UF recruiting roundup: Commits, de-commits and more

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The final weekend before the NCAA-mandated dead period, which begins Monday and runs through Jan. 11, was an eventful one for the Gators.

Florida expected six official visitors on campus, but ultimately the list changed drastically by Friday. Five-star IMG Academy defensive back Brendan Radley-Hiles opted to take an official visit to Florida State rather than make the trip to Gainesville, and all indications are quarterback Matt Corral’s de-commitment led Radley-Hiles to re-evaluate his recruitment.

And wide receiver Tyquan Thornton, a four-star prospect out of Booker T. Washington who committed to Florida on July 24, also had a late change of plans. Thornton didn’t arrive Friday for his previously scheduled official visit, leading to speculation about his future.

By Saturday night, Thornton confirmed the news by flipping his commitment from Florida to Baylor University. Thornton’s de-commitment leaves the Gators with just one wide receiver currently committed, meaning coach Dan Mullen and his work-in-progress coaching staff have work to do before National Signing Day.

But it wasn’t all doom and gloom in Gainesville this weekend. Four-star defensive back John Huggins, who had previously committed to FSU and coach Jimbo Fisher, decided to shut down his recruitment and commit to Florida less than 48 hours after arriving for his official visit.

The Daytona Beach native is ranked the No. 32 safety prospect in the 2018 class by 247Sports, and his commitment gives UF another prospect who intends to make his commitment official when the early signing period opens Wednesday.

However, perhaps the most significant news for the Gators, considering Corral’s de-commitment and the overall uncertainty at the position under Mullen, was the surprise arrival of five-star dual-threat quarterback Emory Jones.

The Franklin, Ga., native has been verbally committed to Ohio State since July of 2016, but sources close to Jones indicate the 6-foot-2 quarterback prefers to stay closer to home. And it helps that Jones’ family has long been a fan of UF, too.

While Jones did make a trip Saturday night to Florida State, those close to Jones believe he felt pressured to give FSU a fair evaluation under new coach Willie Taggart, who believes Jones is the ideal quarterback to run the high-octane offense he envisions running in Tallahassee.

Yet with the no-contact period beginning Sunday, Florida is confident that their final pitch to Jones will be enough to flip him from Ohio State before the early signing period opens.

Where it stands right now, the Gators expect to sign 10 prospects between Wednesday and Friday: Carol City defensive back Randy Russell, Calvary Christian linebacker/defensive back Amari Burney, Bainbridge (Ga.) running back Dameon Pierce, Rancocas Valley Regional High (NJ) running back Iverson Clement, Fort Payne (Ala.) kicker Evan McPherson, Vero Beach linebacker David Reese, Boca Raton tight end Dante Lang, Wyoming Valley West (Pa.) offensive lineman Chris Bleich, Archbishop Wood (Pa.) tight end Kyle Pitts, along with the aforementioned Huggins.

As if that weren’t enough for Florida fans to keep track of, Wednesday also marks the first day for junior college transfers to sign letters of intent to become mid-year transfers. If Mullen’s previous recruiting cycles are any indication, the Gators will likely be in for some surprise additions in the next 72 hours.

64 COMMENTS

  1. There’s reason for all these decommittments folks. The sky is not falling. Mullen wants different pieces than the last miserable coaching staff.

  2. Well I don’t see it that way he screwed up with qb corral, didn’t go after him waited too long went after other qb’s, sent a bad signal he was glue, didn’t make hires official titles, coaches left no security given to them, this was very black eye for DM poor communication with these kids, u can’t do that way was poorly handling on his part!! Getting trust established is first and foremost with these young men again terrible job not following through u don’t burn bridges you repaved first,simply common sense!! This plan was poorly handling on his part this really sucks!!!!!!!! He needs to reacquired his focused can’t even get WR’s from MSU that really tells the story!!!! Very much a busted significantly signing period!!! Very disappointed gator fan we can’t even compete lower half of east division this will set us back a ways poorly done, we can’t be mediocrity this is what u get whenever the Coach doesn’t put integrity first, trust, be honest with staff firsthand kids Tell others when communication is between coaches and recruits smooth very important!!! I could tell we lost qb at picture with coach BG, stupid, stupid, move by head coach!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • I would take either 5 star Fields or Jones over 4 star Corral…I’ve been very close to the program for many years as a bull gator and I can tell you Mullen knows what he’s doing!!!

      • A bull gator? Ooooooooh.

        Funny, you know sitting here at ths keyboard, you know I’m a bull gator too.

        Yeah, yeah, that’s the ticket.

        LMAO…

        • Do you know anything besides how to attack another human being? He was just presenting a credential for context. When you engage in ad hominem attacks, you are conceding that the other person has a point and that you don’t.

    • Jeebus dude…go take a remedial English composition course. That clown college education sticks out like a sore thumb.

      • Properly punctuated it would read, “Jeebus, Dude,” because names are set off by commas.

        The ellipses (…) is incorrect in this situation because it indicates deleted material. Perhaps you are thinking of a dash, but that would also be incorrect because dashes are best used in pairs to set off interesting — if not necessary — information.

        I think my remedial English (composition is pedantic in this instance) is full next semester, but you might try me in the summer.

        • Jeebus is a pejorative form of Jesus,and you are the dude to whom I was referring, so “Jeebus Dude,” is not a name. And how do you know there isn’t something I chose not to include in the post, so as not to have the moderator delete it? If anything, maybe I should have used an exclamation point.

          Thanks for the offer. No remedial work here. However, you should perhaps address the original poster. He needs the work far more than I do.

          He’s also a complete moron for criticizing Mullen for a transitional class recruited for a completely different offensive system.

          • Albert, you say that Bill was the, “dude to whom (you) were referring” c the term, Jeebus o/a 2051hrs 17Dec17. But he didn’t even enter the forum c his 1st post until 1051hrs 19Dec17. How can that be?

        • Bill, both of your points above are excellent. Odd, because reflecting on the history of posts here over the last season, Albert D’Alligator actually, at times, demonstrates a pretty good football mind, makes coherent points, and can do so c a good mix of appropriate humor. That gets lost, unfortunately, in the personal attacks. Still not the worst offender….there are others more vicious as apparently their default setting for any interchange….but it sure does take the fun out of this forum at times (sad, since there are so many good thinkers on this site, edgy or not).

    • LOL…wow…You do realize that new coaches are against the clock and evaluate who they want for their program. Tennessee just dropped the kid Penix from Tampa Bay Tech…it happens. RELAX…give the guy more than a month to get it done..smh.

    • Hey, Leeroy……I hate to be this petty, but if you are going to so severly bust Coach Mullen’s balls, at least learn how to use the correct way to use certain words in your completely negative critique. By the way, you aren’t the only one when it comes to negativity. Coach wasn’t my first choice, Scott Frost was, but when the Nebraska job opened up, that became a pipe dream. So, Mullen was the next best choice. Who the hell do you people think coordinated our two NC’s, not to mention the development of Leak and Tebow. Don’t tell me Leak had already been here two years. He was nowhere near the qb he became until Coach Mullen arrived in 2005. And Tebow, what more needs to be said. Tim’s ringing endorsement is even more persuasive. I have to assume Corral didn’t fit in with Mullen’s style and his choice of Ole Miss should tell you something. It looks like we have a legitimate chance to flip Jones. Now, that would be outstanding. Get off the negativity, people and get on the positive Gator bandwagon. GO GATORS!!!!

      • Agree with everything except Leak. He was an excellent QB before mullen! Why do you think he was our starter? That guy could really throw a football, very accurate passer. Of course he was better than the year before, every good QB gets better but he was already very good and using Tebow in the wildcat really put our offense over the top making Leak look even better.

  3. I must say…I’m disappointed we are losing Thornton … thought he might be something special in a few years…he would have been like a rock star in Florida and doors would have really been open for him and his family…but in Texas he will hardly be recognized…since Texas and Texas A&M are the big schools out there. being a star in Waco, Texas doesn’t account for much verses being a star in Florida…playing in the SEC at a school like UF verses playing at Baylor are two completely different situations…A star at UF will get more recognition than a star at Baylor, nationally…once the kid goes to Baylor and leaves the state of Florida….he’s out of sight and mind and in reality I could care less what he does…my focus will be on gators rather than traitors…But, I am very happy with getting John Huggins the DB…and I do think we will get either Fields or Jones at QB… at this stage I’m very happy with this recruiting class…I do feel we will fill specific needs will this recruiting class…from everything I’m hearing we will be signing 24-25 recruits, there will be several 5 star recruits with most being 4 star recruits.

    • I live about 45 miles south of Waco, Cody, near Ft Hood. Baylor, I can tell you for sure, is in great trouble for the next 4-5 years and quite probably beyond. Art Briles had them where they needed to be, but he’s gone and they won’t get another one like him for a long while based on what’s going on at that campus. So I’m very puzzled….lost one to Ol’ Miss and the other to Baylor? Did I wake up in Bizzaro World or something? Other than that, concur c your thoughts 100%.

      • Gator-6 …I know you know the term ,,, ” young and dumb” what an understatement. I remember coming out of HS and I thought I knew everything, but absolutely knew zero about the real world…thank goodness my parents were smart and had the insight to direct me and knew what was best for me and my future… they made decisions for me that were in my interest for my future … had quite a few scholarship offer for football, baseball and track… even got accepted to MIT and the Naval Academy … my mother wanted me to go to MIT and father wanted me to go to the Naval Academy and my girlfriend wanted me to go to the University of North Carolina. My father was a Texan and naval officer during WWII…My mother was born and raised in North Florida… and I was born in Miami , Florida .. I was in a real dilemma…I remember my Father telling me he had been all over the world and the US and he thought Florida was the state with the most promise for him and his family…he said Florida would grow and expand, had great weather and a wonderful place to live … although, he preferred that I go to the Naval Academy … he said if you are interested in going into the Navy and making it a career…go to the naval academy…if not, my best bet was to go to the University of Florida … and choose a professional occupation and you will never have to look for a job, especially in the state of Florida…he was absolutely right…I chose UF and it was the best decision I ever made… the contacts and associates I’ve made and met through UF are totally unbelievable…there really is a gator nation out there.

      • Gator-6, I was wondering the same thing, especially about Baylor. Perhaps a great education and spiritual instruction were more important than offensive schemes to the young man. Perhaps it was about playing time.

        • Bill: I got pretty familiar c Baylor a few years ago when I was up there in Waco for a year long academic medicine fellowship training program. Despite appearances, you would not believe how secular that university actually is. Hard to distinguish from any other major, liberal arts college. Faculty and student ideologies comport nearly 1:1 in most departments. Now, as to their football prowess, the program is so damaged from the recent scandal that despite a decent replacement coach for Art Briles, it will take at least 5 years for them to get their head above water and then several more years to be competitive again. Think SMU back in the 90’s, without the death penalty. Cryin’ shame, particularly with all those blue chip recruits who wanted to play for Briles, now dispersed everywhere else between the Big-12, SEC, and PAC-12.

  4. The last time we looked good as an offense coach mullens was calling plays and he wants to be our coach not sure why some fans dont trust him smh as far as recruits go they commit and decommit every year but the key is not just getting top players but get top players who fit and most important want to play in the swamp!!!

  5. Mark my words. We will not get Emory Jones. Every time, since the 80s, when we’ve been neck and neck with a recruit down to us and FSU, we lose. Even though we have NOTHING, NOTHING at the quarterback position, Jones will sign with FSU. He would redshirt, be a backup for a year, and start. Here, though he gets to start immediately, I believe he will pick FSU. Maybe if we’d beaten FSU once or twice in the past few years, Jones would reconsider. But they’ve kicked our butts recently. Taggart will convince him that UF is a loser program, that FSU has handed UF their butt the past few years, and that his future is at FSU. We haven’t won a head to head battle for a recruit in a long, long time. We won’t now, either. If we expect to get a decent qb, we can’t simply go for the flavor of the month. Jones is not coming here. We have to go after a kid who isn’t visiting FSU, build a RELATIONSHIP, and close on signing day. Oh yeah. Winning helps. We have NO qb’s on the roster to run Mullen’s offense. We have to zero in on a kid who’s willing to take a chance on us. This won’t happen if we’re going 4-7 every year, which we will with the current qb’s. If I am wrong, I will gladly eat crow.

    • “Winning helps”. Stated as simple as it gets, edugatyr. Solution? Get a coach who wins. We got him, maybe too late, but we got him and we will win next year, more the next, and after that, forget FSU.

    • How would you like it prepared, roasted, smoked, blackened, grilled, or baked?
      All Mullen needs to do is ask that kid who he thinks is a better quarterback, Quinton Flowers, Alex Smith, or Dak Prescott? “Well kid, I developed the two playing in the NFL.” Nuff said.

    • Affirmative! I also thought I knew it all….my Dad was a retired CSM and I wouldn’t even listen to him because in my mind I was much more “enlightened” than he. Well, a year in Vietnam disabused me of that notion rather quickly, I got a little smarter as to how things really work as a junior NCO, being actually responsible for the safety and welfare of other soldiers as well as responsible for their outcomes, and what did me in, finally, was my first year as a 2LT when I came back in after getting out for a while. But this is the moral to my story, one that my “dumb” father tried to tell me before I found out the hard way…”Be that guy, always, that people can count on and when you give your word, honor it above all else”. That’s one reason the phrase, “…pick the school, not the coach” always resonates c me despite all the heat it generates on the forums. A man’s word is his bond, it doesn’t get any simpler than that. Good post, bud.

  6. I am not sure about Mullen and who he wants but I do think that this staff is no better if not a little worse then what we had here.

    But in the end have to give them a year to get acclimated at Florida and next year find out how good of a recruiting staff this will be just hope we do not sign a bunch of 2 and 3 star guys just to fill spots if you do not truly think a guy can end up on Florida field to play you should not recruit him just to fill a spot.

  7. Mullen will do just fine. He did a pretty good job at MSU and we are a bigger and better program than MSU. Every school that changed head coaches lost players and let us remember the type of players the previous coaching staff recruited…receivers that can’t catch or run a route correctly, linemen that can’t block, defensive backs that can’t cover, guys that steal credit cards, and guys that are perpetually injured and don’t play. You can’t get much worse than that. We don’t know if the recruits that de-committed would be the next guys in trouble but if they want to sulk that we fired our lousy coaching staff, let them sulk somewhere else. We will be on the rise while the other schools stay mired in bowl probation and other issues. Let’s see what happens with the regular signing day.

  8. Mullen is a great coach with what he did at Toledo, then Florida and then at Mississippi State. I wish Foley recognizes it when Urban left and made Dan the New Ball Coach, the Florida run of Meyers would have continued I believe!

    • Robert, you’ll probably take some head shots for saying that, but I can’t help but believe it too. I think Mullen is what we used to call a legacy coach, and that he’d put a Top-20 team on the field next year if only c the players we have on hand right now. After that, watch out SEC.

    • Toledo? Mullen was at Bowling green as Qb coach, then Utah as qb coach, then Uf as OC. before that he was just a grad assistant.

  9. Personally I am concerned how few players from the State of Florida are on that list. Here we are living in one of the greatest sources of football talent and we do not seem to attract enough Florida based players. Someone needs to rewrite this script.

  10. Good to see a safety has been recruited. That is a position of real need. With coaching, I think the WR’s that we have will be fine. I still think Mullen could turn Toney into a real threat at QB

  11. I think the de-commits all had one thing in common: a weird and twisted attraction to people with crooked, yellow teeth. When Mullen smiled and they saw the evidence of good oral health care, they freaked out and ran looking for a coach with some sort of gross mouth funk.

  12. Sorry, I started to write a comment and for some reason I was denied, that’s the reason for the why .I have been following the Corral saga. I don’t think Mullen deserves all the harsh criticism he has being getting because of it. If you have been following the story, S Patterson the Ole’MISS QB transfered to Michigan and Corral saw that he had a better opportunity to get to play right away, so he bolted, I think he felt he just didn’t fit in Mullen’s offense. Anyway I prefer players that want to be and give their all to the Gators. I have to admit that at times I feel a little antsy with Mullen’s decisions, but he is the HBC and he deserves our support. GO GATORS!!!!

  13. What’s with all the paranoia here ? Be real Gators and support your Coach and program. He should be given a chance to recruit the kind of athlete he feels is a good fit for his program. With the mediocrity that has surrounded this program the past few years there should be excitement instead of gloom and doom. McElwain didn’t recruitment well and didn’t get the most out of the players he recruited. He always left me exasperated when he responded to sports reporters questions about the team or athletes. He seemed to put together a string of sentences that absolutely had no meaning or failed to adequately address the question. I believe Mullen will be more transparent and we will get a more honest evaluation of the program.

    • Yea , Im just laying back and watching it all play out rather than trying to 2nd guess our coach. I’ll comment when all the dust settles and we have some actual facts!

  14. Wait til Gators start being a THREAT AGAIN and watch EVERY [Football} Athlete will want tgo be a GATOR! You can be a part of history! REBUILDING a DYNASTY! Gators! Chomp Damit Chomp!

  15. Corral probably figured he was not a good fit in Dan Mullen’s spread offense scheme (where dual threat QB’s are a much better fit). Coach Mullen and his coaching staff are doing a remarkable job of retaining verbally committed prospects and attracting interest from new prospects who previously were not considering UF (and perhaps vice versa). Thus begins the restructuring of the Gator football team, particularly the offense, which everyone agrees needs all the help it can get. This is why HC Mullen and crew were hired – to bring the USS Gator football team back on the course to victory (her sails and rudder ran afoul under Coach Mac, which is too bad – I liked Mac, but he was not up to the task). Dan Mullen is the man for the job – I have no doubt about this – he has proven himself as UF’s former OC under Urban Meyer, as well as the HC at MSU – a very difficult job to achieve a winning record in the SEC Western Division, especially when the university name is not Alabama, LSU or Auburn. As a side note, I find it amusing that FSU lost its HC to Texas A&M. I guess money talks, and FSU’s performance this year was only slightly better than UF’s (I’m sure there was some grumbling going on in Tallahassee).

    • Turnabout, that is beyond a doubt the best application of good old American sarcasm that I’ve read in the last 5 years. Who can argue c that?

  16. Maybe Mullens and crew have a plan, but it sure doesn’t look like it from the outside. I know this, Urban Meyer’s recruiting operation never had this many loose ends.
    On the other hand, I have a great deal of confidence in Mullen as a coach, so it seems wise to give this time and see how it works out.

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