Hope you all had a Happy Thanksgiving.
I received a lot of questions this week that can basically be summed up by what Chad asked: “Is the sky falling?”
Things aren’t collapsing for the Gators in recruiting, but I wouldn’t say the sky is the limit for their 2014 class.
While the majority of commits seem like they will stick with their pledges, Florida could have difficulty getting more to go along with them.
Most kids see an opportunity to play right away when they look at a losing team, so the Gators have that going for them. But the staff turnover that’s anticipated after the season creates an issue.
Recruiting is all about relationships, and if prospects don’t know who the assistants will be next year, that may turn them off. Will Muschamp has to act quickly so they aren’t in the dark for long.
If Muschamp can make some homerun hires and put a positive spin on the coaching changes, it may actually help his recruiting efforts. Time will tell, though.
On to the questions!
Because we’ve had such a bad season, will a loss FSU on Saturday not hurt us in recruiting this year as much as it would in others? — Greg
Losing to your rivals is never good for recruiting, but I see your point. Will it matter less to recruits because they expect Florida State to win? Sure, it could. However, many high school football prospects, particularly ones in the state of Florida, view this matchup as a measuring stick.
If UF gets blown out this weekend, that might make them feel like FSU is the superior football program and will be for years to come. The Gators received a similar reaction last season when they beat the ‘Noles in Tallahassee. Now, there’s some kids who grew up Gator fans and will still want to come to Florida with the idea that they can help their favorite school return to prominence.
But by and large, the loser of this game will face some negative repercussions in recruiting as a result of the outcome. It’s just the nature of the beast.
Looks like the LB class is pretty thin. Any realistic shots? — Scott
UF was scheduled to host three linebackers on official visits for the Florida State game. Now it appears Nyles Morgan will be the only one.
Morgan recently popped up on Florida’s radar and has expressed interest, but at this time he’s expected to join his former high school teammate Laquon Treadwell at Ole Miss.
Raekwon McMillan cancelled his trip to go to Auburn instead, which isn’t a surprise. The Gators never had a realistic shot and didn’t need to waste their time with them since they have so many other recruits in town.
Dwight Williams was the third linebacker who planned to be at UF this weekend, but his playoff game tonight on west coast time will probably push back his visit. Nevertheless, he is Florida’s best chance at landing a prospect at this position.
Given the performance of our staff, why would any receiver sign with the Gators? Seems like UF is where WR dreams come to die. — Nicolas
I understand where you’re coming from, and that has been the case for years.
But not this season.
Florida’s receivers are performing well under veteran coach Joker Phillips. The top three wideouts have combined for more than 1,500 yards, which is impressive given the fact that UF hasn’t had a passing game to speak of since Tyler Murphy was injured in the LSU game.
In my opinion, the biggest offensive problem for the Gators is they haven’t had an elite quarterback under center since Tim Tebow. The offensive line’s inability to pass block hasn’t helped, either.
Ermon Lane wouldn’t be coming to Florida if he didn’t think Will Grier could buck that trend.
They were teammates at The Opening in July, and Lane saw firsthand what kind of arm Grier has. I’m sure Lane believes his dreams as a receiver can come true with Grier as his quarterback.
The key for UF moving forward will be getting more recruits to feel like Lane.
What will it take for the coaches to turn Dalvin Cook back to the good guys? A new offensive coordinator that demands respect? — Jimmie, McCauley, Travis, Ryan
In case you missed it, Cook came out Tuesday and said he was 80 percent committed to the Gators.
I’ll be interested to hear his comments after he meets with Florida’s coaches at his house next week. Sometimes a sit down is all it takes to shore up — or gain — a commitment. The staff was able to flip Demarcus Robinson from Clemson last year during an in-home visit with him.
Cook has a strong relationship with Travaris Robinson, his primary recruiter, and he hasn’t been able to hang out with the coaches since his visit to Friday Night Lights.
That being said, some face time with Florida may not be enough to keep Cook from going elsewhere. But it will matter more to him than a new offensive coordinator he doesn’t know and has probably never talked to.
Do you think the Gators will get any players to commit on Saturday? — Keith
Unless UF pulls off the upset and some 2015 kid jumps the gun, I don’t expect any public commitments.
But I do think offensive tackle David Sharpe, who is officially visiting, will privately give Florida his pledge if he hasn’t already.
By now, it’s pretty obvious UF has him. He still wants to hold a ceremony at his school, but maybe he’ll get caught up in the excitement of the trip and just announce his decision on Twitter.
Despite the lack of suspense surrounding Sharpe’s recruitment, the importance of his impending commitment can’t be overlooked. The biggest needs for the Gators in this recruiting cycle are quarterback, offensive tackle and defensive tackle. They will meet those three with Grier, Sharpe and Khairi Clark, all of whom are big-time prospects.
That’s all for this week! Be sure to leave your questions for the next mailbag in the comment section below.