Dunkley commits to Florida

1/2/2010 - Florida Gators

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Wide receiver Chris Dunkley (Pahokee, Fla./Pahokee) feels he's doing more than just committing to a college football program. He's simply deciding to officially join a family he has been a part of for years.

The four-star receiver made a verbal commitment to Florida -- the long-standing favorite for his services -- on Saturday during the Under Armour All-American Game at Tropicana Field. He picked the Gators over Alabama and Georgia.

"I know everybody on the team," said Dunkley, who is ranked No. 12 in the ESPNU 150 and is the No. 2 wide receiver. "I've built a relationship with almost everybody on the team. So it's like me going, basically, back to a home away from home. All the teammates are like my brothers, so everything feels comfortable there."

Dunkley is the latest in a long line of Palm Beach County prospects to head to the Gators and plans to join the Florida program in the summer.

"I am going to represent Palm Beach County and Pahokee, Fla., when I go up there [to Gainesville]," he said. "Also, I will represent my family. I am real excited to get there. I have been waiting to get this off of my chest for a long time."

The Gators need wide receivers that can step in and play, particularly with quarterback John Brantley set to take the reins of the offense. Brantley has a great arm and is an excellent passer, so Florida figures to put the ball in the air more next season.

Gators receiver Andre Debose, who committed to Florida at the 2009 Under Armour All-American Game, redshirted this season after hamstring surgery. The combination of Debose and Dunkley gives Brantley two young speedsters to potentially make an early impact next season.

"I fit in perfect," Dunkley said. "Debose and I both do. I have gotten to know him well and we talk all the time. I talk to John Brantley all the time, too. Like I said, it's like I've been on the team for a while.

"I am going in to compete. All the coaches at Florida know that. All of the players know that."

Dunkley declined to comment on the recent announcement by Gators head coach Urban Meyer that he was taking a leave of absence. This came one day after Meyer initially announced his resignation as the head coach at Florida.

JC Shurburtt covers recruiting for ESPN.com. He can be reached at jcsespn@aol.com.