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Year of the RB: Florida tandem in synch since high school days

Florida Gators running back Jordan Cronkrite (32) runs for a first down after a reception in the first quarter of the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl between the Florida Gators and Michigan Wolverines at Orlando Citrus Bowl Stadium in Orlando, Fla., on Friday, Jan. 1, 2016. (Loren Elliott, Times)
Florida Gators running back Jordan Cronkrite (32) runs for a first down after a reception in the first quarter of the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl between the Florida Gators and Michigan Wolverines at Orlando Citrus Bowl Stadium in Orlando, Fla., on Friday, Jan. 1, 2016. (Loren Elliott, Times)
Published Aug. 31, 2016

Jordan Scarlett and Jordan Cronkrite | Florida GAINESVILLE — Before Jordan Scarlett and Jordan Cronkrite were Gators teammates, or even friends, they were South Florida rivals.

"We were both Jordans," Scarlett said. "We were both running backs from that area. Same class. We were competing for player of the year type things."

They occasionally had to compete on the same field. Scarlett's Fort Lauderdale University School blew out Cronkrite's Miami Westminster Christian in 2011 and 2012, thanks in part to Scarlett's three touchdowns. Scarlett eventually transferred to St. Thomas Aquinas, but the two still followed each other.

They started becoming friends at Nike's The Opening showcase in the summer of 2014. The two then-Miami commits stayed in touch throughout their senior seasons. They visited the Gators on the same weekend in January, which sparked their late flips to UF.

"Then we've gotten closer," Cronkrite said.

Their skills have grown, too.

Cronkrite flashed with a 41-yard touchdown catch at South Carolina last year, while Scarlett's pop showed when he broke two tackles during a 60-yard rush against Georgia. They share reps during practice, and UF wants that to continue this season.

"We push each other every day," Scarlett said.

Just as they have since high school.

Matt Baker, Times staff writer

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