Roster size may be problem for UF football


Florida will have only eight scholarship seniors this fall — John Brantley, Jeff Demps, William Green, Jaye Howard, Moses Jenkins, Chris Rainey, Deonte Thompson and James Wilson. (Photo courtesy of the University Athletic Association).

Published: Wednesday, June 22, 2011 at 12:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, June 21, 2011 at 10:42 p.m.

It's simple mathematics, really. Four times 25 equals 100. Everyone knows that.

Well, not actually everyone.

Ask a college football coach what four times 25 equals in recruiting and he'll likely tell you it never, ever adds up to 100. Not even close sometimes.

Take Florida, for example.

The school that has been so adamant about not oversigning maybe should have done some of it when it had the chance, before the SEC cut back the signing limit to 25 per year earlier this month at its spring meetings in Destin.

Here's why: Florida will have only 73 scholarship players on its roster when preseason camp opens in August — 12 below the NCAA allotment of 85. And that's if there is no further attrition between now and then.

College football coaches like to talk about what an inexact science recruiting is — that even with great scouting, a 25-man recruiting class is considered a success if 15 to 17 of the signees go on to become starters or see significant playing time.

That's about where the Gators will be in 2011. What's knocked down UF's overall scholarship number is what could be considered severe attrition in the senior class.

Florida will have only eight scholarship seniors this fall — John Brantley, Jeff Demps, William Green, Jaye Howard, Moses Jenkins, Chris Rainey, Deonte Thompson and James Wilson.

This, of course, will affect how many prospects the Gators will try to sign in 2012.

Here's a look at some other aspects of Florida's roster that will have an impact on scholarship numbers this season and beyond:

Florida's junior class is not all that much deeper than the senior class. The Gators will have only 15 junior scholarship players this fall. Add that to the eight seniors, and UF will have a mere 23 upperclassmen on this year's team.

Take 23 away from the total scholarship players on the roster, and that leaves 50 — the number of freshmen and sophomores on the 2011 roster.

Of the 25 scholarship freshmen on the roster, 17 are true freshmen (and as a rule, the majority of true freshmen do not have a significant impact).

It all adds up to Florida being a very young football team in 2011. And all those young players will have an effect on recruiting beyond this season.

Here's a look:

When the eight seniors depart, the Gators will have 65 scholarship players (barring further attrition, and that is unlikely).

UF could reach the magic number of 85 (which it has rarely been at in recent years) with a 20-man 2012 signing class. But, factoring in attrition, Will Muschamp and his staff likely will sign the maximum of 25 players, expecting the overall number of scholarship players to dwindle to 85 by the time August of 2012 rolls around.

But here's the $64,000 question: If the Gators still have 65 scholarship players on the roster next February and Muschamp signs the maximum of 25, has he, in effect, oversigned? Because 25 would put UF at 90 scholarship players.

This new 25 a year deal sounds simple. But it can produce some complicated math for college football coaches.

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