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January 5, 2003
Florida Nabs Leak On National TV
As quickly as Florida lost one of the most admired starting quarterbacks in the country, the Gators nabbed one of the most sought after recruits in the country.
Charlotte (N.C.) Independence quarterback Chris Leak committed to Florida at halftime of the U.S. Army All-American game which was being televisied by ESPN.
Leak has been writing a column on his recruitment for ESPN's online site -- where he is rated as the No. 1 prospect in the country -- and his commitment in such a national spectacle should only help Florida.
"Texas, Southern Cal, Florida State, Florida and Iowa are some of the best programs in the country," Leak said on the broadcast. "That made my decision tough.
"One program has made a commitment to my future that is second to none. I'm trusting what I have been told and following my heart. Today, I am officially committing to Ron Zook and the University of Florida."
Look for that last statement to be used hard against Florida in recruiting. It seems to indicate that Leak has been promised something by Zook and his staff as far as the wide open quarterback race at Florida goes.
With Grossman leaving, Florida is left with rising sophomore Ingle Martin and redshirt freshmen Gavin Dickey and Patrick Dosh.
However, Punta Gorda Charlotte quarterback Justin Midgett quarterback, the No. 7 in the country according to Rivals, has already committed to Florida. Look for other teams to try and sway him with Leak in the fold.
In addition, Mobile area quarterback Jamarcus Russell had lowered his finalists to Florida, Florida State and LSU. Look for him to eliminate the Gators now.
With Leak's signing, Florida now has three commitments from players in the Gator Bait Top 50 with Midgett at No. 5 and Palm Beach Dwyer receiver Jermaine Morreira at No. 10.
In all the Gators have 12 commitments including five junior college signees and linebacker Channing Crowder, a commitment from last year that delayed enrolling until January to rehab his knee.