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Shavar Manuel, 22nd in ESPN 300, picks Florida over FSU, LSU, others

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Gators land DT Manuel, No. 22 in ESPN 300 (0:54)

ESPN recruiting reporter Derek Tyson breaks down the commitment of No. 8 defensive tackle Shavar Manuel to Florida. (0:54)

Defensive tackle Shavar Manuel, the 22nd-ranked player in the ESPN 300, verbally committed to Florida on Tuesday.

The 6-foot-4, 280-pound defensive lineman from IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, chose the Gators over Florida State, South Florida and LSU.

Manuel announced his decision on Twitter by saying, "After taking my time, listening to my heart, and and [sic] thinking things over. I would like to take the time to say I have officially committed to The University of Florida..#ChopChop #GatorNation."

Manuel later confirmed his decision to ESPN.com.

The four-star defensive lineman said his relationship with the Florida coaches, along with the opportunity to play early, ultimately led to his decision.

"I was thinking about doing it at the Under Armour game, but I didn't have a chance to really talk to my family at the time, so I thought it would just be best for me to wait it out, and I felt comfortable enough to do it today," he said. "So that's why I decided to go ahead and do it. [Florida coach] Jim McElwain is a great head coach, and I believe he builds great relationships with all his recruits, and coach [Chris] Rumph as my position coach was big. They are losing some key players, so there's an opportunity for me to come in and show what I can do as a true freshman and make big plays for them."

Manuel is scheduled to visit Florida on Jan. 22, followed by a visit to FSU on Jan. 29, but the nation's eighth-ranked defensive tackle is unsure if he will take that final visit to Tallahassee.

With the addition of Manuel, the Gators now have 26 verbal commits, including nine ranked in either the ESPN 300 or ESPN JC 50.