As Will Muschamp said last Sunday, it’s a positive time to be a Florida Gator.
UF capped off its regular season with dominating win at FSU, punched a ticket to the Sugar Bowl and just landed one of the nation’s top safeties in Marcell Harris.
Things are going good for the Gators just when they need to be, too.
Next weekend is Florida’s banquet, which is going to bring in a lot of recruits as most of you know by now. A large portion of Florida’s 2013 commits are taking their official visits and a handful of targets will be on hand as well.
I’ll have a running list of visitors out on Wednesday and then I hope to get around a dozen video interviews that will begin going up on our website the following week.
I received a lot more questions this week as I hoped for, but most of you asked about the same topics. What can I say, great minds think alike.
On to the questions!
How are we looking with RB Alex Collins, any chance we can pick him up? — Clay, Sam, Sleezie, Brian, gatorfan, Tamayo
With this week’s news of an official to UF, the possibility of landing Alex Collins (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./South Plantation) has become real. Florida running backs coach Brian White visited Collins on Wednesday and he returns the favor on Dec. 14.
Florida State and Miami have had the upper hand with Collins and he has ties to both schools, so Florida’s chances will likely be determined by how well his visit to Gainesville goes. Collins has said he likes the offense under coordinator Brent Pease and isn’t afraid to compete with the four backs UF will have next year.
As was the case with Harris at the safety position, I think Collins is a plus-one guy for the Gators and they won’t pursue another running back unless he’s a highly-rated prospect such as FSU commit Ryan Green.
Has Florida got a shot with Laquon Treadwell or James Clark at WR? — Brian, Tamayo, Sam
Florida didn’t make the cut for Laquon Treadwell (Crete, Ill./Crete Monee) in early October and his Top 2 is Ole Miss and Oklahoma with Michigan, Michigan State and Oklahoma State still in the race.
UF has a great shot with Clark, though. The New Smyrna Beach receiver recently started getting recruited by Pease and will have an assistant coach visit him Friday. He has camped at UF in the past.
The Gators want to add a fifth WR and there aren’t many options left, so Clark could get an offer soon if they like him enough. Should that happen and he gets the green light to commit, I would expect him to jump on board quickly. Clark has over 20 offers and an impressive highlight tape from this year.
Zach, any chance Kennard Swanson joins the good guys? — tcroot, Brian
The fullback from Lakeland Lake Gibson decommitted from LSU on Wednesday. I don’t know too much about him, but Nola.com feels Florida is in the driver’s seat for his services.
Swanson visited for the Jackonsville State game and was offered by UF shortly afterward. However, he has grade concerns and is not qualified yet. The Gators will need to see some academic improvement from Swanson and miss on some remaining targets at other positions before they consider taking him.
How does the recent coaching changes effect our 2013 class (FSU, Auburn etc.) — Jonathan, Jeremy, Austin
As I mentioned last week, Florida is pretty much out of the picture for receiver Marquez North (Charlotte, N.C./Mallard Creek). He was the only recruit UF could have capitalized on with Derek Dooley’s firing. The Gators don’t want any of Tennessee’s commits, which says something about the talent gap between the two schools.
Linebacker Trey Johnson (Lawrenceville, Ga./Central Gwinnett) decommitted from Auburn on Tuesday, and he’s the most likely prospect Florida can land with the coaching change there. The Gators lead for him along with Ohio State and he officially visits UF on Dec. 14.
Looking at the Tigers’ commitment list, the only other kid I see Florida wanting and having a realistic shot at is defensive end Carl Lawson (Alphretta, Ga./Milton). He attended Florida’s Junior Day back in February and had great things to say about the trip afterward. But he hasn’t expressed much interest in the Gators recently and probably won’t unless he visits again.
As for Florida State, Bartow linebacker Freddie Stevenson and Hollywood Chaminade Madonna cornerback Adrian Baker both visited UF during their recruiting process and are the two commits I could see the Gators try to flip because they want to sign another prospect at those positions. However, Florida is not recruiting them anymore to my knowledge.
We have to be close to filling our class. How many spots are left and who do we need the most? — Sam, C. Bedgood
Florida has 77 scholarship players on its roster excluding walk-ons (who won’t count against the 2013 class). The Gators have room for 21 signees because of the 13 seniors graduating, but there is now 22 commits with Harris. However, UF will likely have 2-3 transfers and Sharrif Floyd is expected to go pro with Matt Elam and Jordan Reed possibly joining him. Any transfers or early declarations will create more openings, and I think Florida will have room for a full class of 25.
The Gators still need to sign another receiver, offensive lineman, defensive tackle and defensive end.
Can you provide your latest percentage of getting our main targets in orange & blue? — Phillip, Tamayo, Keith, James Dean, Charles Gibson, Robert, Mike
RB Alex Collins: 35% — Florida still trails FSU and Miami, but he’s never been to Gainesville. Let’s see where he stands after his official.
WR James Clark: 25% — I wouldn’t be surprised if this happens, but he has to get an offer and visit again before I’ll believe it.
OL Trenton Brown: 95% — The Gators still lead after his recent visits and they’ve been his favorite since early September.
OL Roderick Johnson: 4o% — UF has continued to recruit him and offensive line coach Tim Davis will be at his school Friday.
DT Montravius Adams: 30% — The Gators visited him Thursday, but he needs to return for an official for them to have a shot.
DT Jarran Reed: 7o% — Florida leads over Ole Miss and I think his teammate Darious Cummings will sway him to UF.
DE Elijah Daniel: 6o% — If he has the grades, he’ll be a Gator. He officially visits on Jan. 11.
DE Ebenezer Ogundeko: 45% — He says Clemson and Florida are even, but the depth chart favors the Tigers and that matters to him.
LB Trey Johnson: 5o% — I think he likes UF the most, but OSU needs him more and will pursue harder. He also has a late visit to USC.
CB Jalen Ramsey: 25% — Monte Kiffen’s resignation might make him decommit from USC, but that doesn’t mean he’ll be UF-bound. He still has an official with Alabama and will visit the Trojans last.
CB Shaq Wiggins: 25% — He visits Florida on Jan. 18, but he’s currently committed to UGA and has two officials scheduled with other schools.
That’s all for this week! Be sure to put your questions for the next mailbag in the comment section below!