Posted: 6:00 pm Sunday, December 27th, 2009
By Jason Lieser
Florida coach Urban Meyer set off a recruiting frenzy with his resignation last night, but seems to have done some damage control by saying today he will take a leave of absence and plans on coaching the Gators in 2010.
After a wild weekend, here is where UF stands with its trio of Dwyer commits:
– Matt Elam, a safety who committed as a junior, is frustrated by the recent string of events and is considering every option — including staying at Dwyer one more semester. As of today, Elam plans to return to high school and play for the basketball team.
– Gerald Christian, an all-American who plans to play tight end, is sticking with the Gators and will enroll in time for spring practices.
– Robert Clark, who Meyer personally talked out of a West Virginia commitment during a trip to Palm Beach Gardens two weeks ago, likely will uphold his pledge to UF, but could bolt for Tennessee. Like Elam, Clark said he will stay at Dwyer an extra semester.
All three players completed the proper course work to graduate early, but Dwyer coach Jack Daniels said they have not officially graduated yet and could return to take elective classes in January.
Don’t necessarily assume that Clark and Elam will stay at Dwyer another semester. Give them a few days to cool down and they might change their mind. If they’re anything like Meyer, they might feel differently tomorrow morning.
Elam said in a text message he wants more time to evaluate his possibilities.
“I’m going to sit and wait and weigh my options and see how things shake up,” he wrote.
Elam’s commitment to the Gators wavered several times this fall as he pondered offers from Florida State, Georgia and West Virginia.
Christian, who never visited another school, said Meyer called him late Saturday night and reassured him that UF was his best fit. That was enough to convince Christian, who was even more confident once Meyer announced his desire to return to the sideline next season.
“It made me happy,” Christian said. “I still felt good about it (Saturday night), but this just makes me even more sure that I still like the school.”
Clark said the chaotic weekend forced him to rule out enrolling early and now he plans to fly to Tennessee for an official visit next month.
He is concerned that Meyer could change his mind again before the 2010 season starts, but Clark still expects to be a Gator.
“That’s where I want to be,” he said. “But I’m going to stay another semester (at Dwyer). With all that’s going on right now, it’ll give me more time to think.”