August 8th, 2012 06:49pm

Zach’s Mail Stack 8/8


With National Signing Day six months away, it’s time to open up the mailbox once again and answer your questions on Florida football recruiting.

I hope you all enjoyed my coverage this summer of Will Muschamp’s football camp, Friday Night Lights and Gridiron Kings, among other things. It was a very eventful time and there was a lot of news to bring to the Gator Prospectus.

Now that football season has arrived and Florida’s 2013 class is nearly full, there won’t be as much content on here as the past two months, which had a couple weeks where I wrote a blog everyday. I still plan to give you guys at least two blogs a week in addition to this one, but Zach’s Mail Stack should serve as one of your main sources of information from now until February.

If you haven’t already, another thing I strongly suggest you do is follow me on twitter (link HERE). I tweet about UF recruiting on a daily basis and stay up-to-date with any news taking place.

On to the questions!

What players are still being pursued? Along with an alternate selection. What is your gut feel on those players?Gators79

First of all, the Gators can’t add more many prospects as they are already three spots over their scholarship openings for 2013.

Florida currently has 79 scholarship players, six under the NCAA maximum limit of 85. With 13 seniors on the roster, UF only has room for 19 signees right now. But the Gators are expecting to have one-two transfers and lose three-four juniors to the NFL, which would allow them to sign around 24 recruits.

That looks to be the target number for Muschamp, who is heavily pursuing defensive end DeMarcus Walker (Jacksonville/Sandalwood) and safety Marcell Harris (Orlando/Dr. Phillips). There are obviously others on the board, but these two are the top targets overall with mutual interest. The ESPN150 members are believed to be favoring Florida and have visited Gainesville numerous times.

Walker, who is scheduled to make an Aug. 24 announcement on ESPNU, has UF in his Top 5 along with Alabama, Auburn, Clemson and Tennessee. But his decision will be between the Gators and the Tide. It’s also a two-team race for Harris as Florida and Texas are his front-runners (privately). He’s been to UF more than any other school and will make his third trip to Texas on Sept. 1 for an official visit.

Should Florida miss on Harris and Walker, which I don’t think they will, there isn’t really an alternative selection at those positions. Georgia safety commit Tray Matthews (Newnan, Ga./Newnan) plans on taking an official visit to Florida this season, but the Gators aren’t expected to flip him on the trip. Leon McQuay III (Seffner, Fla./Armwood) isn’t a realistic option either. He no longer has interest in UF because the coaches basically stopped recruiting him once Nick Washington (Jacksonville, Fla./Trinity Christian) committed and they ran out of room. Greg Gilmore (Hope Mills, N.C./South View) is the only viable recruit left for Florida at strongside defensive end, but he’s all-LSU.

Where do we stand with some of the guys listed at the bottom of your Aubrey Hill blog?Charles and others

This answer addresses many of the prospects you all asked about individually:

Sources have said it’s only matter of time before receiver commit Rodney Adams (St. Petersburg, Fla./Lakewood) gets dropped by UF for his low grades. The coaches could have already replaced Adams with Gainesville WR Chris Thompson and may not take a fourth player at the position. But if they do, Marquez North (Charlotte, N.C./Mallard Creek) and Laquon Treadwell (Crete, Ill./Crete Monee) would be at the top of the board.

Both prospects were supposed to visit Florida in July and didn’t make it in, but they still plan to take an official visit sometime in the fall. However, whether they show or not, it’s very unlikely they join this class.

Alvin Bailey (Seffner, Fla./Armwood) is the replacement that Gator fans want the most. The problem is he has yet to be offered and doesn’t have Florida in his Top 8. Furthermore, Bailey had two chances to camp at UF and refused to come because he felt he didn’t have to prove himself to the coaches. With that kind of attitude and interest level, it appears this ship has sailed. By the way, I’m told the rumors that Muschamp and the Armwood coaching staff have beef over this is not true.

Stacy Coley (Oakland Park, Fla./Northeast) is another receiver who was a fan favorite early on, but he’s been off Florida’s radar since the spring. The Gators offered him and led at the beginning of the year, but his academics and other off-the-field issues caused the coaches to cool on him. They won’t warm up again unless he shows drastic improvement in his areas of concern.

Levonte Whitfield (Orlando, Fla./Jones) and Taj Williams (Tallahassee, Fla./Lincoln) are two more receivers that could be options for the Gators. However, they are not being actively recruited and don’t have committable offers. That could always change down the road, but I doubt it. I think UF is done at the position because of the limited spots left.

Laremy Tunsil (Lake City, Fla./Columbia) is obviously the No. 1 priority in this group, but the Gators are currently No. 3 for his services behind Georgia and Alabama. The Bulldogs, although he won’t say it publicly, have the edge right now and would receive his signature if today were NSD. Despite living a half hour away from Gainesville and growing up a Gator fan, Tunsil quite frankly just doesn’t want to go to Florida. He’s very concerned (again, he won’t say it publicly) about having to compete with D.J. Humphries at left tackle and doesn’t want to play on the right side of the line. Tunsil says Muschamp & Co. are recruiting him harder than any other school, but there’s no thrill-factor for him when he visits UF and it’s hard for the coaches to make a strong impression. This one is still far from over even though things aren’t so promising at the moment. Muschamp will fight for this kid until the end.

Kenny Lacy (Phoenix, Ariz./Mountain Pointe) is the next target at tackle and has been in constant contact with offensive line coach Tim Davis over the last couple weeks. Lacy has already set up official visits to UCLA, Arkansas, Nebraska, Cal and Oklahoma, but if Florida offers as expected, he will cancel one of those trips and head to Gainesville instead. Like Tunsil, Lacey is planning to announce around NSD, so by then the coaches should know where they stand with both prospects. The situation with offensive tackle commit Rod Johnson will be clear by this time, too.

The Gators are one of three finalists for Joe Fennell (Fort Myers, Fla./South Fort Myers), but they are third place in the race. Fennell wants to play on the defensive side of the ball and Nebraska and South Carolina are recruiting him as a defensive tackle. Florida, on the other hand, wants him as an offensive lineman. Fennell attended Friday Night Lights and will return for another visit, but his desire to play defense could be the deciding factor. Maybe UF can convince him otherwise.

The other linemen I listed — Ander Bodkin (Marianna, Fla./Marianna), Tyrone Crowder (Rockingham, N.C./Richmond County) and DeVondre Seymour (Suwanee, Ga./North Gwinnett) — all list Florida among their favorites, but they aren’t in the coaches’ plans at this point.

Is there a possibility of a 2013 version of Fowler? A recruit that surprises and flips at some point?Brett and James

There is, but I’ve been asked by this player to not release his name, position or future plans (yes, he is scheduled to visit Florida). The only clue I will give is that he’s committed to the same school Dante Fowler once was. Whenever I can give more information, you guys will be the first to know.

Who is our most underrated commit?James

I have to go with Dade City Pasco defensive lineman Joey Ivie. I love his tape, which you can watch HERE. He plays with a high motor and is very explosive at the snap. I think he can become a productive player for Florida once the coaches find a home for him at tackle or end and get his weight and strength where it needs to be.

That’s all for this week! Be sure to put your questions for the next mailbag in the comment section below!

Category Uncategorized



  1. August 8th, 2012 7:08 pm

    I did not think Fennell made it to FNL
    why not have another defensive tackle ?

    by Scott Cassidy

  2. August 8th, 2012 7:24 pm

    He did. The Gators don’t need or have room for another one. They are looking to add Walker, Harris and another OL.

    by Zach Abolverdi

  3. August 8th, 2012 7:38 pm

    why isn t the coaching staff recruiting in the pensacola area more than they do?

    by woodrow king

  4. August 8th, 2012 7:46 pm

    Very concise Zack, thank you. I like the class, if it stays as is. Walker and Harris would be SERIOUS icing! Tunsil is a pipe dream. Go Gators!!

    by falco

  5. August 8th, 2012 8:01 pm

    I respect your keeping that kids privacy, and I will not put a Denton I mean dent in your honor by guessing. Does Ivey remind you of Justin Trattou? Although Trattou was higher thought of out of college.

    by Jeffrey

  6. August 8th, 2012 8:10 pm

    Zach can you explain to me why fans want Tunsil So bad? They forget about Humphries AND Newly added Max Garcia

    by Will Downer

  7. August 8th, 2012 8:42 pm

    Great Stuff Zach.

    Go Gators!

    by gators79

  8. August 8th, 2012 8:50 pm

    Please let that flip be Denson. Rather have him than Johnson. He’s a proven beast.

    by Lighty

  9. August 8th, 2012 9:24 pm

    Zach, Are the coaches looking to add another OL or to replace a current OL commit? Also, are we only going to have three WRs in the 2013 class or are the coaches looking to add another WR? If so, in your opinion, who will it be? Plus, do you really think that the FSU commit will flip to the Gators (does a current commit have to decommit for this to happen?)? Thx.

    by Robert

  10. August 8th, 2012 10:03 pm

    Great article. Keep the info coming. Just curious though. What happened with Florida and Derrick Henry. I remember reading articles a few months back about him hanging out at a lot of our practices. Now all I here is him being a tide lean. Don’t get me wrong I’m perfectly happy with the rb’s we have and I know they will be beasts but just curious if he would still be an option pending we bad room for him. Thanks again. Go Gators!!!!!!!

    by bamagator

  11. August 8th, 2012 10:05 pm

    The coaches are hoping to add a second tackle in addition to Rod Johnson, but if they lose him then they must at least get a replacement. I think they will stick with Fulwood, Hawkins and Thompson at receiver unless they are able to add Coley, North or Treadwell (which I doubt). And to your last question, I’m not predicting that the FSU commit will definitely flip to UF but I know he wants to, and yes one of Florida’s current commits may have to leave for it to happen.

    by Zach Abolverdi

  12. August 8th, 2012 10:24 pm

    @will Downer, you can never have too many big, strong, quick, highly rated offensive linemen. Injuries happen, rotations require bodies, if you can get him, take him.

    by GatorMeO&B

  13. August 9th, 2012 1:07 am

    Just guessing. Levenberry, Jones, Stevens, and Denson are the only dudes our coachs would have talked to so i would assume one of them. Not that important but nice thought. Zach, are we going to see the coaches consider going after the former PSU commit at OT? He is the top 50 number 2 OT by rivals.

    by J

  14. August 9th, 2012 8:11 am

    Thanks for the updates, Zach.
    Go Gators!

    by Beast from the East

  15. August 9th, 2012 9:15 am

    zack-i see where tunsil does not have fla. in his top 5.there is a lot of fla. boys waiting for a muschamp is building a power on defense and the offense will catch up.we will be back on top shortly.go gators.

    by woody king

  16. August 9th, 2012 9:32 am

    Tunsil has Florida in his Top 3, he’s just not taking one of his five official visits here because he can visit UF anytime. He’s stated that since June.

    by Zach Abolverdi

  17. August 9th, 2012 9:40 am

    Great Stuff Zach! It is really nice to hear something very positive!
    Go Gators…

    by bob

  18. August 9th, 2012 10:23 am

    Columbia HS coach hates UF, will poison the mind of any of his players even considering UF against us.
    As for Ivie, loved his film. Quick, sheds blockers well, and relentless.

    by Steve

  19. August 9th, 2012 10:34 am

    Good work, Zach.
    Thank you.

    by Doug

  20. August 9th, 2012 10:36 am

    Thanks for the updates, Zach! You are one of the best, if not the best to hold your position! Great things are headed your way!

    by GI-Gator

  21. August 9th, 2012 11:14 am

    Well I guess that recruit will not be “confiding” in you or other reporters in the near future haha! Seriously, I hope it is Tony Stevens and not Ira Denson

    by Kelly Bigham

  22. August 9th, 2012 12:01 pm

    I thought tebow’s hs coach is at columbia

    by kyle

  23. August 9th, 2012 1:20 pm

    The coach at Columbia is Brian Allen former Nole and Carolina Panther. The staff at Columbia is a mix of all Columbia graduates ranging from UF, Miami,FSU, and South Florida. The AD is a gator and the biggest booster is a gator.They do not steer a player to a particular college, however they do steer them to college.

    by GBREAKER1

  24. August 9th, 2012 1:42 pm

    Have a feeling that the fsu commit has to be Denson. Good friend with Brantley and a solid kid. My guess is he flips to us shortly after his hs season starts.

    by Casey S

  25. August 9th, 2012 3:35 pm

    I live in madison and ran into ira denson the other night at the mcdonalds. when his big ass walked in i knew who he was right away. I was decked out in florida gear, so he turns to me and says “go gators”… so i said ” i thought you were commited to fsu and i seen you beating up calab brantley at the opening?!?” he srugged his sholders and said” we we will see on signing day” and he added ” brantley is a beast, that was a bad day for him”

    by gatorbait15

  26. August 9th, 2012 3:51 pm

    Good stuff gatorbait15!

    by falco

  27. August 10th, 2012 9:25 am

    it would really benefit matters had the “flip” not been revealed, however if he really wants to be a gator (and vice versa) then nothing should get in the way…

    by kyle

  28. August 10th, 2012 11:40 am

    I guess the transfer of Story changes things a bit, hmmm? North, Treadwell anyone? Hoping for a change of heart on Bailey. That kid is special. Not to forget….. isn’t that kid from Pennsylvania (Robert Foster) is on our radar? How close are we to him, Zach? McRoy now Story….. what is the deal where we can’t hang on to WRs??? Haven’t they seen Harvin, Nelson and Murphy (for a little his rookie season) flourish? We have a good history w/WR’s. What’s the holdup? Sounds like some signing day under the radar Andrades surprise coming up…..

    by Lighty

  29. August 10th, 2012 3:04 pm

    Well I will happily swap rod johnson for ira denson. And I’m guessing everyone else in here feels the same way.

    by Casey S

  30. August 10th, 2012 3:45 pm

    (1) The Gators do indeed have a good history at the WR position. The ‘present’ has been a problem. REASONS: a) Player evaluation and b) instability at the WR coaching position. Remember, for many kids recruiting starts about 2-3 years before LOI day. The transfer of Story is not significant; he simply is not good enough, (2) The class should be a good one but, for some reason, will come up a little short in OL. It looks like for the second years running the best OL in Florida will end up in Athens. (3) One more class after this one should set the stage for a valid evaluation of where the program starts against the conference elite.

    by EMK

  31. August 11th, 2012 10:23 am

    I would like think the WM is in the process of addressing this situation. Namely, UF needs a replacement for the departed Hill. And, no, a graduate assistant is not a ‘real’ assistant coach. The situation as it now exists is the very essence of ‘instability at the WR coaching position’. If you want to improve the quality of recruits at the position name a good WR coach to the job. And, of course, I acknowldege that I am a ‘troll’, a ‘loser’, a ‘nole’, a ‘dog’, etc—–etc.

    by EMK

  32. August 11th, 2012 4:23 pm


    I think all the GOOD WR coaches are currently working under contract, mostly one year contracts, at other universities and in the NFL. Muschamp will most likely have to wait until after the season to go get a GOOD WR coach. Sounds like the best strategy to me.

    by TampaGator

  33. August 11th, 2012 9:07 pm


    With the decommitment of Tre Bell from UF, do we have a chance to get Mackensie Alexander? With him alongside VHIII, we would have the top two CB’s in the country which would be a real program changer. Also, even though I am relatively new to the recruiting scene, it seemed like I never really heard about a bunch of our recruits having academic issues or refusing to go to workouts in previous classes. Is this a new thing? And with Ja’Juan Story’s transfer, how many scholarships do we have right now?

    by Jimmy

  34. August 12th, 2012 8:24 am

    The NCAA needs to bring major changes to the recruiting scene. Once upon a time serious recruiting started in late November-early December with NSD in February. Now, schools must offer scholarships to some guys in 10th-11th grades; kids who are basically unknown to the coaches (if school ‘A’ offers then school ‘B’ better do so). Recruiting ‘stars’ are given to guys who have not even played their senior season in HS. Grades, character, HS injuries: just offer now and think about the other stuff later. These ‘camps’ are nothing more than a place where guys 15-18 audition for college programs. A ‘commit’ is nothing more than a ‘current preference’. Crazy but all legal.

    by EMK

  35. August 13th, 2012 12:36 am

    You seem pretty confident in Harris and Walker, but what exactly have you gathered from the two that makes them seem Florida bound? Harris seems very intrigued with Texas and many believe Walker will roll with the tide. Also, does the de-commitment of Rod Johnson help with Tunsil at all? If he is concerned with competing with D.J. then it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense that UGA is so enticing to him after they landed the stud OT from Jax last year. However, recruiting is recruiting. There’s always the wacky situations that never make sense.

    by GaGator02

  36. August 13th, 2012 7:27 am

    So-called ‘decommitments’ are not necessarily bad. But when youhave: (a) a position of need, say OL and (b) no good prospects are left on the board that is not a good thing. And, be assured Tunsil is going to Georgia or Bama. Lacy is a West Coast guy. In the OL department, its 3:00 AM and last call has been made. To repeat: This year UF will come up short in OL and WR and will need another year to have talent to compete with Bama, UG, USC and Auburn, the conference elites.

    by EMK

  37. August 13th, 2012 7:51 am

    I agree that they are not necessarily bad in the most recent cases because these guys were academic liabilities (high risk). It is my belief that WM had a talk with these guys letting them know that they would be better off moving on now rather than later for both parties. I believe the situation that happened earlier this summer (about three weeks ago) caused him and his staff to look at the potential academic casualties and make some adjustments. THIS IS JUST MY OPINION, but it seems a bit strange that all of the academic risk are falling out so quickly after such an incident earlier this summer. Again, if my theory is correct or somewhat correct, this is another CLASS act by WM in allowing the (rejected) to leave on what is considered their own terms. If true, again I applaud MR. WM for having integrity. GO GATORS!!!! Again, JUST MY OPINION!


  38. August 13th, 2012 8:59 am

    Creek Gator: I agree with your comments. I think a significant part of the problem is the crazy recruiting time table that has developed. It seems that schools are forced by the competition to make offers first and then try to evaluate all aspects of the kid later in the process. In August-September the school learns (perhaps) for the first time that there may be problems with the kid to whom a scholarship has been offered. This recruiting system is something all HC are having to adjust to. I think it needs to be ‘fixed’ to give coaches a chance to evaluate before making an offer. How that can be done? I’m not sure.

    by EMK

  39. August 13th, 2012 9:27 am

    Zach….. on the next Mail Stack….. what’s the real word behind the decommits and who are we going at to replace Johnson and Bell or are we at all? Can you give us a general Top 10 board of who the staff wants most @ this point in the recruiting process?

    by Lighty

  40. August 13th, 2012 10:21 am

    Here’s the ‘real word’ (see: Zach’s article above under Offensive Line) For Johnson: Tunsil or Lacy or (possibily) Fennel. UF will get none of the three and will ‘pass’ on a ‘warm body’ for the position. For Bell: UF is currently in ‘good shape’ at the corners and will not feel any pressure to ‘replace’ Bell in the current class. Unfortunately, OL is a potential weakness in this class. The lack of production at WR for the past couple of years speaks for itself.

    by EMK

  41. August 13th, 2012 3:46 pm

    Zach, what is going on with David Dawson (Michigan commit)? I heard he was looking at the gators earlier in the year, but haven’t heard him mentioned lately.

    by Gator N NC

  42. August 13th, 2012 3:49 pm

    walker is 50/50 at best alot of people think he favors bama

    by travis

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