Grading Florida’s 2019 recruiting class

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Florida players warm up before a game this season. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

Quarterback: Dan Mullen and the coaching staff targeted four-star prospect Jalon Jones early (back when Mullen was at MSU) and he signed in December and is already enrolled. Grade: B+

Running back: Even with Jordan Scarlett leaving early this was not a huge need, but the Gators added a potentially explosive back in four-star prospect Nay’Quan Wright. Grade: B.

Wide receiver: As expected, the Gators added four-star prospect Arjai Henderson on Wednesday, giving UF three in the class. Mullen really loves Ja’Markis Weston, a three-star prospect from Clewiston with a huge upside. Grade: B+

Tight end: No drama here. The Gators picked up Keon Zipperer, one of the nation’s top TE prospects, during the early-signing period. Grade: B+

Offensive line: At a huge position of need, the Gators scored big here, signing seven during the early-signing period, including four four-star recruits — Deyavie Hammond, Wardrick Wilson, William Harrod and Michael Tarquin. Grade: A.

Defensive line: The Gators made adding another tackle a priority for National Signing Day, but came up empty, even though they are happy with who they did sign — tackle Jaelin Humphries and end Lloyd Summerall. Grade: B.

Linebacker: The Gators closed big here, adding Alabama commit Khris Bogle and longtime UF commitment Diwun Black on Wednesday morning. Put them with the early signees — Mohamoud Diabate, Ty’Ron Hopper and Jesiah Pierre — and this may be the best LB recruiting class in the nation. Grade: A.

Secondary: The Gators filled their critical need at cornerback by adding four-star recruit Kaiir Elam to go along with early signee Chris Steele. UF signed three corners and one safety. Grade: A.

Overall: Mullen and his staff came up a little short on the defensive line, especially at tackle, but met needs at quarterback, wide receiver, offensive line, linebacker and cornerback. Picking up Elam and Bogle on Wednesday was big, pushing UF’s class into the top 10 nationally. Grade: A-.

 

58 COMMENTS

  1. Florida wanted to sign one tight end with high athletic skills. Florida did with Zipperer. So why would the TE grade be a B+? Just curious. Absolutely a grade of A for the TE position.

    And getting a flip of a potential “freak” at the hybrid DE/OLB position from Bama was huge.

    And keeping Elam in state and away from Georgia was monster “Hulk” huge. Losing him to Smart would have been extremely embarrassing. But I think he bled orange and blue the entire time and why he trolled Georgia with the fake hat pull today. Loved it.

  2. The roster now stands with 86 scholarship players. At least one player on the roster will be announcing his transfer (or will play without a scholarship) between now and the end of spring practice. And maybe another if the Ga. Tech OG picks Florida as his next destination for playing college football. List of possible transfer candidates:
    CB McWilliams – now buried on the depth chart
    CB Edwards – now buried on the depth chart unless he switches to the safety position
    DL Conliffe – major disappointment as a player and might want to go back East to play
    LB Brunson – not seeing the field, except on special teams (if that) anytime soon
    DB Lenton – always injured and maybe just needs some fresh air elsewhere
    QB Trask – might transfer after spring practice if he is behind (likely) E. Jones, and if he graduates early
    WR Wells – Talented player behind more talented players. Might transfer elsewhere to play more
    OL Moore – Major disappointment to date. Might need to transfer to a lesser team or conference to play more

    • I believe the roster stands at 87 right now. We had 83 before today, Black and Henderson made it 85 and Bogle and Elam 87. But your point still stands, 3 of those on your list must go before the Summer because the dude from GaTech is coming too.

      • CO. I could post the day is day and you would post back that the day is something else. But there are currently, with everyone currently signed and on the Florida roster as of right now, 86 souls calling themselves scholarship Florida Gators football players.

  3. And for anyone that needs a touch of perspective, go read some nole fans comments on of their boards. They are going ballistic after “super recruiter Taggart” just whiffed again on signing a QB. That is 2 straight classes without a QB. They may go into the season with only 1 eligible scholarship QB on the roster. Oh how times have changed 😁

  4. Robbie was generous with his grades.
    Qb-B. Physical specimen. Qb skills less certain.
    Rb-B. Not a huge need.
    WR-B. No apparent game changers.
    OL-B. Will any start this year. How can you rate this group an A unless there is at least 1 starter at a position where we lost 4 starters?
    DL may be a little generous unless you put Bogle there then it’s definitely a B.
    The other grades I agree with other than the over grade which should be a B.

  5. Just finished watching CDM’s news presser and he said it this way about the * system; “it isn’t about what rankings are there, but it is more important in what they become.” He said in detail how when he recruits that they may have a player at a 3* when others have them at a 4* or a 5*. CDM evaluates players his way, so what may be a premier player to his staff may not be so considered by everyone else. Bottom line is that us fans are eaten up with the *’s than anyone directly playing or coaching. GO GATORS!!!

    • He really wanted Sanders. He really wanted MAR. Who does the helicopter thing and doesn’t really want the kid. We didn’t bring in a boatload of kids for officials that we didn’t sign so not sure if he only brought in kids that he could sign or only brought in kids he wanted to sign. Big difference. Time will tell if the lower ranked kids pan out. We’ve been lacking with development for a long time maybe back to Spurrier. Even with Meyer you knew whether a player was going to play by the end of the second year. It was rare for a junior to be really good and not start prior.

      • Everybody wanted Sanders. Not sure what’s your point other than you seem disappointed about Mullen’s recruiting ability so far. Only time will tell but it’s not as if all we got were a bunch of “lower ranked kids”.
        Everybody wanted Elam
        Everybody wanted Bogle
        Everybody wanted Steele
        Chill out

        • And I might add CO, everybody brings more players in on official visits than they can sign, even Saint Saban. Mullen signed a great class. The recruiting experts are raving about how well UF did. Only a pessimistic Gator fan doesn’t see what Mullen is building. We have a qb on the radar from Jacksonville that “just happened” to decommit from Bama after Mullen offered. Good times are ahead!!

          • This class is a championship quality class. Period. End of story. Need another next year just like it. And the year after. I feel really confident that is going to happen with Mullen at the helm.

      • Well said, david smith. I think you and I are in the minority around here since we are expressing shades of reservation. I do like Savage and think he can develop some of these guys to play at high levels. Your right, it’s not like all of a sudden juniors become these massive contributors because Mullen has magic ferry dust that no one else has. There does tend to be an obvious trajectory of talent. I do think Mullen is an offensive mastermind, and he can do more with less. But you got to have the raw superstars.

          • Of all our recruits, I think they have the best shot to be there. By raw superstars I mean you need exceptional talent. I mean difference makers that are obviously the best players on the field. And we need them on the offensive side of the ball. Zipperer is the only one who might fit that category, maybe.

      • David – This could be a good thing if we are getting what are considered 3* or 4* players. Maybe a couple of red shirts, and these young men that play may be likely to stay for 4 years as opposed to three and out. Just something to consider. Do you or anyone else know if we have some red shirts would they count against the scholarships or not? I mean isn’t that about the same thing as getting injured and going on IR? Just something I do not know. As far as the signing period, I believe we did better than we could have expected. Bogle was the surprise and this will pay dividends over the next 3 – 4 years. We now have a group of LBers that can create a formidable defensive set to stop the run and be ready for the pass attack. This summer needs to go by fast. GO GATORS!!!

    • One of the sports sites did a story on the recruiting rankings for all of the starters in the Super Bowl, I’m sure many of you saw it. Several interesting outcomes. The 3* equaled the number of 4*, and the 5* barely surpassed the number of 2*. In addition, there were four players who weren’t even rated (5 if you count Brady, but that was before they invented mathematics). I would love for us to load up on 5* recruits, but that is unlikely to happen. What matters is what happens when you get them on campus. Remember, Emmitt Smith was a 3*. Great class.

      • Gatorwest. Do you know what the percentage when one compares the number of available five and four star recruits to available three star recruits? Overwhelmingly more three star recruits available to sign than 4 and 5 star recruits. Therefore, logic (and math) tell you that there will be more 3 star recruits playing in the Super Bowl than 4 and 5 star recruits. But teams win conference and national titles on the college level by recruiting a lot of 4 and 5 star recruits and signing them for their rosters. Just a simple truth that so many can’t seem to figure out on here. Mullen signed a bunch of 4-star recruits today (and a couple should be 5 star recruits, I think…Black and the CB from California). He needs to land a few more 5 star recruits in the future to compete year in and year out for titles in the SEC, especially with Bama in the SEC and recruiting almost nothing but top 300 4 and 5 star recruits.

        • Swampy, you are absolutely right about the distribution of lower ranked recruits versus 5*. However, my point was that at the peak of the football profession, football players who had been lightly regarded in high school had risen to being starters in the Super Bowl. That could speak to many things including the ability to accurately rank 17 year-olds as to their true potential. And I think we all agree that we would like to see more of those 5 * make better decisions and come to Gainesville. Still, I’m thrilled with this class and as others have pointed out, Clemson’s rise to prominence started with 3* and 4* recruits with great coaching.

      • LOL. Emmitt Smith was not a 3* recruit. You don’t get GATORADE NATIONAL PLAYER OF THE YEAR and be a 3* recruit. Few running backs in history were prized more than Emmitt Smith out of high school. None in this class, that’s for sure. The only one I can think of in the last 30 years that was even close was Adrian Peterson.

        Clemson’s rise did not start with 3* and 4* recruits. It started with Sammy Watkins and Tony Stewart in 2011. Both 5* recruits. Sammy Watkins changed Clemson. He was a 1st team All American as a true Freshman. That changed everything for Clemson. They weren’t even a top 25 team before he arrived.

        • You are correct. I was working from my memory which ain’t what it used to be. I looked up the ESPN article (2012) that listed the All-Decade 3 star team and the running backs were Ray Rice and Matt Forte not Emmitt Smith. Other athletes of note were Sam Bradford, Santonio Holmes, Phil Trautwein, Marcel Dareus, James Lauraintitus, and Morris Claiborne. You would no doubt recognize all of the names. Clemson’s recruiting classes from 2011 to 2017 were ranked by ESPN at 8, 10, 14, 12, 4, 8, and 10. Very respectable, but not earth shattering. Clemson was ranked in the top 25 12 times since 2000. You are right that their consistent glory years started in 2011.

    • Gator Ed. Go check the recruiting rankings of the classes Mullen recruited at Miss. State and compare them to this one, or even last year. Mullen is recruiting higher ranked (by stars) recruits now that he is at Florida, and he is getting them now. Period. End of story. And he will need to higher rated recruits (mostly 4 and hopefully a lot more 5 stars) now and in the future if he wants to win the SEC and National titles. Again. Period. End of story. And this question: How many SEC and National titles did Mullen win at Miss. State when he was signing mostly three-star recruits? Answer: NONE.

  6. A 9th rated class by 247 is better than we’ve seen around these parts since the days of the Chump! If CDM lands that top 5 class he’s working on in 2020, the Gators will have a 4 year 247 composite recruiting ranking that is higher than Clemson’s was this season.

    With good player development, Clemson parlayed that #6 composite ranking into a NC. CDM’s Gators should be able to do the same.

    Go Gators!!!

    • StLGator. Florida can compete for and possibly win the SEC next year if Franks plays at an extremely high level. Or E. Jones steps up and does so. And who knows after that. But the QB at Clemson is going to make it tough for any team other than Clemson to win the NC for the next couple of years. He is something special. A once in a lifetime type QB that makes even a so-so team very good. And the Clemson roster for next year and beyond is far better than so-so.

      • Totally agree Swampy. Next season lines up as a potential playoff qualifying season for the Gators, but Clemson and/or Alabama and their special QBs stand in the way of a NC. But, in 2020… with a top 5 recruiting class… I like our chances for NC #4.

      • Clemson’s last 4 recruiting classes, which composed the 2018 team that routed Alabama for the NC, were rated 9, 11, 16 and 7 by 247. Because of their consistency year over year, their composite rating was 6th.

        If the 2020 recruiting class stays in the top 5, the 2020 Gator squad will be composed of 4 classes rated 11, 14, 9 and 5. That should yield a better composite rating than Clemson’s in 2018.

        With good player development and coaching on the part of CDM and his staff, a NC should be achievable.

  7. Its a little premature to rate these kids imo, but my bet is that these guys are better than the consensus view thinks. hopefully the Georgia Tech lineman can come on board which would be the equivalent of a 5 star! i suppose we will lose a couple of guys to get the roster to 85, which i hate to see, but it shows players want to be here, which is good. i am so happy Elam signed today, i like Legacy players, and given that one of our safeties is a proven risk for suspendable conduct, im glad to see some help in this area of the team that robbie reminded us really needed depth.

  8. Do we win the 2006 SEC and National title without Tebow or Harvin?

    Do we win the 2008 SEC or National title without Tebow or Harvin?

    Do we have a Tebow or Harvin on the roster?

    There is your answer.

    That doesn’t include the other 5*s like Harvey, Moss, Leak, Caldwell, Cohen, Jackson, Siler, Johnson, Wilson, Newton, Brantley, Thompson, Dunlap, Davis, Hunter, Hill. Harvey, Moss, Leak, Caldwell, Jackson, Siler, Johnson, Wilson, Dunlap and even Davis were a big reason why we won 2 national titles. So 10 out of 18 five star players signed played HUGE roles as to why we won 2 national titles under Meyer. The only 2 guys that weren’t starters at some point for UF were Davis and Newton who won a Heisman somewhere else. Without Davis we don’t beat Oklahoma for the title.

    1996 We had Wuerffel, Anthony, Hillard, Bates, Kearse, McGrew, Badeaux, Fred Taylor. The last 3 were definitely 5*.

    Think that we are going to win a title without a 5*? Find one team that’s done it

  9. Chew on these stats from 247:
    SEASON NATIONAL CHAMPION AVERAGE RANK
    2003 LSU 12th
    2004 USC (Vacated) 8th
    2005 Texas 8th
    2006 Florida 5th
    2007 LSU 8th
    2008 Florida 5th
    2009 Alabama 8th
    2010 Auburn 16th
    2011 Alabama 3rd
    2012 Alabama 2nd
    2013 Florida State 6th
    2014 Ohio State 4th
    2015 Alabama 1st
    2016 Clemson 13th
    Here are a few takeaways from the data above:

    -11 of the 14 national champions averaged a top 10 recruiting class in the four years leading up to them winning the crown.

    -Nearly half (six of 14) averaged a top five class.

    -Five of the last six have averaged a top six class or better.

    It makes you realize why schools go to such great lengths to reel in the best and why recruiting violations are sometimes committed as head coaches/assistants push the envelope.

    Yet, while appearing to be naive, I still believe coaching players to excel on a package of plays in the playbook and game management level out the competition against the Bamas and Dawgs. Momentum gained, confidence soars, and upsets abound.

    If UF can go 10 – 3 and reel in a Top 10 recruiting class after the shat-show McElwain left behind, then you can expect a run at some respectable SEC East championships leading to more trophies for bigger games.

    Regardless of opinions and speculation, the one thing Gator fans can sink their teeth into is the fact UF is trending upwards, and the rest of the SEC and nationally ranked are taking notice. And are concerned.

  10. One of the national talking heads recently said that the last 10 national titles have been won by either Alabama or a team with a superstar qb. My take from that is that you have to recruit at an extremely high level or have a qb that makes great plays. Not sure Franks is a qb that can elevate his team that high, but I’m ready for the season to start today 😎

    • Don’t think anybody thinks Franks is that kind of qb. After the Missouri, everybody was calling for a change. Even as well as he played afterward, there were still time in each game where he seemed to be lost. Hopefully he can make the progress upwards that he did at the end of the year and doesn’t plateau. He has all the physical gifts needed.

  11. If you have 20 4 stars in your class and finish 9th in the country, together with the fact you stole two guys from Bama and Ga on NSD , you might get an A. As for how good these guys are or how much of an impact they would have as justification for a lower grade–everything in recruiting is speculation. You can only go by what you have in front of you right now. There are 2 stars who end up playing like 6 stars and 5 stars who get arrested the first two months on campus or who can’t read a playbook. Every one of our recruits were guys other very good programs liked and wanted. Heck we ought to get an A just for causing the idiots at Georgia to lose silly money doubling our DB coach’s salary and hiring him just before Elam’s trip , only to have Elam sign with the good guys in the end. It’s like going fishing with rice crispies as bait against those guys. We didn’t have to fishing against FSU, at least not the traditional way. It’s like fishing with a machine gun against those guys.Thrasher may have to play O line for them next year.

  12. I thought Coach Dan’s rep was: So-So recruiter, Excellent developer. I see nothing to complain about with this recruiting class. Nobody rolls a 300 game in recruiting. And rankings are enormously subjective. Player development is huge. So if Coach Dan’s rep holds, these guys are all going to get better than people think they are now. Therefore, Gators are going to be a lot better going forward than they are today. Coach ’em up, Dan. Go Gators.

  13. Im happy and after what weve been thru for 9 years, noway Im going to complain. Im happy with what we had last year after the last nine years and if we do no better, im NOT going to complain! This way, if we do better it will be just gravy and I will always be thrilled with our team. I refuse to ever be part of the gripping fanbase always wanting more and driving our coach away like we did Spurrier! After the last 9 yrs, I love the coach we have and want to keep him happy to be here. Both Spurrier and Meyer complained about the fan pressure at UF! I will not be a part of it!