After a sluggish start to the season against Bowling Green, Florida went on the road and came back from a touchdown deficit at halftime to top Texas A&M 20-17.
It was a signature win for the team and the fan base, and the UF commits I spoke with afterward were extremely excited by what they saw on Saturday — particularly in the second half.
Another big plus they took from the game was watching some 2012 signees already in action for the Gators. Most members of the 2013 class will have an opportunity to earn early playing time and it’s encouraging for them to know that Will Muschamp won’t hesitate to put freshmen on the football field.
I’m personally looking forward to seeing how Dante Fowler Jr. does this year now that Ronald Powell will redshirt. He’s already gotten a lot of snaps and I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up starting at the Buck position sometime soon.
In case you missed my announcement on twitter, Zach’s Mail Stack will now be published every Thursday.
On to the questions!
How desperate is UF to land another OL or two? Counting commits, UF has only 13 on the roster for ’13. — Travis, Ivo, Jordan, Eric
Thirteen isn’t too bad of a number for depth purposes and there will be some quality players in that group, but the Gators definitely need to sign at least one tackle in this class. And although they’re now out of the picture for Laremy Tunsil, they still have three other prospects in play at the position.
The name that jumps out first is JUCO Trenton Brown, who has Florida in front and basically decommitted from Georgia during an interview with ESPN because the UGA coaches want him at guard so they can get Tunsil. He will officially visit Arizona on Oct. 27, but he says that trip is just for his teammates. Unless the Dawgs can somehow repair the relationship, Brown will likely be UF bound.
Another tackle target is former Nebraska lineman Tyler Moore, who is down to Florida and Florida State. Moore attended the Bowling Green game, plans to return for Kentucky and then officially visit for Missouri. He will be in Tallahassee this weekend when the Noles host Wake Forest for his first-ever FSU game. His recruitment is expected to end soon and with two more trips scheduled to Gainesville, the Gators are in great shape.
Former UF commit Roderick Johnson continues to be personally recruited by Muschamp and is also someone to watch down the stretch.
With the possibility of Jafar Mann playing guard (he tweeted that he’s back on defense for now) and hardly any prospects remaining on the board at that position, the Gators should be fine if they don’t sign another one. Joshua Outlaw hasn’t spoken with UF since his decommitment and it appears that ship has sailed. But don’t rule out the possibility of someone flipping to Florida or an under-the-radar recruit emerging (ala Octavius Jackson).
What’s the latest on the commitments we have at LB. Heard they were talking to other schools? Cause for concern? — Brian, Robert, Sebastian
Florida’s linebacker commits — James Hearns, Daniel McMillian and Quinton Powell — plan on taking some official visits this fall, but I wouldn’t worry about these three if I were a Gator fan. I’ve spoken to them several times and not only do they sound very solid with UF, but they said their desire to take trips is nothing more than them wanting to see some new places. These kids visit Gainesville frequently and recruit other prospects constantly. I highly, highly doubt any of them would decommit no matter how hard other schools pursue.
How serious are talks with M. Bain DT/OL? I think he would be another good pick up that could help us on both sides of the ball. — Brian
Last week I mentioned Marquedius Bain as an option simply because he has an offer. But UF isn’t in his Top 5 and there might not mutual interest from the coaches, either. Right now, the only defensive tackle UF has a legitimate shot with and also wants is Greg Gilmore. He’s officially visiting for the Kentucky game and has Florida trailing LSU for his services.
Percentage chance UF has on: M. Alexander, Treadwell, Harris, Ogundeko, Tunsil, Gilmore, and flipping DeMarcus Walker or Shaq Wiggins? — Lee
CB Mackensie Alexander: 30% — The Gators are among his favorites, but his recruitment hasn’t even heated up yet.
WR LaQuon Treadwell: 20% — I won’t believe his interest is sincere until he visits.
S Marcell Harris: 80% — His official to Texas went well, but I still feel really confident about UF.
DE Ebenezer Ogundeko: 50% — His Top 4 is Syracuse, Florida, Ole Miss and Arizona State, but it’s a two-team battle between the Orange and the Orange & Blue. He was going to commit to the Gators in July.
OT Laremy Tunsil: 10% — Nothing to see here.
DT Greg Gilmore: 40% — LSU’s lead isn’t as big as it once was, but next weekend will determine if Florida can surpass it.
DE DeMarcus Walker: 35% — As I said when he committed to Alabama, this one is far from over. He’s going to visit UF again and will continue to get the full-court press from Muschamp and his close friends Ahmad Fulwood and Nick Washington.
CB Shaq Wiggins 3o% — He likes Florida a lot and will officially visit this fall, but I think the coaches want USC commit Jalen Ramsey more and have a better chance at flipping him.
Which game on the schedule will be the “Biggest Weekend” as far as the most top prospects on campus at the same time? — C-Slim
The big weekend will be when Florida hosts LSU on Oct. 6. I’ve heard the Gators could have as many as 18 official visitors, including a large portion of the commits. It should be a star-studded night in The Swamp.
That’s all for this week! Be sure to put your questions for the next mailbag in the comment section below!