It’s the end of the road, my friends.
We’re one week away from National Signing Day and this is the last mailbag of the 2012 recruiting cycle. The Mail Stack will be back this summer.
Being able to answer your questions for the last two months has been very rewarding for me. I hope I’ve provided you all with the content you crave!
The month of January has been very hectic and things will only intensify as we close in on Feb. 1.
Nearly all of the questions I received this week were along the lines of, “where do the Gators stand with so-and-so?” Those are the only questions that matter at this time of year.
So I’m just going to review all the remaining prospects on Florida’s board and include their announcement dates (for you, Erick and Charles).
Ready, set, go!
Zach, in this week’s update can you walk down the list of all the key recruits that are on the board and what you believe our chances are with each of them? — Brian and others
QB Skyler Mornhinweg, (Philadelphia, Pa./St. Joseph’s)
The Penn State commit, who is the son of Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator Mary Morhinweg, took an official visit to Florida last weekend. The three-star has been given a Thursday deadline to choose the Gators or they will move on. But with the Nittany Lions picking up another QB commitment Tuesday and telling Morhinweg they want to try him out at safety, I think he makes the switch.
QB Paxton Lynch (Deltona, Fla./Trinity Christian Academy)
Should Florida miss on Morhinweg, Lynch is the next option on the board. On Thursday night, new UF offensive coordinator Brent Pease will inform Lynch if he has an offer. If he does, Lynch said he will commit on the spot and take an official visit this weekend.
QB Jacob Guy (Dade City, Fla./Pasco)
Guy is the third option on Florida’s QB board, but it appears doubtful that the Gators will strike out on Morhinweg and Lynch. However, Guy said he may come to Gainesville as a preferred walk-on. He currently has offers from Ohio and Western Michigan, but he likes the idea of staying close to home and getting an education from UF. His brother, South Florida redshirt freshman tight end Tyler Guy, took a similar route with the Bulls.
WR Stefon Diggs (Olney, Md./Our Lady of Good Counsel)
Announcment: Feb. 10
Fresh off his official visit to Florida, Diggs had nothing but positive things to say and the consensus among reporters and recruits is that the five-star receiver will end up a Gator. He still has official visits left to Ohio State (1/28) and Maryland (Feb. 3) before he makes his final decision, but it’s been reported that his family (specifically his mother, Stephanie) will not take those trips with him. And if she doesn’t, that would mean UF is the only school that received a visit from her — and she’s been to Gainesville twice.
WR Nelson Agholor (Tampa, Fla./Berkeley Prep)
Rumors are running rampant about Agholor. Over the last week, Southern Cal has suddenly become a major player for his services according to multiple message boards. Four out of six Rivals.com analysts have him slated as a Trojan. His high school coach, Dominick Ciao, has a close relationship with USC defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin that dates back to his days with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Meanwhile, Agholor has a tight bond with a handful of UF commits, plenty of playing time available and a favorable distance from home. It appears to be a toss-up at this point, especially with USC getting his last official visit this weekend, but I still believe the deciding factors at Florida will outweigh those at Southern Cal. Just my gut.
OL Avery Young (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla./Palm Beach Gardens)
Announcment: NSD, 2 p.m.
I have Young in my mock class (see below), but I feel the least confident about him. He’s kept things close to the vest throughout his recruitment and it’s hard to get a read on him. Auburn, Florida and Georgia are his top three teams, but it’s thought to be a race between the Tigers and Gators. In my opinion, his decision will come down to his parents. He lives with his dad down south, but his mom lives near Auburn and she wants him close to her. If you consider the mileage, UF is the “fairest” school in regards to how far each parent would have to drive to watch Young play. That’s why I ultimately think he will end up at Florida, but I wouldn’t be the least-bit shocked if he went elsewhere.
OL Jake Meador (Whiteland, Ind./Whiteland)
Announcment: NSD, 10:10 a.m.
The longer Meador waited to makes his commitment, the less likely it would be to Florida. He was supposed to decide last week, now he will wait til NSD. His family and friends want him to stay close to home, and with Wisconsin hiring former Mississippi offensive coach Mike Markuson on Saturday, the Badgers are now the front-runner for him. Markuson was Meador’s primary recruiter when he was committed to Ole Miss. The four-star lineman will take an official visit to Wisconsin this weekend. Missouri is also a finalist.
DT Vincent Valentine (Edwardsville, Ill./Edwardsville)
Valentine loved his official visit on Jan. 13 and is good friends with DE commit Bryan Cox Jr., who went to middle school with him up north. But Gainesville is far away, Nebraska has too much of a lead and Florida already has three defensive tackles in this class. I don’t see him being a part of it.
DE Darius Hamilton (Ramsey, N.J./Don Bosco Prep)
Announcment: Jan. 31, 8 p.m.
Hamilton is down to Rutgers and Florida, but the home team has led from the beginning of his process and still does at the end. Dan Quinn and Bryant Young blew him away on his Dec. 9th trip, but his mom is extremely close to the Rutgers coaches. She may come to UF before or after Hamilton’s official visit to Miami this weekend, but he will be hard to steal from the Scarlet Knights.
DE Leonard Williams (Daytona Beach, Fla./Mainland)
After missing three scheduled visits to Florida, Williams finally made it to Gainesville on Monday following his trip to USC. The Gators were co-leaders with Auburn at one point and seemed in good position to land Williams, but I believe Jonathan Bullard’s commitment turned him off. With UF picking up Cox over the weekend, the chances of getting Williams are very slim now. Auburn, FSU and USC are the favorites, but he has an official to Miami this weekend.
B Dante Fowler Jr. (St. Petersburg, Fla./Lakewood)
If you watched my video with the Florida State commitment, you’ll know why he’s favorite recruit to interview. He always give me a quotable and whether you like him or not, he keeps things interesting. Fowler says he’s still 100 percent to FSU but will make his final decision on Feb. 1 (if he’s solid then why the annoucement?). I genuinely believe he wants to be a Gator, but I think he feels obligated to stick to his verbal so he can make other people happy (cough, dad, cough). I still see him signing with the Seminoles, but he’s not just playing games with Florida when he visited SEVEN times. If there is a surprise on NSD, this would be it. Or would it?
LB Josh Harvey-Clemons (Valdosta, Ga./Lowndes)
Announcment: NSD, 9 a.m.
Publicly this is a two-team race between Florida and Georgia, privately is another story. There are all kinds of rumblings about where he’ll go and each one sounds different. UF was the leader in early January and then UGA made it even following his trip there on Jan. 13. This is another one that will come down to distance. Harvey-Clemons was raised by his grandfather and wants to be near him in college. It takes four hours to get to Athens, but Gainesville is just an hour away. Couple that with the fact he grew up a Gator fan, and I think he bites instead of barks.
LB Schyler Miles (Tampa, Fla./Berkeley Prep)
The finalists for Miles are Florida, Kansas and West Virgina. Need I say more? His mother visited Gainesville over the weekend while he was at KU, and Florida switching its offer from fullback to linebacker (his preferred position) sealed the deal.
CB Tracy Howard (Miramar, Fla./Miramar)
The five-star cornerback favored the Gators early on and now has them way out in front following his official visit this weekend. He says it’s a tie between the “Big Three” in Florida, but sources behind the scenes have told me this one is in the bag. Miami will get an official visit this weekend and FSU is still being mentioned, but both of them weren’t even finalists two weeks ago.
Of the 14 prospects, here is how I would rank them based on most likely to sign with UF:
1. Tracy Howard – 90%
2. Stefon Diggs – 85%
3. Schyler Miles – 80%
4. Skyler Mornhinweg – 70%
5. Nelson Agholor – 65%
6. Josh Harvey-Clemons – 55%
7. Avery Young – 50%
8. Dante Fowler Jr. – 49%
9. Darius Hamilton – 40%
10. Paxton Lynch – 35%
11. Leonard Williams – 30%
12. Jake Meador – 25%
13. Vincent Valentine – 20%
14. Jacob Guy – 5% (as a walk-on, 50%)
Mock class as of now? — Devin and Titan Gator
It’s now apparent the Gators will sign a quarterback in 2012, which put my class at 27. Add Cox Jr. and take away Meador from last week, and here’s my final mock.
QB Skyler Mornhinweg
RB Matt Jones
WR LaTroy Pittman (EE)
WR Nelson Agholor
WR Stefon Diggs
TE Kent Taylor
TE Colin Thompson
OL D.J. Humphries (EE)
OL Jessamen Dunker (EE)
OL Avery Young
DT Damien Jacobs (EE/JUCO)
DT Jafar Mann
DT Omari Phillips
DE Jonathan Bullard
DE Quinteze Williams
DE Bryan Cox Jr.
B Alex McCalister
LB Josh Harvey-Clemons
LB Antonio Morrison (EE)
LB Jeremi Powell
LB Schyler Miles
CB Tracy Howard
CB Brian Poole
CB Willie Bailey (EE)
S Marcus Maye
S Rhahiem Ledbetter
K Austin Hardin
That’s all, folks! Have a happy NSD!