What Cook’s commitment means for Florida

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Miami Central running back Dalvin Cook escapes a host of GHS defenders in the 6A state championship game, which his team won 37-14. (Matt Stamey/Staff photographer)

Dalvin Cook’s flip to Florida on Saturday gave UF its ninth commit and sixth Rivals250 member in the 2014 class.

The Gators sent a message to the SEC and their in-state rivals with his commitment: they will have a dominant ground game for years to come and are reestablishing themselves on the recruiting trail in South Florida.

It’s no secret that UF coach Will Muschamp wants to run the football. He and offensive coordinator Brent Pease proved last year it was a recipe for success, as Mike Gillislee became Florida’s first back to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark since 2004.

The Gators have recruited well along the offensive line and are building a talented stable of running backs. Matt Jones is primed for a breakout sophomore season after finishing strong as a freshman. Like Gillislee prior to his senior year, redshirt junior Mack Brown has been buried on the depth chart and slowed by injuries throughout his college career, but the coaches believe he will push for playing time in 2013.

Early enrollee Kelvin Taylor put on a promising performance over the weekend and incoming freshman Adam Lane, a short back with an incredible combination of strength and speed, reminds many of Ray Rice of the Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens.

With Cook now in the fold and UF leading for coveted 2015 RB Jacques Patrick, who already has 33 offers to date, the future looks bright for Florida’s backfield.

The Fun ‘n’ Gun is long gone and the Run-a-Ton offense is making its home in Gainesville.

Cook’s pledge is also a good sign in regards to Florida’s recruiting efforts down south. As expected, UF took a hit in the region with the resignation of recruiting coordinator and receivers coach Aubrey Hill, a Miami native, last August.

The Gators didn’t land any prospects from Miami-Dade or Broward county in the 2013 recruiting cycle, but that isn’t the case this year.

Cook and St. Thomas Aquinas defensive tackle Anthony Moten, Florida’s latest commitments, come from those two counties. UF is also in contention for Homestead receiver Ermon Lane of Miami-Dade and four more top targets from Broward — Hollywood Chaminade Madonna defensive tackle Khairi Clark, Plantation cornerback Chris Lammons, Fort Lauderdale University School safety Quincy Wilson and Fort Lauderdale University School linebacker Richard Yeargin III.

Robinson has helped revive South Florida recruiting for the Gators (Photo courtesy of UF communications).

Florida defensive backs coach Travaris Robinson is largely responsible for the resurgence in South Florida. The 31-year-old, who was born and raised in Miami, is the youngest member of Muschamp’s staff and connects well with prospects from the area.

“He is a good recruiter who can relate to the kids and he has South Florida ties – having grown up in Miami,” Muschamp said of Robinson in an interview with GatorZone.com.

If Cook sticks with his decision, he’ll be the first recruit UF signs from Miami since Jabari Gorman in 2011. Cook cited his relationship with Robinson as one of the main reasons he chose the Gators.

When asked in 2011 about the recruiting impact of his Miami connections, Robinson responded, “It’s tremendous. Guys can relate to a guy who comes from the same environment that they come from. That’s important.”

28 COMMENTS

  1. What Cook’s commitment means for Florida: NOTHING. This is a kid who is still almost a year away from actually being able to sign and he has already changed his “commitment” once. This means absolutely nothing.

  2. Even if he changes his mind later, his commitment has put it in the minds of other South Florida kids that UF is a destination of choice. The more elite kids seriously considering UF, the more elite kids eventually come to UF.

  3. Any time a highly-ranked prospect commits to the Gators, it is a good sign that the reputation of our coaching staff is starting to make an impact in that area. Even if the commit flips later, it still says that our coaches and our school offered enought to him that he seriously considered coming to Gainesville. Furthermore, OTHER prospects in that same area will see what he did, and it may make them think about coming to the Gators as well.

    Considering how much more UF offers than any other instate school, it is a wonder why anyone would choose to go to a place like tally anyways…………

  4. He’s a bad (young) man! Btw LT, very few early commits during Muschamp’s tenure have flipped. In fact, I can only think of one. The linebacker last year. Hope he enjoys USC:) Other than grades, they all have stood by there commitment. Coach makes it clear to these kids, do not commit unless you are sure. Boom ain’t playin!

  5. This recruiting stuff just excites me, I don’t care what time of year it happens to be it’s exciting!! Our coaches are pressing to get the BEST recruits available for the positions necessary, the DL was a big thing to me to get them out of South Florida is special. It says we are leaving NO stones unturned anywhere. It also says we are beating Clemson,Bama and Notre Dame at some of the South Florida Talent. GREAT JOB COACHES!!!! Go GATORS!!!!

  6. Will Muschamp is worrying all the Gator-haters and naysayers by taking his second team through a rebuilding year all the way to the Sugar Bowl and recruiting the daylights across the state and Georgia. He’s expanded our reach into Alabama of all places. UF hasn’t successfully recruited south Florida for a long time. Give our young, hard focused coach his due. Go Gators!!!!

  7. Running back depth is huge. If you recall, the ’96 Gators were definitely Fun ‘n Gun, but we had Elijah Williams, Fred Taylor, Terry Jackson, and Eugene McCaslin toting the rock when Danny wasn’t flinging it to Reidel Anthony, Jacquez Green and Ike HIlliard. The first two RBs combined for over 1,300 yds while the other two combined for 700. And we all know what happened to Danny and the other QBs when Spurrier would suddenly eschew the running game. I only mentioned the receivers because we don’t have any like them at this time, and that is the problem on offense.

  8. This is all well and good, but we’re still getting excited about a guy who is under six feet tall and two hundred pounds.
    I’ll be more impressed when we get even one of the kind of stud runner that Saban gets year after year. Florida hasn’t seen one of those in a good long while.

  9. @Randall Ladnier

    It may be true that Taylor cant run faster than a 4.6 but neither could Eddie Lacy and he did pretty good for Alabama. Im sure Herndon is a good player but I find it hard to believe he has the overall talent level of Taylor. If he did I would think we would hear a lot more about him from the coaches and the media.

  10. I think some of the posters on here that are being labeled “negative” are actually just being realistic. To say because someone is realistic that they are not fans is moronic. There may be some people that are just here to pose as Gators and stir people up but Im sure some of these people are legit. Probably the most childish, immature, and simple minded thing I have encountered in sports is when people throw “fits” or become offended or insulting to others simply because someone stated something that is true, or at least is logically sound, about their team or program.