Florida lost its fourth recruit in just over a week when Joshua Outlaw backed out of his commitment to the Gators on Sunday.
The 6-foot-4, 290-pound offensive lineman from M.L. King High School had been pledged to Florida since April. Outlaw told the AJC he de-committed because of two reasons, including the fact that Florida’s coaches did not approve of him taking visits to other schools.
“I kind of wanted to re-evaluate things,” Outlaw said. “We weren’t seeing eye to eye on a couple of things. I wanted to take my official visits to other schools, and they weren’t big on that.
“We tried to talk about it and hash things out. It was just best for me to take a step back, reconsider everything and take my time with it.”
Why did Outlaw want to visit other schools? “I just wanted to take my officials. There’s no reason not to take them. I definitely didn’t have anything set up yet. You only go through the recruiting process once, and I wanted to see some other places. When I was talking to Florida’s coaches about it, that’s something they didn’t approve of.”
The other reason for Outlaw’s departure was because he said he wasn’t sure where he was going to fit in along Florida’s offensive line. “I’d like the chance to play offensive tackle because that’s my position now in high school. They told me ‘the best guys play.’ Me being a competitor, I’m the type of guy who wants to get on the field early. I would play any position on the line to get on the field. Of course, I would like a shot at offensive tackle.”
Outlaw is ranked as a 4-star by ESPN, and as the nation’s No. 13 offensive guard by Scout.com.
Outlaw was asked if the situation of Tre Bell, the ex-Florida recruit, affected his decision. Florida accepted the commitment of Bell, a New Jersey cornerback, on the contingency that he worked out for the Gators at camp this summer, according to the Gainesville Sun and ESPN – a contingency which Bell later disputed. Bell attended Florida’s Friday Night Lights camp but did not work out. However, the next day, Bell participated in a national 7-on-7 tournament, which reportedly angered Florida coach Will Muschamp and led to a chain of events that finished with Bell switching his commitment to Vanderbilt. (You can read more about it here)
“It definitely opened my eyes to the recruiting process … not just Florida, but the recruiting process overall,” Outlaw said. “His situation was different than mine. I can’t really speak for his situation. But for me, what happened with Tre, no, it did not affect my decision to de-commit.”
Outlaw, despite rumors to the contrary, said he his Florida commitment was not accepted with the same contingency. He worked out for the Gators last month. “No, not at all. There were never any contingencies like that expressed to me. But I was told when I went to Dawg Night, to make sure to go to Friday Night Lights. But they never said my scholarship would be taken away, or anything like that, if I didn’t.”
Outlaw was a surprise participant in UGA’s Dawg Night prospect camp last month. Why did he go? “I had been working out all summer, and I never had the chance to develop my skills against top competition because of the conditioning program with my high school team. I never had the chance to go up against top competition. I felt like I should go down and compete.”
Now that Outlaw has de-committed from Florida, would he consider UGA? “Georgia is ranked high and seems to have a good program. I’m looking for schools that are the best fit me, and I’m not in a rush. Maybe Georgia is one of those schools, maybe it’s not. Right now, I’m open to all schools that are interested.”
Does Outlaw still hold a scholarship offer from UGA? The Bulldogs have four commitments along the offensive line, and may be holding spots with the hopes of landing Laremy Tunsil or DeVondre Seymour, among others. Outlaw said he’s had conversations with a few schools since April, but nothing serious. As far as Georgia specifically, Outlaw can’t say for sure he still has a UGA offer but added, “It was never expressed to me that I didn’t.”
What’s next for Outlaw? He will focus on his senior season, and slowly begin to establish communications with colleges again. Before he committed to Florida, he was being recruited hard by Tennessee, Ole Miss, Miami, Arkansas, Clemson and Virginia Tech, among others. Moving forward, Outlaw will still consider Florida, too.
Back to Florida: In the short term, the Gators are fine along the offensive line after signing D.J. Humphries, Jessamen Dunker, and Maryland transfer Max Garcia this past season. Florida has two OL commitments for 2013, including Colquitt County OL Octavious Jackson.
THIS JUST IN …
BECAUSE WE MISS THE OLYMPICS
– By Michael Carvell, AJC Recruiting Blog
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