After working his tail off as the de facto 'recruiting coordinator' for Florida during last week's Under Armour All-American practices and game, New Port Richey (Fla.) Gulf lineman Leon Orr was able to help deliver some good news to the Gator Nation in the form of a commitment from four-star defensive lineman Dominique Easley. On Tuesday the University of Florida was able to provide Orr some good news of its own.
On Tuesday a member of the Gator support staff called to inform the 6-foot-4, 310-pound lineman that he has been accepted to enroll at Florida early.
"Someone named Jackie [Hensel] called and told me that I made it in," explained Orr. "They wanted me to come up right away. I could have been there today, but I asked them if I could wait until Thursday so I can get everything straightened out and get things together here."
In mid December Orr was uncertain whether or not he would have enough time to finish-up his core requirements.
It took a couple of weeks of hard work and dedication to get it done.
"It was stressful. I was confused if I wanted to come in early because it was getting close and I didn't know if I was going to make it," said Orr. "I got after it. I did 30 assignments in four days. I never had to work like that before, but it was worth it to make it in early."
Not only did Orr work overtime to become qualified for early entry, he pulled double duty while at Under Armour.
According to Orr, though he couldn't practice or play because of a injury he sustained early in his senior season, he was determined to make a difference while in Orlando.
"I was like, 'Okay I can't be out there playing to showcase my talent so I guess I'm going to come out here and recruit to try to get the best players to come to Florida to help us get the best recruiting class.'"
If looking for talented prospects was the mission, he was in the right place.
"When we first got there, it was like going grocery shopping in a store that has everything you've ever wanted," explained the always descriptive Orr. "It's like, 'You have your receivers in aisle three. Your linebackers in aisle five. If you want your dual-threat quarterbacks, we have them behind the counter by the prescription cold medicine.'"
Since Orr made the comparison to shopping, he must have felt like a kid in a candy store when he first laid eyes on Easley.
"When I saw what he was doing at practice I said, 'You don't have an offer from UF?' He was like, 'Yeah, I wanted to commit to UF' When he said that, I started talking to him about UF. I want someone like that on the same team as me. You want someone like him on your side. He's a great player, but that's not all he's about. He's a good guy. You could see that he is the kind of guy that's going to fit in at Florida. It already feels like he is one of my regular friends. We talked about Florida. We talked about school. He's the easiest person to get along with. He's great, but he's not a jerk about it. He's not arrogant at all. In one week I felt like he was a friend I've known since I was little.
"I'm not going to compare him to any of the other great players at Florida, but when you see how he plays and what he's like, you're going to be like, 'That's the kind of player we need at Florida.'"
While Easley may have been the center of Orr's attention, he stayed busy working on a couple of other prospects as well.
"I talked a lot to [wide receiver] Justin Hunter and linebacker Jordan Hicks. I was all over Hunter asking why he would want to play for LSU. Don't they run the triple option or something? They don't pass the ball there," said Orr laughing. "He said it wasn't all about football, he really likes the school. He'll be going to LSU.
"Jordan Hicks said it was really down to Texas and UF. He likes UF, but he said he was worried about not knowing who the defensive coordinator is going to be. I think he has Texas [leading] more now, but he's still thinking about Florida."
As for his own situation, Orr said he is ready to report to Florida and get started on his college career.
"I've talked to [fellow early enrollee, offensive lineman] Ian Silberman every day. He's told me what it's like and he's been to class already. I'll be getting up there and getting started."
It is still in question whether or not he will be full speed by the start of spring drills. Orr, who is still on crutches, says that his injury is healing nicely.
"I'm using crutches, but I'm cleared to high step a little bit. I'm using crutches for protection. After this week I'm having surgery to take the screw out. Right now I'm not allowed to flex my ankle, but when they take out the screw I'll be able to rotate it and get it back to normal. I'll keep going on from there. I think I'll be able to go sometime during spring practice."
Thursday he is off to Gainesville to begin the next chapter of his life. Though the scenery around him may be changing, don't look for Orr to act any differently. The always affable big man invited GBN to somewhat of an open house when he gets settled in at Florida.
"My coach is coming by tomorrow with his truck to help me move my stuff to Florida. I've got my little mini fridge. My TV. My other stuff. You should come by and we'll tape a MTV Cribs - Florida Football style."