December 28, 2013

Florida on the outside looking in for wide out

ORLANDO (Fla.)- It almost feels like a lifetime ago that West Palm Beach (Fla.) Cardinal Newman Rivals100 wide receiver Travis Rudolph decommittied from Miami and named Florida as his leader.

Even then, the one thing Rudolph was adamant about was waiting to announce his verbal pledge at this year Under Armour All-American game. Despite temptations to do otherwise, Rudolph stayed true to his word and will make his commitment at halftime of the game on Thursday.

"It's nice because last time I felt that I was kind of pressured into a commitment and now I don't have that weighing on me. If I wasn't ready I feel I could tell them [Under Armour] that I am not ready yet."

Though several factors played into his decision, there were two things that mattered most to Rudolph.

"Really what is going to go into the decision is just opportunity," explained Rudolph. "Also where I feel the most comfortable out of all of the campuses I have been to. It's not even about playing early, it's just building a brand for myself and preparing myself for the future."

Coming off his official visit to Alabama, the 6-foot, 189-pounder named the Crimson Tide as his leader in a recent interview with However, he said the door is still open, however slightly.

"Really it's Alabama, who is my number one as of right now, Florida State, Auburn, Miami and Florida. Really all schools did all they can they did all they can. I'm not talking to any coaches until I go into my decision."

So just how much of a lead does Alabama have at this time?

"They're pretty heavy," laughed Rudolph. "If I was to decide right now they would probably be it. The official visit really finalized everything and the chance to have an opportunity to play there."

Florida was the one time leader for the fifth ranked player in the state of Florida, until he took a few out-of-state visits and the Gators suffered through an offensive challenged 4-8 season.

The Gators will start over offensively next year under the direction of new offensive coordinator Kurt Roper, who is an unknown to Rudolph.

"I talked to coach [Joker] Phillips and that's the thing I plan on doing research on the hire. I haven't don't any yet though and don't really know a lot about him."

Though the Gators didn't have an offensive coordinator for the last month or so, Rudolph noted that it did not hurt the Gators' chances.

"The relationship that me and Coach Phillips has is great and I know he will take care of me and find a way to get me the ball. So that never really hurt them at all."

While Rudolph stated the lack of an offensive coordinator did not hurt the Gators chances, it was obvious by his body language and how he spoke of UF that they are not a legitimate option.

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