December 28th, 2009 05:26pm

2010 recruits stick with Florida

by

Now that Urban Meyer has decided to take a leave of absence instead of just stepping down at Florida, recruiting is … well, still kind of going as planned. On Saturday, I was on the phone with as many recruits as I could talk to and the feeling was that they were still committed, but just confused and dismayed by Meyer’s resignation. Most of the prospects I talked to said that while they are close to Meyer and badly want him as a coach, they are committed to UF, not Meyer.

Sunday, the confusion grew as Meyer decided he would come back … at some point. So, he’s still UF’s coach, but he won’t be around the program for a while as he gets his health under control. That’s what Meyer is saying. That’s what players are saying. And more importantly, that’s what is being said to recruits. Most of them won’t be on campus until the summer, so even if Meyer isn’t around during the spring or part of the summer, these guys are expected to get their coach back before their Gator careers officially start.

As of right now, it looks like all 20 commitments are going to stick. Things got a little hairy when the news of Meyer’s departure first broke. Matt Elam was reportedly very upset and rumors quickly spread that he reneged on his commitment to the Gators and would sign with Florida State. That turned out to not be true, but Elam is still shying away from the media right now. It doesn’t help that Elam will play in an all-star game in early January and can wait another week to decide where to go to school. He has said he plans to enroll early. There’s also a chance he could stay in high school for the rest of his senior year, but that has yet to be confirmed. I should stress that he’s still committed, but anything could happen.

Then came Joshua Shaw. The Palmdale, Calif., cornerback apparently decommitted from the Gators when he got the news about Meyer but then recommitted when Meyer decided to return. So, he’s still a Gator. All of the verbals are, but the thing that will matter is how much Meyer talks with them and what rival coaches decide to say about Meyer and Florida’s situation.

If I’m an opposing coach, the first thing I say to a kid is, “Well, Meyer might come back in a year, but what happens if you commit and he decides in a year that he can’t come back?” This is why naming Steve Addazio as interim coach was so crucial. Despite what fans might say about his coaching, he’s a hell of a recruiter and players love him. Mack Brown said he’s solidly committed to Florida and that Addazio taking over for the moment reaffirmed his commitment.

We still don’t know how much power Addazio will have, but he said his role is “to keep a great program on a great course.” The key thing for him is continuity with recruiting and even with a short time to work on this class, Addazio has developed enough personal relationships with prospects that he won’t have to be the best used car salesman around to keep them comfortable.

“Recruiting is ongoing. It’s going on right now,” Addazio said. “I’m a major part of that and that’s not going to change. We’re going to get right out in front on that to keep this program right where it is.

“Recruiting is constant management and this is, obviously, a big management thing. I think there’s a great plan in place. It’s just the message that we have a great plan in place and everything’s going to be great.”

Luckily for Addazio, it’s a recruiting dead period, which means coaches can only call recruits once a week and can’t visit with them or have them visit. This will give him time to prepare for an important January month of recruiting.

Addazio is saying all the right things and is pretty confident that Florida won’t miss a beat in recruiting.

“We have total belief in (UF’s program remaining stable), so it’s an easy deal,” he said. “The program is going to right where it needs to be and Coach (Meyer) is going to do great.”

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Comments

15 Comments

  1. December 28th, 2009 5:53 pm

    Good stuff Ed

    Any thoughts on the efects it might have on any possible prospects? Powell, Dunk

    by moutaingator


  2. December 28th, 2009 6:08 pm

    Ed,
    Any news on Ronald Powell? I heard that he was pretty dazed about the overall roller coaster changed of heart from Meyer. I read that he is now talking more with USC coaches. UF made a great impression on him but do you think he will still favor the Gators over USC? Wasn’t Powell recruited hard by Meyer?

    by GatorChamps73


  3. December 28th, 2009 6:44 pm

    Well. This all is pretty contrary to Pat Dooley’s take that we will ‘not have a top 10 recruiting class’ and we will loose many recruits and this move is suicidal for the program.

    by CCGATOR


  4. December 28th, 2009 6:49 pm

    what does pat dooley now about recruiting? he doesn’t even follow it and right now with the comments that uf has, they are number 3 rivals.com and number in espn, so in order for uf to fall out the top ten alot of those players will have to decommit, but it’s not bright idea for these other coaches to try to talk negiative about urban and uf cause it might back fire and usually does.

    by gottaproveme


  5. December 28th, 2009 8:24 pm

    I’ve been a Gator a long, long time. First game at Florida Field was Ray Graves’ 18-17 upset over Georgia Tech, comeback engineered by diminutive Larry Libertore and Tech coach Bobby Dodd’s son, Bobby, Jr., alternating at qb. That said, I’m getting old. But I’ve seen lots of recruiting classes come through our program. Some turned out better than anticipated, others fared not as well as hoped. What Pat Dooley provides is the wisdom of perspective. It’s how we recruit over a three to four year period that matters most, regardless of any attrition we may suffer this time around. Our program’s in great shape. and Dooleys right if he thinks we may take a hit by signing day. Keep the faith and Go Gators!

    by Gatormac


  6. December 28th, 2009 8:57 pm

    Dooley should provide examples of where this has impacted recruiting in the past. Butch Davis had a last minute resignation at Miami and the Miami program promoted Larry Coker,their Offensive Coordinator, and did not lose any recruits that year. If Urban takes off from March till August to deal with health and stress issues, not sure how UF program suffers long term. Why would this not adversely impact Penn State with a top 10 class and an 80 year old Head Coach? They have a top 10 class at present. Duke HC in BB did this same thing Urban is proposing with no adverse impact on their program.

    by Kurt


  7. December 28th, 2009 9:20 pm

    Regardless of who the coach is were still fortunate to still have these players committment. That’s what we need not someone that’s just going to sell out. Urban will be back. Don’t be shocked if he’s up in the sky box in the AC callin plays.

    by Austin Hornsby


  8. December 28th, 2009 9:30 pm

    Thanks Ed. Lets keep our fingers crossed that it all works out!!

    by Staugone


  9. December 28th, 2009 9:47 pm

    The fallout has begun. Matt Elam, a five-star recruit from WPB, has chosen not to enroll at UF in January. This effectively puts him “back in play.” Prior to committing to UF the primary contenders for Elam were Tenn. and FSU. The Tenn. coach recruiting him was Eddie Gran. Gran is now on Jimbo Fisher’s staff. If the Seminoles can snatch away a player of Elam’s caliber they’ll definitely have a top five recruiting class. ESPNU currently has UF ranked first (with Elam) and FSU tenth.

    by Dave Linvale


  10. December 28th, 2009 11:02 pm

    Ed, once again thanks for the great info. This time, i have to also comment that the timing and tenor of your comments is very much appreciated. Any Gator fan who does not acknowledge the precarious position of the football program right now is more zealot than fan. If Coach Meyer is NOT going to rest and tend to his health during this recruiting dead period, then he needs to hire a DC and fill out any holes in his staff. At this point, given the exodus of Strong and Gonzalez, coupled with the uncertainty of Coach Meyer’s tenure, anyone we hold onto or pickup is a victory. This year will NOT be the year to measure up the recruiting class with those of the rest of the country. No program has suffered the staff attrition and questions in the entire year that UF has suffered in the month of December alone.

    As an aside, Ed – you went to Argentina earlier this year, and hopefully saw a “futbol” game or several. I won’t even comment on the … “scenery” there. As someone with lots of family in Argentina, soemone who has been to many games down there, now – NOW … you know what an impassioned fan base can sound like. There is nothing in sports – nothing – like the home team coming onto the field, “la Entrada a la cancha.” People here would never understand until they saw it in person. As a sports fan, you’d never forget it.

    by CigarCity


  11. December 29th, 2009 11:15 am

    I am a truly knowledgeable Gator and Season Ticket holder and Diehard gator..known in Palm beach as Gator Bob…
    We are the Gator Nation! In general the 90 Minutes that ESPN gave us up to and including he Press conference was incredible great Gator Exposure!!!
    This is a situation about the Coach being Sick!!! Nothing else! No conspiracy theory!! He is sick….
    he has given his health to us!!
    He has given us everything and beyond we ever imagined!!!
    We are Gators!!!!
    We need to ” get this” !!!Tebow and the team does!!!
    Foley and Machen are doing an incredible job with a situation not in the manual….
    In the short and long run we will come out so strong!!!
    I thought we would not recover from losing Spurrier!! We got better!!! We will get better!!!
    Out staff and team are incredible! You dont win 22 in a row with excuses!!!!
    We will win the Sugar Bowl and do well with recruiting!!!
    Any recruit that does change his mind? Dont Come Here!!!
    We dont want you!!!!
    Go Gators!!!!
    Gator Bob-Jupiter

    by bob


  12. December 29th, 2009 9:55 pm

    If all this “blog-formation” is true then would someone tell matt elam to get over himself. This kid is a classic reason why recruiting burns coaches out. Yeah they are studs in HS and they get a ton of attention but how being a 5 star in high school never guarentees success at the next level. A person’s attitude, committment and passion for their talent is what makes them great in college and possibly lead to an nfl career. These highschoolers talking about if I go to that school or this school it will ensure I make it to the nfl…..kids it’s not about the school it’s about YOU! It helps to go to a big time school like Florida and get on national TV each week, however if you go to any big time school and have a crapy/me-first attitude chances are very good that you will not make it to the nfl. There are only a handful of NFL players that are SO talented that the team, coaches and owner’s but up with their crap. 99% of the NFL and BCS college players are 1) talented; 2) hard workers; 3) dedicated to their sport everyday; and frankly most will admit there was a moment or stroke of good luck.

    I hate to continue to read about these HS kids that think they own the recruiting process b/c they are so talented. We see more of these kids bust at the next level then we do succed.

    I can’t speak for matt elam and I hope all the blogs are dead wrong b/c I know his brother and his family are high character people. However, coaches loose so much valuable time recruiting a handful of kids it is actually hurting their future potential team by constantly waffling on their commitment and requiring the coaches to go and “shore up” his commitment again. If these kids were dedicated to their talent/sport and took their time reseaching the school and coaches then once they commit it should be a 100% done deal so that can allow their future coaches to hit the road and work on the next position in the class so they can be on a successful team a few years later.

    by chase


  13. December 30th, 2009 1:45 pm

    Recruiting question; I know someone who went to see Dylan Favre play this year and they said he was the best high school QB he had ever seen and this guy has seen a lot growing up in South Florida. My question is, even though he is only 5-11, is he even on UF’s radar? If not, are any other QB’s other than Trey Burton? Thanks and keep up the good work and have a happy New Year!

    by Ken Frier


  14. December 30th, 2009 2:44 pm

    Guys, one thing that we have to remember is most recruits commit to a program because of academics, atmosphere, tradition, fans, etc. Having great coaches to work with is always an added bonus.
    While Matt Elam of WPB maybe waivering his options and not enroll early at UF, his other two buddies (Clark and Christian) plans to enroll early. I’m sure Elam would be a lock since he’d like to play alongside his high school buddies.
    As far as Meyer is concerned, the man is a type A driven intense person. I dont really see him being away from coaching or football too long. The man breathes coaching. I pray for his health and hopefully he learns to relax cause stress alone can really mess you up. Been there, experienced it.

    by GatorChamps73


  15. December 31st, 2009 5:58 pm

    The gators are going to have a great recruiting class this year and in the future. Meyer will be back with more fire in his belly. Watch out for a big year in 2010.

    by Terry Webb


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