December 13th, 2012 11:23pm

Zach’s Mail Stack 12/13

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In his Monday press conference following Florida’s 37-26 win at Florida State, UF coach Will Muschamp said he and his staff would be relentlessly recruiting throughout the Contact Period.

He wasn’t kidding.

The Gators have landed five recruits in the last two weeks and lost one of their commits as a result. The 2013 class is now at 25 members (nine early enrollees) and has basically met all of Florida’s needs. Anybody else UF lands from here on out is a luxury, and the rankings say so.

Aside from fullback Kennard Swanson and linebacker Jarrad Davis, Florida’s other 16 remaining targets are ESPN300 members and 14 are in the Top 150.

Swanson was scheduled to officially visit this weekend, but his trip has been pushed back to Jan. 18. The former LSU commit openly admits he wants to go to UF, but he must improve his grades to have a chance at qualifying. So I wouldn’t count him in the basket just yet.

Almost every question I got this week asked where the Gators stand with certain prospects or who they’ll likely finish with. I’m not ready to put out a mock class, but what I will do for this Mail Stack is go over the positions of need and give my thoughts on the targets still left on the board.

More names will likely pop up between now and National Signing Day, but the prospects below are the ones Florida is focusing on.

And for those that missed it, here’s from blog from Tuesday that breaks down the maximum number of prospects UF can sign in this recruiting cycle.

Running back

Commits: Adam Lane, Kelvin Taylor
Targets: Alex Collins, FSU commit Ryan Green
Thoughts: Collins officially visits Florida this weekend and then Miami on Jan. 18. It looks like this will come down to these two schools, and I personally think he prefers the Canes. But with NCAA sanctions coming and his increased interest in the Gators, UF has a shot to pull this off. Collins doesn’t care about two backs being committed and they won’t waver if he joins them. But with him being so comfortable in nearby Coral Gables, he has to absolutely fall in love with Gainesville.
Green was eyeing an official to Florida a month ago, but last week he reaffirmed his pledge to Florida State. The loss of running backs coach Eddie Gran on Tuesday might make Green give the Gators a second look, but he says his commitment is still solid with the Seminoles.

Wide receiver

Commits: Alvin Bailey, Ahmad Fulwood, Marqui Hawkins, Demarcus Robinson, Chris Thompson
Targets: Laquon Treadwell
Thoughts: With Robinson’s commitment Wednesday, UF is done at the position. The coaches may keep recruiting James Clark, but he’s not going to get offered unless someone decommits. New receivers coach Joker Phillips visited Marquez North on Tuesday, but Florida still doesn’t appeal to him and his interest level is very low. Treadwell is the only target the Gators would still take at this point. But as I wrote last week, it’s unclear if he will visit UF after the Under Armour All-American Game.

Offensive line

Commits: Trenton Brown, Cameron Dillard, Octavius Jackson, Rod Johnson, Tyler Moore
Targets: Laremy Tunsil
Thoughts: The Gators now have enough linemen in this class and won’t add another unless it’s Tunsil. Florida hasn’t been a favorite for him since the summer, but the coaches are still trying to change that. Muschamp & Co. have stayed on the five-star tackle, and he told 247Sports on Thursday that he may visit UF once the NCAA Eligibility Center clears him for officials. Even if he does, I doubt it’s going to make a difference. This is the same kid that attended the LSU and South Carolina games and then told me he doesn’t have interest in the Gators.

Defensive tackle

Commits: Caleb Brantley, JUCO Darious Cummings
Targets: Montravius Adams, Jaynard Bostwick
Thoughts: Adams named Florida in his Top 5 on Tuesday and the Gators are going to get his first official after the Under Armour All-American Game. UF defensive coordinator Dan Quinn has visited him every week of the Contact Period and Adams is definitely his top priority. But even if the Gators gain the advantage with Adams in early January, they’ll have to wait it out while he take trips to Alabama, Auburn, Clemson and Georgia. So his recruitment is far from over.
Bostwick continues to favor Miami over Florida, but now Alabama and Michigan have entered the picture as well. He will take officials to both schools in January and should visit the Canes and Gators as well. But if he doesn’t come to Gainesville and/or show some more interest in UF, I have a hard time seeing him in this class.

Defensive end

Commits: Joey Ivie, Antonio Riles, Jordan Sherit
Targets: Auburn commit Tashawn Bower, Elijah Daniel, USC commit Jason Hatcher, Ebenezer Ogundeko
Thoughts: First and foremost, Florida will be fine if it doesn’t sign a fourth end. The Gators will have plenty of depth next season and return all-SEC freshmen Jonathan Bullard and Dante Fowler as well as Ronald Powell. That being said, UF would like to have one more prospect at the position for 2013.
My money is on Daniel, who officially visits Florida on Jan. 11 and is very high on the Gators. Hatcher visits the following week, but it will be hard for UF to take down the Trojans and in-state schools Louisville and Kentucky. Ogundeko announces at the Under Armour All-American on Jan. 4 and his finalists are Florida, Clemson and Syracuse. I think the Tigers have the edge at the moment. Tashawn Bower is the newest target on the Gators’ radar. He’s going to look around due to the coaching change at Auburn and plans to take an official to UF on Jan. 18.

Linebacker

Commits: James Hearns, Daniel McMillian, Matt Rolin
Targets: soft Auburn commit Jarrad Davis, Quinton Powell, Trey Johnson, Matthew Thomas
Thoughts: Powell decommitted from Florida on Monday in response to Rolin. He told me awhile back that he wasn’t too fond of the Gators having four linebacker commits, even though that’s been their intentions all along. I’ve seen a lot of people bashing Powell for his decision, but I’m here to tell you he does not deserve it. He is one of the nicest recruits I’ve ever met and made the best choice for him. He was honest about the process and didn’t jerk UF around once he felt like leaving. There’s a lot of recruits out there — even five-stars — that won’t come to a certain school if their position is stacked. Look at Laremy Tunsil. Besides, Rolin is more physically prepared to play in the SEC and has better potential in my opinion.
Florida still wants to add another outside linebacker and shouldn’t have an issue doing so. Davis is on his official this weekend, Thomas wants to take a visit and Powell is still considering the Gators. All three targets have other trips scheduled down the road, but UF is expected to end up with one of them. As for Johnson, his chances of being in this class are up to Hearns. The Florida commit will officially visit Ohio State on Jan. 11. What he decides to do afterward will determine whether or not the Gators pursue Johnson.

Cornerback

Commits: Vernon Hargreaves III
Targets: Mackensie Alexander, USC commit Jalen Ramsey, UGA commit Shaq Wiggins
Thoughts: With the current depth at the position and the possibility of Nick Washington playing corner, Florida isn’t dying to get a second commit in the class. Then again, the UF coaches would go nuts if they nabbed Alexander or Ramsey. They don’t discuss their recruitment much, but the Gators are right in the thick of things. Travaris Robinson has built a strong relationship with Ramsey, while Alexander has called Phillips one of his favorite coaches. UF still has work to do with both prospects, but there’s a lot of time left and the Gators will be in it all the way until National Signing Day. Wiggins visits Florida and several other schools in January, but he’s firm with the Bulldogs for now.

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

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Comments

32 Comments

  1. December 13th, 2012 11:55 pm

    i was never “bashing” powell. i just feel like he doesnt want competition which, imo, he was going to get an extended amount of PT anyways unless it was on Kickoffs. did i want him in this class, of course. but im not going to cry about it. good luck to him

    by gatorfan


  2. December 14th, 2012 12:04 am

    What do Zach and Sharrif Floyd have in common? They’ve outgrown this stage and are as good as gone. And Gator fans will miss you both. All I want for christmas is another year with you 2!!
    Seriously though man the big leagues aren’t far away for you you’re great at what you do and I thank you

    by Mack


  3. December 14th, 2012 12:15 am

    Powell is super nice like Zach said and at one point was recruiting very hard for us. Can’t blame the kid it’s his life. Thanks for supporting him Zach!

    by Go gators


  4. December 14th, 2012 12:15 am

    Ouch- pretty bad that tunsil is listed but not Demarcus walker… Had hope of turning him against the tide the most of any of the others…
    It seems to me that the January visits are for plan B’s and/or grade question marks…

    by Kyle


  5. December 14th, 2012 12:43 am

    @ Mack,
    Unlike our players, Zach is already paid in full, and espn is known for treating it’s employee’s like crap.
    They have what’s know as an NFL mentality by cutting ties with anyone who even talks with someone not associated with their family of networks.
    Zach do what’s best for you and yours but know that the espn “family” of networks actually works more like a mafia then like a family.
    IDK what the Sun’s pay scale is like but you do great work all the time and i’m sure they could make it worth your while to stay in Gville.
    Or at least me and most Gators hope so.

    by GaToRcHomP


  6. December 14th, 2012 12:55 am

    Zach, I think this is some of the best work you have done. Just reading this I got a sense that you are really starting to hone in on where these kids might go. It’s tough because your dealing with 17 – 18 year old kids and in the past you could be inaccurate at times with your predictions but it’s a process like most things and your getting better and better. Thanks!

    by steveob


  7. December 14th, 2012 2:06 am

    Did you forget about the safety’s???

    by conjurer99


  8. December 14th, 2012 3:09 am

    We are not recruiting safety’s conjurer99. FB/RB,CB,DE/LB,DT,WR,OL in that order in my opinion. Really Nice rundown Zach but you didn’t say who you think we need most for the last spot. What’s up? Not who you think will be in the class but who do you think we need for this last spot?

    by J


  9. December 14th, 2012 3:22 am

    Zach I really want to hear what you have to say on this Q? If Ramsey, Collins, Adams, Bower, Daniel, Ogen, Treadwell, Tunsil all call at the same time of day wanting to commit, who do you take? Its on a skype round table conference call so all the commits well hear you as well. Its like the NFL at that point. Who are you going to take with the last pick in the first round? I gotta know man. You can tweet me if that is better for you. @Dontaskmeyo

    by J


  10. December 14th, 2012 5:36 am

    I really respect and appreciate the way you addressed Powell… That’s insight and journalism…

    How recruits purcieve this program has changed drastically due to results and performance on the field. Go Gators.

    by Dennis


  11. December 14th, 2012 6:59 am

    What do Zach and Sharrif Floyd have in common? They’ve outgrown this stage and are as good as gone. -Mack

    Hey man, THIS is the big stage.

    From the video interviews I’ve watched it appears that Zach has a very disarming manner, always getting recruits to laugh and feel loose. Actually I think recruits just feel at ease around him and like his Eddie Munster hair cut. My sources are telling me it’s a wig (gasps!) Seriously dude, you bring excellent work to this site. Thank you. We Gator football fans have been very lucky to have a string of great writers covering this beat. You and Aschoff both bring it. Look what happened to him. Happy Festivus to you.

    by VO2max


  12. December 14th, 2012 7:23 am

    Great job as always Zach. Thanks for all the info. The only question that I have regarding Powell and his recruitment is this: Were the coaches not open with him from early in the recruiting process about how many lbs they intended to sign? Did he fail to ask about the issue if that was so important to him? And if not, why did he wait so long and get so far into the recruitment/commitment process? Good luck to the young man, but it certainly makes you wonder about his passion to compete for a position.

    by G8rnTtown


  13. December 14th, 2012 8:33 am

    wherever Tunsil goes, I hope our D just completely demolishes the overrated guy, his attitude will be baggage for any team that lands him.

    by Ryan


  14. December 14th, 2012 8:45 am

    Zach you did a great job as usual. My question is this, all the number games everybody talks about when their trying to figure out how many recruits we can sign are dependent on people leaving early for the NFL or transfering. What if everyone besides Floyd decides to come back for their senior year. Do Muschamp & company start making room by more or less telling the coat tail riders and underacheivers of past classes that they need to transfer to make room for new guys? What are your thoughts?

    by jamie


  15. December 14th, 2012 8:58 am

    Great job Zach. What about Hearns? I’m concerned that he may be wavering on UF although I think in the end he will pull the trigger & sign. Glad to see that the coaches are stacking it up at the RB/FB positions b/c they need some good backs. Other teams have proven that 2-3 or even 4 backs can all get playing time and be effective (LSU/Bama) although in LSU’s case they wound up sticking w/ Hill later in the season. Keep up the good work coaches-your hard work is paying off!!

    by Baton Rouge Gator Fan


  16. December 14th, 2012 9:06 am

    @J – It would be Adams. I would have said Treadwell before Robinson flipped, but now definitely Adams. DT is a little thin after this year and he is far and away the best one in this class.

    by scooterp


  17. December 14th, 2012 9:12 am

    Geez, can’t we just let the Powell thing go. Zach addressed it. He will have to compete wherever he goes, just because he may not pick your school doesn’t mean he doesn’t want to compete. And he has been very forthcoming on where he stood through out the whole process.

    by scooterp


  18. December 14th, 2012 10:12 am

    I am impressed by video highlights for James Clark. I think he would become the fastest Gator since Harvin. Marqui Hawkins, on the other hand, seems to have tight end speed – not as fast as current wideouts.

    by Randall


  19. December 14th, 2012 11:11 am

    J-we have more than one spot open! Do your recruiting homework. You can sign more than 25 if you have early enrollees.

    by Go gators


  20. December 14th, 2012 11:17 am

    @ scooterp, 100%. Those are my thoughts exactly. He may realise that with great teammates you all get rest on the sidelines and that will allow all of you to perform better. You don’t have to be on the field every play to be effective or noticed by the big league, do you job great when you get in there and people will notice. Did anyone notice Antonio Morrison this year, he didn’t play every down. Our coaches will get you in the game IF you earn it, so leave it at that!!! GO GATORS!!!!

    by CREEK GATOR


  21. December 14th, 2012 11:55 am

    Zach, I think Tunsil likes giving you the cold shoulder for some reason. There is NO WAY he had/has “NO INTEREST” in UF as he tells you. Didn’t T. Brown lose interest in UGA because they wanted him to move over for Tunsil?… One final thought…we very well may have a complete OL make-over! Can’t wait to see the new product. This staff is doing some monster recruiting! Great job men!

    by TigerCatZeroZero


  22. December 14th, 2012 2:08 pm

    Tunsil is a very good player and he simply does not want to be in the media that much. Any team that gets him will be very lucky and will have a star OL for years to come (3 until he goes to the NFL, actually). If I were him, and coaching to get to the NFL was key, my decision would be either Bama or Florida, not Georgia. There OL coach does not measure up to the OL coach at Bama or Florida….simply put. I believe he will end up at Georgia, however, because of Mark Richt’s fundamental Chrisian approach to recruiting. His mother loves that approach and the mother is sold on Georgia for that reason. I am not sure her son is, though.

    by Tampa Gator


  23. December 14th, 2012 2:12 pm

    also….Tunsil wants to play LT…and the Gators already have their LT in Humphries…who I think will become on of the best LT’s to ever play at Florida in the next two years, especially when he puts on another 15 to 20 lbs. He may be one of the most athletic OL I have seen on a football field. Tunsil would have to play RT at Florida, and I do not think he wants to compete with Brown…who I also think has a ton of potential based on the small amounts of video I have watched. He is huge, but is also extemely athletic for a man that size. I think the Gators have something special in both Humphries and Brown. I could see Chaz Green moving inside to left guard next year.

    by Tampa Gator


  24. December 14th, 2012 2:34 pm

    I like Hump but EVERY position along that front is unoccupied. May the best man win.

    by TigerCatZeroZero


  25. December 14th, 2012 5:11 pm

    The ol is set9potentially) at every position except left guard. Tunsil is the best lineman in this upcoming class, and there is five years of footage to back this up. Some players are meant to be difference makers Tunsil is one DJH is one. The difference is LT is a legit 295. The reason that UF will not give up is that he passes every test you look for in a Left tackle.Not as a back up but as a starter from day one.

    by Gbreaker1


  26. December 14th, 2012 6:34 pm

    Zach…awesome job!!! Great info!!!

    by Gatorjam


  27. December 14th, 2012 7:39 pm

    There’s a reason why Tunsil has little to no interest in Florida and his name is DJ Hump……. he’s that good. Sorry, but the LT spot is officially filled through 2014.

    by scooterp


  28. December 16th, 2012 2:39 pm

    Zack, Which end do we have the best shot of landing out of Walker, Bower, and Daniel? Honestly I don’t really think we need Ebenezer, he’s a bit undersized and not as good as the others.

    by Austin


  29. December 16th, 2012 3:12 pm

    When do guys have to declare for the draft?

    by Matt


  30. December 16th, 2012 4:13 pm

    @Matt, you voluntarily forego your amature status, thus giving up any remaining eligibility to play college sports.

    by TigerCatZeroZero


  31. December 20th, 2012 11:52 am

    I am very concerned about the JUCO additions to our program. Historically big time programs do not dip much into the JUCO pool because the risk of wasting the scholarship is high.

    The safety Nelson, withstanding, UF for the last 25 years has gotten almost no real contribution from JUCO transfers, and we have had some of the JUCO players in America. Carl Moore one of the most high profile guys we got did very little. The jump from JUCO to the SEC can’t be overcome in most cases in 2 years.

    Scholarship players have to contribute. Meyer was very adamant and direct with his players “you have to play and earn your scholarship.” “No free rides”. He was very programs can’t be championship with scholarships not contributing at a high level.

    These JUCO linemen coming in, based on past history, are not going to provide depth or contribute for UF. It would have been better to have offered to a high school player and have 4-5 years to work with.

    My question is why didn’t Muschamp bring in a single D tackle, the heart and soul of SEC big time defenses, last year? Why are we recruiting JUCO guys? We are the Gators not 90’s K-State trying to jump-start a terrible program.

    by gatorsidney


  32. December 20th, 2012 2:08 pm

    @gatorsidney When the Juco guys are guys like Tyler Moore (first freshman to start first game at Nebraska), Trenton Brown (6’8″ 363 pound giant with good feet who only went to a junior college because he didn’t have the grades for D1 schools), and Darius Cummings (6’1″ 300 and something pound DT who played at FSU before he got injured and going to junior college) then you recruit the Juco guys. You don’t recruit based on labels, but you recruit based on the individual player. Muschamp sees something in these players and after what he did this year that’s good enough for me. I can see each of these players contributing right away

    by TJ


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