Should have been Gators

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There’s not doubt Will Muschamp had great success as a recruiter when he was at Florida, especially on the defensive side of the ball. But he also had some great misses. Some from prospects who grew up as Gator fans and played right down the road from The Swamp.

Two come to mind, and they were from the same outstanding Gainesville High team.

Linebacker Keith Kelsey, a  UF legacy who went on to become an All-ACC player at Louisville (and now is working on a potential NFL career). And running back Ralph Webb, Vanderbilt’s all-time leading rusher, with one more season still to go.

I bring this up now because I saw Muschamp and Webb at SEC Media Days last week and a few days later watched Kelsey make what seemed like 100 tackles on a replay of a game from last season a few nights ago.

How did Webb and Kelsey not end up at Florida?

Metrics. Muschamp’s metrics.

When it came to recruiting and rating prospects, Muschamp and his staff had something comparable to an NFL team’s draft board. They listed prospects along with all their measurables — height, weight, speed, things like that. And if a prospect didn’t meet certain minimum standards, they would get no scholarship offer. In the case of Kelsey, he wasn’t quite tall enough or fast enough on Muschamp’s linebacker board. With Webb, it was his lack of height and weight that drew a big X by his name.

Muschamp and his board proved to be right with numerous prospects. But they clearly whiffed on two kids who would loved to have been — and should have been — Gators.

Sometimes scholarship offers should come based on what prospects put on tape, what they actually do on the field. And not by the numbers beside their name on a prospect board.

 

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