February 11th, 2012 08:51pm

Regarding my predictions and mock classes

by

Just need to clear up some things because I’ve been called out too many times since Stefon Diggs committed to Maryland.

First of all, there is a huge difference between predicting where a prospect will go and putting him in a mock class. Secondly, there is no such thing as a lock and I’ve never said anybody was one.

I went six of nine on my predictions, so I don’t understand why some folks are saying I was way off on them. The three kids I got wrong were Stefon Diggs, Avery Young and Josh Harvey-Clemons.

Harvey-Clemons and his family drove to Gainesville the weekend before National Signing Day and committed to UF. I was told that by numerous sources and it’s now been reported by multiple media outlets. What am I supposed to predict with information like that? He was all set to sign with the Gators and caught everyone off guard when he switched to Georgia. His family members were stunned and his grandfather refused to sign his letter of intent.

I always felt the least confident about Young, but his father told several people Avery was going to Florida the night before NSD. The Gators were his early leader, the coaches recruited him harder than any other staff and both his brother and father (who he lives with) wanted him at UF. But his mother lives near Auburn and he chose to be closer to her.

As for Diggs, the Gators led throughout the process and they basically lost him on a courtesy visit to Maryland. There were so many factors that pointed to UF, but ultimately Diggs decided they weren’t enough to leave home. I honestly didn’t think he would pick a school that went 2-10 last season, but I was wrong. Diggs’ former high school teammate and close friend Jelani Jenkins called his commitment to Maryland a “total shocker.” Will Muschamp & Co. felt the same way.

They fully expected to get Diggs, as well as Harvey-Clemons and Young. If I’m told by UF commits that a prospect says he’s coming and the staff expects him, I’m going to predict Florida every time. I can’t help it if kids change their mind late or lie to recruits and coaches. And when they refuse to do interviews, all I can go by is what I’m being told.

Now about my mock classes. A mock is not real, but it’s not deceiving either. It’s just an idea of how a recruiting class could look come NSD. That changes from week to week, and subsequently so do mock classes. I base my lists on what I’ve gathered through interviews/discussions with UF targets and commits, sources and the opinions of others that cover recruiting.

For the record, I never had Darius Hamilton in any of my mock classes and always said he was going to Rutgers. I did have Nelson Agholor and Tracy Howard because for months they were telling UF commits they would be Gators.

Marcus Maye told me at the Under Armour media luncheon that Agholor said UF was his top school. Dante Fowler told me Howard’s mom informed all the recruits on Jan. 21 that her son was coming to Florida. But Agholor and Howard were swayed on their final official and went to the school they visited (as I predicted). Kent Taylor called me the night before NSD and vented for 30 minutes because both of them had assured him they were UF bound.

That’s just a glimpse of some things I was told behind the scenes, and why I had the opinions I did. Things can change with recruits at the drop of a dime and it’s hard to predict what they will do with certainty. No one is perfect at reading the mind of a 17-year-old. Even the most informed and experienced writers get things wrong in this field.

Florida still had a top five class and it would have been No. 1 if some things had gone as anticipated. The staff had no luck with distance. The kids that were far away (Diggs, Howard, Hamilton) stayed home and three in-state prospects (Agholor, Young, Leonard Williams) left Florida. The coaches did everything right with Harvey-Clemons (got his verbal, won over the family) and they still lost him at the last minute.

Muschamp just couldn’t catch a break in the end, but he’s already off to a fantastic start with the 2013 class. Moving forward, I think he will try to secure his commitments early so he doesn’t have to deal with these down-to-the-wire decisions. He went 0-for-10 with the uncommitted prospects that announced late, so closing was not one of his strong suits this year.

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Comments

88 Comments

  1. February 11th, 2012 9:03 pm

    Don’t sweat it man! You’re young, you’ll learn. Shucks I remember when I was just a starry eyed kid, and believed the mighty Gators were larger than life itself. Don’t worry, reality has a way of creeping up on you, and kicking you in the gut from time to time. This too shall pass!

    by RealityBites


  2. February 11th, 2012 9:29 pm

    I thought you did fine. No one can predict what these kids are thinking. That would be just like getting mad at Mel Kiper for being wrong in his mock draft. Just an educated guess. Good job though Zach.

    by Kyle


  3. February 11th, 2012 9:30 pm

    Anyone who’s bashed you over your predictions and mock class is a complete idiot. Alot of these kids change their minds like they change clothes. I personally think you’ve done a great job with the blog and look forward to reading your articles in the future.

    by Chuck Lora


  4. February 11th, 2012 9:41 pm

    Its not like your Marvin The Mindreader. To the people giving Zach a ration of crap about his predictions….get a frigin life! Long as Zach produces informative articles about Gator football…I’m all good.

    by Flight of the Gator


  5. February 11th, 2012 9:52 pm

    Zack dont sweat these clowns.They should pay scout or espn for info then. Keep up the good work its a opinion people im in memphis tenn and find your work to be very heplful to me.So people understand its recruting things change everyday.Cant wait for your 2013 class info bro letss gooooooo squad.

    by GATORNATION


  6. February 11th, 2012 9:53 pm

    Great job Zach, you did an awesome job predicting and don’t let the fools get to you.

    by GatorG


  7. February 11th, 2012 10:00 pm

    I wouldn’t be defensive if I were you Zach. The guys who call you out couldn’t do any better! As the father of three teenagers I wonder how anyone can get inside their head and figure out what they’re thinking and why they make the decisions that they do!!!

    by gatorcraig


  8. February 11th, 2012 10:04 pm

    Zach, you did a great job and I’m looking forward to reading your recruiting information for 2013. Don’t change a thing about how you do your job etc. It’s great so keep up the good work.Thanks again!

    by matt clarke


  9. February 11th, 2012 10:06 pm

    zach, you do a great job. the little piss ants who never think we have a good class are probably under the age of 25 and have never played or done anything. i mean your not happy with a top 5 class, get real. muscham is doing a great job and so are you. can you give any updates on who might be the next to pick the good guys. thanks again go gators 52-20.

    by islander


  10. February 11th, 2012 10:12 pm

    zach, you dont have to explain NOTHING. Great job son, i enjoyed your work. Its the most insight Ive ever had before NSD

    by Dz


  11. February 11th, 2012 10:19 pm

    You did a helluva job, Zach! I will be extremely pleased reading you for an entire recruiting cycle. Keep up the outstanding work!

    by kaput


  12. February 11th, 2012 10:47 pm

    Zach…… you did a fantastic job this past season….. I read all your posts usually within 24 hours unless I was in mexico having some great kiteboarding sessions……Im usually one of the most ruthless when it comes to posting… you guys have had to erase my posts more than once…. I check out all the sites and you are by far the best….. soon you will likely be working for ESPN
    ….

    by human race


  13. February 11th, 2012 11:18 pm

    Zach, why explain anything? You are a reporter who reports info givin to you or info you have investigated. The guys who are bashing your predections are the same ones who were on here predicting the same thing because of the info that had been coming forth from various sites. None of them soley take just your info. If they post comments, then you can bet they go on multiple sites like myself. Let the whiners whine. Don’t explain anything, it just makes you look weak. You gotta take the good with the bad and Ithink you have been doing an excellent job keeping us informed. So keep up the good work!!!

    by gatorbread


  14. February 11th, 2012 11:19 pm

    Zach your job is very complex……….. Your supposed to answer questions that we all know you DON’T have the answers to. My suggestion is to not sound as certain as you do sometimes. Just report what you hear in an unbiased way so that your not to blame when your gut feeling is wrong. #JUSTMYTWOCENTS

    by Fahza Lipton


  15. February 11th, 2012 11:46 pm

    I thought you did a great job throughout the entire process. People were frustrated because we were in line for an astounding class and missed out last minute. You were targeted because your optimism in mock classes looked unbelievable and everyone was super excited. I personally hope this year doesnt stop you from making mock classes in the future because all of your predictions were from good info. I promise you haven’t lost any readers. Keep your head up and keep crankin out great info! Looking forward to 2013!! GO DAMN GATORS!!!

    by Mack


  16. February 11th, 2012 11:47 pm

    Zach, you did an awesome job reporting and analyzing. Your information was accurate and your supporting evidence was persuasive. There’s no way to get into a high school kid’s mind, so the best anyone can do is take an educated guess. The fact is that you got me (and apparently a lot of others) as excited as I’ve ever been about a recruiting season. I’ve never checked in every day like I did this year. I think you’re going to go far in this business.

    by clevelandgator


  17. February 12th, 2012 12:03 am

    Don’t even sweat the haters bro….You did a great job! But don’t forget that this is a business and your image is so vital. Let the haters hate and continue to give us the best information possible with the recruits and everything in between. You don’t have to answer to NO ONE but the ones over you. Keep going bro! You’re doing just fine!

    by gatorboi


  18. February 12th, 2012 12:09 am

    Zach, what were you thinking? You suck!!! I AM JUST KIDDING, thought I would change it up a bit after all of the positive comments on hear to keep you from getting a big head. Seriously, you did the best you could, these kids were a weird bunch this year, misled a lot of people so don’t worry and feel you have to explain it. Howard was the biggest shock to us all. Great job this year, look forward to next as well. Keep up the good work!

    by g8ter27


  19. February 12th, 2012 12:21 am

    Great attitude,thought you did a hell of a job.

    by gatorchris4life


  20. February 12th, 2012 1:25 am

    UF is back to the WAIT TIL NEXT YEAR days…

    by junior


  21. February 12th, 2012 1:36 am

    Don’t sweat it man! Your reporting was great and your predictions were as good as can be expected. CWM has done very well in only his first full recruiting season (and coming off a terrible year). For all those that think otherwise, check Meyer’s first full recruiting season and see how the two compare. Keep up the good Zach! GO GATORS!

    by imfocusedman


  22. February 12th, 2012 2:28 am

    Love the articles Zach.. The only reason your getting hung out to dry is you had UF hitting a grandslam… Not so optimistic next time, it gets everyones hopes up. Even if u feel they might commit expect the worse. If we had had your mock class it would have been a class of the century. Keep up the good work though just tone it down a little on the predictons lol

    by Gabe


  23. February 12th, 2012 5:37 am

    Zach- It’s not your fault Mushchamp can’t close.

    by JustAGator


  24. February 12th, 2012 6:19 am

    Don’t worry about it. Unless you have the class perfectly forecast 4 months in advance, somebody will be griping. :) You know what they say about football in the South, “It’s not life or death, it’s much more important than that!”

    by Randy Bronson


  25. February 12th, 2012 6:49 am

    Zach, what we crave is information and you give us ton in very readable form–thanks! Predictions are just probabilities derived based on a lot more information than we have–so they are nice but nothing to be depended or graded on.
    Keep up the great work!

    by jjGator


  26. February 12th, 2012 7:18 am

    As you proceed through your journalistic career, please don’t morph into another Mel Kiper sonofabiscuiteater. Otherwise, you’re doing a very nice job now. It’s easier to predict where the next lightning bolt will strike in Florida than where 4 and 5 star HS football players showing strong signs of juvenile narcissistic personality disorder (Diggs) are going to go. Give me the TEAM players and let the ME playas go elsewhere.

    by Gator Jay


  27. February 12th, 2012 7:20 am

    No need to apologize. I love following the latest info that you hear. That’s all we can do during this process, to ask the question, “So what have you heard” Keep providing the info, I LOVE IT.

    by Ed Wright


  28. February 12th, 2012 7:45 am

    dont sweat it bro. you did a kick butt job..the unreal fans are the ones who dont get it…what will needs to do is have his last weekend be his big weekend…but kudos to you on the job you do…

    by paulc


  29. February 12th, 2012 7:59 am

    Don’t worry about it! That is recruiting. However, if you would like to make it up to us (and you definitely don’t have to) you could give us some insight on WR’s in the 2013 class since Muschamp missed out this year. Who are the guys he is after and are there any freaks like DBG we are looking at. I would love to hear about the guys out there we are targeting. Thanks Zach!

    by Allen


  30. February 12th, 2012 8:03 am

    Zach,
    Didn’t know there is a difference between predicting where a prospect will go and putting him in a mock class. Thanks.

    by Martin E


  31. February 12th, 2012 8:24 am

    Zach,
    No need to get defensive. Sometimes people who feel jilted need some way to vent, and you just happen to be a convenient target. I don’t think their complaints (I’ve seen a few on the posts, but tend to overlook those) necessarily reflect how they truly feel. Sometimes you’re gonna be wrong, and when you are people are gonna call you out for it. Don’t sweat it and keep the info on 2013 coming (it’s right around the corner)!!!

    by jamie bobbins


  32. February 12th, 2012 8:32 am

    You have a thankless job, kinda like Muschamp…but he gets paid a lot more that you. If it’s any consolation I’d much rather read your optimism than Andreu’s pessimism. Or you can be like the other writers who have learned and be so overly vague so as not to make any kind of forecast whats so ever. Keep doing what you’re doing

    by Chicken Little


  33. February 12th, 2012 8:36 am

    Zach, the people whose lives are so empty that they have to resort to bitching about predictions that didn’t happen are a waste of your time and words. So what if we didn’t get a blockbuster offensive target. The level headed Gators know that if Pease can get our O looking good again that 2013 is going to be a monster class full of big time players on O. Don’t validate people’s insecurities by writing an article explaining how you devised your predictions. Write an article telling everyone that is whining about educated guesses to collectively kiss your a$$. Anyone who has ever read the gatorsports forums knows that 3/4 of the posters in there are on there 24 hours a day which should tell you that either A, they live with mom and have no real life or any of the problems that accompany one or B, no matter how things go regarding Florida football they are going to find something to complain about. So keep up the good work, and focus on writing for Zach and Gatorsports, not a website full of mama’s boys who think they are kings of the forum.

    by Drew


  34. February 12th, 2012 8:38 am

    Good job Zach you did as good a job as the paysites and yours was free.
    Look forward to your 2013 season and will follow you no matter wherer you land.
    That bandwagons slowing down if anyone wants to jump off,GO GATORS.

    by irrigator


  35. February 12th, 2012 8:40 am

    Don’t worry about it, Zach. I’ve been following recruiting about as long as you’ve been alive. The last minute “decisions” are made by attention-seeking kids who are willing to lie to college coaches who spend countless hours away from family recruiting them, their own coaches for crying-out-loud, media, fans, other recruits they’re supposedly “friends” with, etc, just so they can “shock the world” on NSD. It gets worse every year. My suggestion is that you don’t even try to guess from about a week before NSD onward, b/c it’s a crap shoot at that point. And that CWM adopt the Texas strategy and try to get as many early commitments as possible, as these will be the less likely to be headcases anyway.

    by Steve


  36. February 12th, 2012 8:56 am

    Impossible to predict what a 17 year old is gonna do. Especially with so much on the line and so many pulling @ them.. Zack…u are not accountable for others and their imterpretation of your predictions based on the ONLY facts that you draw your conclusions from.

    Keep up the excellent work of keeping us informed.

    We could have gotten everyone including Aghalor and Diggs and some folks would have still found something to complain about.

    The Champ is right on course. Until we show stability and commitment from our offensive coordinator and scheme who among yourselves would commit?

    by Dennis


  37. February 12th, 2012 10:00 am

    Zack,

    I graduated from UF and went into the fire service(9-11 got to me). I was given some great advice when I started. GET YOUR SKIN THICK!

    Toughen up my little brother. I cant have you soft like this. We need you reporting everything your hear. Our class is loaded with talent. Muschamp is doing an unbelievable job and you are doing great with the coverage.

    IF Gators are whining about players we didnt get than they need to check themselves. We got so much talent coming in its ridiculous and next year will be even better.

    by TD


  38. February 12th, 2012 10:14 am

    Zach… I believe that the people are down because UF did not close as strong as we all were anticipating. When people are disappointed they look to point fingers for whatever reasons. Not sure what your reporting has to do with what decisions a kid makes. Nothing is set in stone till a kid signs the LOI so anything being reported by anyone is just speculation. I myself was let down by Howard and Williams choosing other schools over UF but it was their right to make that decision. UF fans have to respect these kids decisions and quit bitching, its time to move on. NSD is over so lets concentrate on those that want to be Gators and on the Gators who are in the fold getting better so that UF can return to prominence. Keep up the good work and Zach and thanks for setting the record straight.

    by KB


  39. February 12th, 2012 10:44 am

    How is Howard far away??? he is 5 hrs away, in the hottest recruiting spot in the country!!! When you put together a mock class that is your prediction so even though your thoughts change as it gets closer to when they announce your mock class should be firm! Your problem is you overpromised and underdelivered! You didnt go 6-9 in my book. You were way off on big last minute recruits!

    by Howard


  40. February 12th, 2012 10:48 am

    Nobody can predict this s**t. Your work has been fine thus far, so squash any idea that it has been sub-par. Yes, you are working your way up, as we all have in our respected professions, so keep up the good work . . . it always pays off. To the haters, “Stick to your own day job b/c you would suck at this, as you probably do at your own job.”

    by RH Richards


  41. February 12th, 2012 10:51 am

    Don’t take it personal. There will always be naysayers. Most of us realize that these are PREDICTIONS and no one is 100%. Look at Jeremy Lin story, everyone doubted (weird if you watched tape and he was keeping up) and now everyone on bandwagon. Eventually, people will try to break him down. Keep going!

    by Young


  42. February 12th, 2012 12:18 pm

    Look, you were wrong. You missed on some of the higher priority guys so everyone noticed. Don’t defend why you were wrong, just own it, live and learn and move on.

    by Joe


  43. February 12th, 2012 12:29 pm

    Don’t worry about idiots (like that one fat neckbeard on twitter I can’t remember his name). If they understood anything about recruiting they wouldn’t be complaining because of how volatile the process is, ESPECIALLY this year.

    by James


  44. February 12th, 2012 12:33 pm

    What losers- anyone who calls someone out on incorrect recruiting predictions needs to get a life. How on earth can anyone predict what a group of 18 year old kids are going to do with 100% accuracy? You did a great job this year Z- don’t let the clowns bring you down.

    by Bozeman


  45. February 12th, 2012 12:36 pm

    Zack, now you see there are some jaskass’s in the world. All this recruiting is fun to watch and exciting when you get most of the players your after. If you let those few affect you then it’ll ruin all the fun for the rest of us. Just forget them move on…they are not going away.

    by jerry brown


  46. February 12th, 2012 12:47 pm

    Don’t acknowledge the idiots bashing you over where someone decides to go to school with a responding post. Don’t bring yourself to their level. Good writers get bashed. If you are going to be successful in this business you need to know that there will always be critics.
    There are way too many variables to truely know where these kids are going to chose. Unless you become a mind reader you will never truly know what someone is thinking.
    You kept us informed, your opinion was valid in most cases. The more classes you see the better you will get; now, thats not saying you did a bad job.
    I am more upset as a Gator fan and alum that Muschamp can’t close on big targets. Without Fowler we would have whiffed on top prospects on NSD. We had a solid class but offensively we are in trouble for a while. Unless we get great player development, we will not have the personnel on offense to be competitive against good defenses. I hope I am wrong. Go Gators.

    by Beau Wood


  47. February 12th, 2012 1:24 pm

    Zack, ignore the idiots who aren’t open minded enough to realize what college coaches are having to put up with during recruiting. There are too many kids thinking they are “all that” and enjoying the attention. I would be delighted if WM starts closing out the class earlier. Over the long run, it doesn’t pay to be counting on the “super stars” to sign with you on NSD. If you’re lucky you get one or two on NSD which is great, bu the class is determined well before then. It is also amazing to me that fans are complaining about a top 5 class. Same idiots you need to ignore, the rest of us do!

    by Patrick


  48. February 12th, 2012 2:21 pm

    I loved your comments leading up to signing day. Anyone that expects you to read the minds of fickle high school kids is crazy. How can you predict what they’re going to do when many of them can’t make up their own minds!

    My only suggestion is KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK!!!

    by Clayton


  49. February 12th, 2012 3:03 pm

    I enjoyed & looked forward to your columns & mock classes. They kept us very informed, so if any readers were idiots & took it as it would all be 100 percent garaunteed come true….. Then boo hoo to them! Recruiting is like the NFL draft, you hope to get THAT guy! Doesn’t always pan out your way, still an awesome class, just need time! Go Gators!!!!

    by Arvinator


  50. February 12th, 2012 4:10 pm

    Zach,

    Of the three that have covered this, you really are the best. I cant believe you do all of this and are a dad and a student. I am a pastor and 99% of the people are very helpful and supportive, but I tend to listen to the negative 1% too much sometimes. It just takes time to realize people will be negative and ungrateful no matter who is in charge. It is too easy for someone to log in and post to a computer negative things and have zero appreciation or understanding what it takes to do your job.

    by Chas Morris


  51. February 12th, 2012 4:18 pm

    You are doing a good job so far, but you were pretty far off down the stretch. It’s ok to be wrong on predictions, just don’t write a column of excuses.

    by JD


  52. February 12th, 2012 4:53 pm

    No controversy, no readers! Ask Howard Stern, Rush Limbaugh, and everyone else who has people regularly tuning in to their opinions. You’re doing fine. The only difference between you and the big boys of sports journalism, you’re still hanging on to your ethics and positive enthusiasm for the subject matter.

    by Bobby


  53. February 12th, 2012 5:17 pm

    Zach, for the sake of us who are capable of thinking of ourselves, please continue to feed us every scrap of information that you get your hands on regarding Gator recruiting, and your opinions. It is fun and interesting and passes the time when there is no football on. There is no need to explain yourself to silly people who can’t deal with disappointment.

    by LurkingGator


  54. February 12th, 2012 5:17 pm

    I thank you for providing information thoughout the recruiting cycle.
    I really looked forward to reading. You provided this to me at no cost.
    I was very happy with all the committed guys signing. As for the uncommitted UF did not do well at all. That was not your failt or WM fault.
    It was unlucky that for many reasons UF finished 2nd. Your mock class was wrong about agholor, diggs, young, harvey-clemons, howard, and miles. That makes you o for 6 on uncommitted. Many other were just as wrong. Many of t hem charge a fee. So keep doing your best and anyone who gets mad over your free service has a problem. Let it be thier problem.

    by GATORBUCK


  55. February 12th, 2012 5:23 pm

    Zach- Don’t take it personally. You were very informative through out the whole process and we all, myself included, really appreciate the insight and a;ways looked forward to your Wednesday recruiting round up, but no reason for you to apologize or explain for being wrong in some cases. I was one of your biggest critics with the Mock Draft. I just simply felt there was no way we would sign that many studs. There were too many 50/50 leans and many of them had OV lined up on the final weekend to other schools. You are going to be wrong some times – so what? Its not that big of a deal, recruiting is a lot of guess work. Please don’t develop skin this early in your career because some of us blogging/recruiting nerds are not happy with the outcome on NSD. :-)

    by scooterp


  56. February 12th, 2012 6:19 pm

    Dude, 6/9 – .667 percentage = Hall of Fame! Actually the owner of Hall of Fame, LOL. This has been by far the most bizarre recruiting season that I have ever followed. To have recruits at the last minute change their minds because of a visit at the last moment, tells me they are easily swayed and can’t make a firm decision or play timidly. Some might say what about the FSU kid that changed his mind, good point but he changed his mind a few weeks prior to that. I am still shaking my head and wonder why they could be so easily swayed. Agholar simply was star struck with USC and the cheer leaders and will regret going there IMO. I never saw this amount of kids “dis” their family and friends and go to schools that they were against or in favor of Florida. Really weird this year!

    by Mike Plant


  57. February 12th, 2012 7:23 pm

    you can only report it, the way you see it, those that don’t like it, dont read it! behind you all the way! go get em!

    by waynep


  58. February 12th, 2012 7:46 pm

    Don’t ever apologize to the morons on here that expect perfection from everyone except themselves. The worst thing you can do is read the forums on Gatorsports. I don’t blame you if you don’t even read these posts.
    Thanks for all of your good work.

    Go Gators!

    by Doug


  59. February 12th, 2012 8:24 pm

    “If I’m told by UF commits that a prospect says he’s coming and the staff expects him, I’m going to predict Florida every time.” Just being honest, that sounds logical, but it doesn’t always work that way. Dante Fowler probably told the FSU boys the same thing, and look where he is now. You’ve got a tough job, no question about that. Hang in there and keep up the reporting! I always enjoy reading your posts! Thanks for your hard work and Go Gators!

    by Brian


  60. February 12th, 2012 9:25 pm

    Zach, my advice to you is don’t ever apologize to the fools that expect perfection from everyone else, so thanks for your good work.
    Go Gators!

    by jimE


  61. February 12th, 2012 10:35 pm

    CYA…

    by MM


  62. February 13th, 2012 8:04 am

    You did a great job, you are dealing with kids who are for the first time in the real spot light and some do not know how to handle it, ipersonally thought that Diggs was playing games just to be in the light a little longer. Hope he has fun in MD on a 2-10 team! Go Gators!

    by Jim C


  63. February 13th, 2012 8:44 am

    Zach, I first must say that I am a huge fan of both my University and of Ed Aschoff. That said, I must completely admit that I have been wowed by your work since taking over. Part of the reason that NSD is celebrated as much as it is lies in the shocking surprises that happen occur each year. It seems as though more attention is being placed on you “record” than on the the kids who actually walked away from UF. Regardless, none of that refelcts on you. On behalf of my more zealous Gator brethren, I apologize for any undue commentary regarding your articles and predictions,when you should be nothing more than lauded for the outstanding job that you’ve done this year.
    Go Gators.

    by David


  64. February 13th, 2012 8:49 am

    You are the best that has ever been at this job on recruiting. Hands down the best. When someone in your position has to guess why Tracy Howard would want to play in front of 25,000 people for UM home games or Stefon Diggs choosing an ACC second tier school it makes your job really difficult.

    by Jim


  65. February 13th, 2012 8:52 am

    Zach- Great job in what is basically the same as trying to predict the weather, things change in a flash. Just ignore the whiners they are unrealistic and uninformed. And while CWM hade a rough finish, all the naysayers that have him as “not being able to close” are again, uninformed and just plain wrong. His record over the years shows he can ad has closed just fine in the past and will so again. Much like the weather or the stock market, recruiting is very up and down year to year. Keep up the good work!

    by uncle fleez


  66. February 13th, 2012 9:20 am

    Great Job Zach, You kept us informed on every prospect with all of the information available and that is all we could ask. As far as predicting wher these kids will go in the end, well its a crapshoot at best and as someone else said, those of us that can think for ourselves can sort it out as it comes and form our own opinion where the kids will sign in the end. Thanks for all of your informative posts and keep up the great work man!
    PS you had the Fowler kid pegged !

    by DBGATOR


  67. February 13th, 2012 9:27 am

    Shoot, your predictions were wayyyy better than those of the weather people. You did a great job bringing us news and tidbits. Those people that prompted you to write this article? They just don’t want you to get hired by ESPN like … ummmm, what were their names again? Lol.

    by willgetin


  68. February 13th, 2012 10:04 am

    Zach, there are always going to be whiners and malcontents, and like the proverbial squeaky wheel, they get a disproportionate amount of attention. Don’t let their noise bother you. I thought you did an excellent job and I always looked forward to your updates. I like the fact that you had the guts to make predictions – I’d rather that you be bold than give us tepid “he may do this / he may do that” garbage. It makes your work product much more interesting. As for how all of the predictions played out on NSD, look at the number of players’ families who were surprised. It’s the nature of the beast. Keep up the great work and tune out the loudmouths. Go Gators!

    by Two Bits


  69. February 13th, 2012 10:13 am

    Dude, you did fine. Who cares if you were wrong on a few guys, it’ll be alright.

    I do have one question though, can you explain how “there is a huge difference between predicting where a prospect will go and putting him in a mock class”? Sounds like it’s the same thing. As my pal Keith Stone would say, ‘We’re talking semantics my friend.’

    Thanks, keep your chin up.

    by Joe


  70. February 13th, 2012 10:21 am

    Great Job….

    by bob


  71. February 13th, 2012 10:22 am

    Joe,

    When I put someone in a mock class, I’m basically saying, “If today were signing day, I think this recruit would part of Florida’s class.” That can change by the week, sometimes by the day.

    A prediction is the final pick I make the day before NSD, and it’s something I obviously can’t go back and change … even though some kids change their minds hours before their announcement (ala JHC).

    by Zach Abolverdi


  72. February 13th, 2012 10:53 am

    Zach,

    Muschamp went 0 for 10, not your fault Will can’t close the deal. I really wanted Clemons, but Grantham is one of the best closers in the SEC.

    Little advice, next time, go with what the Insiders at Scout, ESPN, and Rivals all agree on, they all favored Clemons going to Georgia for example.

    by Andrew


  73. February 13th, 2012 11:28 am

    Explaining does not make you weak or soft. It shows accountability, which builds trust. I appreciate a writer who will tell it as he sees it, and isn’t afraid of losing readers if he gets it wrong. The most imprtant thing you give is information, and a close second is giving perspective. You are closer to these guys than any of us, and I want to know what your gut tells you, not what experts nationwide are saying. THANKS FOR THE GREAT WORK. Go Gators.

    by John Who Rocks


  74. February 13th, 2012 11:39 am

    Nothing you said or did in my opinion was wrong Zach… honestly your opinions and predictions were what we all thought and wanted to believe. I am just wondering what you think it might be on why our HBC and his Staff can’t close strong? I mean, 0-10 is pretty bad no matter the quality of class and I am not sure how we do not get our most glaring holes at WR and RB covered? A great recruiting class for sure but was it a great recruiting class for the obvious holes the Gators needed to fill?

    by PJ


  75. February 13th, 2012 1:39 pm

    Zach, cant get it right all the time, no need to put emphasis over the past. You did what you could and reported what was told and I know we are lucky we only want kids that thrive to be gators not decide on NSD. Gators know they are Gators long before. Gators still have a top class filled extremely important need….The line. I expect FLA to be alot stronger this year and this class will contribute immediately. 2013 class time lets goooo.

    by thrasherac


  76. February 13th, 2012 2:21 pm

    Zach,
    I believe that guy HOWARD (10:44am) is pissed at you! Maybe next year you should explain what a MOCKED class means before you sign your name to it, for those that their life depends on your MOCKED class prediction. We should all wonder if this guy lost his house, car, boat or even a wife behind a MOCKED class prediction, if so I for one am truly sorry, if not Howard you need to get a life!!! GO GATORS!!!

    by CREEK GATOR


  77. February 13th, 2012 3:00 pm

    Zach….. Keep up the good work. Haters gonna hate. Can’t wait to see your target list for 2013. It’s gonna be a heck of a ride!

    by ShakeThemOff


  78. February 13th, 2012 3:37 pm

    You have to remember that these kids are 17 and 18 year olds and any day they can change their minds. I am pleased with the class we signed and it can only get better from here.

    by Gator Chomp


  79. February 13th, 2012 4:40 pm

    I think you did a heck of a job dude and gave excellent articles. People need to stop being so perfect and realize that young kids change their minds in an instant. I think your mock class was point on for the information you were given. GREAT JOB…

    by Maurice


  80. February 13th, 2012 4:43 pm

    Dude,dont worry about what they say….You are doin a great job!!!!

    by swampthing


  81. February 13th, 2012 6:08 pm

    Now that players are jumping ship at Maryland…could Diggs change his mind? Is that even possible at this point? Just wondering.

    by Roger


  82. February 13th, 2012 6:14 pm

    Like a GATOR in the water……. let it roll off your back! You do a great job… keep up the good work.

    by Neil Macklin


  83. February 13th, 2012 11:20 pm

    NEED more info on 2013. Why are we wasting time on these 2012 kids anymore? Its a mock class, not the Vegas gambling pool. Is KEVIN TALOR and Greg Briant a Gator Yet?!!!! Taj Williams giving you any signs? Is Coach Boom looking at the QB from Georgia D. Josh? He was clutch in the Georgia Junior All American Game.

    by J


  84. February 15th, 2012 12:22 pm

    No worries Zach. If you would have went 9 for 9 then we would be asking you what stocks to invest in, what numbers to play on lotto and what the price of oil will be next year. Us knuckleheaded sports nuts can understand imperfection. The bigger question is? 0-10? Does Muschamp need to study Tom Hopkins master closing techniques? Come on, you lost everyone on thier last visit? Then make UF the last visit or learn how to close the deal Champ. P.S. I would be happy to supply the course… Go Gators

    by Davido


  85. February 16th, 2012 10:13 am

    Yo man, don’t feel the need to fire back at these idiots–they’re reading following you because they don’t have a clue of their own. I’m in Tallahassee, and even got some Nole fans following you because you were really quick with news. I think you were the first person I saw that said Howard was turning to Miami, the first one to report Fowler was going to be a gator, and were on top of a lot of stories. Thanks for the work you do…amazing job.

    by TallyGator


  86. February 16th, 2012 11:52 am

    You are a reporter, we want to see who we are recruiting and what the chances are of getting some quality players. That is the nature of predictions, they are WRONG…a lot.

    by Gator Steve


  87. February 16th, 2012 4:50 pm

    I HATE TIME LIMIT MESSAGE BOARDS AND LOSING EVERYTHING WRITTEN.
    ANYWAY FEB 1ST IS HISTORY. YOU ARE NOT TO BE BLAMED OR IS WM TO BE BLAMMED FOR UNCOMMITTED NSD PLAYERS GOING ELSEWHERE. IT GOES WITHOUT SAYING THAT IF THEY WERE UNCOMMITED, THEN THEY COULD END UP ANYWHERE. UF GOT 100% OF COMMITTED PLAYER TO SIGN LOI. THAT IS A REAL STAT WORTH TALKING ABOUT. OVER THE UM YEARS UF ALWAYS LOSE COMMITTED PLAYERS ON NSD.

    by GATOR BUCK


  88. February 16th, 2012 5:01 pm

    TOP 5 CLASS / WHAT IS NOT TO LIKE ABOUT THAT.
    SO WE DID NOT GET D HAMILTON, S DIGGS, N AGHOLOR, T HOWARD, A YOUNG, HARVEY-CLEMONS, L WILLIAMS. WE WENT O FOR 7 ON UNCOMMITTED PLAYERS ON NSD.
    SO UGA SIGNED #1RB IN COUNTY(MARSHALL) FOR THE 2ND YEAR (CROWELL)IN A ROW, TOP OL THEUS (FROM JAX), NEEDED BIG LB JENKINS, LB/DE HARVEY-CLEMONS.
    BAMA SIGNED THE TOP SAFETY IN FLA TWO YEARS IN A ROW.
    NOOR DAVIS GOES TO STANFORD, DARLINGTON GOES TO OKLA

    WHO CARES? MOST OF GATOR NATION CARES!

    YOU JUST ARE GETTING THE BLAME. NOT YOUR FAULT.

    I AM LOOKING FORWARD TO EVERY THING YOU WILL BE WRITTING

    by GATOR BUCK


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