Debose signs with Florida amid Harvin comparisons Print
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Wednesday, 04 February 2009 11:03
NCAAF Headline News

 GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) -The last thing Florida coach Urban Meyer did before leaving his office Wednesday was check out a highlight tape of receiver Andre Debose one more time.
It might have been a lot like watching Percy Harvin.
``I'm leaving here with a big smile on my face,'' Meyer said.
Debose signed a letter of intent Wednesday to play for the national champion Gators, becoming the centerpiece of Meyer's latest recruiting class. The Gators signed 16 players, a small class that prevented them from having a top-five ranking but one that mostly filled needs for a program expected to compete for another championship.
Parade All-American Xavier Nixon was one of five offensive linemen to sign with Florida, which lost both starting tackles from last season. Defensive tackle Gary Brown and linebacker Jelani Jenkins, both among the top players at their positions, were the prized defensive recruits.
d who could replace Harvin.
``I know I can't single guys out, but I'm going to single him out,'' Meyer said. ``He's as good as there is. I think he's the best player in America. Watching him on film, for what we do, our style of offense, for what we need right now with the departure of Percy Harvin, that's a critical element because we're not going to change our offense.''
Harvin, who decided to enter the NFL draft last month, was a key part of Florida's offense the last three seasons. He had 133 receptions for 1,929 yards and 13 touchdowns, and 194 carries for 1,852 yards and 19 scores. He averaged 11.6 yards every time he touched the ball and was at his best in big games.
Harvin scored at least once in 15 consecutive games and burned defenses while lining up at receiver, running back and even quarterback.
Meyer thinks Debose can have similar success in the spread-option offense.
``I think he's perfect,'' Meyer said. ``I don't want to put too much pressure on him. I have a history of doing that, but that's OK. I enjoy doing that, putting pressure on guys. ... Tremendous speed. With the proper training this spring, he's going to be one of the fastest players in the state of Florida.''
Comparing Debose to Harvin might not be fair, Meyer acknowledged, but he meant it as the ultimate compliment.
and six touchdowns. He also threw for 353 yards and four touchdowns, returned 10 punts for 236 yards and fielded 14 kickoffs for 497 yards.
Debose picked Florida over Florida State, Georgia, LSU, Miami and Southern Cal. There was some speculation that he might change his mind and sign with the Seminoles, especially after visiting Tallahassee last week.
Debose even raised eyebrows when he arrived late at his news conference Wednesday morning. As it turned out, he was tardy because one of his teachers wouldn't let him out of class.
``No wavering,'' Debose said, wearing an orange Gators hooded sweat shirt. ``I'm a Gator, and I'm thrilled to be a Gator. Every school recruiting against Florida was saying, 'Why be the next Percy Harvin? Come here instead and be yourself.' Well, I don't want to be compared to Percy Harvin, or compared to anyone else. I'm my own person. I'll carve my own name.''
Debose said he expects to play right away and even talked about helping Florida get to the national title game in the Rose Bowl.
And maybe distinguish himself from Harvin.
``You watch the film, whether he likes it or not, there are (similarities),'' Meyer said. ``It's not a bad thing. It's a compliment.''
 

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