football

Gators stake claim to lead for Lauderdale

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Eric Lauderdale names a favorite. He's hesitant about it, but he does it nonetheless.
How much of his take is the result of a post-visit high is up for debate. But when he's asked if he has a frontrunner, he takes 10-second pause to formulate an answer.
"I like Florida right now," Lauderdale said. "I enjoyed myself there this weekend. It felt like home, but I haven't gone to the other schools yet. We'll see after that."
And so the "other schools" will get their turn. Lauderdale, a four-star junior college wide receiver, intends to visit Arizona State and Tennessee. He had tentative plans for a trip to Washington before Steve Sarkisian left town for the USC job. There's no telling where that relationship stands at the time being.
Then there's Oregon, which has quickly become the wildcard in all this.
"If Oregon offers, I'll go up there," Lauderdale said. "They've been calling me like they want to offer, but I don't know. I'm not really tripping on offers right now, but still …"
Next on Lauderdale's agenda is the process of plotting visit dates. A promise he made months ago has complicated the situation, but he's hoping it will shake out in time.
"Arizona State is trying to wait until, like, late January," Lauderdale said. "I told Tennessee I would visit them last, but that might not be able to happen now because of ASU. I'm going to call them and see when I can go. I might just have to go next week or something."
Dates are fuzzy, but the fact that everyone else will be chasing Florida to land his commitment is not - not anymore, anyway. The four-win season the Gators just slopped together bothers Lauderdale not. He sees the down year as an exception to the larger rule.
"They had over 20 injuries," Lauderdale said. "Any other year, they are Florida and they are one of the best teams in the nation. They fired the offensive coordinator, but I knew that was coming. I don't really care who the new coordinator is. As long as it's not like run, run, run, run, run, run, I'm cool. I can play in any offense and be happy. If it's balanced, that's ok with me. And you know the spread is ok with me any time."
Lauderdale, who played this season at California's Saddleback Community College, has set no date for a commitment. He intends to choose a school sometime in January, after he takes the remainder of his official visits.
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