Fourteen of the best 7-on-7 football teams in the state of Florida were in Bradenton this weekend for the IMG 7v7 Southeast Regional Championship. More than a handful of Florida targets and commits participated in the tournament and Inside the Gators was able to catch up with them and ask them a few a questions about their recruitment.
Commit still solid to Florida
Cross City (Fla.) Dixie County cornerback Duke Dawson was impressive throughout the day on Saturday at IMG Academy, taking home the distinction of being named the top defender by Rivals.com (Dawson leads top defensive performers). While the Rivals250 member does have to improve his down-field coverage skills, he did look very good when covering short to intermediate passes. He had several pass deflections and nearly picked off a pass in one of his later games.
Dawson committed to Florida in early January, and has no intention of changing his mind.
"I'm not really that open right now. I mean I'm still gonna take some visits because I'm gonna go check out Alabama this summer, but that's about it," stated Dawson.
The 5-foot-11, 195-pound defensive back added that while he has not received any visits from coaches since the contact period began about a week ago, he is expecting some in the coming weeks.
"They are supposed to be coming by next month during spring. I think Alabama is supposed to come by, and Florida, they are gonna come by check me out. Those are the only two I know of right now," said Dawson.
The Gator pledge also stated that he intends to enroll early when he goes to college, whether it is at Florida or elsewhere, and he is currently on track to do so academically.
Rivals100 receiver remains in talks with Gators
As expected, the nations No. 2 rated wide receiver, Ermon Lane also performed well on Saturday, displaying his athletic ability and smooth route running.
Lane has offers from nearly all of the country's top programs, and says everybody has a shot at obtaining his services.
"I don't have any leaders right now. I'm keeping it open. I'm looking at everybody. I'm trying to see where the depth charts stand at," said Lane.
However, the four-star prospect said that some big name schools are showing more interest than others.
"Florida, UM (Miami, FL), and Alabama stay in contact the most," said Lane. "The coaches should be coming by next week. I know Alabama is coming, UM, Florida, Florida State."
Lane was able to take a trip to the Swamp earlier this spring and liked what he saw.
"I've visited a spring practice in Gainesville this year. It was a great time. I got to meet the players and the coaches. They have good competition. They were out there competing hard," said the receiver, adding he remains in frequent contact with the Gator coaching staff.
"We stay in contact like every other day."
Three-star receiver likes UF, keeping options open
Shortly after a junior day visit to Gainesville back in February, West Palm Beach (Fla.) Cardinal Newman wide receiver Travis Rudolph decommitted from Miami and named Florida his leader.
However, on Saturday the 6-foot, 189-pounder told Inside the Gators that may no longer be the case.
"Right now I can't really say anybody's my leader because I haven't touched base with other campuses that I want to see. So right now they [Florida] are at the top, but no one is my leader," said Rudolph.
This spring Rudolph has only taken visits to Florida and Miami. But, once the school year is over the three-star recruit plans to see as many schools as he can.
"In the summer time I'm going to take some visits. My options are wide open, so wherever my family can manage to get time for me to go, that's where I'm gonna be," said Rudolph.
Linebacker says Florida among early favorites
Another south Florida product at the event who is garnering interest from Florida is Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) University School linebacker Richard Yeargin III.
"I talk with the Florida coaches every week, like two or three times a week," said Yeargin III. "Coach Brad Lawing is my main recruiter. He tells me 'We want you, we need you,' you know, the whole talk of recruitment."
The linebacker picked up an offer from Florida in February. He took a trip to Gainesville last month and was pleased with what he saw.
"It was a great visit. I got everything I was looking for and it's a school that I highly consider," said Yeargin III, adding UF is just one of a handful of schools he is currently looking at.
"I really like Florida, Clemson, UCLA, Notre Dame, Michigan, Georgia Tech, Tennessee and that's it."
However, the aforementioned schools are just early favorites for the three-star prospect as offers continue to roll in. He says there are a couple offers that could change his mind.
"It's been picking up a lot lately. I gathered three offers recently from Notre Dame, Michigan, and TCU," stated Yeargin III. "At this point the only offers I would really jump for joy over are Alabama and Georgia."
Rivals100 wide-out stands out
One of the most impressive athletes out on the field at IMG Academy was Tarpon Springs (Fla.) East Lake wide receiver Artavis Scott. The 5-foot-11, 180-pounder caught upwards of five touchdowns passes on Saturday, showing his ability to run nearly every type route.
Scott has more than 20 offers at this time and will take his time when narrowing down his options.
"I don't know. I really don't worry about all that stuff right now. I really don't have any standings on any team," said Scott.
The four-star receiver has taken a few visits this spring. He was in attendance at Florida's Orange and Blue Debut, took a trip to Michigan last weekend, and may visit Miami before the end of the month. He has also shown interest in Florida State.
"They [FSU] throw the ball a lot. And me having a connection with Coach [Lawrence] Dawsey, it just makes it even better for me," said Scott.
While Scott my not have a favorite school at the moment, his mother is a different story.
"She's cool with wherever I wanna go. Well, she likes Florida, but, I don't know, it's whatever I want."