I get the feeling Gator fans are more excited about me opening up my mailbox tonight than Florida holding its first open practice.
I’m flattered, really.
In all seriousness, I look forward to interacting with you guys again through this blog.
The 2014 class, now at 16 commits, has started to take shape for Florida, and I’m ready to answer your questions from now until signing day.
Let’s get it started!
Do we need to worry with RB Dalvin Cook planning visits to USC and Texas? — Nate
Fans never want to see their commits visiting other schools, but this is one case the Florida faithful shouldn’t worry about. Cook has been solid to UF since he flipped from Clemson and shows no signs of wavering.
He sent daily “Gator Nation” text messages to receiver Ermon Lane before he pledged to Florida on Monday. He also got his Miami Central teammate, 2015 WR Da’Vante Phillips, to join him in Gainesville.
This past weekend, Cook was taunting former UF commit Anthony Moten at their local media day. He even posts Gator-themed photos on his Instagram almost everyday.
One of the reasons Cook changed his mind on Clemson was so he could play closer to home, so I don’t think the Gators need to be concerned about him going on a couple of out-of-state trips for free.
Here’s the video interview I did with Cook at Friday Night Lights.
Why is UF not taking at least one more RB given that there will only be four scholarship RBs on the roster in 2014? — Ben, Roland
There’s actually four backs on the roster this year — redshirt junior Mack Brown, sophomore Matt Jones and true freshmen Kelvin Taylor and Adam Lane. The addition of Cook next season will give the Gators five backs, which is plenty of depth for the position.
UF is limited on scholarships in the 2014 recruiting cycle and can’t afford to take another RB unless it’s someone like Alabama commit Bo Scarbrough or Joe Mixon (Oakley, Calif./Freedom). But despite Scarbrough transferring from Tuscaloosa (Ala.) County to IMG Academy in Bradenton for his senior season and Mixon scheduling an official visit to UF, I just don’t see either of those prospects ending up in Florida’s class.
Who’s on the DE board besides Lorenzo Carter and Dewayne Hendrix? — Bill, Levy, Wesley
The nation’s No. 1 defensive end, Da’Shawn Hand of Woodbridge (Va.), is still up near the top of the board. He has UF in his Top 3 along with Alabama and Michigan, his presumed leader. He plans to officially visit all three schools and make his decision on Nov. 14.
Some other targets for Florida are Lorenzo Featherston (Greensboro, N.C./Page), Davon Godchaux (Plaquemine, La.), Cory Thomas (McCalla, Ala./McAdory), Andrew Williams (Mcdonough, Ga./Eagle’s Landing Christian) and Gerald Willis III (New Orleans, La./Edna Karr).
Each of the five has listed UF among their leaders, but due to the distance factor, it doesn’t appear any of them will pick the Gators. They’ve led for Carter since July and will host Hendrix for the Arkansas game, and these two are their most realistic options right now.
How are we looking to finish out the DB class? — Ryan, Wesley
The safety position isn’t a priority with three signing last year, so I don’t see Florida taking anybody except Jamal Adams (Lewisville, Texas/Hebron). He visited UF on June 14 and will return for the Tennessee game on an official visit. The Gators are currently considered the favorite for Adams, who is the godson of receivers coach Joker Phillips.
With four cornerbacks already committed, Adoree’ Jackson Gardena, Calif./Junipero Serra) and Jalen Tabor (Washington, D.C./Friendship Academy) are probably the only two recruits who will still be pursued by defensive backs coach Travaris Robinson. Jackson visited for Friday Night Lights and is very high on the Gators, while Tabor seems to be leaning toward Maryland after having Florida in front earlier this summer.
As of today, I think UF closes with Adams and either Jackson or Tabor.
Zach, what positions are left for us to fill and what do our numbers look like with five months left? — Taylor, JerseyGator91, Devin, gatornation9
With 80 scholarship players and 10 seniors, there is room for 15 signees at this time. That number was previously 16, but redshirt senior Andre Debose (torn ACL) is applying for a sixth year of eligibility and should get it.
Once offensive line commit Joesph Paul announces his anticipated exit from the class (for more info, click HERE), the Gators will have 15 verbal commitments and be at their max.
However, I still expect them to be able to sign at least 21 after attrition. And I think those final six spots will be used for another receiver, an offensive tackle, a defensive end, a linebacker and two more defensive backs.
That’s all for this week! Be sure to put your questions for the next mailbag in the comment section below!