Da’Shawn Hand surprised the recruiting world Thursday with his college selection, but it wasn’t for Florida.
The five-star defensive end chose Alabama over Michigan, the school long considered to be his favorite.
The Gators never had much of a shot with Hand, but at least they can hang their hang hat on getting him to visit during a losing season. He had 94 offers and could have visited anywhere.
With Hand off the board and Cory Thomas committing to Tennessee, the remaining options for UF at strongside defensive end are Malik McDowell and Gerald Willis III, who officially visited this past weekend with Hand.
Willis’ father spoke highly of the trip with Rivals.com, but I still feel like LSU has the upper hand with it being the in-state school and getting his last official visit on Nov. 23. Willis plans to announce his decision at the Under Armour All-America Game in January.
As for McDowell, the Rivals100 member from Southfield (Mich.) is scheduled to visit Florida for its rivalry game against Florida State. However, he is considered a Wolverine-lean and attended their game last Saturday. With Michigan missing on Hand, the heat will turn up even more on McDowell.
I’m curious if the Gators will consider Delray Beach’s Kevin Bronson, who I mentioned in last week’s Mail Stack. He’s only a three-star recruit but holds offers from Arkansas, Miami, Mississippi State, Nebraska, Rutgers and others.
Unless it’s a top-tier prospect, UF may not have the scholarship room for someone to go along with Justus Reed and Taven Bryan at strongside defensive end, although Bryan is projected to play offensive tackle in college.
On to the questions!
Is Brent Pease the primary recruiter for any ’14 or ’15 recruits? If so, which recruits may we lose if he is fired? — Wilbert, Devin, Uncle Willie Sam, BobN
Pease is involved in the recruitments of most offensive players and does a good job from what I can tell, but quarterback is really the only position he focuses on primarily.
As I reported a few weeks ago, sources close to Will Grier told The Sun he would not back out of his commitment under any circumstances. Judging by what he posted Monday on his Instagram account, he has his mind set on enrolling early at UF in January.
Aside from Grier, I don’t see any offensive commits or targets having an issue if Pease leaves. It would be pitched as a positive thing to recruits, and with the way Florida’s offense has struggled, they won’t be hard to convince.
What type of skill set does DeAndre Goolsby bring to the table, and is there a kicker on the radar? — Logan
His junior season highlights are impressive, and he’s caught 27 passes for 400 yards so far as a senior. He has some similarities to Jordan Reed, and that’s how Florida plans to use him.
Goolsby is tall with a lengthy frame, but he needs to put on some weight to become a better blocker. He shows great hands and route-running ability on film.
Derby (Kan.) coach Brandon Clark had this to say about Goolsby’s skill set when he spoke with the Orlando Sentinel.
“He’s very talented, about 6-5, 225 … really skinny so he has a lot of room to put weight onto his frame. He hasn’t tried to gain weight at all. He’s very talented. (Speed) is really good, probably about 4.6 (seconds in the 40-yard dash).”
While the Gators certainly need another kicker on their roster, they simply can’t afford to use a scholarship on one after signing Austin Hardin in 2012 and being tight on numbers this year.
Are we in the mix at all for LB Clifton Garrett? I know he liked his visit. — Jerome
Garrett gave high remarks following his trip to UF in September, and the Gators are still in the mix as far as being one of his finalists. But they aren’t expected to get his commitment and never were.
LSU has been his public leader for quite some time, and that’s where he’ll end up barring change. Florida’s best bet at landing a linebacker is Dwight Williams or Nyles Morgan, who will both officially visit for the FSU game.
Where do you suspect the remaining slots in this class go to? — Jake
With around six or seven spots left for 2014, Florida has met its needs at quarterback, running back, tight end, defensive tackle and defensive back. Although the Gators are set in the secondary with four corners committed, they would still like to add safety Jamal Adams and are believed to be his leader.
Look for UF to fill out the rest of its class with a weakside defensive end, a linebacker, a couple of receivers and one or two offensive linemen. The most likely recruits Florida could land at those positions are Lorenzo Carter and Lorenzo Featherston (DE), Morgan and Williams (LB), Adoree’ Jackson and Eric Lauderdale (WR), and David Sharpe and Jordan Sims (OL).
Will you update your percentage chances on potential recruits to UF — Shawn
The Gators’ four-game losing streak obviously isn’t a good look, but I still think they can finish with a solid class if they close on their targets. The selling point with them will be an opportunity to play right away and help turn around a football program at one of the nation’s top universities. It worked with Goolsby.
I’ve taken some names off the board and added a few as well.
RB Bo Scarbrough — 10%
WR Eric Lauderdale — 55%
WR Charles Nelson — 50%
WR Speedy Noil — 15%
WR Travis Rudolph — 35%
OL Jordan Sims — 65%
OL Damian Prince — 30%
OL David Sharpe — 55%
DT Thomas Holley — 20%
DE Lorenzo Carter — 60%
DE Lorenzo Featherston — 50%
DE Malik McDowell — 30%
DE Gerald Willis III — 35%
LB Raekwon McMillan — 10%
LB Nyles Morgan — 30%
LB Clifton Garrett — 20%
LB Dwight Williams — 90%
CB Jalen Tabor — 30%
DB Jamal Adams — 80%
ATH Adoree’ Jackson — 70%
That’s all for this week! Be sure to leave your questions for the next mailbag in the comment section below.