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Florida recruits not sure what to do

News of Urban Meyer's resignation from the University of Florida spread quickly Wednesday afternoon, and it was met with shock from many of the players who make up the Gators' top-five recruiting class.

"Right now I'm just surprised so I don't have any official comments," said four-star defensive back Nick Waisome (Groveland, Fla./South Lake). "I am going to sit down with my family and coaches and talk with them before speaking on it."

Similar statements from five-star quarterback Jeff Driskel (Oviedo, Fla./Hagerty) and Ryan Shazier (Plantation, Fla./Plantation) followed.

"I am not making any comments on it right now," Driskel said. "I want to sit down with my folks and talk with my family and coaches. I will [say more] in a few days when things calm down."

Later reports surfaced that Shazier might take an official visit to Ohio State, where teammate Jeremy Cash is committed.

Other recruits such as running back Mike Blakely (Bradenton, Fla./Manatee), wide receiver Javares McRoy (Lakeland, Fla./Lakeland) and defensive back Chris Johnson (Ocala, Fla./Trinity Catholic) were practicing for their respective state playoff games when the news was announced.

Johnson, who plays under John Brantley III, a former Gators quarterback and father of current Florida quarterback John Brantley IV, said Meyer's decision has little effect on his situation.

"I was definitely shocked and surprised to hear about Coach Meyer but Florida is where I want to be and that's where I plan on going," Johnson said.

The 5-foot-10, 180-pound safety said he had considered all the variables before committing to the Gators.

"I thought about all of those things before I made my choice," Johnson said. "Like what if this coach leaves or what it we have a bad season or a bad stretch of games.

"I believe you choose a school for the school and not a particular coach or a player. I loved Coach Meyer but I really love the University of Florida. They had a great program in the '90s before Coach Meyer got there, and he was great, too. Now I believe they will hire another great coach."

It's not only the current commits who are trying to deal with the news. The Gators are in the mix for several more ESPNU 150 players, but those players now don't know what to think.

Four-star defensive end Anthony Chickillo (Tampa, Fla./Alonso), a soft commitment to Miami, was planning on visiting Florida this weekend, but it looks like he is going to cancel his plans. Another report said defensive end Ray Drew (Thomasville, Ga./Thomas County Central) was most likely going to cross Florida off his list.

ESPNU 150 defensive back Jabari Gorman (Miami, Fla./Monsignor Pace) had recently named Florida, Ohio State and Miami his leaders, and now he will have to wait for two of those three schools to name new coaches.

Defensive tackle Tim Jernigan (Lake City, Fla./Columbia) was a player the Gators' staff had been keeping an eye on since he was a sophomore. Now the 6-2, 275-pounder has seen the two coaches he was closest to on the staff -- Meyer, and assistant head coach and defensive line coach Dan McCarney -- leave the school. McCarney took the head coaching job at North Texas early last week.

"I haven't talked with Timmy yet but I've been trying to contact him," said Jernigan's high school coach, Craig Howard. "I just heard about it a few minutes ago and I'm very surprised but I understand his reasons."

Howard and Meyer have been close for several years, as Howard also was Tim Tebow's high school coach. Now, with the departures of Meyer and McCarney, Howard says Jernigan's next step is unknown.

"I know he has liked Florida, and he likes FSU, LSU and some other schools too," Howard said. "Timmy is going to have a lot of thinking to do. Coach Meyer and Coach McCarney were very close to him, and they are great men and tough to replace."

As the evening wore on, many of the recruits began communicating with each other through text messages and Facebook, encouraging each other to stay and not make any hasty decisions.

"I am 100 percent committed to the Gators," said offensive lineman Chase Hounshell (Mentor, Ohio/Lake Catholic). "I have a lot of respect for Coach Meyer and I understand that it's family first.

"If I were in his shoes, I'd do the same thing."

Hounshell said that as soon as the news broke, other schools were quick to contact him.

"I've had a couple of phone calls today but I haven't answered any of them," Hounshell added.

The big question becomes: Will other recruits take the calls?

Corey Long has been covering high school football and recruiting in the Sunshine State since 1995. He can be reached at coreyespn@gmail.com.