Hope everyone had a happy and safe Thanksgiving!
This weekend will be critical for Florida in Tallahassee, and not just on the gridiron. Florida State is hosting three UF commitments — defensive tackle Caleb Brantley (Crescent City, Fla./Crescent City), linebacker James Hearns (Tallashassee, Fla./Lincoln) and 2014 receiver Ryeshene Bronson (Fort Myers, Fla./Dunbar) — and high-profile prospects such as Orlando Dr. Phillips safety Marcell Harris, who announces his college decision Thursday at 5 p.m. on ESPNU.
Brantley and Hearns seem like the most shaky verbals in Florida’s 2013 class, so a UF victory could help the Gators in their efforts to keep them committed. It would also pay dividends for the dozens of 2014 recruits in attendance that will likely be influenced by the outcome of the game.
There was a light inbox this week, which I’m guessing was due to the holiday. Hopefully things pick up next week.
On to the questions!
What is our chances with WR Marquez North since Tennessee fired Dooley? — C-Slim
Marquez North (Charlotte, N.C./Mallard Creek) had favored Tennessee since early October, but with the firing of Derek Dooley, North Carolina and Clemson have become the front-runners for him. North is visiting the Tigers this weekend for their matchup with South Carolina.
North officially visited UF on Oct. 6 and said afterward he would return for Florida’s banquet weekend on Dec. 8. Whether he does or not remains to be seen, but the Gators appear to be on the outside looking in. He is not fond of the passing offense at UF and may want to stay close to home. It will certainly be an encouraging sign if he comes back to Gainesville on his dime, but I doubt it will make much of a difference based on his recent actions and comments.
Hey Zach, how many more lineman do you see us getting in this class? And which prospects will it be? Is DT Montravius Adams a real possibility? — Austin
With the addition of JUCO defensive tackle Darious Cummings (Scooba, Miss./East Mississippi C.C.), UF should be fine at the position if it can keep Brantley and move Dominique Easley back inside (assuming he stays for his senior season). Florida’s best shot at adding another DT might be Jarran Reed, Cummings’ teammate. The Gators currently trail Ole Miss on his leaderboard, but that could change (like it did with Cummings) when he officially visits in January.
Like North, Montravius Adams (Vienna, Ga./Dooly County) said after the LSU game that he would “most likely” return for the banquet. He hasn’t used his official to UF, so making the Dec. 8 trip shouldn’t be a problem. However, the Gators quite honestly aren’t considered to be a real contender in his recruitment.
As for defensive end, Florida has a good chance to finish with Ebenezer Ogundeko (Brooklyn, N.Y./Thomas Jefferson) and Elijah Daniel (Avon, Ind./Avon). Ogundeko visited last weekend and has favored the Gator for months, while Daniel recently decommitted from Clemson and will take an official to UF on Jan. 12. If Daniel makes the grades to get into Florida, that’s where he is expected to end up.
Hey Zach, what happened with Ira Denson? Have we burned our bridges there or did he lose interest? — E
I believe it was a bit of both. At one point, Ira Denson (Madison, Fla./Madison) was willing to flip to Florida and attended the LSU game. But after the Gators received a silent commitment from David Dawson (Cass Tech/Detroit, Mich) two days later, they slow-played Denson and did not extend an offer he was hoping for. Denson in turn was a no-show for his official visit to the South Carolina game. I’m not sure how much the UF coaches tried to reach out to Denson after they lost out on Dawson, but the FSU commit has been trying to recruit Brantley as of late, so that should tell you where he stands.
Out of all the recruits in this year’s class, who do you think will have the most immediate impact? — Raymond
Lots of candidates to choose from. For depth purposes, Brantley and Cummings will be in the rotation right away, as will Jacksonville Bishop Kenny receiver Ahmad Fulwood. In terms of talent, cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III is probably the most gifted athlete in the 2013 class. But I think running back Kelvin Taylor (Belle Glade, Fla./Glades Day) has a chance to make the biggest impact among the incoming freshmen next year.
Not only is he enrolling early, but the Gators lose senior Mike Gillislee after this season and Taylor will counted on to contribute. He’ll start on the depth chart behind Mack Brown and Matt Jones, but he’s going to get his fair share of carries and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him pass those guys up.
Zach, is Florida in a good position to land QB Grier for 2014? Give us some details of his recruitment if you have any. — David
For those who aren’t familiar with Will Grier (Davidson, N.C./Davidson Day), he set the national high school passing record for most yards in a game on Nov. 9. In a 104-80 victory over Harrells Christian, Grier threw for 837 yards on 35-of-42 passing and accounted for 12 touchdowns (10 through the air).
His Top 3 schools are Florida, North Carolina and Tennessee, and he has visited UF three times this year. Grier’s girlfriend is a Gator fan and so are members of his family. He plans to make his decision sometime this summer, and Florida looks to be in the driver’s seat right now.
That’s all for this week! Be sure to put your questions for the next mailbag in the comment section below!