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Recruiting: Gulf star Leon Orr's choice to commit early proves wise

Gulf’s Leon Orr committed to the Gators in the spring and broke his leg in the fall.

KERI WIGINTON | Times

Gulf’s Leon Orr committed to the Gators in the spring and broke his leg in the fall.

When heralded Gulf DT Leon Orr committed to the Florida Gators last spring, Bucs coach Jay Fulmer didn't initially think the move was wise.

"I kind of thought, 'You haven't explored any options,' " Fulmer said. "Don't get me wrong, I think Florida is a great choice. Their coaches are class acts. But I felt like, as a young kid, you can look around."

Fulmer now believes Orr was right to commit early.

Here's why:

In a Week 2 win over River Ridge, the 6-foot-5, 310-pound senior fractured his leg and hasn't played since. Orr had surgery Thursday and expects to be fine within about 21/2 months, but Fulmer can't help but wonder what would have happened had Orr let the recruiting process drag on throughout year.

Would schools have backed off?

"I didn't know how smart it was, but it was pretty wise looking back," Fulmer said.

Why did Orr commit so early?

Simply put, he found the place he liked and didn't feel the need to wait.

"I didn't look at it as like I was getting it out of the way," Orr said. "It was me knowing what I wanted to do. A lot of people were telling me I should wait, but I felt like I knew I wanted to go to UF."

Orr still hasn't taken his official visit to Gainesville.

He said Saturday that he plans to go there on a weekend when several uncommitted recruits also are in town, so he can help sway them.

Orr said, "I want our team to be the best."

GREEN'S LIST GROWS: There have been two major developments in the recruitment of Tampa Catholic QB/athlete Christian Green, a consensus top 100 national prospect.

The first: His father, Hiram Green, confirmed Saturday that Georgia is the leader but maybe by only a slim margin.

The second: Not only are Florida, Florida State and USF still in the mix, but another team has emerged — Southern California. The Trojans, who have worked hard to get Green, are now likely to get an official visit.

In the past three weeks, coaches from Florida, FSU and Georgia have been at Tampa Catholic games.

Green has been selected for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, one of the country's most prestigious games. He will receive his jersey in a ceremony at the school Tuesday.

FIRST FOR DURANT STAR: Durant LB Ruben Garcia, one of the area's top defensive performers, has his first Division I-A scholarship offer. It came from Florida Atlantic. USF and Wofford are also showing interest. More offers could be coming; Garcia's highlight DVD just got sent out last week.

EYE ON NEXT YEAR: Is there any doubt Alonso junior DL Anthony Chickillo will be one of the area's most coveted recruits next year? Miami, where both his father and grandfather played, has already offered. Alonso coach Mike Heldt said Chickillo's talents are comparable to those of former Ravens DL Demonte McAllister. "Demonte is special," Heldt said. "This kid is too."

Got recruiting news? E-mail Keith Niebuhr at kniebuhr@sptimes.com.

Recruiting: Gulf star Leon Orr's choice to commit early proves wise 10/31/09 [Last modified: Saturday, October 31, 2009 7:08pm]
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