It’s the first Mail Stack of 2012 and the new year has been a breath of fresh air for Florida.
Head coach Will Muschamp led his team to a Gator Bowl win on Monday and he’s also scored several victories on the recruiting trail this week.
Two five-star prospects, wide receiver Nelson Agholor and outside linebacker Josh Harvey-Clemons, have UF atop their leaderboard and the Gators are expected to pick up commitments from Jonathan Bullard and Jordan Jenkins in the coming days.
Many of asked about the offensive coordinator position and how the vacancy impacts recruiting. Fortunately for UF, it only has a handful of offensive targets remaining and all but one of them haven’t lost any interest in the Gators.
The only exception is five-star receiver Stefon Diggs, who will no longer decide on National Signing Day because he wants wait and see what move Muschamp makes. But as long as he doesn’t make a bad hire, I still believe Florida is the team to beat.
Before I get to the questions, here’s a preview of the two All-American games this week.
Under Armour All-American Game
Thursday at 7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN
Players to watch on the Black Team (Highlight):
WR Nelson Agholor – No. 3 (out with shoulder injury)
OL Avery Young – No. 56 (down to UF, UGA and Auburn)
DE Leonard Williams – No. 70 (down to UF and Auburn)
DE Jordan Jenkins – No. 92 (down to UF, UGA, Alabama and Auburn)
Players to watch on the White Team (Blur):
WR Avery Johnson – No. 1 (LSU commit, visiting UF in January)
DE Dante Fowler Jr. – No. 6 (FSU commit, visiting UF in January)
WR LaTroy Pittman – No. 13 (UF commit)
K Austin Hardin – No. 16 (UF commit)
S Marcus Maye – No. 18 (UF commit)
CB Brian Poole – No. 24 (UF commit)
RB Wes Brown – No. 26 (UF recently offered, but he will announce at the game between Colorado, Maryland and Vanderbilt)
OL Jessaman Dunker – No. 75 (UF commit)
TE Colin Thompson – No. 84 (UF commit)
For the complete roster, click HERE.
U.S. Army All-American Bowl
Saturday at 1 p.m. ET on NBC
Players to watch on the East Team:
WR Stefon Diggs – No. 1 (UF, Maryland, Virgina and Auburn are among the favorites)
CB Tracy Howard – No. 3 (top two of UF and LSU)
TE Kent Taylor – No. 9 (UF commit)
LB Tyriq McCord – No. 20 (announcing at the game between South Carolina and Miami, more on that later)
RB Mike Davis – No. 28 (former UF commit)
LB Josh Harvey-Clemons – No. 34 (UF leads over Georgia)
DT Omari Phillips – No. 50 (UF commit)
OL D.J. Humphries – No. 75 (UF commit)
DE Jonathan Bullard – No. 90 (announcing at the game between UF, Clemson and South Carolina)
DE Darius Hamilton – No. 94 (Rutgers leads over UF, but Hamilton is visiting Gainesville again in January)
Players to watch on the West Team:
OT Kyle Murphy – No. 78 (top four of Stanford, USC, Oregon and UF)
For the complete roster, click HERE.
What’s the deal with Wes Brown? Do the Gators have a real shot of landing him? — McKenzie and others
Brown is a four-star RB from Our Lady Of Good Counsel in Olney, Md., the same high school as Diggs.
The UF coaches have been in contact recently and expressed interest, but they may be too late to the party. He spoke with running back coach Brian White on Sunday night.
“Coach White called and just said he wants me to come down for a visit,” Brown said. “They lost one of their commits (Mike Davis) and now there’s a spot open for me … I got other schools that I’ve been focused on for awhile now, but I’ll definitely look into it.”
Although he appreciates the offer, Brown isn’t sure if he’ll be able to make it to Gainesville this month because he already has trips scheduled to Colorado (Jan. 13) and Miami (Jan. 20).
Brown is scheduled to make a commitment Thursday, but it’s obvious that his recruitment is still not over. The question is, do the Gators have a chance?
“They do,” Brown said, “but they’re not up there with my other schools right now. They’re coming late so they gotta work their way up.”
Like Diggs, Brown has a relationship with former high school teammate Jelani Jenkins. Now Florida’s starting outside linebacker, Jenkins was Brown’s math tutor years ago at Good Counsel. However, Brown said Jenkins being at UF and Diggs possibly joining him won’t be a factor in his decision.
Who says yes to the last 8-10 scholarships? — Timmy and James
Time for me to start my mock class.
I was hesitant to do this last month because I needed some things to shake out, but now I feel confident about putting out a list after what I learned over the past few days.
* Tampa defensive end/linebacker Tyric McCord was a guy that many people had choosing Florida on Saturday. But over the last week, something went down that caused McCord and UF to go their separate ways. I’ve heard he has some grade issues, but I think something else caused this to happen.
Word coming out of the Under Armour practices is that the Hamilton, Ga., prospect, who UF is recruiting for its buck position like McCord, will be picking UF when he announces on Jan. 9. In my video interview with him Tuesday, he gave some strong vibes when discussing the Gators and it looks like they’ve beat out Alabama for his services. Muschamp & Co. likely know this and told McCord that they’ve fulfilled their need at buck.
Whatever the case may be, he’s not Florida bound anymore.
* This week Miramar CB Tracy Howard said Florida and LSU are his top two teams. It had long been thought of as a UF-FSU battle, so for him to say the Seminoles aren’t among his leaders means a lot because I don’t see him leaving the state. On a side note, Brian Poole told me that Howard picking Florida wouldn’t cause him to decommit because they won’t play the same spots in the secondary.
* In December, there were reports that Palm Beach Gardens offensive tackle Avery Young was leaning toward Auburn and Georgia with UF being a distant third. The news was a bit surprising if you consider the fact that he was once a Gator-lean and chomped his arms off at the Florida State game in late November.
But on Tuesday, Young mentioned Florida first when I asked him who his favorites are and he said the coaching staff is recruiting him the hardest out of any other school.
* Last but not least, defensive tackle commit Omari Phillips recently became a soft verbal and chose not too enroll early at Florida so he can visit other schools. In his first interview since that decision, Phillips told Rivals.com that he’s upset about the Gators taking two JUCO linemen and will visit LSU, Miami and USF this month. However, he’s still recruiting other prospects to UF at Army practices and said his commitment is strong.
With all that said, here’s my initial mock class (27 signees) for 2012.
RB Matt Jones
FB Schyler Miles
WR LaTroy Pittman
WR Nelson Agholor
WR Stefon Diggs
TE Kent Taylor
TE Colin Thompson
OL D.J. Humphries
OL Jessamen Dunker
OL Avery Young
OL Junior Salt (JUCO)
DT Damien Jacobs (JUCO)
DT Jafar Mann
DT Omari Phillips
DE Jonathan Bullard
DE Leonard Williams
DE Quinteze Williams
B Jordan Jenkins
LB Josh Harvey-Clemons
LB Antonio Morrison
LB Jeremi Powell
CB Tracy Howard
CB Brian Poole
CB Willie Bailey
S Marcus Maye
S Rhahiem Ledbetter
K Austin Hardin
Will UF have any early enrollees? — D-Wayne
Florida has seven commits that will be on campus this week: Pittman, Humphries, Dunker, Jacobs, Q. Williams, Morrison and Bailey.
Here is my breakdown from last month.
That’s all for this week! Be sure to check out interviews from the Under Armour media day on GatorSports.com.