Whether Florida coach Urban Meyer violated minor NCAA rules in the recruitment of junior college receiverCarl Moore remains under review by the university, but as the Gators close in on another top-three recruiting class, Meyer and his staff have bolstered their reputation for bringing the nation's best to Gainesville.
While the Internet chat rooms remain abuzz about the Gators' potential violations, some experts said Meyer's tactics are "typical" of most coaches.
"Most coaches use whatever tactics they can, that are legal, to attract recruits," said Bobby Burton, national recruiting analyst for Rivals.com. "You recruit the girlfriend, the mom, the grandma, the Little League coach, whoever is important to the recruit himself."
Meyer admittedly is aggressive. He was seen as the poster child for the overbearing text message craze that led the NCAA to ban coaches from text messaging. But being aggressive isn't illegal, experts said.
"From what I've been told, Urban Meyer is extremely aggressive in the recruiting process," said Allen Wallace of SuperPrep.com. "He pushes the envelope farther than some other coaches would, but that doesn't mean he's engaging in bad tactics. That's not a judgment I'm willing to make as recruiting has long been viewed as a cut-throat, opportunistic business where second place means little outside of wasted effort."
If all goes as expected Wednesday, Meyer's efforts will be well worth his time.
HOME, SWEET HOME: In Knoxville, homecourt really is an advantage.
When Florida plays at Tennessee in a nationally televised game at 9 tonight on ESPN, the Vols will be trying to extend a 27-game home winning streak. The last time Tennessee lost at home was 80-78 to Kentucky in the final home game of the 2005-06 season.
The Vols are 35-14 when playing in front of crowds of 20,000 or larger at Thompson-Boling Arena, which makes Florida's task all the more daunting. The arena holds nearly 22,000, and the game is a sellout.
Vols coach Bruce Pearl said the homecourt advantage at Tennessee is real.
"I think because the fans are so close that noise can be a real factor in play-calling and communication between players," Pearl said when asked why Tennessee holds such an advantage. "I think it has a negative effect on players and can be an intimidating factor on players to have them not play as well. And I think it just encourages the whole team, lifts them and elevates them to perform at a higher level. Our attendance has really, really helped our young men play well at home."
FRESHMAN PHENOM: If you're out at a women's golf match and happen to see someone who looks like she should be in high school, that's probably UF freshman Hannah Yunof Bradenton. Yun is 15 years old, enrolled in Florida in the spring and will compete in her first tournament this weekend when the No.6 Gators travel to Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge in Palos Verdes, Calif.
"She's very bright, she's a whiz kid," UF coach Jill Briles-Hinton said. "We had our first-round qualifier at the UF golf course, and she led with a 71. Because she's 15, she'll have her ups and downs, but it's our job as coaches to have more ups and downs and to teach her. We've got to give her a crash course. She's a marvelous young lady and an awesome golfer. You'll see her on the tour one day, hopefully after four years."
DID YOU KNOW?: Former Florida and current Illinois football coach Ron Zookdonated the $70,000 stipend he earned from being named the Liberty Mutual coach of the year to five charities and the Illinois Alumni Association.
Antonya English can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Check her blog at blogs.tampabay.com/gators.