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National Signing Day will be family affair for several in Florida

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The barrage of high school football stars donning a college cap to indicate where they are headed commences Wednesday morning, as the National Signing Day 2017 circus gets underway.

We at F.F.I. only pay slight attention to the mayhem of names and places, and of course, the numerous “ranking services” feeding the eager fan bases with their “stars” to tell them what kind of help is or isn’t on the way.

Nevertheless, Floirda is such a hot bed of stud high school recruits, you have to give it some brain space. So, we’ve decided to go with the “bloodline angle” of players who have famous college and/or NFL dads that you will recognize.

Adam Boselli, TE Jacksonville (Episcopal), committed to N.C. State.

Former Jags #1 Overall Pick OT Tony Boselli awaits word Saturday night whether he gets into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. But, his son’s college future is already set. The 6’4″ younger Boselli is pass catching threat headed to a pass happy offense in the ACC.

Kivon Bennett DT  Ft. Lauderdale (St. Thomas Aquinas) committed Tennessee

Kivon is the son of former all world Alabama and four time Super Bowl participant with the Bills,  LB Cornelius Bennett. At 6’3″ 265lbs., the younger Bennett is regarded as one of the top 30 D-Linemen in the country. And it is a wild twist that he chose Butch Jones and his father’s arch SEC rival, the Vols.

Griffin Alstott, QB, St. Pete (Northside Christian) committed Purdue

Griffin is a gunslinger who has been coached by his famed father Mike Alstott, and led Northside to back to back playoff appearances. Mike is a former All-American at Purdue and Pro Bowl FB with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and is largely regarded as the most punishing running fullback of the last 25 years in the NFL. Griffin  is a 6’2″ 195lbs. and threw for a decent 1,700 yards and 15 TD’s last season at the smaller private school division.

Speaking of QB prospects with prominent dads…

Davis Koetter, QB, Tampa (Berkley Prep) committed Portland State

The son of Bucs head coach Dirk Koetter (above), is a 6’2″ 185lbs. thrower, as well. His father just led the Buccaneers to their first winning season in 6 years and has been largely responsible for the pro developments of Jameis Winston and Matt Ryan, before that. So, there is obvious QB DNA for Davis. The younger Koetter led his high school team to the playoffs this past year also. And, he will now go all the way diagonally up and across the continent from Tampa to play in Div 1-AA Portland, Oregon. (The Koetters are originally from Idaho, btw).

And finally, a prized recruit in South Florida that isn’t available yet…

Patrick Surtain, Jr., CB Plantation (American Heritage) Class of 2018.

The younger Surtain is the son a former Pro Bowler with Dolphins and the Chiefs, and Patrick Surtain, Sr., like Mike Alstott, was his son’s high school coach. At 6’0″ 180lbs. the younger Surtain is regarded as the #1 high school defensive back in the nation! Hello.But Surtain has scholarship offers from 30 big time programs, but, there is belief that LSU, and newly promoted coach Ed Oregeron are the favorites. However, he may choose a Florida school, as well. This is a cliff hanger that will go on for another year!

Again, we won’t be detailing very much with National Signing Day, but those are some compelling names to help you seem smarter, if you are in the recruiting discussions today or later this week.

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Florida Gators

SEC media picks Gators third in East-two players make preseason first team

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Logan Bowles-USA TODAY Sports

With the SEC 2018 media days concluding on Thursday, the tradition of the media making their selections for the top teams and players came on Friday morning. And the Gators got recognition, just not at the top of the lists.

Not surprisingly, the scribes and broadcasters believe that it will be Alabama winning another SEC Championship, as they made the Tide the preseason pick. The Tide actually didn’t win the West much less the SEC last year, but did defeat Georgia in the College Football Playoff title game in January.

The media picked Georgia to repeat in the SEC East and head back to Atlanta for the second year in a row to defend their sec championship.

Meanwhile, the Gators were tabbed third in the East and actually, did receive four first place votes out of nearly 300 who cast a ballot.

Next, the media members put two Gators on the first team All-SEC preseason lists. Offensive lineman Martez Ivey and defensive lineman CeCe Jefferson, both seniors, were named to the top squads.

The only Gators skill player on offense to be selected was running back Jordan Scarlett, who was named for the preseason third All-SEC team. Scarlett, shown above in the 2017 Outback Bowl, comes off of a season of controversy, where he was part of a credit card fraud investigation and suspension. However, he is considered Florida’s best running back in during the fall.

This is a far cry different from the years of the Gators having players like Danny Wuerffel, Erict Rhett, Tim Tebow, and Percy Harvin, etc. year after year all over the preseason lists.

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Gators coach Dan Mullen talked tradition and positive outlook at SEC media days

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Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Tuesday in Atlanta, it was time for Gators boss Dan Mullen to take his turn at the podium (and several other outlets) and be subjected to the SEC’s annual media circus/media days.

The first year Florida coach is no stranger to the media days, as he had done it for the last nine seasons as Mississippi State’s head man.

However, the anticipation and expectation to restore Florida to an SEC power is building and Mullen embraced it, once again:

In particular, when he was asked about the winning culture at Florida, where he was part of on Urban Meyer’s two national championship staffs last decade, Mullen beamed again Tuesday about the job:

“Having been at the University of Florida before…and won multiple championships there, I know what a special place it can be. I think that was big help for me walking into a situation where I had familiarity with a lot of things,” Mullen told the media mass in his main press conference. “I think all the things: the tradition, the University, that Gator standard, all made it a very easy decision for me.”

Mullen was asked about incumbent Feleipe Franks and the quarterback competition, the rivalry with Georgia and so on, in that session, but we were particularly interested when the question turned to transfer receiver Van Jefferson from Ole Miss and his possible eligibility and impact.

First, Mullen answered about the status of the waiver to get Jefferson eligible immediately this season,

“I don’t want to say ‘frustrating,’ cause having done this (wait on NCAA decisions on player eligibility) within the NCAA and as this goes, you just understand that it is a process. As the process plays out, you get a ‘feel.’… Hopefully, we’ll be able to announce something in the near future one way or the other about what’s going on with the transfers.”

We wrote previously that the Jefferson has a chance to be immediately eligible this season, where he would not have in years past, because the SEC changed their rule in May on players leaving one program in the conference for another due to NCAA sanctions, etc., possibly being able to be cleared to play.

Jefferson wasn’t spectacular last year in Oxford, with just 42 catches for 456 yards and one score. However, he’s expected to immediately help infuse the Gators receiving corp with some life, if he can get on the field.

As for what Jefferson would bring, Mullen got somewhat specific Tuesday:

“I think he would have the opportunity to fill a need as a playmaker with experience in this league. And, I think that’s a huge benefit….when you get in big games, that’s been in and played in big games, that’s made big catches in big games, he has experience. And that’s a huge plus.”

So, it was a chance for Mullen to “sell” the Florida program, and oh, flash his new “Jordan Brand” Nike Shoe game, too:

Mullen, was selling the Gators, indeed.

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Gators to put former Heisman winner Tim Tebow in their “Ring of Honor”

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Brett Davis- USA Today Sports

The legend of Tim Tebow in Gainesville, and around the SEC, is well known. And the University of Florida added to it on Wednesday, when they announced Tebow will join their “Ring of Honor” this fall.

The former 2008 Heisman winner, who quarterbacked the Gators to the National Title that year as well, will be honored at halftime of the October 6th home game with LSU.

From the school’s official release:

His name will be unveiled and displayed in the North Endzone of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium.
 
The display, which will be approximately 18-feet wide and five feet high, will now feature Tebow, along with Wilber Marshall, Emmitt Smith, Steve Spurrier, Danny Wuerffel and Jack Youngblood. Marshall was the most recent inductee (Sept. 29, 2007), while the other four members were part of the original unveiling back on Sept. 30, 2006 as part of the 100-year Celebration of Gator Football.

The school also got reaction from Tebow to the announcement:

“I am so humbled and thankful to be able to receive this blessing, being inducted into the Ring of Honor,” Tebow said. “I know in my heart that I truly couldn’t have done it without amazing coaches and teammates who loved and sacrificed for each other so that we could accomplish our goals.

“Loving Florida wasn’t just something I did for four years, but it has been a lifelong passion. I want to thank the University of Florida and all the fans for making Gator Nation so special. I was born a Gator, I played as a Gator, and I’ll always be a Gator!

“God Bless and Go Gators!”

Tebow, who along with Spurrier and Werffel are the only three Gators to win the Heisman Trophy, left Gainesville holding 14 SEC and 28 Florida all time records. This included becoming the NCAA’s first ever quarterback to run and throw for 20 or more TDs in the same season.

We have written recently that Tebow’s latest passion is baseball, where he is currently playing and having some hitting success for the New York Mets Double-A franchise in Binghamton, NY. The now 30 year old Tebow was recently named to the Eastern League All-Star game, and there is belief that the Mets will call him up to the majors in September, when rosters expand.

The University will also honor Tebow and the 2008 National Championship team on it’s tenth anniversary this upcoming season, as well.

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