Grading The Gators’ 2018 football recruiting class

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Justin Watkins signs his Florida letter of intent as part of National Signing Day at East Ridge High School in Clermont on Wednesday. [PAUL RYAN /CORRESPONDENT]

Quarterback: Four-star prospect and former Ohio State commitment Emory Jones has the skill set that fits coach Dan Mullen’s offense — and he’s already on campus ready to compete. Grade: A.

Running back: The Gators did a nice job filling this need, and like Jones, four-star prospects Dameon Pierce and Iverson Clement are already enrolled. Grade: A.

Wide receiver: Picking up two top prospects Wednesday — Jacob Copeland and Justin Watkins — is huge. Put them with the two transfers — Trevon Grimes and Van Jefferson — and the Gators have a big bump in talent at WR. Grade: A.

Tight end: Florida filled this need during the early signing period, picking up two good prospects in Kyle Pitts and Dante Lang. Grade: B+.

Offensive line: The Gators had hoped to sign at least five, but came up one short. Getting Richard Gouraige late was big. Grade: C.

Defensive line: The Gators avoided getting shut out here by the signing day surprise of four-star defensive end Malik Langham. Grade: D

Linebacker: The Gators would like to have signed four, but they’re certainly happy with the two they signed — four-star prospects David Reese and Andrew Chatfield. Grade: B.

Secondary: The Gators signed three DBs in December, but failed to add any Wednesday, so a need at cornerback was not met. Grade: C+.

Special teams: UF signed the nation’s No. 2 place-kicker, Evan McPherson, in December and he could be an instant starter this spring. Grade: A.

Overall: It’s tough putting together a strong transition class in such a short period of time, but Mullen and his staff pulled it off, adding some big-time prospects Wednesday to what was a very good early signing class. However, needs at cornerback and on both lines of scrimmage were not met. Grade: B-.

 

36 COMMENTS

  1. Robbie, are we not considering Watkins a DB??

    Trey Dean – Amari Burney – Justin Watkins…All 3 could start this year

    Feel like that class deserves a B?? Cmooooooon Man!!!

    • I was slightly disappointed with the linemen (lack of) on both sides of the ball, but I KNOW next year will be a different story. Again we lose the BEST O-Lineman in the state to outsiders. We have to WORK HARDER to stop this RAPE. Now to the grading system if you average it out I count a 3,11, that’s a solid “B”. Go Gators, we have enough to get us where we want to be realistically next year or should I say “THIS FALL”!

    • You can’t grade a class until 3 years from now, it’s all just a guesstimate.

      A, B, it’s all meaningless until they’re developed years from now.

  2. Worst recruiting of state talent by UF, FSU and UM in 40 years, maybe more. All three classes are woeful for elite talent from Florida. UF signed 3 top 20 players from Florida and no top 10. FSU signed 1 top 20 player and no top 10. Miami signed 3 top 20 players and one of them was a top 10. So the big 3 signed 1 top 10 player in the state. The other 9 players left the state. All the programs are going to suck if that trend continues. No wonder BAMA, OSU, UGA, and Clemson are competing for titles. They are signing the best players in Florida. Even North Carolina, Oklahoma and Auburn signed top 10 players from Florida.

    This is a blah recruiting class. Yes it’s a transition year but we have no turf anymore. There is no home field advantage. All three programs are in horrible shape and BAMA, OSU, UGA, and Clemson are taking advantage. All of these programs have done really well with the Florida talent they have recruited.

    Mullen was blah. He signed Jones because he was the first to recruit him and UF offered him the opportunity to start with pretty much nobody in his way. He was going to wait at BAMA for 3 years minimum and OSU at least 2. Not even lower tier programs could offer the chance to start that we could. No Brainer for a kid who doesn’t want to sit the bench. The rest of the recruiting besides Dean was pretty much trying to hold MceLosers class together and supplementing them with 3 and low 4* supplements. I have high hopes for Mullen but right now pretty much no high school kid that has great talent wants to stay in Florida.

    • david smith. In a coaching change transition year, Florida finished only behind Georgia, Bama, and Auburn in class rankings in the SEC. I would say, “Not bad.” I have no doubt Mullen will put together a top ten or top five class next year with a full year to recruit the state. But one thing is for sure, Muschamp and McElwain opened the door for out of state schools very wide.

    • David Smith: You’re drawing a huge, bright line between the top ten and the next best ten in a recruiting class of thousands of players, saying that a UF class with three of those next ten players is just “blah.”. Is there actual evidence that the top ten rated recruits go on to do significantly better than the next ten?

    • David–I disagree with your use of the word “blah”, opining that the overall situation is much better than that. That said, however, you’ve got some important points that have made me ponder a little more about how this home grown talent seems to just bleed out of state. Apur’ciate it, nice job.

  3. Creek, some players want to leave home. Plus, OSU got his visit on the last weekend. Also, this is a transition class and next year will be better—-much better. If Emory works out, and the O-line gets its act together, with our stable of running backs, we will compete with UGA this year for the East. I know these are a lot of IFS, but I believe it will happen. Also, DM knows the tight end is eligible to catch a pass. What I would like to know is why we signed 17 and others signed 26. If you look at the ratings, we would be in the top 10 if we had the numbers. Just sayin’.

  4. I am a Gator all the way, but some of these negative, almost entitled comments make me see why everyone hates us. “Blah” ? This isnt a blah class and who even says that? Dan signed a great class, especailly with the 1st early signing. We missed on some targets and are thinner than we’ d like on the line. THEY WERE 4 AND 7 LAST YEAR! Can’t shine a turd, and last yr that team was a turd. There is a reason why teams at the top signed great classes…theyve been winning! Add in Grimes and Jefferson and potentially Gerald on Fri I think it’s a pretty good transition class. Don’t mean to rant, but it’s almost embarrassing being associated with some people in this delusional fanbase….and I think we’re going undefeated every yr! Great job coach, keep ’em coming. GO GATORS!

    • I don’t even think some of these negative comments are really from Gator fans. Good class and with better coaching I think we’ll see results on the field soon enough.

    • I could not agree more. Unfortunately, UF has its own version of Bama’s “Eighty-Five Percent.” This is the guesstimated percentage of the fan base that has formal connection to the school, but act out in the most egregious manner regarding anything to do with the football team. The ignorant, inbred douche that poisoned the trees at Auburn’s Toomer’s Corner is probably the best (worst?) example. I’m not saying anyone here is THAT bad, but the attitude is certainly present.

  5. This is a solid class: Great class considering the time our coaching staff has been in place. And even more encouraging is fact that we have coaches, not strictly recruiters on the football staff. There’s plenty to be positive about Gators!!

  6. Some of you Gator fans that can’t find the “good” in UF recruiting with a new head coach need to wake up. Coach Mullen has been employed less than 90 days yet you expect him to have a top 5 class. Mullen had an outstanding class signing one of the top rated QB’s that the 2 previous coaches could not get who fits the offensive system that he plans to run. Overall, if you factor in what Mullen accomplished in a very short time, I’d give him a B+. UF is finally headed in the right direction and I believe next year you’ll see a top 5 class. Mullen’s enthusiasm is contagious and players are taking notice from everything I’m reading based on recruits comments.

  7. HA HA. Some people just can’t deal with the fact that state of Florida got raided by out of state programs and FSU, UF and Miami couldn’t and didn’t stop them. Maybe that has a lot to do with their rise, NO? Do you really think UGA would have been so good this year without Sony Michel? You know how UF didn’t want Calvin Ridley or Amari Cooper. You know how UF didn’t want Derrick Henry as a running back. You know how UF was certain that they were getting Sammy Watkins, because Jaylen played and started here, yet he signed with Clemson. Watkins(and Stewart) were Clemson’s first highly rated recruits in years from the state of Florida. Since that year at least 1 of their top 5 highest rated recruits have come from Florida.

    I hope that these transfers are home runs but few have been in the past. Probably the most successful transfer in the last 30 years was Trace Armstrong. That was 30 years ago. Maybe the second most successful transfer was Zack Pillar. 3rd might be Ryan Smith. Very few transfers have made big on field contributions at UF.

    No entitlement here! I just think it was funny how all the “experts” thought 48 hours ago that UF was getting NPF, Tanner, Johnson, Boykin, Chatfield, Copeland, and Gerald. Everyone of those prospects were at 70%+ chance of committing to UF at some point in the last 48 hours. Silvera was considered a strong possibility to UF. Results: 4(maybe 5) of 7 who were supposed sign with UF actually signed elsewhere. One who was a good chance(Silvera) went elsewhere. And one good surprise in Langham happened. Do you think that maybe “others hate us” because we think we are getting everybody and then act like we didn’t want them when they sign elsewhere. Which is exactly what has happened already this year?

    Albert- I don’t mind your comments as it’s obvious you’re a drive by shooter. Maybe you should stick to twitter or something. Your style is more appropriate over there. Why don’t you look up those transfers if you need to find about gator history. Remember the circus is only 2.5 hours away.

    • I like how much of a d-bag David Smith is. He is trashing 4 star recruits and a top 15 class. Then he says Emory Jones is bad even though some of the top schools in the nation wanted him badly. Dude just shut up you have no idea what your talking about and you make all gator fans look bad.

      • Please find where I said Jones was bad. Keep making stuff up. Too bad you can’t change my quotes to meet your ends. I seriously hope you didn’t graduate from UF.

      • Hey, did anybody actually read david smith’s post to see what the main damn point was? No doubt he’s a Gator, but how does a different opinion all of a sudden make him a ‘gator hater’? Knock that crap off y’all, this is getting ridiculous.

    • Drive-by shooter? That’s funny, I’m here quite a bit. I don’t need to find out about Gator history; I graduated well before the Spurrier days, so you can stick that one where the light don’t shine as well.

      As for the clown college, now that you mention it, here’s another link for you: http://shop.seminoles.com/. You can add it to the list of other teams you seem to favor over UF, you frontrunning db.

    • Tannor was a take only if we didn’t get Langham or Johnson. Langham was at the top of our board but thought to be a heavy Bama lean. It was a total surprise we picked him up. The staff moved from Gerald, not the other way around. And many knew NPF was a long shot. The only real Miss was Boykin and if we would have signed then I’m sure we’d here a lot of whining today on why we took another 3 star.

      When you come off a 4-7 season and a new coach has 9 weeks to put a class together this is what happens.

  8. Just sayin…

    On Georgia recruiting: “Why is it that during recruiting season they sign all the great players, but when it comes time to play the game, we have all the great players? I don’t understand that. What happens to them?”, H.B.C. S.O.S.

  9. If the class didn’t meet the needs on both sides of the line, it’s great that the new strength program is “tougher than marine training.” Coach Mullen said he thinks Copeland and Watkins will quickly develop into go-to- receivers perfect for his offense. Imagine. Receivers with the talent to get open and make things exciting again. Add that to an impressive group of rbs and things may be shaping up in Gator Land.

  10. Great job coach Mullen on such short notice! Way to salvage this recruiting class in 3 months. Doing this well in 3 months; I cant wait to see what you can do with 15 months next year! Go Gators!

  11. Mullen put together a splendid first class in just ten weeks on the job. He was two signees away — Nick Petit-Frere and Nesta Silvera — from a class ranked about tenth nationally. He’s taken over a program that for three previous years has disappointed in the field and in recruiting. The reversal will take more than one recruiting class in his very short transitional situation. But the posted is absolutely right: the big three in state are not presently getting a representative portion of Florida’s elite prospects. Next year will give us a much better notion of whether or not our head coach and staff can shut the door and nab the best available in Florida who fit our needs. Once we’re winning again and seriously competing for SEC laurels the recruiting at UF will fly high.

  12. As far transfers go UF has not been that bad here of late (last couple coaching staffs) I agree but Reggie Nelson, Ryan smith, Louis Murphy all were key for championships and adding
    Young talent to a in my opinion all ready talented team can’t hurt, at the end of the day you just don’t know what kid is going to do no matter how many stars they have. We have tradition on our side, GO GATORS!!!!

  13. Solid transition year class – looking forward to seeing what will happen when we actually have a decent on-field product to sell and a full year to build relationships with recruits! Go Gators!

  14. I am ecstatic about this recruiting class! Gator fans know UF has always had the talent, but not the coaching. In short order, DM turned the recruiting class around, and added a ton of talent. Prior to this season, recruiting was not considered his strength, and he proved the naysayers wrong. I give DM and his staff an A+ for this class. Furthermore, I’m EXCITED about the coaches getting buy-in from the players, because they will play better on the field. Now, DM, his staff, and the player’s need to have fan buy-in! SOME Gator fans need to STOP THE NEGATIVITY and get on the train!

    • I’m with you doc, although sometimes after I read what at first blush seems a negative post, reading it again in context seems more to me to be another Gator simply exercising critical thinking. Then there are the true Debbie-Downers who are still Gators, but plainly pessimistic about nearly anything and everything. They are probably depressed or at least dysphoric about life in general, anyway. Tough crowd, this one. But I think the majority of us are truly excited and feel good now for the very reasons you just articulated…..hell, I’m about to pee my britches waiting for the O&B game this spring. Glad you posted it!

  15. The class would had been top if we had more more guys on both line…and for anyone to think there’s a gap between UF and UGA is crazy…UGA had a great year but will lose a lot…it’s not like they been beating us 5 years in a row…new year…new season…new staff

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