December 7th, 2011 08:56pm

Zach’s Mail Stack 12/7

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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?

Absolutely.

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!

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Comments

30 Comments

  1. December 7th, 2011 9:14 pm

    It is a sorry state of affairs when a teams coaches have to stroke an individuals ego to get them to play for their team. I say let them go home and stroke their own ego’s! We NEED team players not individuals that get their tine feelings hurt when our staff is trying to better our team…period! Team chemistry doesn’t gel when there is lye in the mix. GO GATORS!!!

    by Gator Ed


  2. December 7th, 2011 9:29 pm

    Shortly after he was hired Muschamp was quoted as saying that you don’t recruit the player so much as you recruit the family. It’s sad that families let their own emotions and biases influence the recruits, but that’s often what happens. It’s also, as Muschamp said, completely normal and expected. Having said that, the onus is on the coaches to be the grown up and try to settle emotions.

    by Greg


  3. December 7th, 2011 9:51 pm

    Thanks for the updates, keep them coming. How many more OL recruits is WM targeting for this class? How many OL prospects/commits have a chance to play right away?

    Also, Does Billy D still have a shot at signing any impact big men in the current class?

    by MAS Gator


  4. December 7th, 2011 10:14 pm

    I agree with Gator Ed. We need kids that want to play for the Gators. Sounds like Davis is a lot like some of the non-team players we saw playing this year and last. WM said he wanted kids that wanted to be Gators. That was basically the philosophy of Steve Spurrier. A three star with heart is better than a 5 star with an ego. I am sorry but you can go down the list of great Gators and find many who were not ranked real high but played with all they had and won championships at Florida. Give the new coaching staff a chance, you will see that they were left with a broken team this year. The future is bright if we give the sun enough time to come back out. Go Gators!!!

    by Paul


  5. December 7th, 2011 10:32 pm

    The tight end situation is now looking strong. Any chance Weis is looking at using a New England type offense with multiple tightends? Looks like a great option to use against the big Alabama type defense. Then use it to just overpower the rest.

    Also hope to see more size in the defensive backfield.

    by g. growl


  6. December 7th, 2011 10:42 pm

    Hey man is there any word on Dante Fowler recently

    by Cam


  7. December 7th, 2011 10:52 pm

    If the coaches want a kid then that’s good enough for me. Whoever suits up for the Gators is who I’m going to root for.

    by Doug


  8. December 7th, 2011 11:00 pm

    I really hate how a fan can go from “man i am so glad we got this kid” to “i didnt want him anyway”. not really sure what made him decommit but its his decision. he’s gonna be the one to put the jersey on right? i really dont know wat to say about florida recruiting right now. we always seem to make a move on a prospect and they end up somewhere else. diggs and agholor have to be the main focus of this class. mainly because they play multiple positions including “runningback” just in case you didnt know. i hope we get some type of committment this weekend.

    by gatorcane


  9. December 7th, 2011 11:05 pm

    Rb doesnt worry it’s an easy postition to learn compared to Qb,Ol,Te.
    A good line will make or break a running back not named Sanders.
    Chris Johnson,,Mashall Faulk,stop crying about silly rivals rankings.
    Muschamp is Caoch and this Gator stands with him thick and then.
    Dont like him jump off the bandwagon until you get your way,if not hike up your skirt and show some support for this team,think they’ve suffered plenty.

    by J.


  10. December 8th, 2011 12:07 am

    I am die hard Gator butI see what we are doin and it make mme uneasy.I just hope that its something I dont know great goin to happen because we need A RB BAD!!! Matt Jones cant do it his self…And with the way the SEC WORK YOU NEED AT LEAST 4 Quality backs ready to play..

    by Gator guy


  11. December 8th, 2011 12:11 am

    Well said J. I just watched the Arizona game and Patric Young is a beast! I really doubt we are going to have him next year (announcers said there were pro scouts all out to see him and Beal). Is there any good news on the front from bigs for next year? A frontcourt with Yeguete and Murphy does not look too good for next year…

    by Pman


  12. December 8th, 2011 12:46 am

    dude, you’re killing it, awesome mailbag. If Will seriously lands Diggs, Agholor, Harvey-Clemons, Avery Young, and Leonard Williams, he’ll get me back on board. If he can re-gain Mike Davis and throw Tracy Howard in on top? I’ll be his biggest supporter (at least through the offseason lol). It seems more optimistic than realistic thinking all those guys will sign with UF though.

    by C3


  13. December 8th, 2011 6:12 am

    We will sign a great class this year! There’s too much opportunity, at a great school! Don’t forget, this is the U of F we’re talking about, with coaches who have NFL pedigrees! I expect to see some silents become known, after this weekend, to give this class some momentum! Once that train gets moving, there will be more jump on! We are getting down to crunch time, so, there will be some spot grabbing going on! As for Davis, I hope he can see that UF is his best opportunity, by far and he needs to man-up and make the decision that’s best for him, not his brother or anyone else! His family will rally around him, if he re-commits to UF and Weis will get him to the NFL, with coaching and his contacts. Weis’ word goes a long way with NFL coaches!

    by JC


  14. December 8th, 2011 7:44 am

    I fear that Davis’ bro, who quit the Redskins over lack of PT(doesn’t PT have to be EARNED?) will remain a problem anytime HE thinks Mike isn’t being respected enough if he DOES sign with UF.

    by Steve


  15. December 8th, 2011 7:49 am

    yes JC, this is the U of F, the big time football power which turned it’s program over to a foul mouth, anger driven boy with NO HEAD COACHING
    EXP. ! ! ! he is hurting this program while he is learning on the job…
    foley must now learn the hard way.. he did’nt the first time when hiring
    ron zook.. took YEARS to recover.. hope im wrong

    by sir chomps alot


  16. December 8th, 2011 8:06 am

    Dayne Crist, whom Charlie recruited to ND, has announced that he will transfer after graduation. No question in my mind the Gators should put the full court press on him as he would be available right away next year (as he is graduating). He would provide instant depth and obviously, he is familiar with the offense that Charlie runs.

    by Nico


  17. December 8th, 2011 9:10 am

    That sounds like great news. I hope he changes his mind and comes back into the fold. Sounds like he has his heart set on UF but is listening to too many people aroudn him & not his heart.

    by Baton Rouge Gator Fan


  18. December 8th, 2011 9:10 am

    Yep, took “years” to recover from Zook, alright. National friggin Championship in the second year of UM. Geez, think ungrateful fans have anything to do with why coaches like SOS and UM leave?

    by Bubba


  19. December 8th, 2011 9:12 am

    Sir Chomps Alot…YEARS…really? Meyer won his NC in his 2nd YEAR, had a top rated recruiting class in his 2nd YEAR…we are only 6 YEARS removed from the Zooker…so at least we all know that you are ALREADY wrong. You’re like the sniveling, spoiled little kid that didn’t get the right toy in his happy meal. Give they guy a chance.

    by bwiese


  20. December 8th, 2011 9:14 am

    Sir chump a lot Meyer won a BCS championship in year 2 and 4 after Zook. That wasn’t much of a recovery time!

    by Ed


  21. December 8th, 2011 9:15 am

    And now for my queestion to you Zach…Given the depleated roster, how many and who do you think will enroll early to help maximize the scholarship roster? And also, who will be the Chris Doering of this class?

    by bwiese


  22. December 8th, 2011 9:20 am

    ED, stroking teenagers’ egos is a common-place thing in college recruiting. Easily 60% of the kids recruited are prima donnas of one level or another and these coaches are fully prepared for dealing with them. This is nothing new.

    by Gator Todd


  23. December 8th, 2011 9:59 am

    Marietta, Ga., Lassiter QB Eddie Printz, who is committed to SMU, should be an easy pick up for the Gators considering SMU just lost their coach.

    by Homer J


  24. December 8th, 2011 10:00 am

    Sir Chomp On This – You seem to be really agitated at UF! Now would be a good time for you to become a Nole fan! It would be nice to see less posters attacking our coaches, with no facts or sound reason! Forming an opinion, based on emotion, makes one look not so intelligent!

    by JC


  25. December 8th, 2011 10:39 am

    recruiting is no exact science as last 2 Gator teams proved.But the easiest position to fill is running back.And probably the best one out there hasn’t hit his maturity level yet, gets recruited by someone seeing something in him down the road,and becomes a star.Can’t believe Florida can’t recruit 215 lb. backs from somewhere.

    by producewiz


  26. December 8th, 2011 11:00 am

    I don’t want divas playing at UF either, but keep in mind he’s just a kid. Give him a break. While we want kids coming to UF because they want to win championships, Muschamp and Weis still have to prove themselves. They’re going to need to top talent to establish their reputations, so I don’t mind them kissing a little diva butt for now.

    Anyway, put yourself in Mike Davis’ shoes. He’s got his brother Wormtongue breathing lies in his ear, lies that appeal to his pride. I’d probably feel a little snubbed, too, if Keith Marshall was given a 3-coach visit and all I ever got was an assistant. OTOH since he was an early commit he needs to understand that the effort is going to focus on those who aren’t yet committed.

    Also, hopefully MD doesn’t get discouraged by seeing so many “good riddance” comments on Gator message boards. Again he’s just a kid and I imagine this would affect him a bit more than Charlie Weis would be affected by a few negative comments about him.

    by UFL1138


  27. December 8th, 2011 11:54 am

    Zach- nice post, however lots of good questions. Why not a follow-up to some of the questions instead of waiting a week? Keep up the good work.

    by A-Gator


  28. December 8th, 2011 12:12 pm

    Get his brother out of his ear and he will be a gator plain and simple. I wish these guys would do their own thinking.

    by Dan Dixon


  29. December 8th, 2011 12:16 pm

    I have to say all the furor over 5 stars seems a bit over hyped…Yes it’s great to have a Percy or Tim but we won a lot of games with developing guys who were 2-3′s…there’s a big ol’ scrap heap full of useless 5 stars! Go Gators

    by petenice


  30. December 8th, 2011 7:15 pm

    [...] coaches are changing the way they recruit at high school championship games.8. Zach Abolverdi answers recruiting questions for the Gainesville [...]

    by Recruiting | MrSEC.com


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