The national recruiting sweepstakes for Buford High defensive tackle Omar Hunter came to an end Tuesday as the 6-foot-1, 310-pound prospect gave a verbal commitment to Florida. Hunter made his decision following his visit to the Gainesville, Fla., campus last weekend.
While on his visit, Hunter was a dinner guest at Gators coach Urban Meyer’s house, attended Florida’s basketball game against Kentucky with quarterback Tim Tebow and met many of the current players.
"I really enjoyed my visit down to Florida," Hunter said. "I got to meet the coaches, players, some recruits, and they were all great guys."
The drama surrounding Hunter’s decision intensified in recent weeks after a strong performance in the ESPNU Under Armour All-American game, to go along with the fact that he was one of the few uncommitted premier prospects remaining as the Feb. 6 signing day nears.
He piqued the interest of Georgia fans as the Bulldogs inched into his top three schools along with Southern California, before his commitment to Florida. He has since cancelled his visits to Athens and Los Angeles.
"USC is really too far away," Hunter said. "And I was interested in Georgia, but it just seemed to be bad timing. "Georgia didn’t have any more scholarships available." Hunter, a Times 2007 Elite 11 and Times First Team All-Area selection, speared the Wolves’ state title run his senior season with 110 total tackles (11 for a loss), three sacks and four forced fumbles.
According to Rivals.com, Hunter is the No. 2 defensive tackle in the nation out of this season’s senior crop. He’s considered a five-star prospect by the recruiting service. Hunter originally verbally committed to Notre Dame and stayed strong in his decision until the end of Buford’s season when he backed out of his verbal commitment and started looking at schools again.
"It’s a big weight off of my shoulders to be committed, and it will be an even bigger relief once I’m signed," Hunter said.
Hunter is the second player from Buford to commit to the Gators in as many weeks. Last Sunday, Buford linebacker T.J. Pridemore decided to commit to Florida instead of staying with his previous commitment to Georgia Tech. Pridemore, an Elite 11 and Times All-Area selection, led the Wolves this season with 135 total tackles, seven tackles for a loss, nine quarterback pressures and three sacks.
"It’s going to be fun going down there with T.J., we’ve played together since the seventh grade," Hunter added.
Also on Tuesday, Wolves wide receiver Melvin Harris gave his commitment to the University of Mississippi. Harris had 30 catches and eight touchdowns this season.