Tre Bell decommits, commits to Vanderbilt
Late Friday night, Barton Simmons of 247 Sports reported some news I've never gotten to type before: Vanderbilt flipped a Florida commitment, as cornerback Tre Bell decommitted from Florida and committed to Vanderbilt.
Bell was the third of three commits to make the pledge to Florida on the day of the Orange and Blue Debut in April, following Joshua Outlaw and Ahmad Fulwood, and he was probably the least-regarded of those three players, and one of the lesser-regarded players in Florida's class. 247's composite rankings have him as the 448th best player in the 2013 class, and that's a better number than only five other players Florida has signed; it's also significantly lower than the rest of Florida's outstanding crop of defensive backs (Vernon Hargreaves III, Nick Washington, and Keanu Neal) at the moment.
Behind that group and the group on campus, Bell was likely going to be near the bottom of the depth chart from the jump; that isn't ideal, and it's a good reason to find a new school.
The Gainesville Sun's Zach Abolverdi notes that Florida almost assuredly has a replacement in the works for Bell, and that USC commit Jalen Ramsey, a teammate of Florida commit Max Staver, might be the guy to watch.
If not Ramsey, who is a fantastic player, Florida's still got another really good option at CB in state: Mackensie Alexander. But Bell flipping is likely something that the coaches anticipated, and they could be poised to get a more highly-esteemed player in his place.
Ja'Juan Story to transfer, end era of taking doo doo and listening to Katy Perry
Will Muschamp announced that redshirt freshman Ja'Juan Story would transfer Friday morning through GatorZone's Scott Carter. Here's the Muschamp quote:
"Ja'Juan came me to Thursday afternoon and indicated that he wanted to transfer," said Muschamp. "He just felt like this wasn't a good fit for him and he needed a fresh start. Ja'Juan is a good student and was a good teammate and we wish him the best of luck."
Story also told Carter "It just wasn't the right fit for me." Story, you may recall, was a guy who Florida wasn't sure it would land until his National Signing Day commitment in 2011, as he committed under Urban Meyer and wavered quite a bit after Meyer's departure. (He flirted with several schools, including, amusingly, Ohio State.)
Story's departure deprives Florida fans of the opportunity to make reference to Amy Campbell's legendary interview with Story, who told her his pregame routine was "I doodoo and then listen to Katy Perry" in as many words. I'm gonna miss that Story story.
However, missing Story himself is less likely: He's a big guy with some speed, but had done nothing to distinguish himself so far, with Quinton Dunbar, Andre Debose, and Frankie Hammond locking down the top spots in Florida's offense and Latroy Pittman looking like the young comer who will be the most-used wideout beyond them. Story could still be a good player for a big program, I think, but it wasn't to be at Florida, and his departure means that giving another recruit a scholarship is easier.
Cornerback competition is good
One of the major storylines heading into Florida's fall camp was the cornerback position, and who would emerge as the starters there. Marcus Roberson, Louchiez Purifoy, Cody Riggs, and Jaylen Watkins all seem to be in competition for the spots — and no man is clearly leading.
Each player has his advantages: Roberson is a gamer, and was Florida's most complete corner in 2011 as a freshman; Riggs is a physical guy who has added weight this offseason; Purifoy is probably the biggest of the four; and Watkins is probably the best pure cover corner on the roster. But each has weaknesses: Roberson's ball skills are lacking; Riggs has a tendency to misplay coverages; Purifoy is green, having spent 2011 largely on special teams; Watkins lacks the size to compete with big DBs.
In my ideal world, Roberson would start at one corner spot, and Purifoy at the other, with Riggs and Watkins handling the nickel and dime back roles that seem ideally suited to them. But Purifoy may not be that far along in his development yet, and Riggs and Watkins may have improved dramatically in camp. We won't know for sure about any of this until Bowling Green.