Zach’s Mail Stack 12/13

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Kudos to Will Muschamp.

Regardless of how you feel about his coaching abilities or decisions, the man can recruit.

He has landed three offensive recruits in December without an offensive coordinator or an offensive line coach. One was flipped from Florida State, and the latest two are ESPN300 members.

Now, Muschamp must keep his commitments on that side of the ball, including running back Dalvin Cook and receiver Ermon Lane. The majority of questions I received this week were about these two.

Cook’s recruitment is still in a holding pattern, but there are a couple things that have changed since I discussed him in the previous Mail Stack. He now plans to make his final decision at the Under Armour All-American Game, and Muschamp’s in-home visit with him has been moved to Sunday.

I’ll be at Cook’s state championship game Saturday for an update.

Lane caused quite a stir Wednesday on Twitter when he posted a picture of himself wearing a Florida State jacket. He deleted the tweet minutes later, but it was too late to avoid the selfie-inflicted wounds.

Prior to the photo, there had been signs that Lane was beginning to waver on his pledge to the Gators. In a Twitter conversation last week with Amari Cooper, the Alabama receiver asked Lane if he was still going to Florida. Lane said he’ll know on signing day, which is not the response of a committed recruit.

An in-home visit from Muschamp along with a good hire for coordinator might make Cook and Lane solid commits again. But if I were a Gator fan, I wouldn’t count on them to stick.

On to the questions!

Has UF recruited any other quarterbacks? — Kyle, Jacob

Max Staver has decided to leave Florida, and Tyler Murphy and Skyler Mornhinweg are reportedly considering transfers as well. If that happens, UF would have just two scholarships quarterbacks in the spring and fall — Jeff Driskel and Will Grier.

I’m not aware of any additional quarterbacks being recruited by the Gators for next season, but they may want to consider bringing in another. A pair of passers is just not enough depth (see 2013).

After looking through the databases on recruiting sites, I don’t see any obvious dual-threat QB targets at the prep or junior college level. I’m sure the Florida staff has someone in mind, though.

With all of the transfers, how do we fill these holes in recruiting? Darrius, TJ, Ed, zero21hundred, Ivan, David, Kent, Ryan, Woody, Tanner, Jonathan, bamagator

UF currently has 18 commitments and 22 available scholarships following the transfers of six offensive players and Loucheiz Purifoy’s early exit for the NFL.

The departures of Staver and Ian Silberman surprised me, and I thought Florida would only have room for 20. Unless the Gators lose both Murphy and Mornhinweg, I doubt they take another signal-caller in the class.

If there’s no more attrition or decommitments, I think Florida’s final four spots should go toward an offensive lineman, a receiver, a defensive end and a defensive back. If more space opens up, take a kicker. I mention some candidates at the end of this blog.

On a related note, I was told the Gators won’t take LB Dwight Williams even if they miss on their other targets at the position (which they will). After signing four linebackers last year, it appears UF won’t sign any in 2014.

Who are now the top priorities for the Gators with David Sharpe in the fold? — Devin, Richard, ChocoGator, C-Slim

Norcross (Ga.) five-star defensive end Lorenzo Carter is now the No. 1 overall target on Florida’s board. With Dante Fowler probably gone after his junior year, the Gators need this talented pass rusher.

Carter, who named UF his leader during the summer, seemingly has Georgia in front at this time given his frequent visits to Athens. There’s still time for the Gators to gain their advantage back, but they need to get him to return to campus.

Five-star athlete Adoree’ Jackson is the most important prospect after Carter because he can play receiver and corner. If he comes to UF, he’ll likely start out wherever he’s needed.

Eric Lauderdale is Florida’s top receiver target, while safety Jamal Adams and corner Jalen Tabor round out the board at defensive back.

Zach, with all the offensive linemen departures, how many do we sign and who are our best options left out there? — Ricky, Jeff, Rob

With three graduating seniors and two transfers, the Gators return just nine linemen from 2013.

Muschamp said 15 is his ideal number of players for offensive line depth, so that means he needs one more lineman to have six signees in this recruiting cycle.

Damian Prince and Jordan Sims have been talked about the most, but a new name is now on Florida’s radar.

Derrick Kelly was offered by UF last month and is officially visiting this weekend. Florida State and LSU are also after the Havana East Gadsden offensive tackle, and the ‘Noles are believed to have the edge right now.

Nonetheless, Kelly might be Florida’s best shot at adding another lineman.

Zach, when is DT Thomas Holly making his decision, and do you think we have a chance? — Jeremy, Beezybae, Carlos, Blake

Holley told The New York Post he would decide by the end of this week, but obviously that didn’t happen.

It shouldn’t take much longer, and I currently have him choosing Penn State over Florida.

However, I really don’t have first-hold knowledge on his recruitment. I’m just assuming, like most people, that he’ll stay close to home. But there are a few folks, including Ryan Bartow and JC Shurburtt of 247Sports, who predicted UF for Holley.

We should know the verdict by the next Mail Stack.

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

18 COMMENTS

  1. Do you foresee any other coaching changes for the UF football staff before next year? Do you see a change with the strength and conditiong coach? How about a change with the strength and conditioning program with all the injuries? Maybe switch from Olympic lifting to some other program?

  2. Zach, if Austin Hardin gets cut from the team does that mean we lose his scholarship for the year or can we add another kicker in his spot? Just wondering because Hardin has not been impressive at all, it is hard for me to believe Muschamp isn’t at least looking for another guy even if it means having that guy be a walk on. Your thoughts?

  3. 1. Do you think Muschamp already knows who the replacement coaches are? And 2. Do you think some of those transfer spots can get filled by kids who follow said coaches? Finally, were you surprised Robinson was not on the transfer list? Thanks for the coverage!

  4. Mason, I’ve talked to sports trainers and they said that form and stretching are more important in terms of this rash injuries than the type of program. I’ve been wondering if these kids were just pushing too hard.

  5. I didn’t know the Gators were in the NFL. You don’t “cut” players, if you miss on someone, that is just the way it goes. If you run people off, the word will get around that UF doesn’t honor it’s scholarship offers. That is a sure way to not get players, after all, especially with the new social media, they do communicate with each other.

  6. Mason

    This whole theory is illogical about the training staff being responsible for the injuries. This is the same training staff from the year before when we didn’t have a significant injury problem. Even Dr. Pete says the injuries have nothing to do with the type of training they are receiving. I am not referring to you but we have a lot of “experts” that come on here and claim they have talked to other “experts” and blame it on training. Meanwhile, Dr. Pete who IS a top flight expert says it is BS. Other programs around the country also use this type of training and do not have this problem either. So, to all the experts, if other programs do it without issue and Florida has done it without issue until this season, how is the training programs fault? Lets here some logic.

  7. Regarding the potential need for another quarterback, the highest rated dual threat QB who is still uncommitted is Randall Cunningham of Las Vegas Bishop Gorman. He is a three star recruit who is tall (6’5″) and thin (185 lbs). He is fast (4.6) by QB standards. Florida has not offered him, though some SEC schools have including LSU and MSU.

  8. Sorry Gator Todd, Murphy’s gone too. Muschamp said he talked to murphy earlier in the week and told him that the QB position would be an open competition. Murphy remembes what an open competition it was between Driskel and Brisset and he knows that meant “Transfer” because it’s Drisel’s job, and that’s what he (Tyler) has done, made it wide open. I don’t think he trust Champ, neither would I. Good luck Tyler and thanks for the few victories that you did give us this year. GOGATORS!!!!