January 8, 2009

Florida linebacker might follow in idol's footstops

Shane Gordon has narrowed his list of prospective college homes to four.

Three of the schools he'll be visiting in the next four weeks play in the Big East Conference. The other school pursuing the three-star middle linebacker plays in the Southeastern Conference and was the college home of his favorite NFL player, and those affiliations are proving to be major selling points.

"The SEC is an advantage," said Gordon, a 5-foot-11, 224-pounder from Weston (Cypress Bay), Fla. "To me, that's the best conference playing football."

Gordon's visit docket begins Friday with a trip to Pittsburgh. He'll travel to South Florida on Jan. 16 and to either Ole Miss or Louisville on Jan. 23 before visiting either the Rebels or Cardinals on Jan. 30. Gordon, who said he's undecided right now and has no real favorite yet, visited with Ole Miss cornerbacks coach/recruiting coordinator Chris Vaughn on Wednesday night at his home in the Fort Lauderdale area.

"Me and Coach Vaughn talk a lot," Gordon said.

Vaughn wasn't at Ole Miss when Patrick Willis was terrorizing SEC running backs, but he and the Rebel staff might benefit from Willis' reputation. Willis, now a second-year linebacker for the San Francisco 49'ers, is a player Gordon tries to emulate on the field.

"I've always been a fan of Patrick Willis," Gordon said. "If they can make me a player like him, I probably would go there."

Gordon, who had more than 80 tackles and added seven rushing touchdowns during his senior season, said all four of his finalists are recruiting him as a true middle linebacker. The strength of his game, Gordon said, is his physical play and his speed.

"I'm fast," said Gordon, who has been timed at 4.56 seconds in the 40-yard dash. "I have a fast motor."

Gordon said distance from home or proximity to his family won't be an issue.

"I'm not scared of leaving or anything like that," Gordon said. "All that matters is I want to play next year. All of them don't have just an open spot, but they all say if I work, I could play next year as a freshman."

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