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Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Buchanan becomes second linebacker to decommit from Miami, join UF

Melbourne Palm Bay High linebacker Ramon Buchanan joined the Gators' 2008 recruiting class Monday after visiting UF's campus with several other top prospects.

Buchanan previously decommitted from Miami, becoming the second linebacker to do so before choosing the Gators. Dunnellon High's Lerentee McCray was the other.

Scout.com recruiting analyst Mike Bakas wasn't surprised that someone from the UF-friendly Melbourne area would choose to play for the Gators, but the fact that Buchanan would leave the Hurricanes after committing in July was a bit shocking to him.

As the No. 2 weakside linebacker in the nation according to Scout.com, Buchanan becomes the third linebacker commit in the 2008 class.

Since the Gators boast a young, talented linebacking corps, it looks doubtful that Buchanan will see much playing time at the position next season, but he could make an impact on special teams as soon as next season.

Given UF coach Urban Meyer's penchant for grooming players through special teams, it could be beneficial for Buchanan, who is listed at 6-foot-1 and 195 pounds.

To gain playing time at the heart of a Southeastern Conference defense, Buchanan will need to gain weight, but he is a versatile athlete at his current measurements.

Buchanan runs a 4.5-second 40-yard dash and recorded 98 tackles, six sacks and three interceptions in his senior season at Palm Bay, the alma mater of former UF and current Jacksonville Jaguars safety Reggie Nelson.

"They play different styles of defense," Bakas said. "But [Buchanan] is definitely in the same league as [Nelson]."

Buchanan, along with Buford (Ga.) High defensive tackle Omar Hunter, Hoover (Ala.) Spain Park High linebacker William Green and several other UF football prospects, attended the UF men's basketball team's overtime win over Kentucky on Saturday.

According to Scout.com national recruiting analyst Jamie Newberg, Hunter, Green and Buchanan enjoyed themselves on their visits, with Buchanan even doing the Gator chomp along with quarterback Tim Tebow, who appeared during halftime of the game.

However, predicting when the remaining prospects will commit becomes more difficult as the recruiting season draws to a close.

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Hunter, a top prospect, may wait until National Signing Day on Feb. 6 before committing in order to weigh all of his options, while Green, like most recruits from the state of Alabama, feels an intense pressure to stay in state for college.

There are some other prospects that remain mysteries. Julio Jones, the nation's No.1 wide receiver, and T.J. Bryant, the sixth-ranked cornerback, are not giving much of an indication of where they lean.

The holiday weekend was perhaps the biggest recruiting weekend of the year and gave UF a legitimate chance at hauling in one of top recruiting classes in the nation.

Scout.com ranks the Gators as the nation's No. 11 class, but Newberg believes that UF's ranking is irrelevant.

"Right now, they're filling the positions that need to be filled," Newberg said. "No matter what happens this class is going to be good."

Verbal commitments are non-binding until a letter of intent is signed on or after Feb. 6, National Signing Day.

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