Kudos to Will Muschamp.
Regardless of how you feel about his coaching abilities or decisions, the man can recruit.
Now, Muschamp must keep his commitments on that side of the ball, including running back Dalvin Cook and receiver Ermon Lane. The majority of questions I received this week were about these two.
Cook’s recruitment is still in a holding pattern, but there are a couple things that have changed since I discussed him in the previous Mail Stack. He now plans to make his final decision at the Under Armour All-American Game, and Muschamp’s in-home visit with him has been moved to Sunday.
I’ll be at Cook’s state championship game Saturday for an update.
Lane caused quite a stir Wednesday on Twitter when he posted a picture of himself wearing a Florida State jacket. He deleted the tweet minutes later, but it was too late to avoid the selfie-inflicted wounds.
Prior to the photo, there had been signs that Lane was beginning to waver on his pledge to the Gators. In a Twitter conversation last week with Amari Cooper, the Alabama receiver asked Lane if he was still going to Florida. Lane said he’ll know on signing day, which is not the response of a committed recruit.
An in-home visit from Muschamp along with a good hire for coordinator might make Cook and Lane solid commits again. But if I were a Gator fan, I wouldn’t count on them to stick.
On to the questions!
Has UF recruited any other quarterbacks? — Kyle, Jacob
Max Staver has decided to leave Florida, and Tyler Murphy and Skyler Mornhinweg are reportedly considering transfers as well. If that happens, UF would have just two scholarships quarterbacks in the spring and fall — Jeff Driskel and Will Grier.
I’m not aware of any additional quarterbacks being recruited by the Gators for next season, but they may want to consider bringing in another. A pair of passers is just not enough depth (see 2013).
After looking through the databases on recruiting sites, I don’t see any obvious dual-threat QB targets at the prep or junior college level. I’m sure the Florida staff has someone in mind, though.
With all of the transfers, how do we fill these holes in recruiting? — Darrius, TJ, Ed, zero21hundred, Ivan, David, Kent, Ryan, Woody, Tanner, Jonathan, bamagator
The departures of Staver and Ian Silberman surprised me, and I thought Florida would only have room for 20. Unless the Gators lose both Murphy and Mornhinweg, I doubt they take another signal-caller in the class.
If there’s no more attrition or decommitments, I think Florida’s final four spots should go toward an offensive lineman, a receiver, a defensive end and a defensive back. If more space opens up, take a kicker. I mention some candidates at the end of this blog.
On a related note, I was told the Gators won’t take LB Dwight Williams even if they miss on their other targets at the position (which they will). After signing four linebackers last year, it appears UF won’t sign any in 2014.
Who are now the top priorities for the Gators with David Sharpe in the fold? — Devin, Richard, ChocoGator, C-Slim
Norcross (Ga.) five-star defensive end Lorenzo Carter is now the No. 1 overall target on Florida’s board. With Dante Fowler probably gone after his junior year, the Gators need this talented pass rusher.
Carter, who named UF his leader during the summer, seemingly has Georgia in front at this time given his frequent visits to Athens. There’s still time for the Gators to gain their advantage back, but they need to get him to return to campus.
Five-star athlete Adoree’ Jackson is the most important prospect after Carter because he can play receiver and corner. If he comes to UF, he’ll likely start out wherever he’s needed.
Eric Lauderdale is Florida’s top receiver target, while safety Jamal Adams and corner Jalen Tabor round out the board at defensive back.
Zach, with all the offensive linemen departures, how many do we sign and who are our best options left out there? — Ricky, Jeff, Rob
With three graduating seniors and two transfers, the Gators return just nine linemen from 2013.
Muschamp said 15 is his ideal number of players for offensive line depth, so that means he needs one more lineman to have six signees in this recruiting cycle.
Damian Prince and Jordan Sims have been talked about the most, but a new name is now on Florida’s radar.
Derrick Kelly was offered by UF last month and is officially visiting this weekend. Florida State and LSU are also after the Havana East Gadsden offensive tackle, and the ‘Noles are believed to have the edge right now.
Nonetheless, Kelly might be Florida’s best shot at adding another lineman.
Zach, when is DT Thomas Holly making his decision, and do you think we have a chance? — Jeremy, Beezybae, Carlos, Blake
Holley told The New York Post he would decide by the end of this week, but obviously that didn’t happen.
It shouldn’t take much longer, and I currently have him choosing Penn State over Florida.
However, I really don’t have first-hold knowledge on his recruitment. I’m just assuming, like most people, that he’ll stay close to home. But there are a few folks, including Ryan Bartow and JC Shurburtt of 247Sports, who predicted UF for Holley.
We should know the verdict by the next Mail Stack.
That’s all for this week! Be sure to leave your questions for the next mailbag in the comment section below.