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Urban Meyer's Resignation May Already Be Killing Florida's 2011 Recruiting Class

Urban Meyer’s resignation might already be taking a heavy toll on the Florida Gators recruiting class, which was being pegged for yet another stellar, top-five haul.

Five-star Thomas County Central DE Ray Drew, who listed Florida among his final six, told the AJC’s Chip Towers that Meyer’s exit is "a big problem." And guess what Dawgs fans … he’s visiting Athens this weekend. And speaking of pleasant coincidences, Towers said Georgia coaches were already going to see Gators commit JaJuan Story, a four-star WR, yesterday anyway.

Four-star ATH Malcolm Mitchell, who’s had Florida in his final eight schools, told the news of Meyer’s resignation "came out of nowhere," though it’s hard to say what kind of effect it had on him.

The St. Petersburg Times’ Eduardo A. Encina says four-star Tampa DE Anthony Chickillo has canceled a scheduled Gators visit, and might not make it up, and’s Josh Newberg has four-star New Jersey OL Josue Matias also deciding not to visit Florida after visiting Florida State. The Sun Sentinel’s Patrick Lammer says four-star OLB Ryan Shazier is planning to visit Ohio State after finding out about Meyer.

It’s hard to say Meyer’s brief 2009 departure hurt Florida’s recruiting, as the Gators still finished with a top-two class according to every major rating service. But his certainty in his exit this time around, plus the fact that it’s the second time he’s quit, seems to be making more of a mark this time.

UPDATE: A couple more recruit reactions, via via Plant The Spear. A few players have said they'll remain committed, but here are two more players with second thoughts:

WR Latroy Pittman-"I just can't believe it. I'm shocked. I just have to think about things, sit down with my family and see what they say about it. I didn't see it coming. It was like somebody just slapped me in the face. I don't want to get emotional about things but it just hurts me."

CB Nick Waisome-"Right now, I heard the news. To tell you the truth, I'm not going to make any comments about it right now. Me and my family are going into meeting with some of my advisors also. I'm just kind of in shock. I'm going to go home and talk about it with my family."

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.