Jalen Tabor to Florida: Friendship Collegiate DB flips commitment from Arizona

Just a week after he surprised many by orally committing to Arizona, Friendship Collegiate defensive back Jalen Tabor changed his commitment to Florida on Thursday morning.

Friendship Collegiate defensive back Jalen Tabor switched his commitment from Arizona to Florida Thursday. (Jalen Tabor / The Washington Post)
Friendship Collegiate defensive back Jalen Tabor switched his commitment from Arizona to Florida Thursday. (Jalen Tabor / The Washington Post)

Tabor, a two-time All-Met, had originally chosen Arizona on national television at last week’s Under Armour All-American Game. He had narrowed down his list to the Wildcats and Alabama the week before, ruling out two other finalists in Florida and Maryland.

Tabor confirmed via text message that he will enroll at Florida on Monday, and it would cap a startling turn of events on the recruiting front for one of the areas’s best prospects. His commitment to Arizona last week was widely considered the most surprising pledge of the day at the Under Armour All-American Game, and Tabor cited fellow Friendship Collegiate Jonathan Haden’s commitment to the Wildcats as a major factor in choosing the school.

“It’s a very family atmosphere. I feel like they need just a little spark to get them over the edge,” Tabor said of Arizona last week. “And I feel like that spark.”

Now Tabor is expected to be a spark in Florida’s top-flight recruiting class. Haden’s older brother Joe, currently a cornerback for the NFL’s Cleveland Browns, is a former all-American at Florida. Haden congratulated Tabor on his commitment to Florida via Twitter on  Thursday.

Tabor did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday. He is the second area player in as many years to renege on his commitment to a school and pledge to Florida. Former Briar Woods linebacker Matt Rolin changed his commitment from South Carolina to the Gators last December.

A two-time All-Met, the 6-foot-1, 188-pound Tabor had initially cut down his extensive offer list to Alabama, Arizona, Florida and Maryland last fall, and took official visits to all four schools this fall before narrowing that group to the Crimson Tide and Wildcats last week. Tabor was listed as ESPN’s 15th rated player in the country in class of 2014.

Blessed with a long frame and top-end speed, Tabor starred in all three phases of the game for Friendship throughout his career, and in addition to his shutdown defensive ability proved to be one of the city’s most dangerous wide receivers and kick returners. After not allowing a reception as a junior, Tabor added to his stock by recording receiving and return touchdowns as a senior. Tabor  intercepted five passes and posted 17 pass breakups as a senior, helping the Knights to a second consecutive appearance in the DCSAA AA championship game appearance.

Tabor continued to dazzle crowds with his freakish ability last week during Under Armour All-America Game festivities, showing off his agility and one-handed grabs during practice. He made several eye-popping open field tackles during the game at Tropicana Field, and during the third quarter of the nationally televised broadcast, he announced he would attend Arizona and donned a Wildcats cap.

Tabor is now one of Florida’s top-rated recruits for the class of 2014, joining 11 other ESPN 300 recruits. 

More: Tabor chooses Arizona

Related: For many high school recruits, an oral commitment doesn’t end recruiting process

Recruit Watch: The latest offers, commitments and signings

Fall All-Mets: Football Defense, Offense

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