Zach’s Mail Stack 12/27

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Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas!

Once we get to the New Year, things are going to start picking up on the recruiting trail. Florida coach Will Muschamp and his staff will be out in full force again when the Contact Period resumes on Jan. 4.

The first stops they make will be in St. Petersburg and San Antonio to meet recruits at their hotel after the All-American games. I’m going to be at the Under Armour Media Luncheon on Wednesday and will have several stories and video interviews up in the days that follow.

I only received a few questions this week, which I assume was because of the holiday.

Hey Zach, if you were betting money, who would you say would be the last pieces to this class? — Charles

I’m not a betting man, but if I was, I wouldn’t put money on recruiting. It’s hard to read the mind of a 17-year-old, especially when it can change weekly (see Demarcus Robinson and Quinton Powell).

However, I know which positions those last pieces will come from and who they might be. The top two priorities for the Gators are getting another receiver and defensive end. The only current possibilities at wideout look to be Robinson and James Clark, while the targets at end are Elijah Daniel, Auburn commit Tashawn Bower, USC commit Jason Hatcher and Alabama commit DeMarcus Walker. Whether or not Florida can flip Robinson and Walker before they enroll early will determine what happens with the others.

UF is also in the running for tailback Alex Collins, fullback Kennard Swanson, tight end Durham Smythe, defensive tackles Montravius Adams and Jaynard Bostwick and cornerbacks Mackensie Alexander, Jalen Ramsey (USC commit) and Shaq Wiggins (Georgia commit).

The problem in predicting what these prospects will do is some have grades issues (Bostwick, Daniel, Swanson), some don’t answer their phone and rarely discuss recruiting (Robinson, Walker, Collins, the three CBs) and most have official visits scheduled with other schools. So for me to say exactly who Florida will finish with is a bit premature at this point. That will become more clear once things play out over the next month. But I believe the Gators have a shot with all the aforementioned recruits, and right now I’m most confident in Collins and Daniel.

I have heard some verbal commits in our current recruiting class have major injuries and probably will redshirt next year. Can you please list them and the injuries they have? — Alfredo

Defensive end Jordan Sherit and linebacker Matt Rolin both tore their ACL and will likely redshirt next season. Receiver Ahmad Fulwood suffered a sprained shoulder in his final high school game, but he’s already recovered and will play in the Army All-American Bowl on Jan. 5.

Safety Marcell Harris injured his MCL on Oct. 25 and was expected to be at full strength for spring practice. However, he is no longer enrolling early because he doesn’t have enough credits to be a midyear graduate. He will report with the rest of the freshmen in June.

College coaches heading to the NFL has become a fad again. Given the success Will Muschamp had this year and his previous experience in the NFL, do you see him becoming a hot commodity in the future? — Chuck

Muschamp could eventually become a candidate for a head coaching position in the NFL, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he didn’t take the job. At a press conference last year, I remember Muschamp talking about his time in the league. He served as assistant head coach for the Miami Dolphins in 2005 under his mentor, Nick Saban.

Muschamp said he didn’t like the NFL because it was all about business. He had one of his former college players on Miami’s roster who was cut from the team. The player came to Muschamp crying because he didn’t know how he would take care of his family. Muschamp said he would never forget how much it hurt him to see that happen.

Now, he might still have NFL aspirations and just told that story to make media and fans feel like he won’t leave Florida. But if the business-side of the league bothers him, along with Saban’s unsuccessful stint in Miami, I think Muschamp could be in Gainesville for the long haul.

That’s all for this week! Be sure to put your questions for the next mailbag in the comment section below!

22 COMMENTS

  1. Muschamp said “he felt bad because a player was cut and couldn’t support his family” Yeah right. How bad does him or any other coach feel when they kick a kid off scholarship, make them transfer or grind them up and spit them out of these college football factories.

  2. Hey Zach,
    I have heard some recruiting people say they think in the end we will end up with the ESPN #1 recruiting class like we have now. I know, however, that Alabama and ND only currently have 21 recruits, and Ohio St. only currently has 19. With us almost being done with hooking our major recruits, and those schools still in the running for some major recruits, do you think that will be the case? Also, do you happen to know how many those 3 schools can end up with?

  3. Spearhead makes a point that no one likes to acknowledge. The reality is, every kid that can sniff a D-1 scholarship has to be pretty darn good if not lights-out good at the HS level. These kids witness in HS myriad kids who just aren’t good enough physically or mentally to start, even at the HS level. The fact they now (in a D-1 program) lose their scholarship simply means they’ve hit that same ceiling the vast majority of their HS team mates hit a few years before.

    They know what they are signing up for. Though it hurts their pride and their heart, they know deep inside if they aren’t cutting it or don’t belong. That’s life and the odds of them getting that far in the first place are pretty astronomical. They should count their blessings that they even got the chance. For many (especially kids in the south) their grandfathers, uncles, and male relatives that grew up prior to the ’70’s didn’t even get an opportunity to play because of the social construct of that time.

  4. I rarely hear of a Florida coach taking away a scholarship from a player in any sport, unless it’s a discipline thing. Even the terrible players, keep their scholarship in order to get their degree. If that isn’t fair, I don’t know what is. Am I in the dark here? Do football players typically have their sholly taken away at Florida?

  5. I rarely hear of a Florida coach taking away a scholarship from a player in any sport, unless it’s a discipline thing. Even the terrible players, keep their scholarship in order to get their degree. If that isn’t fair, I don’t know what is. Am I in the dark here? Do football players typically have their sholly taken away at Florida? Transfers are typically the player’s decision, not the coach. The coach may tell them it’s in their best interest to transfer, but I don’t believe they force them to.

  6. Before we start mouthing off about championships lets see if these recruits live up to the hype. I’m as excited as anyone about the class that is shaping up and the year we just had, but winning tiltles isn’t as easy as many seem to think. OBC put a great product on the field most of his 12 years he was here and we won exactly 1 championship. Meyer had a string of strong teams the last decade, but everyone seems to forget that a lot of luck had to fall into place for us to win those championships. We are off to a good start, but lets not get ahead of ouselves by throwing out words like “dreamteam” when it comes to unproven HS players moving up to the next level – remember the 2010 class?

  7. scooterp, I’d agree with you if we were placing all our 2013 hopes on these recruits. But these recruits aren’t the reason I see a championship next year (I can’t speak for everyone else but hopefully they don’t have all their hopes in recruits as well). I see a great coaching staff returning, and great players returning on all 3 phases of the game. Defense may not be as good next year with all the playmakers we’re losing, but I see enough playmakers taking their place that I’m not so worried. The only thing I’m really excited about the recruits with next year ius added depth and there’s probably at least a few that will be big contributers right away. The real excitement for recruiting classes comes a couple years later. But as far as 2013, I’m calling it right now, watch and see. UF vs TAMU in the SEC title game with the Gators taking that one and moving on to take the national title game as well. Go Gators!

  8. TJ, I hope you’re right. There’s just a lot of good teams. I’m sure Bama, LSU, Ohio St, Oklahoma, TAMU, Stanford, USC, Georgia and half a dozen other teams are thinking the same thing. I love the optimism, but lets not throw up “fire Muschamp” boards if he doesn’t bring us one in the next couple of years.