I wanted to get a good amount of questions for the mailbag so I took a few from last week and this week. Not much else to say, so on to the questions!
Is there any indication which of the 2010 commits are enrolling early?
These things can change because of grades, but Florida could have another long list of early enrollees this year. Remember, this isn’t official, but these are the commits who are either trying to or are most likely to be on campus in January.
QB Trey Burton
OL Ian Silberman
ATH Matt Elam
TE Gerald Christian
CB Jaylen Watkins
WR Soloman Patton
S Jordan Haden
If LB Jeff Luc were to commit to Florida, he would also be an early enrollee.
Who were some “marginal” players who didn’t generate much recruiting attention out of high school but still ended up playing big time in the SEC, Gators in particular? My guess is there are as many of them as there are of the “big names” that didn’t live up to expectations.
— Florida frankie
That could end up being a very, very long list if we talk about the entire SEC. You could really make the argument for a lot of players who didn’t get looked at much. Obviously, you have to look at some of the smaller schools and notice Kentucky cornerback Trevard Lindley, who was a part of the 2005 class but grayshirted. He wasn’t very highly-touted coming out of high school and now he’s arguably one of the best cornerbacks in the country. LSU offensive lineman Ciron Black was a three-star prospect, according to Rivals.com in 2005, and I look at him as one of the best lineman in the country. Georgia’s Knowshon Moreno was the 10th-best running back by Rivals in 2006 and we all know what he did. He was also a huge Florida lean, but the Gators went with Mon Williams instead.
Those are just a few of a lot of underrated guys in the SEC in the past few years. As far as UF goes, here’s a list I’ve come up with dating back to 2002 and stopping at 2006, because it’s too early in their careers to go further.
Dallas Baker, WR, New Smryna Beach/Northfield Mount Hermon Prep — 3-star and No. 55 WR by Rivals. Known as the “Touchdown Maker,” Baker was a consistent starting wideout and had a great senior year in which he had 10 touchdowns, was an All-SEC first-teamer and was a key kog in UF’s SEC and national championship runs in 2006.
Steve Rissler, OL, Sarasota, Riverview — 3-star and No. 41 guard. Offensive linemen rarely get credit in high school, but he started 24 games for Gators and was the center on the championship line in 2006.
Carlton Medder, OL, Clermont, South Lake — 3-star and No. 31 tackle. He, too, was a member of that championship line and finished his career with 27 consecutive starts and was a second-team All-SEC selection in 2007.
Tony Joiner, S, Haines City — 3-star and No. 24 safety. It took him a few seasons, but Joiner joined linebacker Brandon Spikes and safety Reggie Nelson as the leaders of Florida’s defense in 2006 and then took over sole responsibility in 2007. Totaled 156 tackles in his four-year career, adding five interceptions, three forced fumbles and 9.5 tackles for a loss.
Phil Trautwein, OL, Vorhees, N.J., Eastern Region — 3-star and No. 28 tackle. He made 29 career starts and helped win two championships as the Gators’ left tackle. He was also a huge leader at Florida. Was a preseason All-SEC selection in 2007 and 2008.
Jason Watkins, OL, Lake Gibson — 3-star and No. 22 tackle. Made 27 starts and even played tight end against Auburn in 2006. It wasn’t much, but he lined up there. He was the team’s right tackle in last year’s championship season.
Louis Murphy, WR, St. Petersburg, Lakewood — 3-star and No. 37 receiver. Talk about making something out of nothing. Urban Meyer wasn’t sure if he’d make it out of his first year. Now, he has some extra rings, and was the No. 2 receiver for the Gators the last two years. He was drafted in the fourth round by the Oakland Raiders and is the leading wide receiver for the Raiders. Murphy meant so much to the UF offense that 2009’s team might miss him just as much as Percy Harvin.
Brandon James, ATH, St. Augustine — 3-star and No. 62 athlete. Well, he’s not quite a running back or a receiver, but he’s the most dynamic return man in the country. He can change the game as soon as he touches the ball. He holds the school records for punt returns and kick returns and has five career return touchdowns (four punt, one kickoff).
Florida used to get regular recruits out of Mississippi and Louisiana. Do you see the staff being able to make in-roads in those states again? What recruits are interested in Florida from those two states?
— Calvin Williams
Florida has never really gotten regular recruits from either state. The last time Florida got a recruit from Mississippi was in 2003. Florida actually got two and both came from community colleges. Defensive tackle Eric Holcombe came from Northeast Mississippi Community College and Tavarus Washington was at Mississippi Delta Community College. Fun fact: I was offered a full scholarship to attend MDCC to play soccer.
I can’t even remember the last time Florida got someone out of Louisiana. It’s tough for Florida to get guys out of both states because, A. Louisiana prospects are either all LSU or Texas guys. Distance from home and comfort are huge. There are some exceptions (Joe McKnight to USC), but they’re rare; B. The type of athletes in Mississippi aren’t as good as they are in Florida and Georgia, two states that Florida regularly purges. Why go all the way to Mississippi to get guys that aren’t on the same level as Florida athletes? I should know. I grew up there.
Some guys who have had some interest in Florida from those states:
WR Trovon Reed, Thibodaux
WR James Wright, Belle Chasse
ATH Jonathan McKnight, River Ridge (Yes, Joe’s brother)
WR Horatio Williams, Raymond
DE Devin Clark, Batesville
Ed, who do you think will be the surprise recruit(s) that UF lands by the end of signing day? On the same token, which current recruit(s) do you think will jump ship for another school?
Hmmmm. This one is kind of tough because I think Florida has got its eye on a handful of guys and none would really surprise me. But I would have to go with Lakota West, Ohio, West Chester linebacker Jordan Hicks. He went from barely mentioning the Gators to falling in love with what he saw on his visit. He’s a surprise to me because of the depth at linebacker, and if Florida gets Jeff Luc, that just adds another body at the position. Plus, Florida has already linebacker Gideon Ajagbe committed. He could be an early enrollee as well, so this could happen shortly after Hicks’ official visit in December. Another surprise would be La Costa Canyon, Cali., Encinitas, receiver Kenny Stills. He was high on Florida, but I’m not sure if I can really see him in this class. Again, getting a guy like Chris Dunkley could hurt his chances and I think there are still a couple of guys that are rated higher than him on Florida’s board.
I could go with the obvious Matt Elam as far as guys jumping ship. After saying he would commit elsewhere and then falling for Tennessee, he flipped back to the Gator way and said he was done with recruiting. UT coach Lane Kiffin is still making a push, so it’s not over. I will, however, go with Demar Dorsey. He’s been 70 percent committed to 80 percent committed for a few months. When I talk to him he says the same thing: He’s committed, but he’s still looking around because of the depth in the backfield. I’m not saying he will decommit because I wouldn’t be surprised if he stayed a Gator, but he seems like the most likely candidate.
Why is UF not after Casey Turner (RB Ed White, Jacksonville) and Dillon Lynch (K Neptune Beach, Fletcher)? Turner is on pace to be over 2,000 yards and I have never seen a kicker with as strong a leg as Lynch. He already has a couple of 50+ yd field goals.
— wes markham
I can answer both these questions with one answer. Florida doesn’t have the room. Mack Brown and Travon Van are committed and they will just be adding to the three-headed monster of Jeff Demps, Chris Rainey and Emmanuel Moody. Don’t forget Mike Gillislee will have a year under his belt. Florida’s got to be done with running backs this year.
As for Lynch, Caleb Sturgis will have two more years to kick. Florida shouldn’t be going after kickers until Sturgis is gone. No need to use a scholarship right now for a kicker.