Notebook: UF's selling point

Florida coach Will Muschamp talks recruiting at UF on Wednesday.

Matt Stamey/Staff photographer
Published: Wednesday, February 1, 2012 at 7:58 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, February 1, 2012 at 7:58 p.m.

Will Muschamp and his coaching staff had a little extra incentive that they could throw out to recruits this year — the offer of a four-year scholarship.

Traditionally, college football scholarships are for one year and are renewed on a yearly basis.

This recruiting season, the Gators joined the new and growing trend of offering four-year scholarships.

“Really, at the end of the day, it's not a whole lot different than signing a single-year contract,” Muschamp said. “You can't cancel over athletic ability. I don't know anybody that does that. It doesn't matter if you're on a four-year scholarship or a one-year scholarship.”

But it probably sounds good when you offer the four-year scholarship to recruits.

Pease gets his guy

With two true freshmen quarterbacks scheduled to battle for the starting role in the fall, the Gators did not target a quarterback at the start of the recruiting season. But that game plan changed when new offensive coordinator Brent Pease became involved in January.

Pease wanted a quarterback in this class and he went out and got one — former Penn State commitment Skyler Mornhinweg.

“(Pease) and I sat down and talked about what we needed to do at that position, and we pinpointed Skyler from the beginning,” Muschamp said.

Mornhinweg was rated the No. 6 player in Pennsylvania by and the No. 19 quarterback nationally. The son of Philadelphia Eagles' offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, he threw for 1,546 yards and 13 touchdowns his senior season.

Muschamp said Pease is an excellent recruiter who had an impact on UF's offensive targets in the month he's been on the job.

“Brent does an outstanding job,” Muschamp said. “He's a really good football coach. He's a guy who understands and knows what he wants within our philosophy of what we want to do offensively.

“He identified those things. We have an outstanding recruiting staff and he's done a nice job.”

Ball could return

There is a chance sophomore linebacker Neiron Ball will be able to return this spring after missing last season when he was diagnosed with AVM, a congenital condition in which an abnormal connection forms between the arteries and veins in the brain.

Muschamp said Ball would be evaluated by UF's medical staff in March and a decision would be made then about his status.

“They certainly feel that he's on schedule,” Muschamp said. “That's all I know at this point. He looks great. That's something that will be totally up to our medical staff.”

Pittman could end up on 'D'

Former North Marion star Latroy Pittman was the first player to commit to this year's recruiting class and never wavered on that commitment. Although he's only one of two wide receivers in the class, Muschamp said there's a chance Pittman could end up at safety.

“He's a really good athlete who could possibly help us on either side of the ball,” Muschamp said. “He was an outstanding safety at North Marion and also a playmaker at the wide receiver position.

“He's a guy we still need to determine where he starts (out).”

Pittman is one of six early enrollees who will participate in spring practice.

Winning the Tar Heel State

The coaches didn't dominate the Sunshine State like they would have liked, but they struck gold in North Carolina by signing four of the top 13 prospects on Rivals. Muschamp credited his defensive staff, specially linebacker coach D.J. Durkin, for reeling in five-star offensive tackle D.J. Humphries, five-star defensive end Jonathan Bullard, three-star safety Rhaheim Ledbetter and three-star linebacker Alex McCalister.

“D.J. Durkin is our recruiter for that area and I think he does a really nice job,” Muschamp said. “But it was a full team effort. When you look at Bryant Young, Dan Quinn, Travaris Robinson and myself, we honed in on the guys we wanted and the guys we feel could make a difference in our program. I'm real pleased with the job we were able to do with those players.”

No worries on Humphries' weight

Humphries might be highly ranked, but he's lightly built, especially in the lower body. His chances of playing early will primarily depend on how heavy he becomes over the spring and summer. He currently checks in at 271 pounds and needs to add much more, but Muschamp isn't ready to say what he should weigh.

“When I was younger in this profession,” Muschamp said, “I used to always look at a guy and say ‘he needs to weigh this, he needs to weigh that.' Really what I wanna do now is evaluate each player with our staff and Jeff Dillman (director of strength and conditioning) and come to an optimal weight of what a person should be.

“It's hard to really say until you see them perform and their endurance levels and all those core things that are important to really put a weight on somebody. Some guys may carry it better, some guys may not carry it as well. I always wanna see a guy move around before I put a number on what they need to weigh.”

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