Mike Davis decommits.
Kurt Freitag picks Alabama.
Keith Marshall chooses Georgia.
Three consecutive days of bad news and it sounds like many of you still can’t get your minds off what happened.
But I’m gonna go all Donnie Brasco on you and say this — forget about it.
Because come National Signing Day, none of it will matter.
Freitag and Marshall were never coming to Florida in the first place because the coaches already have two top prospects at those positions.
That’s right, I said HAVE.
Despite what’s taken place and the drama that is destined to come, I believe Davis is still a Gator at heart and will be one on the first Wednesday in February.
And that brings me to the first question of this week’s Mail Stack.
Any idea as to what the “misunderstanding” with Davis was? Do you think that we can get him back? — Lee and others
I talked to Davis this evening and also spoke with someone close to the situation, and here’s what I can tell you at this time.
Davis has known about Keith Marshall’s recruitment all along and never had a problem with it before last week.
Once the contact period began, the UF staff began hitting the road and courting its most coveted targets. There were instances where as many as three assistant coaches took part in an in-home visit.
On Nov. 29, Davis only had one coach (Derek Lewis) visit him and he expected more. However, it did not bother him to the point where he was angry.
But when news broke that head coach Will Muschamp had gone to see Marshall, things turned for the worst. I was told that his family — notably his brother, former Clemson running back James Davis — became very upset about this and caused Mike to start having second thoughts about UF. Had it not been for his family’s displeasure, Davis would have never sweated the situation.
Instead, you have last weekend’s official visit to Tennessee and Sunday’s decommitment.
Now begs the question, can UF still get him back?
First of all, Davis won’t find another opportunity at playing time like he will with the Gators and that matters a lot to him. He’s wants to make an immediate impact and knows he can do that at UF.
More importantly, I think one face-to-face visit from Muschamp and co. will put out the fire. Contrary to what has been reported, Davis told me he has not received any visits from the UF staff since his decommitment and doesn’t have anything scheduled. Davis said the coaches are trying to set something up but he isn’t ready to sit down with them yet. However, he said it will happen eventually and he’s going to listen to what they have to say.
He has an in-home visit with Clemson Thursday and the Tigers are expected to extend an offer. I believe that is Florida’s biggest competition because of his brother’s influence. In the end, though, he will get over what happened with the in-home visits and I see him being a Gator again on NSD.
Zach, is there any other running backs out there we have been recruiting and have a shot at? — Jeremy
My understanding is that UF has not been recruiting anyone else besides Marshall. And if the coaches can’t get Davis back, they won’t take another back unless they find a worthy replacement.
Here are three initial guys to watch for:
Wes Brown, 6-foot-1, 200 pounds, Olney, Md. (Our Lady Good Counsel)
Brown is the teammate of five-star receiver Stefon Diggs, one of Florida’s top remaining targets. He is the only uncommitted back out there with a talent level close to Davis and has the offer list to prove it. He could be priority No. 1 for UF, especially considering the connection with Diggs.
Danny Dillard, 6-foot-2, 205 pounds, Venice, Fla. (Venice)
The teammate of UF commit Omari Phillips, Dillard is a verbal to Miami but had interest in Florida early in his recruitment. He rushed for 2,265 yards and 39 touchdowns over the last two years.
Roshard Burney, 5-foot-10, 205, Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. (Palm Beach Gardens)
Running behind Florida’s top OL target Avery Young, Burney committed to West Virgina on Nov. 28 but would likely listen if the Gators came calling. He had 2,000 rushing yards and 21 touchdowns this season.
Hey Zach just wanted to get your thoughts on this recruiting list. If you want place a 1-10 on chances we get the guy. — Mike
1. Dorial Green-Beckham — 1. Because of his brother’s cancer and chemotherapy treatment, he wants to stay close to home in Springfield, Mo. and that all but eliminates Florida’s chances.
2. Darius Hamilton — 4. He has Florida in second place, but Rutgers is way out in front. Hamilton is taking his official visit to UF this weekend so maybe the coaches can make a push, but I see him staying in New Jersey.
3. Stefon Diggs — 8. He loved his visit to Friday Night Lights, his mother loved her visit to the FSU game and all signs point to UF. I expect him to commit on his official visit to Gainesville.
4. Nelson Agholor — 9. I’ve had a handful of recruits tell me he will be a Gator. At his selection ceremony, Agholor said he chose to play in the Under Armour All-American game because his family wants to watch him play. That will be a factor when he chooses his college destination and that gives UF an edge over Notre Dame and USC, who appear to be his top three teams. He is also visiting Gainesville this weekend.
5. Andrus Peat — 3. He has a connection to Florida because offensive line coach Frank Verducci coached his father at Northern Illinois in the 1980s. However, that connection will not be enough for him to leave the west coast.
6. Landon Collins — 1. I was told the coaches wanted two safeties in the 2012 class and they shut it down after the commitment of Marcus Maye.
7. Tracy Howard — 5. The reason I say five is because it’s an UF-FSU battle and both are dead even. He favored Florida in the beginning and his mother is a big Gator fan, so that can only help the UF’s chances. But if I had to pick a school for him right now, it would be the Seminoles.
8. Ellis McCarthy — 2. Another west coast kid who will attend a west coast college.
9. Josh Harvey-Clemons — 7. This will come down to UGA and UF. He will visit Georgia this weekend and Florida on Dec. 16, and those trips should determine his decision. I think the Gators have the edge here.
10. Avery Young — 8. His high school mascot is the Gators and I believe that will be his college one as well. He loved his official visit for FSU and it likely sealed the deal for UF.
11. Leonard Williams — 7. He has Auburn and Florida as his co-leaders, but grew up a Gator fan. He will take an official visit in December and I think he will walk away sold on UF.
12. Tyriq McCord — 6. Another prospect that favored Florida early and still likes the Gators. If the coaches really want him, he’s theirs to lose.
What QBs are the Gators looking at for 2013? — Ivo
While it doesn’t look like the coaches will pursue a quarterback in 2012, they’ve already found the one they want for next year.
Marietta, Ga., Lassiter QB Eddie Printz, who is committed to SMU, took an unofficial visit for the FSU game and got the full-court press from offensive coordinator Charlie Weis.
“Coach Weis put the hard sell on him, and made a conditional offer,” Printz’s father told the Atlanta Journal Constitution on Dec. 1. “He’s the guy they want. Coach Weis is going to talk to him in a couple of weeks and ask Eddie ‘Do you want to come here?’ If the answer is yes, they want him to come there. If it’s no, Florida will stop recruiting him.”
If Printz sticks with SMU, Florida’s other top choice appears to be Brice Ramsey. Although he’s committed to UGA, his options are still open and he has expressed heavy interest in the Gators.
That’s all for this week! Be sure to leave comments for the next mailbag!