It’s been an exciting week in Gainesville.
UF campus is packed again now that the fall semester has started, and there was a large crowd on hand for Tuesday’s student-only open practice.
I chose to attend (yes, I’m still a student, two semesters left), and you could feel the anticipation of the season approaching.
This time next week, Florida’s opening game will be two days away.
There’s not been a lot going on with recruiting recently due to the Quiet Period that went into effect Aug. 1, but that will change on the first of September when the Evaluation Period begins and college football is underway.
On to the questions!
Zach, what, if anything, does awarding scholarships to two walk-ons mean when we’re in a limited scholarship situation? I think we’re targeting 21. — Foreverag8r
It doesn’t mean anything. Scholarships given to walk-on players are only for a semester or calendar year, and they won’t be renewed if the Gators need to make room for recruiting, which they will in 2014.
Case in point: Tim Clark. The fifth-year defensive back had been awarded a scholarship the past two seasons, but he wasn’t expecting to get one this fall and was surprised when he received it Tuesday along with running back Mark Herndon.
Florida still has 15 scholarships currently available and should be able to sign around 21 prospects after attrition.
Are Adoree’ Jackson and Dwight Williams a package deal, and does Florida have a good chance to pull both? — Devin, Derek, James
Well they’re technically not a package deal because both are top-tier prospects. A package deal is when a school takes one highly-rated recruit and his lesser-known teammate/friend (see Alabama commits Kalvarez Bessent and Chris Williams).
The Army All-Americans from Gardena (Calif.) Junipero Serra don’t seem determined to go to the same college, but the possibility could work in Florida’s favor since both look like they’re leaning toward UF at this time. If the Gators are going to land a linebacker and another cornerback/receiver, these two might be their best chance.
Zach, I guess I’m a little concerned about the lack of DT in this class. What do you think about that and about our depth at the position as a whole? — GatorCooken, Evan
I feel Florida is fine here. In the last class, UF signed five defensive tackles in Caleb Brantley, Jay-nard Bostwick, Joey Ivie, Antonio Riles and junior college transfer Darious Cummings.
The Gators return all of them next season along with Leon Orr. Then they bring in Khairi Clark, who was the No. 1 target on their board at the position this year.
If another tackle joins Clark, it will probably be a former commit — JUCO Jarran Reed, Anthony Moten or Travonte Valentine, who is rumored to be wanting back in Florida’s class despite his pledge to Miami. I’m not sure if he has the grades to do so, but it’s something to keep an eye on moving forward. After those three, there aren’t many realistic options left.
What is the latest on David Sharpe? — Conky3000, Wesley, Ky Gator
The Jacksonville Providence offensive tackle had his first high school game of the season Thursday night, and afterward he gave GatorCountry.com some details on his recruitment.
As of now, Sharpe plans to take four of his five official visits to Southern Cal, Alabama, Clemson and likely Georgia. UF may not get his final trip, but he will attend a game.
“I’ve been to Florida so much,” Sharpe said. “There is no point in taking an official there. I have seen everything I need to see there.”
Which receivers do you think we have the best chance with now that we have Ermon Lane, and do you think he is a lock? — Sharonda, Chris, Tamayo, Uncle Willie Son
The known targets remaining at receiver are Jackson, Travis Rudolph (West Palm Beach, Fla./Cardinal Newman), Speedy Noil (New Orleans, La./Edna Karr), Josh Malone (Gallatin, Tenn./Station Camp) and Johnnie Dixon (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla./Dwyer).
Of the five, Jackson and Rudolph appear to be the most likely. Both visited for Friday Night Lights and will be back for official visits. I think the other three stay close to home with Noil to LSU, Malone to Tennessee and Dixon to Miami.
As for Lane, no recruit — committed or not — is a lock to any school. But I do believe Lane is solid to UF and will stick to his verbal based on his actions as well as his group of friends coming with him to Gainesville. For what it’s worth, he posted three pictures on Instagram this week of himself doing the Gator Chomp at school.
Zach, players verbally committed players are least likely to be in the class? Thanks! — Taylor
As I’ve mentioned before on this blog, it’s pretty much a forgone conclusion that offensive guard Joseph Paul won’t stay in Florida’s class much longer. Aside from him, the only one in my mind is offensive tackle Benjamin Knox.
In April, Knox told the Sun he was “55 percent” committed and there’s a chance he could decommit if the Gators get Sharpe. He has since solidified his pledge, but it will be interesting to see if that holds in the event that Sharpe does pick UF.
That’s all for this week! Be sure to put your questions for the next mailbag in the comment section below!