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Florida football recruiting: Five-star wide receiver Ermon Lane decommits from Gators

One of the biggest prizes of Florida's 2014 recruiting class is now a free agent again, as Ermon Lane has reopened his recruitment.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Five-star wide receiver Ermon Lane made one of the worst-kept secrets in recruiting openly known late Friday, announcing his decommitment from Florida via his Twitter account.

Lane, despite his words to the contrary, has been seen as a likely candidate to flip from Florida to Florida State because of fellow South Florida prospect Dalvin Cook's New Year's Eve decision to do the same. Cook and Lane both spent much of the week leading up to the Under Armour All-America Game hanging together and giving pro-Florida comments to reporters.

But Cook's revelation of his flip put the lie to some of those comments, and Lane's announcement that he would take an official visit to Florida State in January — something that still remains contingent on him taking an SAT or ACT for the first time later this month — was seen as something that might have shown Cook's hand, given the two players' closeness.

Lane has the ability to be a big-play No. 1 receiver in virtually any offense, and would have been in the mix for playing time at Florida right away, as the Gators try to resurrect a passing game that has fallen on hard times after the departure of Tim Tebow. However, his talent's copious enough that, should he follow in the footsteps of fellow South Florida product Kelvin Benjamin at FSU — who wore No. 1, Lane's preferred number, and announced his departure for the NFL Draft on Friday — he might well be in the mix in Tallahassee early on, too.

This is a big loss for Florida, but it's very much an expected loss, which Florida's recent activity on the recruiting trail had hinted at. Since talk of Cook flipping heated up, Florida has flipped wide receiver Ryan Sousa from Florida State, gotten a commitment from big wideout Moral Stephens, offered U.S. Army All-American Game selection Jamil Kamara, and turned up the heat on Georgia player Myles Autry, South Florida receiver/ace returner Isaiah McKenzie, and FSU commit C.J. Worton.

And while it will hurt when Lane commits to Florida State — and he will — it's also likely to put the saga of Cook's commitment and decommitment to rest. Lane was one of four South Florida players to follow Cook in committing to Florida, and is the third (and likely last) one of those players to back off their pledges, follwing Cook's Miami Central teammate Da'Vante Phillips, a wide receiver in the class of 2015 who committed in July, and Chris Lammons, who committed to Florida on the same day Lane did in August and decommitted on Thursday.

As for the final member of the quartet of South Florida players that committed after Cook, defensive back Quincy Wilson, he seems pretty solid to Florida.

We wish Lane well in making his college decision, but he might want to abide by his own statement about getting off Twitter for a while, lest he continue giving Wilson opportunities to roast him.