Some recruiting leftovers

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St. Petersburg Lakewood five-star defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. stunned a lot of people — especially the Florida State coaches — when he flipped to Florida on National Signing Day.

The news did not come as a surprise to Will Muschamp and the Florida coaches. They knew it was coming. Fowler had told them weeks earlier that he was going to sign with Florida instead of FSU, the school he had committed to more than a year ago.

At Wednesday’s signing day news conference, Muschamp was asked if there was a lot of FSU stuff in Fowler’s house when he visited Fowler and his family two weeks ago. Muschamp smiled and said, “no.” There wasn’t because Fowler was already a Gator.

Fowler should be the poster boy for top prospects who flip late in the process. He maintained throughout that he was 100-percent committed to FSU, while quietly being turned by Muschamp and the Gators. Had he publicly wavered on his commitment, he would have had to deal with all kinds of pressure from Jimbo Fisher and the FSU coaches. Instead, he made the switch to Florida a few weeks ago and sat on that decision until signing day. No pressure, no problem.

Of course, Fowler has been bashed by Seminole supporters on Twitter and Facebook, but he’s OK with that because the decision has been made, it’s final, and he’s a Gator now.

Third OL was not coming
A lot of UF supporters were holding out hope on signing day that standout offensive lineman Avery Young would fall Florida’s way. But it was never going to happen. Here’s the reason: D.J. Humphries.

Young wants to be a left tackle in college (which certainly would boost his NFL stock), but he did not see that opportunity happening at Florida, where Humphries is UF’s future left tackle — and he’s already in school and ready to compete for playing time this spring.

With Humphries in the fold, Florida was not an option for Young. The only surprising thing about his decision Wednesday was the fact he put on an Auburn hat instead of  a Georgia hat.

Howard seemed a lock
The Florida coaches were not surprised at all when wide receiver Nelson Agholor called them late Tuesday night to tell them he was signing with Southern Cal. They expected it all along. The phone call they didn’t expect is the one from cornerback Tracy Howard telling them he was going to be a Hurricane.

When Howard left from his UF visit two weeks ago, he was pretty much all Gator. He knew it, the coaches knew it, so did the other Gator commitments who were on the same visit.

But everything changed with his visit to Miami last weekend. Even though he had shown very little outward interest in the ‘Canes, UM managed to turn him completely. This is the one signing day miss the Florida coaches were not expecting at the first of the week.

Stephon Diggs prediction time?
After my lousy record predicting where nine uncommitted Gator targets would sign, I’m staying away from this one. I know he and his family like Florida a lot, and there is a great chance this is where he’ll sign next week. But I’m reluctant to pull the trigger on this one, especially after Howard’s unexpected switch earlier this week.

47 COMMENTS

  1. I sure hope we get Diggs, but Urban is very persuasive when he is not a head case. If he is smart he will go to UF. If he is not smart, he will go to ohio state.
    I look forward to seeing what happens to meyer if he looses to Michigan 2 years in a row. He will probably freak out to spend more time with his family again until Notre Dame calls.

  2. After all I have heard about how Meyer, err the players ran the Gator’s program I cannot understand whay anyone would want tp play for Meyer. He has not been at any program for mo=re than 4 years because he sweeps into a conference and catches other teams unprepared, recruits players who can help for the next 2-3 years, and then when the other teams catch up he leaves and the program is either a spread option only (like Utah stayed) or unable to play power ball due to undersized players. He has no control over the team and is controlled by the players. At Ohio State, which is already out of control…he will fit in fine but not be long term successful, as his spread offense cannot compete against the power teams of Missisota, Mi9chigan, etc. Diggs going to Ohio State would be like joining a cult..it is only the fad of the day.

  3. I don’t mind a recruit switching at the last minute, but knowing ahead of time and not letting your previous school know is a little shady. Score 1 for Muschamp, because not only did FSU lose Fowler, Jr., but that also kept them from pursuing Leonard Williams, who could end up the best of the bunch. I think it’s shady that coaches get a kid to flip and tell them not to say anything, but I guess they all do that.

  4. I agree, Casey. This smacks of Lane Kiffin and that receiver Nukeese Richardson (I think) who flipped on signing day a few years back. Anything that puts you in league with Kiffin has gotta stink some. I like to believe Muschamp left it up to the kid on how to handle the switch.

  5. Dante Fowler Jr is a stud……what he did to the seminoles was simply return the favor….for their recruits have done such to us in the past….. wilder jr, greg reid, and the list goes on and on of all the young men who were leaning our way the entire time and then flipped… so it is simply Karma….. and they can take it like boys or like men…. but I would not expect them to do anything other than gloat and complain

  6. It is good to see fsu take one in the shorts. We have been on the receiving end more than not. Urbans a weasel, hope Diggs can see that. Look at the hole he left us in.
    Don’t know why we missed on areas of need (OL&WR) but do believe Muschamp will get us the players we need to contend again. Probably a great class considering the year we just had.

  7. I would have a problem with a coach tellling a kid to keep it silent, but it is what it is, millions of $ at stake. Robbie seems to like it, though. My dad made me call the coaches of the college I wasn’t choosing at the very moment I made my decision.

  8. If a consensus top five class is a failure, then every coach but Saban failed in their recruiting this year. If this class wasn’t a success for Muschamp and company, then it’s our definition of success that needs to change.

  9. I feel really bad for fsu. So bad in fact that I hope the current US president will become the head administrator there when he leaves his current position later this year. They’ve always run such a clean program which makes it hard to wish them anything other than justice.

  10. I don’t like that Fowler knew he was switching and kept it quiet from FSU…..and I hate the Noles! I think it does keep a school from pursuing other kids so it would be ideal…of course that wont happen, if kids were up front with the schools. Avery Young could have also told UF thanks but no thanks when they signed DJ. Speaking of, that is a kid who is not into drama. He committed, and never wavered. Actually made statements about others doing so. Collin Thompson also comes to mind as another one who sticks to his word. Got to say though that I am not buying that Howard never considered the Canes until last weekend. Finally, 76gator, Lane sure got a good one with Nukeese didn’t he? Had a great 40 time after a strong armed robbery there. Go Gators!

  11. I wear orange/blue glasses as much as the next guy, but honestly I don’t expect Diggs to sign with us. I really don’t expect much in receiver interest until we prove via Coach Pease and (hopefully) a stronger line and QB play that we can throw to the receivers we already have. Meyer left a bad taste in my mouth too, but I’d wager that the average 18-year-old recruit sees the two national championships as Meyer’s, not Florida’s (throw in his undefeated season at Utah). That’s a strong selling point when added to OSU’s tradition (SEC whipping boy aside). I also don’t like AU’s interest in Diggs. Not sure why other than they being a usual thorn in our side.

  12. I’m with you COREY. Quite a few spoiled youngsters in Gator Nation. Those of us with a little age under our belts know all too well how bad things can get. Anybody under 25 years old who is a Gator fan, has only seen greatness. Anybody over 50 such as myself, can tell you horror stories about countless seasons. A top 5 recruiting class (we’ll see in a few years), is something to be celebrated, yet some are dissappointed. Funny.

  13. Surely not a failure and not even a disappointment…..I think it was all the hype that raised everyone’s excitement level and when it didn’t pan out on NSD there was a dull thud! Certainly by any standards our class was very good……Stefon Diggs would make it great!

  14. Corey,
    You can’t really ever call a class a success or a failure until several years down the road, once we see how the class plays out. The recruiting websites count stars and tally points. Theoretically you could sign a whole class of nothing but 5 star defensive linemen and be the top recruiting class, but if you don’t fill the holes you have, a recruiting championship means nothing. We grabbed some top quality guys, no question, but missed on some positions of need, like Offensive Line and Wide Receiver. We really NEEDED one more of each. I think, however, WM and staff did a great job and I look forward to seeing how these recruits pan out. I’m already pumped about our 2013 class! Looks to be a good one so far. Go Gators!

  15. I agree Urban left us in lurch and pretty much phoned in the last year here, but please don’t call him a weasel. He brought two national championships to UF and has to be considered the greatest coach in school history, including Spurrier. Hopefully Muschamp will match or better Meyer’s record, but in no way should Gator fans denigrate a man who did so much for our school.

  16. To: jpgator UM is a weasal. No, correction a lying weasal. Reasons: (1) he continued to accept a hugh paycheck while knowing he was simply going throught the motions as head coach, (2) while HC at UF he spoke of ND as being his ‘dream job’ (weasal), (3) he stabbed WM in the back by claiming that the team he left behind should win the SEC-East because they were ‘loaded’ with talent (talent, of course, that he brought to G’ville, (4) interestingly 10 months was about all he could take with ‘the family’, most of whom were out of the house and in college (liar). He is a head case and when the going gets tough in Columbus he will quit again!! It is who he is!!

  17. This is incredible. If Fowler would have done to us what he did to the Seminoles, you would be calling him every foul name in the book. But he flips our way and is “the poster boy for top prospects who flip late in the process”? Man this is reporting at its worst.

  18. You young gator fans on here don’t know what is to be in a place as a football. I have been there win FL sucked and GA was beating are asses in the 80’s. This is a great class for coach chomp and company. UM is not the best coach FL has ever had and by fair no where even close to the Old Ball Coach. The Old ball coach put FL on the map. People fail to forget back in his days Free Shoes U was compenting for NC every year and by the way back then we played them every year to people. Those came really mint who played for the NC. And the BCS wasn’t what is was now back then. Old Ball Coach 6 SEC Champ 1 Nat Champs. That is sayig a lot when back in SS days the SEC East was a lot tuffer with TN and GA where pretty good football teams back then.So you younger gators learn some FL history before you start talking UM is better the SS. Go Gator

  19. Great class, consensus top 5, all proving that some of you folks will neer be happy even, nor should you be with recruiting, what matters is on the field production during the months of Sept thru January. Spring doesn’t matter. And not a whole lot else will matter unless Driskell or Brissett mature quickly. And if one of them doesn’t maybe the Morningweig kid will. I am weary of Driskell and Brissett. Most of the greats were great fro mthe beginning. They had “it”. Am confident in Pease, but will await production in Sept and thereafter.

  20. If Diggs come to Gainesville, great. If not, that is great too. I like Pittman. And Thompson, Taylor, Reed, and Leonard are going to be tough matches for SEC secondaries. Big, strong receivers. The Gators have not had that in a while. Of course, Diggs would help open up passing lanes for these guys. I hope he becomes a Gator. But you better not just worry about OSU. Maryland is making inroads with him as well….close to home and the mother can watch him play on Saturdays. Don’t be surprised if Maryland steps in a takes him away from both Florida and OSU.

  21. Michael….

    I though Brissett should a lot of “it” last year….behind a horrible OL. I think he has a lot of “it” factor and look forward to his development under Pease this year. Driskell played in a small program in HS and played against weak competition. He looked overwhelmed with the speed of the college game last year. He has a lot of natural ability, but does he have the “it” factor too. I have not seen that yet from him. No flashes of “it” at all. I have seen flashes from Brissett…and look forward to “it” becoming a solid “it” next year.

  22. F$U got what they had coming for a long time with Fowler. They pulled that on us under Bowden every year, from Spurrier thru Meyer, either with players publicly committed to UF, or having privately told our coaches they would signed with us. Anything we can do to stick it to F$U, I say do it.

  23. Well I might have an issue with keeping quiet if the coaches suggested it. I don’t really see the issue with lack of WRs, we have many and a bunch of talent at TE. What I do worry about is the lack of OL canidates.

    I don’t care how much talent you might have at the skill positions without an effective OL they won’t be very successful.

    Let’s hope our OL develops and can block effectively next year.

  24. Considering the season we are coming off of, a top 5 class is amazing and this is only Muschamp’s 2nd year. Texas had a good class for their last two season but Mack has been there forever and will be there for good amount of time. I am a bit suprised that Miami was able to get a top 10 class per Rivals.

    I am thinking we stand a good chance at getting Diggs, because if we lost out on both na and diggs than I think there would be a report about how we offered late another 3 star except like we did with Raph.

  25. Food for thought – New England Patriots are doing pretty good with two great tight ends and one very good possession reciever! Could be Florida’s game plan for next season! Hopefully Diggs comes our way but if his mother visits Ohio State with him between now and next Friday, so much until next year for new WR help!!

  26. Diggs to urban because we have an ordinary OL – I don’t think so. Tell me the QB I saw in the Gators Bowl can throw better than our 2-Tell me he couldn’t start in Sept here and then you got an argument. Otherwise, if he picks urb and the buckies, it is his choice for reasons other than the 3 above.

  27. I would support my own child to go play for just about anyone…… UGA, FSU, Tenn, ND whatever, but I would never sign off on him playing for that snake oil saleman Kiffen. The one year that he was at Tennessee spoke volumes of how little integrity that man has. Telling kids to lie and that if they go to school such-and-such they’ll be pumping gas for a living in 4 years. I hope to god Muschamp did not go down that road. To be honest, I was never in favor of the relentless way we went after that kid.

  28. ….And enough with Meyer bashing. My god, get over it already. He didn’t “mail it in”. He did what YOU begged him to do – he tried to learn how to delegate. It didn’t work. He could have faked it 3 or 4 more years and collected 12 million, but he was man enough to say he couldn’t do it and walked away. Whether it was health, family or he was just fried, who cares – he walked away when he should have. And I’m sorry, but there was plenty of talent on that team…….. maybe not, after 9 kids left the program, but we could have been competitive. I think the complete overhaul in the coaching staff and the change in coaching philosiphy had as much to do with our failure last year as anything.

  29. I’ve been a Gator fan for 34 years and I’m objective and educated enough to realize that with this offense, we are going to win seven games next year, which incidentally, was the win total I predicted for last year. It is what it is.

  30. Robbie: You claim ‘your guy’ UM ‘does it (recruit) the right way. Perhaps you could tell us, HOW DO YOU KNOW THAT!! Not getting caught is not the same thing as ‘doing it the right way’. On what do you base your opinion: 1) Have been with UM while he is with a kid? 2) Have you been recruited by UM? Other than simply filling space, why do you write such baseless nonsense!!

  31. @scooterp – I’m with you to a degree. I think he tried delegating the last year, but I also believe UM mailed it in. It was evident in the total lack of passion and fire – he was distracted and lost at that point.

    And we did have the talent to win last year – if we would’ve played the same style of ball UM did. Changing the ‘rules of engagement’ to run a new offensive strategy totally changed our personnel needs. Those changes meant we were ill equipped to run that style. Combine that with recruiting defections last year at the last minute, no time to recruit his player styles, injuries, and transfers; and we lost a lot of talent.

  32. @TampaGator – You’re right that Diggs might end up at Maryland. Homers always provide tough competition for recruits.

    @JaxGator47 – Agree completely. We’re going to have one of the best TE cores the school has ever seen. I really felt like last year we should have used Reed, Hines, Lenoard and Burton more as TE/H-back production in a Kirk Kirkpatrick fashion. Throw in the newbies and we’re going to have a great fleet of TEs.

    Much of the Meyer criticism is deserved, but a lot of it is beyond the pale and silly. His critics are turning him into some kind of soulless caricature. I don’t think he was going through motions, but really was trying to find balance (a balance that is unattainable to begin with). I do think he’s become something of a head case, and he could end up doing really well at OSU, or could melt down again. I don’t have that answer. I also think between the arrests, the Cam thing, the oversigning and just not personally fitting into the SEC mindset there were some politics behind the scenes that affected his views over time.

    Meyer deserves full credit for two NCs and being a spectacular recruiter. Indeed, his recruitment is misanalysed. I crunched some numbers – Of Meyer’s 138 recruits 71% were 4- and 5-star recruits. His classes were almost 14% 5-stars compared to Muschamp’s (so far) 7% 5-stars. I’d wager this is equal to or better than the Sabans, Mack Browns, etc., of college football.

    However, Meyer had a staggering attrition rate: Not including NFL departures (so just Xfers and dismissals) Meyer’s classes lost more than 40 players early (about 31%). That list is including a few of his recruits who left after he resigned, and of course the player dismissal and transfers are really the player’s responsibility more than Meyer’s. But the number jumps out. Of course, when you oversign like LSU or Bama (ethical arguments aside) that’s the very statistic you’re attempting to combat – attrition. Which is one reason why LSU and Bama are at the top right now (coaching/development being others).

    What this means is that Muschamp was left in a position where there’s no way one recruiting class could compensate for the personnel void. That’s why so many people feel disappointed with a top-5 class, but I think they’re not checking their feelings with reality — That is, we needed an unattainable dream-class of 30+ guys (all those we missed on Wednesday) to fill that void (and even then they have to be developed). While I’m not yet convinced Muschamp is going to get us there, I’m willing to give him some more time to fill these numbers.

  33. EMK, the baseless nonsense comes from being in a constant fog of orange and blue. If you took Robbie and another nameless reporter, and sent them into the real world, where they were not surrounded by psycho fans, who loved and expected their bias, they would last maybe 5 minutes. You have to ask yourself why certain journalists leave and go on to bigger and better things, but certain others seem to have been pigeon holed here forever. I’m sure they wanted it that way….yeah. Just take the one piece of this article, where Robbie extols the virtue of Dante Fowler for how he flipped on the Seminoles. I don’t have any love for the team out west, I don’t hate them like most think I should, but what Fowler did showed a complete lack of class and character. He led them along for over a year. They wasted a scholarship that could have gone to another kids education at FSU. If the roles were reversed, we would be asking for the death penalty for Fowler! But no, since he did it for us, he did it the right way. What utter garbage. How utterly pathetic. I am glad we have a home here for these “reporters”, cause lord knows they would starve anywhere outside of Alachua County.

  34. I agree that we need to move on from the Meyer stuff but here is the problem.
    To move on you must first understand what happened. I am as informed a Gator fan as there is and I am convinced that I have no idea what really happened. All I know is that the explanations to date are illogical.
    Would one of you encouraging us to move on be so kind as to explain to us what really happened?

    Don’t give me the health crap or the family crap. Something else drove the changes.
    Please explain or stop bashing people who want to know.

  35. Mark, I will try to explain it as I have seen it from day one. No Tebow, Harvin, Hernandez, etc. etc. Now I am left to run the only system I am able to run without NFL caliber players in key positions, and QB is of course the main key. I am supposed to rely on coaching ability. Uh Oh! I have esophageal spasms, and my family is suddenly important. If you doubt this, I will bet anyone $1000.00 if things don’t go as planned at Ohio State, and he has a couple of lack-luster seasons, he will suddenly have either health problems or family issues to attend to. It’s not a matter of what is most important to Urban, it’s simply a matter of a massive ego that can’t take losing in any fashion, and not having any concern for the ramifications to others in his wake!

  36. The Ohio State Guy (Cut ‘n Run): 1) Spend More Time With The Family: The evidence is in his behavior. If I am not mistaken 2 of his kids are near adults, out of the house and in college. Also, remember his ‘—in the end’ monolog. It was very dramatic but hardly convincing. 2) Health: To this day there has NEVER been any evidence to establish or even suggest that UM had a ‘health problem’ when he quit, no hospital documents, no doctors statements, nothing. 3) Does anyone seriously think that OSU or any competent AD would hire a guy for millions of dollars without being satisfied there is , indeed, no health problem. Yet, we are told to believe that is exactly what was done at OSU, not likely. 4) When he quit for the last time in G’ville he knew and said (publically) that the program he headed was in shambles. He wanted out so that he could a) save his reputation as a coaching genius, b) not have to deal with the mess he created by his failings. PREDICTION: Two straight losses to Michigan and his spasms will be back and ole UM will be gone, to ‘spend more time with his family’!!

  37. My point on Urban was – I really don’t care why he left. My guess is that he was burned out. His coaching staff blew up, the daily SEC grind and the over the top expectations Gator fans have wore him out….. And yes I’m sure as the job was wearing on him it was wearing on his family as well. He is a contol freak who has to have a hand on everything and realized he couldn’t keep up with the demand of running a top teir SEC school. I don’t think it mattered what his explaination to the public would have been – the heartless A-holes who don’t have a grip on reality would have ripped anyway. I’m greatful for what he did when he was here and I’m thankful that he knew when his time was up and I’m sure he’ll be successfull at OSU…. though I’m sure at somepoint that job will wear on him as well.

  38. I’m an FSU student, and G8ter27 hit on on the head. That move by Fowler was classless regardless of who you’re pulling for. Dante Sr. stressed that he was against the decision to flip because of all the respect FSU staff had shown him and his family. It isn’t right to wait until immediately before signing to flip a year long committment. Regardless of what any of you Gators say, that was a classless and immature move that you can’t possibly be proud of. The only bright side I see here is that Dante had a disappointing senior season, and flipped because he was “bothered” by FSU’s depth at DE. It’s a good problem to have. Enjoy your overrated, immature, and classless player with a serious lack of confidence. That type of player belongs in The Swamp.

  39. Take Fowler. We don’t need him. LOL

    I don’t know one FSU fan who is actually upset over our losing Fowler. We don’t need him. Do you understand what I’m saying? We literally can lose five-star commits and it doesn’t matter. We are that deep on the line. Go look at our defensive line. Go look at our front seven. When one of your pathetic scat backs runs out the I formation and into the jaws of our front seven, you’ll know what I’m talking about.

  40. UM’s timetable:

    After OSU is a fail for him, he’ll take off his obligatory 10-12 months to be “w his family” then get hired by his real “dream” team the Domester’s & last a year or 2 prior to permanently retiring~ or going to the NFL.