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January 25, 2004

Ayers Impressed With UF's Crowder

Last week the Florida Gators picked up their first verbal commitment from a linebacker prospect when Brandon Siler informed the UF coaches he wanted to play for the Gators. Then this past weekend, the Gators welcomed in another big time linebacker prospect in Bennettsville (S.C.) Marlboro County linebacker Robert Ayers, for an official visit.

But at the end of Ayers official visit, the Gators linebacker commitments remained at one. Although Ayers did not commit, he still had a great time at UF.

"It was fun," Ayers said. "I liked it a lot."

The highlight of Ayers' trip was "being around (UF head) coach (Ron) Zook and the entire team."

Ayers' host for the weekend, freshman linebacker Channing Crowder, was the most impressive of all the UF players.

"He told the truth," Ayers said. "He told me how it was like at Florida and where I would stand if I came in."

UF marked Ayers' third official visit. His other two were to South Carolina and Tennessee. After his visit this past weekend, his top three of UF, SC and UT remain the same.

"All of my visits were good, so I wouldn't say that one was better than the other," Ayers said. "All of them are top notch schools and it was real fun. I enjoyed everything."

Ayers sat down with Zook on Sunday for a meeting one-on-one before Ayers headed back home.

"He told me the possibilities of probably coming in and whether I could beat out a couple of players and probably be starting next year," Ayers said. "Just the fact about me being a player and how much playing time I would have next year."

If Ayers were to choose UF, he would be ready to compete for a starting position.

"I think I can come in and compete with any player," Ayers said. "As long as I come in and play hard, lift weights and learn the defense, I could probably come in and play."

Ayers has two more official visits left at his disposal, but he might only need to take one more before making a decision. He also hinted that he might not even have to take another official visit in order to make a decision.

"There is a possibility I will (take another visit)," Ayers said. "It might be Florida State, but I don't know."

While he mulls over deciding on whether to take another official visit, he also has to decide when and how he will make his announcement. Ayers is uncertain of a timetable with Signing Day just 10 days away.

"I really don't know," Ayers said. "I will have to think about it."

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