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University of Florida men’s tennis head coach Bryan Shelton has signed three players for the Class of 2014, his second class as the head coach of the Gators. All three student-athletes signed their National Letters of Intent on Wednesday during the early signing period, with one planning to enroll in January of 2014.
The 2014 class includes three American junior players, all from the state of Florida, ranked in the top 40 nationally. Oliver Landert, from Naples, plans to enroll in January of 2014 while Jordan Belga from Boca Raton and Chase Perez-Blanco from Miami both plan to enroll for the 2014-15 academic year.
“We are pleased to welcome these three young men into the Gator Program,” said head coach Bryan Shelton. “One of our goals was to bring the best talent from the state of Florida to our campus. All three of these guys are not only great tennis players, but are the total package and will bring a work ethic, drive and toughness to ultimately help us win championships.
“We have high expectations for all three of these players. I am confident that they will meet those expectations by consistently working hard and smart each day and representing Florida with class. All three of these players bring great character and will be so much fun to work with.”
Boca Raton, Fla. (Palm Beach Virtual)
o A five-star prospect according to TennisRecruiting.net and ranked No. 38 overall and No. 6 in Florida
o Had a 45-24 junior record during the 2012-13 junior season
o Ranked No. 38 in USTA Boys 18 Singles in November 2013 and No. 12 in Boys 18 Doubles in October 2013
o Earlier in his junior career, ranked No. 1 in Boys 12s singles (2008) and No. 6 in Boys 14s singles (2010)
o Represented the United States in an International World Junior Team Tennis Event in Czech Republic in 2010
o Top Results: 2013 Clay Court Nationals Bronze Ball 3rd Place Doubles, 2010 Clay Court Nationals Gold Ball 1st Place Doubles, 2010 Hard Court Nationals Silver Ball 2nd Place Doubles, 2010 Spring Nationals Silver Ball 2nd Place Doubles, 2010 Easter Bowl Gold Ball 1st Place Singles, 2010 Easter Bowl Sportsmanship Award
o Named a Kaplan Distinguished Scholar in 2011 and Ambassador for Excellence in School District 54
o Chose to attend UF over Alabama and Illinois
Coach Shelton on Jordan:
Jordan Belga is an excellent all court player and ball striker who loves the game and is a true student of the game. Jordan will benefit from working off the court with (assistant coach) Mark Merklein and (strength coach) Colin Crane to become more physical. We love his commitment to tennis and academics.
Naples, Fla. (Florida Virtual School)
o Plans to enroll in January of 2014 at UF
o According to TennisRecruiting.net is a five-star prospect, ranked No. 7 in Florida and No. 39 in the nation
o Ranked No. 58 in the USTA Boys 18 Doubles rankings in October 2013 and No. 80 in the USTA Boys 18 National Rankings in November 2013
o Compiled a 37-26 overall singles record in the 2012-13 junior season
o Suffered a stress fracture in his elbow in 2012 and has worked his way back among the top players in the country
o Formerly ranked No. 13 nationally before an elbow injury
o Top Results: State Closed Singles Finalist, State Closed Doubles Champion, 4th Place at Bush Open Singles, Bush Open Doubles Champion, Designated Champion, Finals of National Open Doubles, 3rd Place at Lakeland Sectional
o Sister, Alexandra, plays tennis at Seton Hall
o Has had three relatives that attended UF
o Grew up in Zurich, Switzerland and was selected to the Swiss National Team
o Chose to attend UF over Alabama, Illinois and Miami
Coach Shelton on Oliver:
Oliver Landert brings a large array of tools to the Gators. Oliver will make an impact in both singles and doubles with his ability to transition forward. Oliver has great hands at the net and we look forward to helping him develop his all court game.
Miami, Fla. (Gulliver Prep)
o A blue-chip, five-star prospect according to TennisRecruiting.net and ranked No. 29 overall and No. 3 in Florida
o Ranked No. 33 in the USTA Boys 18 National Rankings in November 2013 and No. 90 in the USTA Boys 18 Doubles rankings in October 2013
o Compiled a 42-23 junior record in the 2012-13 season
o Won the high school state championship in 2011 and 2013
o Was named the high school player of the year in 2013 and a 2013 High School All-American
o Top Results: 2013 Florida State Closed Champion 18s, 2012 Clay Courts 16s 3rd Place, 2012 Boys 18s Regional Tournament Champion, 2011 Winter National 16s Doubles Champion, 2011 Boys 16s Regional Tournament Champion
o Chose to attend UF over Illinois, Miami, Michigan and Texas
Coach Shelton on Chase:
Chase Perez-Blanco has an abundance of speed, both from his feet and his racquet. There aren’t too many players that can make the ball rotate as much as Chase does. Chase will thrive in this structured environment especially as we solidify his identity on the tennis court.