HOMESTEAD, Fla. — Kemore Gamble has his suitcases packed and sitting inside the front door of his home.
He’s ready to move to Gainesville as an early enrollee at Florida. Ready to launch his collegiate football career. Ready to show everybody what he can do.
“Just wait on it,” he said Monday of the impact he hopes to make.
Gamble, a 4-star recruit who ended up with 25 scholarship offers and had preeminent national power Alabama coming after him right to the end, was initially committed to his hometown Miami Hurricanes before former coach Al Golden was let go last year.
Gamble then honed in on Florida and has been committed to the Gators since April. Most importantly to the 6-foot-4 tight end, the Florida coaching staff has been committed to him since getting involved in his recruitment a couple years ago. Assistant coach Kerry Dixon led that pursuit.
“The reason I picked Florida is because they’ve been sticking with me since I was in the 10th grade and Alabama came in the last minute,” Gamble said.
Get to know future Gators tight end Kemore Gamble, who is enrolling early at Florida. Send in your questions!
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His brother Ed Stinson, now a defensive end for the Arizona Cardinals, played at Alabama. The two are close, but Gamble said his brother never pressured him in his college decision. The only pressure came in staying on top of his grades and keeping his football future on track.
For that matter, his mother Keiva Rodriguez let him make his own decision as well, even though she initially wanted him to stay close to home at Miami.
“I didn’t want to pressure him, just because if I would have pressured him to go to UM or any other school and it didn’t work out, I didn’t want him to come back and say, ‘You made me go here.’ I let him make his own decision,” she said. “And it wasn’t just the Florida Gators. It was a lot more schools. He had Alabama. His brother went to Alabama. I just let him choose on his own.
“He loved Florida. They really showed him (a lot of interest).”
The family went on an official visit two weekends ago that further solidified their comfort with Gamble’s college choice and with Gators head coach Jim McElwain, who had his coaching staff and the visiting recruits over to his house that Sunday morning.
“I love him,” Rodriguez said. “Our official visit, he had an open house for breakfast. … They just showed a lot of love.”
Gamble looks back on the recruiting process as “stressful and fun.”
He recalls his first offer, from Cincinnati, came as a freshman before his body had filled out and he himself had truly realized his potential as a significant college football prospect.
“I didn’t even know what an offer was at first,” he said.
He learned quickly as the offers started rolling in his sophomore year, and the pursuit hasn’t stopped.
Tennessee, Alabama, NC State, North Carolina and Syracuse continued to contact him until the recent dead period, he said, but he’s been set on Florida.
“I like the atmosphere, the fans there. The coaches show a lot of love for the players,” he said. “… It’s a nice place to be. It’s a football town.”
As for what he brings to the program, Gamble is a physical tight end who takes pride in his blocking but who also envisions making some big plays down the field. He was ranked the 11th-best tight end prospect in this signing class and the best from the state of Florida.
David Cooney, his offensive coordinator at newly-minted state champion Miami Southridge High School, says Gamble’s physicality is what fans will notice and appreciate first.
“He’s just a bruiser, man. Florida’s getting a great one,” Cooney said. “He’s a great teammate and he’s wiling to do whatever for the team. His best asset on the field is going to be his blocking. He’s ferocious. He wants to straight embarrass the person in front of him. If he gets his hands on you, good luck. His blocking and his football IQ are pretty high.”
That may be how Gamble first gets on the field, but he sees himself as a well-rounded tight end with the tools to be an impact playmaker as well.
“They told me they want to use me on deeper routes and stuff like that because I’m faster than most linebackers,” he said.
Florida will return its top two tight ends next season in senior DeAndre Goolsby and redshirt junior C’yontai Lewis, but Gamble is eager to make his impact.
That’s why he’s enrolling early and moving to Gainesville on Jan. 3. He wants to get in the Gators’ strength program and build himself up for the fall. He wants to learn the playbook and position himself for a memorable debut.
Overall, he’s just eager to show people what he can do.
“See his stuff at the door,” Rodriguez said Monday, still nearly two weeks before his move. “His stuff is at the door. He’s ready.”
All recruiting rankings come from the 247Sports Composite.