December 20th, 2013 09:21pm

Zach’s Mail Stack 12/20


Gator fans should tune in to ABC on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET.

That’s when Southern Cal interim coach and offensive coordinator Clay Helton and the Trojans take on Fresno State in the Las Vegas Bowl.

Our old friend Jeff Barlis reported Tuesday that Florida will hire its next OC within a week, and it appears to be Helton considering the timing. Will Muschamp’s list of potential candidates has also dwindled over the past few days.

Helton’s offense against the Bulldogs will be different than what you’ll see from him at UF. Muschamp wants to convert to more of a spread system, which is what Helton ran at Memphis when he was offensive coordinator. Nevertheless, Saturday is still a chance for the Florida faithful to check him out before he arrives in Gainesville.

Before I dip in the Mail Stack, I need to remind everyone that inappropriate comments will not fly on this blog. I had to delete 142 this week, including a comment where someone was posting under my name. I usually don’t pay much attention to the comments, but I’m not going to let you guys attack each other. I appreciate all of you reading and sharing your thoughts, but comments need to be recruiting and football related or they will get deleted.

On to the questions!

With Tyler Murphy leaving, who are the potential QB options for 2014? Bryan, Kevin, David, Ivo

As I reported Sunday, Florida is now looking to sign a second quarterback in the 2014 class. Muschamp’s change in offensive philosophy suggests it will be a dual-threat guy.

Taking a junior college quarterback would be preferable to create separation with Will Grier, but there isn’t an obvious choice when I look at the rankings. ESPN doesn’t even have a QB in its Junior College 50.

However, there are a few possibilities from the dual-threat rankings of prep prospects.

The top uncommitted recruit is 6-foot-5, 185-pound Randall Cunningham, whose list of offers includes Baylor, LSU, Mississippi State.

Then there’s three quarterbacks from the state of Florida who are pledged elsewhere — Wisconsin commit D.J. Gillins (6-3, 185, Jacksonville Ribault), Syracuse commit Alin Edouard (6-2, 181, Hialeah) and Duke commit Nicodem Pierre (6-2, 203, Miami Coral Reef).

I know nothing about their recruitments, grades or talent, but these four seem like the most attainable options to me.

What is WR Ermon Lane’s status? Would you put him in a similar boat as RB Dalvin Cook? — David, Joseph, Briwash

In late October I did a blog about five Florida commits on waver watch. Cook and Lane now sit atop that list.

I can’t get them on the phone, and those close to them don’t know or give away much info about their recruitment, so their social media accounts are really the only way to glean where they’re at with things.

Up until December, both posted pictures of themselves every week with some kind of Gator theme (UF gear, doing the chomp, a designed background, etc.). Not only have they stopped doing that, but almost all of those old images have been deleted.

This could mean nothing, or everything. It’s certainly not a good sign, but maybe they’re just playing the game and building suspense for their final decisions (I’m sure Lane will have one as well).

The Gators are by no means out of it, but it’s going to be a roller coaster with them until the end.

Who else are we recruiting at RB in case Cook decommits? — ChocoGator, Rob

If Cook goes elsewhere, it might be Tony James or bust at the running back position.

James tells me he’s solid with Oregon and won’t decommit if the hometown Gators come after him, but we’ll see.

The offense UF ran with Brent Pease was one of the reasons James and the Gators never materialized. James didn’t feel like it was the right fit for him, and neither did Florida.

But with the changes coming under the new coordinator, maybe Muschamp can get his attention. If the Gators put the full court press on him next month, you’d have to think he’ll at least consider staying close to home and playing for his dream school.

D’Ernest Johnson of Immokalee tried to pull the trigger for UF after attending last year’s South Carolina game, but the coaches weren’t ready at the time. He’s currently uncommitted and could be a last-minute option if they still have interest in him.

Where do we stand with Adoree’ Jackson? — jligori

The five-star athlete is reportedly down to Florida and LSU according to West recruiting analyst Adam Gorney.

UF appeared to be the his leader after Friday Night Lights, then LSU gained momentum after his trip there in October. Both schools also have great track programs.

I think the hire of Helton could help the Gators given his relationship with Jackson at USC, but it’s critical for UF to get his final official visit in January. If Florida is truly one of his finalists, that should happen.

Any chance DL Gerald Willis picks Florida over LSU? Where does UF stand with DE Lorenzo Carter and and 2015 WR George Campbell? — GaGator2

No chance on Willis. He’s from Louisiana, and his mother is April Justin (read this about her). You might remember April from the Under Armour All-America Game in 2012 when her other son, Alabama safety Landon Collins, chose the Crimson Tide over her beloved Tigers on ESPN and she was not happy about it (here’s the video). I doubt she goes 0-for-2.

Carter said Wednesday it’s a “Georgia-Florida race” in a video interview with Atlanta Journal-Constitution. UF was his No. 1 school in July, but UGA has likely taken the lead after having Carter on campus a few times this fall. With the ‘Dawgs also scheduled to get his last official visit, he appears to be theirs to lose at this point.

Campbell decommitted from Michigan this week, which didn’t come as a surprise to most people. His decision in the summer was shocking and came out of nowhere. Florida, Florida State and Clemson are the three schools believed to have the best shot at him right now.

That’s all for this week! Be sure to leave your questions for the next mailbag in the comment section below.

Category Uncategorized



  1. December 20th, 2013 9:39 pm

    I’ve read several articles where Jamal Adams now favors LSU over UF. Is there merit to this?

    by Jake

  2. December 20th, 2013 9:48 pm

    Come on Lane, stick with the good guys! You too, Cook, though I’m confident in the backs we have in place combined with Showers and Debose giving us that speed on the edge.

    by Arizona_Gator

  3. December 20th, 2013 9:50 pm

    I think that’s currently the case. He made back-to-back visits to LSU on Nov. 29 and Dec. 6. But the Gators still have his godfather Joker Phillips going for them, and Will Muschamp received his last in-home visit. If LSU lands Alabama safety decommit Laurence “Hootie” Jones, that could also improve Florida’s chances. Adams plans to decide at the Under Armour All-America Game.

    by Zach Abolverdi

  4. December 20th, 2013 10:29 pm

    Thanks for shoring up the rules on the comment section, Zach. It’s nice to have a place to read about the Gators without having to wade through miles of bs.
    Go Gators. Win or lose.

    by Doug

  5. December 20th, 2013 11:41 pm

    If Helton is selected, sure hope he brings some creativity to the Gators offense.
    Helton is receiving $850,000/year at USC while Pease’s salary was raised to $600,000 this past year.

    by Steven

  6. December 20th, 2013 11:54 pm

    Zach, What about Wade Freebeck at QB. Gators offered him a while back, and he is still uncommitted. Are they making a push for him?

    by montanagator

  7. December 21st, 2013 12:44 am

    How much better are those guys than guy and Wilkes?? I’d like a guy that can execute the run/pass option that Marshall and denard did so well… But that would be 3 different offenses and that is highly doubtful considering pease couldn’t get one offense executed. That’s what separates Todd graham and malzahn- they’re teachers not just schemers. Yes they’re the 2 best coaches.

    by Kyle

  8. December 21st, 2013 1:34 am

    Im not surprised our top 2 Offensive skill player commits are undecided. After watching this year of UF offense i would be to. Helton better do a good job Saturday cause not only will he be “auditioning” for the OC job, he will also be the make or break guy for most of these commits. Even though he wont be running the same offense he might here, he better come out and show the recruits something. We can not afford him to come and get annihilated, especially if Muschamp has been telling recruits this is our guy.

    by HS

  9. December 21st, 2013 5:55 am

    What about offensive line? Cook and Lane are not important since UF signed the best group of wideouts in the country last year and running back is in good shape if Jones recovers. I don’t think there is a quarterback available that is a difference maker, UF will have to hope for improvement with what it has or hope Grier will be an unusual freshman that doesn’t need to redshirt. The returning offensive line needs more bodies to push the returning players. Humphries was supposed to be great but got benched. This staff has to win now or they’ll be gone and if UF can’t block, the offense is doomed to the same results of the past years. Hopefully there is a playmaker on the roster already. Maybe Debose will finally come close to the player Meyer named the next Percy Harvin.

    by snowprint

  10. December 21st, 2013 6:30 am

    Zach, Randall Cunningham, son of former QB Randall Cummingham of NFL Eagles, and nephew of Sam Bam Cunningham is currently a senior at a Hi School in Las vegas – he has great football blood lines.


    by Rusty Keck

  11. December 21st, 2013 8:11 am

    Zach, let us have some comparative numbers on transfers at UF, FSU, Georgia, Bama and LSU. It seems we have more than our major competitors but I could be wrong..

    by MIke Hoskins

  12. December 21st, 2013 8:31 am

    @ Mike – I saw a post that was NCAA wide and the total number of transfers was about 930-or something close to that. Divide the total number of DI teams and it comes out to 8 transfers per team.

    by Delray Mike

  13. December 21st, 2013 8:34 am

    Ditto that, good suggestion Mike! Zach that would be a cool little piece due to the recede not departs, can never understand why we get so many. Everyone claims that it is because of so many years of great recruiting…but these guys do the same & they tend to keep their guys! Can u shed some light as well?

    by Harold

  14. December 21st, 2013 9:06 am

    zack, how bout john wolford at bishop Kenny? very good qb! I thought one of the reasons to keep muschamp was recruiting? seems like we lose more then we get. I also don’t know why we go for so many out of state guys when we live in the best state for athletes.

    by islander

  15. December 21st, 2013 9:39 am

    Hey Zach – check out Quinton Flowers as our possible extra QB. Currently committed to USF to play QB and also has several better offers to play WR. Wants to be a QB. He could be the perfect guy to bring in. Give him a chance at QB and move him over to WR if it doesn’t work out.

    by jimmyjohns

  16. December 21st, 2013 9:58 am

    Regardless if they have no more postings with Gator gear on I still think they both end up Gators. Has the staff been in touch with Cunningham at all & if so would he even be interested in coming way out to Florida for school? If this OC doesn’t show out later today then what? And why would he not run plays that would showcase what he can do? GO GATORS!!!

    by baton rouge gator fan (brgf)

  17. December 21st, 2013 10:03 am

    Also I think Lorenzo sticks as well. He’s always been very complimentary towards the staff & university as a whole. Plus his parents love UF so that’s a big plus. He’s one of the most important recruits that seems to be wavering IMO. GO GATORS!!

    by baton rouge gator fan (brgf)

  18. December 21st, 2013 10:59 am


    Would have any info on Quinton Flowers, currently committed to South Florida…He has an official visit to UF on 1/24, according to Scout…Rated a 4 star receiver AND also a QB…Perhaps he might be a viable option at BOTH positions….

    by Ben

  19. December 21st, 2013 11:54 am

    br gator, there is nothing for Lorenzo Carter to “stick” to. He is uncommitted, and has always been. He may love UF, but players from GA almost always go there when they visit there alot. Heck, even if they favor or even commit to UF(see Jordan Jenkins and Josh Harvey-Clemons), they STILL become poodles.

    by Steve

  20. December 21st, 2013 2:59 pm

    HAHA! Point taken, Steve. Lorenzo seemed to really favor UF & it would just seem that since his parents loved their visit as did Lorenzo that he would choose the Gators. As for snowprint-are you a complete moron!!?? Cook & Lane not important??! They would be two of many buildings blocks necessary if Champ wants to have a winner in the coming years. GO GATORS!!

    by baton rouge gator fan (brgf)

  21. December 21st, 2013 3:06 pm


    We also have the QB that used to be a double AA baseball guy right? I remember he was a good size kid who had a strong arm. If memory serves he used to throw 90 plus fast balls. Have you been able to dig into his development at QB. Would like to get your thoughts and any info you can dig up about his former recruiting etc…because I think he picked BB over FB because of being drafted so maybe he is a gem waiting in the wings?

    by Matt

  22. December 21st, 2013 4:55 pm

    Newsflash Matt-that dude transferred about 2 weeks ago…UF is toilet paper thin@ QB right now…GO GATORS!!!

    by baton rouge gator fan (brgf)

  23. December 21st, 2013 4:57 pm

    I think Lane and Cook are important, but to be fair brgf, I think the point snowprint is getting at is those aren’t our 2 biggest positions of need and we could afford to miss on them. I agree wholeheartedly on Cook. He’s a dynamic player and would help us out tremendously, but I’m more than comfortable with Jones, Taylor, Brown, Herndon, Lane, and Showers. People site Cook’s speed and home run ability, but we also have speed with Showers and the handoffs to Debose I expect to see. I’d love to have Cook, but I won’t lose any sleep if he goes. As for Lane, though, I agree with you more than snowprint that we need him. I have confidence in what Joker is able to do as a coach and the talent we recruited last year, but Lane is the type of playmaker we could really use to boost our passing game.

    by Arizona_Gator

  24. December 21st, 2013 5:08 pm

    Good insight, Arizona. The LB from Illinois that UF was after committed to LSU a couple of days ago. How are they looking as far LB’S? GO GATORS!!

    by baton rouge gator fan (brgf)

  25. December 21st, 2013 6:35 pm

    Zach, it seems like Muschamp will miss on some of these recruits. Transfers also will open up scholarships but I feel like we will be missing out on quality players. Do we hold onto these scholarships until next year or fill them with whoever we can get? What is your opinion?

    by Allen

  26. December 21st, 2013 9:31 pm

    BRGF — You’re thinking of Max Staver, who did just transfer. I think Matt is talking about Chris Wilkes, who’s still on the team (so far).

    by Greg

  27. December 21st, 2013 10:02 pm

    Looks like we missed on Helton, Yahoo says he’s staying on as OC at USC….. now what?

    by GG

  28. December 22nd, 2013 7:56 am

    Face it, no one’s beating down the door to come with a possible lameduck coach and Driskel as the player to build an offense around. Is anyone really surprised that all the candidates that have been mentioned have fell off the table?

    by snowprint

  29. December 22nd, 2013 8:33 am

    Yeah, Helton is staying and so is everyone else mentioned for the OC job. Maybe Muschamp is talking with Applewhite or has a super secret candidate from an alternate universe.

    by MrKeepingItReal

  30. December 22nd, 2013 9:29 am

    Clay Helton staying at USC. Now who do you see as the next OC at Floirda?

    by Mason

  31. December 22nd, 2013 9:33 am

    I guess it’s either Beck or Roper.

    by Mason

  32. December 22nd, 2013 9:41 am

    Zach, with more scholarships available do you see the coaches looking for a true fullback with Joyer being a senior and only converted fullbacks behind him?

    by Mack

  33. December 22nd, 2013 9:41 am

    USC offered but Helton would not comment on the job. So nice to see everyone jumping to conclusions. It is also speculation he was the choice.

    Guess we will have to wait and see!

    by Ed

  34. December 22nd, 2013 10:18 am

    Hope you are right Ed!! Just hard to see Helton turning down USC and starting over at the same job 3000 miles away.

    by MrKeepingItReal

  35. December 22nd, 2013 4:29 pm

    I still say don’t sleep on Joker being promoted.

    by Arizona_Gator

  36. December 22nd, 2013 8:10 pm

    Muschamp will never leave his comfort zone on offense. It’s not in his nature. He literally CANNOT do it. Our offense, as long as Muschamp is here will be run between the tackles and throw when desperate.

    A leopard cannot change it’s spots.

    by Gator Todd

  37. December 22nd, 2013 10:26 pm

    Great point, Greg. I’ve always been of the opinion that Joker will be the OC. Unless there’s someone out there that we no nothing about then it’s Joker. GO GATORS!!!

    by baton rouge gator fan (brgf)

  38. December 23rd, 2013 10:14 am

    UF plane landed at RDU Sunday night, maybe reaching out to Kurt Roper? I’ve lived in this football challenged NC Triangle 16 years and the job Roper has done at Duke is splendid. Would he leave David Cutcliffe for an SEC powerhouse program? His brother is Duke’s special teams coach.

    by Gatormac

  39. December 23rd, 2013 10:33 am

    Josh – what do you care about the comments? You write…we comment. Afraid of honesty from the fans?

    by Gatorjam

  40. December 23rd, 2013 10:35 am

    Gator Todd – You are ‘spot’ on! Muschamp will never change. Why would any skill players choose Florida???

    by Gatorjam

  41. December 23rd, 2013 10:46 am

    @Gator Todd. Oh yeah because completely changing the offense to a spread, recruiting receivers heavily along with a gunslinger like Grier, and recruiting 3 tight ends, one of which is converted to tight end from being a wide receiver, doesn’t show any emphasis on the passing game. Yeah no changes at all. Get a grip! Stop being negative for negativity’s sake. It’s getting really old and doesn’t help at all. Muschamp WILL be our coach next year. Nothing we can do about it. Get over it and try rooting for your team for a change instead of rooting against Muschamp. Because as long as he’s here rooting against him is rooting against the gators and yeah that’s being a great fan!

    by Arizona_Gator

  42. December 23rd, 2013 11:05 am

    I watched Lorenzo Carter in the Ga State Championship team and he was not even the best defensive player on his team. He takes way too many plays off and appears to be lazy. No loss if he goes to UGAY.

    by ga gator

  43. December 23rd, 2013 11:07 am

    Get a grip Arizona? What changes have been made, or have you watched a well-known spread offense OC like Brent Pease, which Bama’s Nick Saban wanted too, do exactly on offense the last two years instead of a spread system? It’s why Weis left and took the KU job, because Muschamp is a control freak.

    I’ve played for coaches like Muschamp when I was young, so I know the speil.

    If Muschamp changes, I’ll believe it when I see it, because he has shown NOTHING to me he’s capable of doing it.

    by Gator Todd

  44. December 23rd, 2013 11:33 am

    A percentage of human beings wake up every morning to thrive in conflict, have to have someone or someone to attack. Another percentage gets their jollies by chasing ambulances and fire trucks to witness a disaster. People who’ve jumped in Muschamp’s back won’t get off until he is fired or quits to go elsewhere. They enjoy the fight. Muschamp could win two nat’l championships and he would still be despised. This is why deep-pocket Gator Boosters (see a Stumpy Thompson) say they pay no attention to rants against Muschamp and why Jeremy Foley ignores them, too. To borrow and rephrase a line Jesus spoke, “the unhappy we will always have with us.”

    by Gatormac

  45. December 23rd, 2013 12:48 pm

    Very true Gatormac. Just gets frustrating to see people be negative for negativity’s sake. It solves nothing. Whining and complaining changed nothing. Just wish we could all be Gator fans and root for them instead of rooting against them.

    by Arizona_Gator

  46. December 23rd, 2013 12:50 pm

    Oh and Charlie Weis is just doing wonderful at Kansas! Yeah great coach there! Hahaha. Yeah not sad at all that he’s gone.

    by Arizona_Gator

  47. December 23rd, 2013 12:52 pm

    I’m entirely with you, Arizona. Also, maybe not for our OC job, but for the future, keep an eye on East Carolina’s young OC, a 29-yr old Mike Leach protege from Texas Tech. He’s the architect of ECU’s success and took a rather ordinary walk-on QB and transformed into a big producer. There are some good guys out there beyond Norvell, Helton et al.

    by Gatormac

  48. December 26th, 2013 12:15 pm

    Can you give us any recruit reactions to the Roper news?

    by B

  49. December 27th, 2013 10:48 pm

    [...] Although they claim to be committed, their recent actions, some of which I touched on in the previous Mail Stack, aren’t good signs for Florida. Additionally, Florida State running back and Miami Central [...]

    by Zach's Mail Stack 12/27 | Gator Prospectus Gator Prospectus - Gator Sports - Gainesville, FL - Archive

  50. January 5th, 2014 11:22 pm

    Apparently there was a chance with Willis. In fairness I didn’t expect him to pick uf either but I guess in recruiting there is no such thing as a no chance

    by Joe

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