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Baseball contract in hand, Florida Gators' Riley Cooper ponders NFL

What about the recruits?: When Urban Meyer takes a leave of absence after Friday’s game, will UF recruits waver?

Associated Press

What about the recruits?: When Urban Meyer takes a leave of absence after Friday’s game, will UF recruits waver?

NEW ORLEANS — Florida senior WR Riley Cooper said he will attempt to play in the NFL, despite having signed a professional baseball contract.

"I'm going to the NFL combine and the Senior Bowl," Cooper said Monday in New Orleans. "Hopefully I'll go out to the combine and run my 4.3 or 4.4, not that 4.52 they (scouts) are talking about."

Cooper, of Clearwater, signed a pro contract with the Texas Rangers in August, but the organization allowed him to return to Florida for his senior year. Cooper is the Gators' second-leading receiver with 44 catches for 780 yards.

"I'll definitely have a decision to make," Cooper said.

Addazio's new role: Steve Addazio made his first public appearance since being named UF interim head coach and said fans should be assured nothing will change for the Gators while coach Urban Meyer takes an indefinite leave of absence.

"I'm going to be me now," Addazio said. "The good news is we share so many of the core beliefs that it allows us to keep exactly like it's going."

Addazio, in his fifth season with the Gators, called taking over for Meyer an "honor."

Meyer will be the Gators' coach in Friday's Sugar Bowl game against Cincinnati, then Addazio will take over while Meyer is away. While players and coaches said the program is in stable hands, convincing recruits may not be so easy.

"I think this class right now is in a bit of a holding pattern," said Tom Luginbill, national recruiting director for ESPN Scouts Inc. " … I think it may take a few days for this entire situation to play itself out. We are in the middle of the recruiting dead period. So no recruiting efforts can take place in terms of contact to current Florida verbal commitments. However, the moment that ends, don't kid yourself. The chum's going to be in the water, and the sharks will be circling."

No disrespect: To say that Florida has been the dominant story at the Sugar Bowl is an understatement. Cincinnati could finish undefeated, but Bearcats players said they don't feel slighted that the Gators are getting all the media attention.

"All the attention should be on Florida this week," Cincinnati DE Alex Daniels said. "They've got one of the greatest players ever to play the game. They've got an awesome coach that's going through a problem right now. We just feel like it doesn't matter because we still have to play on Friday. It's always like that for us every week. We always get overlooked, so we really don't fell like that's a problem."

Fast facts

Sugar Bowl

Who: Florida (12-1) vs. Cincinnati (12-0)

When/where: 8:30 p.m. Friday; Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans

TV: Ch. 13

Line: UF by 121/2

Baseball contract in hand, Florida Gators' Riley Cooper ponders NFL 12/28/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 29, 2009 5:34pm]
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