Florida coach Will Muschamp was asked Wednesday if the offensive struggles this season are hurting recruiting on that side of the ball.
He responded, “Some of those (recruits) look at it as, ‘What a great opportunity to come to a program like Florida and play.’ ”
I believe Muschamp’s statement is accurate, and most, not just some, prospects do feel that way about the offense. UF running back commit Dalvin Cook said as much in my latest update with him.
I received a lot of questions about the commitment status of Will Grier, and he remains 100 percent solid with the Gators. In fact, I was told he would still attend UF even if Brent Pease gets fired or leaves for a head coaching job (he received some offers last year).
Next week I will take a look at five Florida commits who could potentially leave the class.
On to the questions!
Offensive line — Ben, Bob, C-Slim, Daniel, Devin, Eric, Gary, GatorBait, Goose, Ira, Rob, Ryan, Tamayo
Once again, offensive line questions filled my Mail Stack this week. Florida currently has four commits (Dontae Angus, Taven Bryan, Travaris Dorsey and Nolan Kelleher) and hope add 1-2 more linemen (preferably tackles) to this class.
Many asked who those recruits could be, so I’m going list the targets I know of as well as some prospects who could receive interest in the future.
OT David Sharpe, 6-6, 288, Jacksonville, Fla./Providence
Sharpe is not only the No. 1 priority at his position, but he may be the top overall target on Florida’s board. UF led during the spring and summer, but a couple of visits to Georgia in September had the Bulldogs “peaking” for him. The Gators appeared to close the gap on UGA after Sharpe attended Florida’s game against Arkansas. He will see both teams play next Saturday in Jacksonville, and the winner could gain the edge in his recruitment. Regardless of the outcome, Sharpe is Florida’s best shot at landing a stud offensive tackle.
OT Damian Prince, 6-5, 295, District Heights, Md./Bishop McNamara
Prince has been thought of as a long shot to Florida for quite some time as things have looked like a two-team battle between Maryland and Florida. But on Tuesday, he told 247 Sports national recruiting analyst Ryan Bartow UF has been recruiting him the hardest. After spending time with Prince at his school, Bartow, who has a good track record of predicting where prospects go, now thinks he will pick the Gators. Prince is scheduled to officially visit UF for the FSU game on Nov. 30. If the Gators become a serious contender for Prince, it will be interesting to see how that affects Sharpe. While Florida would gladly take both tackles, that’s probably an unlikely scenario.
OT Chukwuma Okorafor, 6-6, 285, Southfield, Mich./Southfield
First off, isn’t that an awesome name? Gator fans should get used to hearing it, because the UF coaches offered the Western Michigan commit a scholarship Thursday. He’s another relatively unknown prospect to pop up on Florida’s board, but Arkansas also recently offered him and Maryland could be next. I don’t know much about him, but he definitely has the size and it shows on his tape. With the program prestige of Florida compared to WMU, I’d imagine the Gators will get consideration and a visit from Okorafor.
Avery Gennesy, 6-5, 307, Scooba, Miss./East Mississippi C.C.
Could UF dip into EMCC for the third consecutive recruiting cycle? Gennesy hails from the same junior college as defensive tackles Damian Jacobs and Darious Cummings, and he’s more highly touted than they were. He has a Top 3 of Tennessee, Texas A&M and Ole Miss and holds several other offers, including Georgia. Gennesy will use his fourth official visit to check out Ohio State this weekend but doesn’t have any trips planned after that. Given Florida’s need at offensive tackle and the pipeline already in place, it may be worth the Gators’ time to extend an offer to Gennesy and see if they can convince him to use his final official for a visit to Gainesville. At this point, UF has nothing to lose.
Nick Gates, 6-4, 272, Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman
This prospect was brought to my attention last week by Ira, who lives in Vegas and attends Gorman games. He has spoken to him and said he expressed interest in the Florida. Gates has been offered Alabama, Baylor, Oklahoma, Oregon and Texas A&M, among others. If the Gators are unable to land the aforementioned linemen, they may want to give Gates a look.
Who out of the current list of commits and targets is expected to be an early enrollee? — Chas
Five of Florida’s 14 commits are scheduled to enroll early at this time — quarterback Will Grier, running back Dalvin Cook, cornerback Duke Dawson and offensive linemen Taven Bryan and Nolan Kelleher.
The Gators are also targeting five recruits who plan to be January enrollees — junior college receiver Eric Lauderdale, tight end DeAndre Goolsby, linebacker Raekwon McMillan, cornerback Jalen Tabor and safety Jamal Adams. Adams and Goolsby officially visited UF for the weekend of the Tennessee game, and the others will visit Gainesville in the coming months.
That’s all for this week! Be sure to leave your questions for the next mailbag in the comment section below.