December 11, 2003

Gators In Top 2 For Juco DB

In recent weeks, the Florida Gators have welcomed in a few football prospects for official visits. Thanksgiving weekend, the Gators hosted Rhyan Anderson, Markell Thompson and Jeremy Mincey. Then during a mid-week visit, Rory Nicol came to visit Florida, Dec. 2-4. Finally, coming and going without much fanfare was Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College cornerback Jonathan Joseph, who officially visited Florida the weekend of Dec. 5-6.

"It went real good," Joseph said of his official visit to Gainesville.

Joseph, listed at 6-0, 190 with a 4.4 40 time, started his official visit last Friday when Florida head coach Ron Zook and linebackers coach Bill Miller took Joseph out to dinner. After dinner, Joseph's host for the weekend - Channing Crowder - took him to meet a few of the other Gator players and hang out with the team.

"He (Crowder) is real cool. I like him a lot," Joseph said.

On Saturday, Joseph started the day by having breakfast with defensive backs coach Mike Woodford and Miller. After breakfast, they took Joseph to watch the Gators practice. At the conclusion of practice, Joseph met with an academic advisor.

Joseph continued his day by heading over to the O'Connell Center to watch the Gator basketball team play Stetson. After the game, Joseph had dinner with defensive coordinator Charlie Strong, Woodford, Miller and Zook. He concluded the evening by meeting up with Crowder and some other Gator players, which highlighted his trip to Gainesville.

"Just hanging around the guys and watching the team practice," Joseph said. "Just being around the guys and seeing what they do, seeing where I can fit in and just the environment."

Also on the visit, Joseph had a sit-down with Zook and he laid out the whole scenario for Joseph.

"He talked about the need that they had for me," Joseph said. "He talked about where I could come in and fit in, how important (it was) for the defense to have me. Then he said that they aren't bringing me in to be a backup, they are bringing me in to be a starter. But they just can't give it to me. I have to earn my starting spot."

This season for Coffeyville, Joseph had 60 tackles, five interceptions and returned two interceptions for touchdowns on defense. Joseph also played a key role on special teams where he blocked three punts.

"Jonathan is a kid that's going to fly around from his cornerback spot and make a lot of plays on run support," longtime Coffeyville assistant Sean Cherico said in an earlier Rivals.com interview. "But he's also a lock-down corner that you can stick him on the other team's best receiver and he'll get the job done."

Joseph has 10 offers, including Florida, South Carolina, Arkansas, Auburn, Texas A&M and Tennessee to name a few, but Joseph has narrowed his list down to two schools.

"It is between Florida and South Carolina," Joseph said.

Joseph will visit the Gamecocks this weekend. It will be his second and last official visit. He does not plan on taking any more official visits and will have a decision soon after his visit to Columbia.

"I probably will make a decision a week later (after his S.C. visit)," Joseph said.

Joseph is coming off a successful visit to Florida and his rating of the visit is going to be a tough task for the Gamecocks, who placed Joseph at Coffeyville, to top.

"Out of 10, I would give it a nine," Joseph said.

But something the Gators don't have going for them is that Joseph is a South Carolina native. Joseph graduated from Rock Hill (S.C.) Northwestern High School and in fact, right before his season started at Coffeyville, Joseph verbally committed to South Carolina, but has backed off that commitment and says as of now it is no longer a commitment.

"It is wide open right now," Joseph said.

It may be wide open right now, but Joseph does have a favorite heading into his South Carolina visit, only he isn't telling anyone his secret.

"I have a leader but I don't really want to say it right now," Joseph said.


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