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(Maurice Hurt profile)
"It has died down for the most part," said Hurt, a 6-3.5, 344-pounder from Milledgeville (GA) Baldwin County. "I think people see that I'm serious about going to Florida so it's pretty much died down. I feel at home at Florida. It feels really comfortable there, more than any other school."
Hurt is serious enough about his college football career that he's going to do early admission at the University of Florida. He will be on campus for the first day of classes in January with the hope that he'll have a head start toward playing time as a true freshman.
"I'll have a jump on the other freshmen and will be acquainted with the university," said Hurt.
Starting school in January also means that Hurt will go straight from high school to the dreaded mat drills, the offseason strength and conditioning program that stretches the limits of endurance while building character and teamwork. Hurt knows that the mat drills will be the toughest physical challenge he's ever taken on.
"I won't say I'm looking forward to it, but whatever it takes for me to get on the field to become a contributing member of this team," said Hurt. "I'm willing to put it on the line and work as hard as I need to become an every down player."
Hurt has heard the rumblings in Gainesville about the inconsistent offense this season. He's not concerned that the Gators have struggled a bit this year. He believes the offense will succeed and that it's just a matter of working out the bugs.
"I think that Coach Meyer has stepped up to the challenge and has the players ready to perform," he said. "I just think they need a few more games in the system and they will be okay."
While he will take a giant step in January when he leaves small town Georgia for the Florida campus, there are two events back home that Hurt will have marked on his calendar that he's not about to miss. He might be finishing up his first college semester at the time, but he'll find a way to return to Milledgeville for his high school senior prom and graduation.