Muschamp looks for strong finish to Class of 2012


Florida coach Will Muschamp heads into Wednesday's National Signing Day with 21 commitments on board.

Matt Stamey/Staff photographer
Published: Tuesday, January 31, 2012 at 6:42 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 31, 2012 at 8:23 p.m.

It's time to see if Florida coach Will Muschamp can live up to his nickname.

National Signing Day has finally arrived, and things will go one of two ways for him.

Boom or bust.

That's what today has been labeled as for Muschamp — and it's easy to understand why.

Florida is in the running for seven prospects, six of which were All-Americans in January. They will either be putting on a Gator hat or leaving it sitting on their announcement table.

In 2011, Muschamp missed on many recruits and ended up with only 19 signees. This year he has already secured 21 verbal commitments and the No. 4 recruiting class (eight ESPNU 150 members), according to Rivals.com.

If he can pick up some of the prospects deciding today, UF could compete for the top overall class.

“It's a great class, and they have a chance to finish very, very well,” said Mike Farrell, the National Recruiting Analyst for Rivals. “He came under some criticism last year that he didn't close the way Urban Meyer usually closes. But moving into the situation where he was the new coach and taking over late, that's expected.

“But this class is special. It has a chance to push all the way up near No. 1 in the country if they close with a few of the guys left on their board.”

Committing today will be five-star wide receiver Nelson Agholor (Tampa/Berkeley Prep), four-star offensive tackle Avery Young (Palm Beach Gardens), five-star defensive end Dante Fowler (St. Petersburg/Lakewood), four-star defensive end Leonard Williams (Daytona Beach/Mainland), five-star linebacker Josh Harvey-Clemons (Valdosta, Ga./Lowndes), three-star linebacker Schyler Miles (Tampa/Berkeley Prep) and five-star cornerback Tracy Howard (Miramar).

Regardless of today's results, Muschamp has done very well in the 2012 recruiting cycle. He has landed the nation's No. 1 tight end (Kent Taylor), offensive tackle (D.J. Humphries) and defensive end (Jonathan Bullard), according to Rivals. Bullard and Humphries hail from North Carolina, where the Gators have landed four of the top 13 prospects in the state.

Florida is also predicted to sign five-star wide receiver Stefon Diggs (Olney, Md./Our Lady Good Counsel), who won't be making his announcement until Feb. 10. He is the nation's No. 8 overall prospect and second best at his position.

“They already have some difference-makers on board and will get some more,” Farrell said. “This is an Urban Meyer type of class. A guy like Stefon Diggs is so important because they don't really have the receivers they used to. Diggs has Percy Harvin talent.”

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