th, 2014 5:07 pm

    Shariff – Finally something I would agree with you about. Yes, they should have beaten Georgia Southern even with all the injuries.

    by Gator863

  30. February 4th, 2014 5:22 pm

    863, you’re probably right, His parents don’t want him leaving far away, but his best chance at a great NFL career IMO is playing in the SEC.

    by Gator Todd

  31. March 4th, 2014 11:00 am

    [...] pair of prospects at this position in addition to Cox, who is being recruited as a fullback and has UF in the lead. The Gators were the early favorite for Patrick, their No. 1 priority, but Florida State has the [...]

    by 2015 position breakdowns: RB | Gator Prospectus Gator Prospectus - Gator Sports - Gainesville, FL - Archive

  32. March 5th, 2014 10:45 am

    [...] Returning players: Raph Andrades, Alvin Baily, Ahmad Fulwood, Marqui Hawkins, Latroy Pittman, Demarcus Robinson, Ryan Sousa, Chris Thompson, C.J. Worton Verbal commits: Deondre Farrier, Tristan Payton Top targets: John Burt, Deon Cain, George Campbell, Jovon Durante, Preston Williams Others offered: Almonzo Brown, Tyron Johnson, Christian Kirk, DaMarkus Lodge, Calvin Ridley The skinny: The Gators brought in two receivers in 2012 and five the following year. Expect them to do the same for 2015 after signing just Sousa and Worton in the last class. Already in the fold for Florida are Farrier and Payton, two in-state prospects with similar size (6-foot, 180-pound range) and sub-4.5 speed. At the top of UF’s board is Campbell, a five-star recruit from Tarpon Springs East Lake who ran the 40-yard dash in 4.36 seconds at the Under Armour combine. The 6-foot-3, 183-pounder made an early commitment to Michigan but has since backed off that pledge and reopened his recruitment. Campbell still has a long process ahead of him, but the Gators are currently in the driver’s seat after his visit to junior day. [...]

    by 2015 position breakdowns: WR | Gator Prospectus Gator Prospectus - Gator Sports - Gainesville, FL - Archive

  33. March 14th, 2014 11:43 pm

    [...] Gators, and Johnson could join him down the road. The ESPN300 member from Miami Killian attended Florida’s junior day on Feb. 1 and is being personally recruited by secondary coach Travaris Robinson. Dale, another ESPN300 [...]

    by 2015 position breakdowns: S | Gator Prospectus Gator Prospectus - Gator Sports - Gainesville, FL - Archive

  34. March 21st, 2014 8:54 am

    [...] and UF-lean Chandler Cox, Ivey’s teammate, will also be visiting with him. They attended Florida’s Junior Day together on Feb. [...]

    by High-profile visitors on tap for UF this weekend | Gator Prospectus Gator Prospectus - Gator Sports - Gainesville, FL - Archive

  35. March 22nd, 2014 9:00 am

    [...] Five-star offensive tackle Martez Ivey and fullback Chandler Cox attended Florida’s spring practice Friday, their first trip to UF since visiting for Junior Day. [...]

    by Cox, Ivey comfortable in Gainesville | Gator Prospectus Gator Prospectus - Gator Sports - Gainesville, FL - Archive

  36. March 22nd, 2014 8:14 pm

    [...] Hillsborough Dwayne Lawson attended Florida’s Junior Day last month to watch film with new offensive coordinator Kurt Roper and learn about his [...]

    by Lawson visits for second time in as many months | Gator Prospectus Gator Prospectus - Gator Sports - Gainesville, FL - Archive

  37. April 12th, 2014 10:00 pm

    [...] Another top-flight linebacker on campus Saturday was Adonis Thomas (Lawrenceville, Ga./Central Gwinnett), whom Holland met at Florida’s Junior Day on Feb. 1. [...]

    by | Gator Prospectus Gator Prospectus - Gator Sports - Gainesville, FL - Archive

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