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Notebook: Powell visits; Diggs, Howard coming this weekend

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Posted: Wednesday, January 18, 2012 1:25 am | Updated: 1:40 am, Thu Aug 22, 2013.

After his official visit last weekend, Jeremi Powell is completely full.

He said he stuffed his face with food from Chili’s, salmon and “everything — they were just delivering everything. I was full before I even got my food.”

Powell, a four-star linebacker from Pinellas Park, said he “had so much freakin’ fun” on his visit.

“I just can’t wait to be up there so it can be like that all the time and just play football, and not have to worry about everything I’m doing down here (in Pinellas Park),” he said.

After a night in midtown and driving around Gainesville with his hosts, linebacker Michael Taylor and running back Mack Brown, Powell returned home on a college-experience high. Having to show up for work this week in the kitchen of a Seminole retirement home wasn’t nearly as fun as Gainesville, Powell said.

“It’s real cool; being up there made me realize how bad I wanted to be there, knowing it would be easier for me. And then to come back home (to) high school, exams, drama — oh man, it sucked.”

Although his commitment status was already solid, Powell said the visit made him realize how strong it was.

“Nothing in the world can change my mind,” he said.

Top recruits in town: This weekend, Florida will host two more undecided athletes: Tracy Howard, a five-star cornerback, and Stefon Diggs, a five-star wide receiver.

After suggesting Florida was out of the picture once former offensive coordinator Charlie Weis left, Diggs has seemingly reconsidered. On Monday, Florida coaches, including head coach Will Muschamp, made the trek to the Diggs’ home in Olney, Md.

The meeting is one of the last scheduled for Diggs with any coaches, and is notable because it is the first meeting between Diggs and new offensive coordinator Brent Pease.

Diggs and his mother have visited Florida once each, separately. Diggs also visited Auburn last weekend and Cal in December.

Howard, though, has two visits and decision candidates left: LSU and Florida. The Miramar cornerback raised a stir in December when he did the Gator Chomp for some Florida coaches that came to see him play in a state title game. However, he remains steadfast that his decision will be made on Feb. 1, National Signing Day.

With great cover skills and speed, the Miramar cornerback is a candidate for immediate playing time in the Gators secondary.

Another visit: Vincent Valentine, a defensive tackle from Edwardsville, Ill., also took an official visit last weekend.

Valentine has narrowed his recruitment down to three schools: Illinois, Florida and Nebraska.

Powell said that although he didn’t interact much with Valentine, “every time I did see him, I asked him if he was a Gator yet.” Powell also said Valentine told him his mom wasn’t a huge fan of Florida due to the 900-mile distance between Gainesville and their Illinois home.

Nebraska has been the longtime favorite of the three-star athlete, and he has said he almost committed when he took an official visit to Lincoln last month. But the Gators are still in the running after making a huge push for Valentine after the decommitment of junior college transfer Visesio Salt.

McCalister reschedules: Three-star defensive end Alex McCalister was also slated to take an official visit to Florida this past weekend, but canceled for personal reasons.

He also moved his commitment date from Tuesday to Jan. 23, after his rescheduled visit to Gainesville.

Florida has been heating up the recruiting process with McCalister after four-star defensive end Jordan Jenkins orally committed to Georgia on Jan. 9. McCalister would likely complement Ronald Powell at the Buck position if he ends up committing to Florida.

McCalister is one of three Buck prospects on campus this weekend, along with Dante Fowler Jr. and Bryan Cox Jr.

Oral commitments are nonbinding until a national letter of intent is signed on or after National Signing Day on Feb. 1.

  • ARTICLE: Pease could attract undecided recruits
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