More bad news


It didn’t take long for Charlie Strong’s departure to hurt the Gators (see Jeff Luc to Florida State), but now Florida has to be frustrated about losing out on Aurora, Colo., Grandview defensive end Chris Martin, too. Martin, who was awfully generous with his text messages concerning recruiting over the last few weeks, decided to stay closer to home by verbally committing to the University of California. Funny, just a couple weeks ago all the talk was about how Martin was about to become another Notre Dame commit to pick the Gators late in the year. Things really did look great for the Gators … until the coaching carousel turned on.

First, it was defensive coordinator Charlie Strong who packed up and took the Louisville head coaching job. I texted Martin and he said losing Strong hurt Florida’s chances a little, but that coach Urban Meyer and receivers coach Billy Gonzales were his primary recruiters. Close call for Gator fans. Nothing to worry about there. Well, not so fast. Days after Martin made that comment, Gonzales left to become passing coordinator at LSU. Once I got the official news, I texted Martin but got nothing. For someone who has always returned my texts (since he said no phone interviews until signing day), I knew this loss hurt him the most. Gonzales is such a personable guy and recruits love that about him. With him gone, not even Meyer could keep Martin.

Monday, Martin made things official by ending his recruitment and committing to the Bears. Martin didn’t return any texts about it, but he did tell that he was looking for “stability in his life” and that he found it at Cal.

“The whole stability of the program was key,” Martin told Rivals. “Academics and everything about the school made it feel like it was a family. That was the main decision for me. I’m not looking to be everywhere bouncing around and not knowing about my future. I’ve already gone through enough bouncing around. I’ve gone from California to Colorado. I thought I was going to be in New Jersey and end up at Notre Dame, but that all changed.”

With Martin off the board, I expect Florida’s staff to make an even bigger run at Portland, Ore., David Douglas defensive end Owamagbe Odighizuwa. He officially visited for the FSU game and told me he had a great time and that Florida is one of his top schools, but even with Martin’s commitment I think Cal still holds the upper hand on Odighizuwa with Oregon creeping. Florida is still the top destination for Moreno Valley, Calif., Rancho Verde defensive end Ronald Powell, who is expected to officially visit in January.

Martin’s spurn comes only a few days after Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas cornerback Lamarcus Joyner picked FSU over Florida and Ohio State. It was thought for most of the recruiting season that Joyner was an OSU lock with Florida kind of in the picture. Joyner said over the summer that he had Florida right at the top of his list, but after the staff didn’t go after him as hard as he wanted, he turned his focus to the Buckeyes. Then he fooled everyone and picked the Seminoles, officially ending Florida’s chances at getting one of the top athletes in the state.

The good news for the Gators was that Joyner’s teammate, and fellow corner, Cody Riggs did verbally commit to the Gators the day after Joyner picked FSU. Go figure.

It’s been a rough couple of weeks for Florida’s program and its recruiting efforts. Things got better after a successful recruiting weekend, but even that won’t be clear until a few commitments come out. As the Gators prepare for the Sugar Bowl, Meyer and his staff will also have the task of working overtime with uncommitted recruits.


  1. “Then he fooled everyone and picked the Seminoles, officially ending Florida’s chances at getting one of the top athletes in the state.”

    Joyner had FSU and OSU listed as his top two schools all summer and fall. He showed very little interest in Florida throughout his entire recruiting process. Nobody was fooled.

  2. if you want to see something bad, watch Outside The Lines on ESPN concerning F.S.U. athletic entrance requirements. don’t get too zealous because it’s probably happening all over. They can’t read or do math and still high schools graduate them so I’m harsher on their respective school boards. We all recruit them except Vandy, Duke,Rice,Stanford, and the Ivy League

  3. Like two months old…

    Those in the know knew Luc was FSU all the way a couple of months ago… Luc just needed something to give him a reason to sign there…

    Couple that with Luc’s less than stellar performances this year, questions about the flexibility in his hips and lateral movement and he isn’t a great fit for the Gators.

    Martin was always a long shot, and like Tim said LJ had never been big on the Gators.

    The only big time prospects from here on out that are heavy Florida leans are Dunkley and Powell with moderate interest from a handful of others but by no means with UF as the favorites.

    So Ed please back off the negative articles.

    Ace Sanders needs an offer and we have Brandon James v2.0 with more upside in the passing game.

    Several other guys have come on (as far as interest) out of no where like Morgan Moses a non academic qualifier from last year and Matt Elam’s teamate Clark who has already committed elsewhere but Elam has been quoted as saying he will be bringing him to Gainesville too as he now has an offer from Urban Meyer and staff.

    This class should end up being about 26-28 strong. And already has the peices to be a top five class with no more additions.

  4. Once a Gator always a Gator. Mr Aschoff must have had a rough time of it as a Gator judging by his less than complementary remarks about the Gators here of late. I’m a Gator and have been since entering the U of Fla in 1947 and departing in 1950. I have seen many more up and downs that Mr. Aschoff but I always pull forf the Gators. Bet this will not be printed.

  5. I’m from South Florida and my friends at Aquintas tell me UF never had a chance of landing Joyner. It was always between OSU & FSU. The kid wants to be a big fish in a small pond! If if makes you feel better that we had a chance, so be it…

  6. are you kidding me, this will end up being a great class, half of these kids do not know what they are talking about? stability and bouncing around? when is the last time California has won the PAC 10 much less a national championship? give me a break! sports writers also crack me up sometimes … how about focusing on the good news more often and see how that halps the gator nation feel!

  7. why the gainesville sun is paying some jerk off to text message teenagers for gossip to help his career is beyond me. It’s like the Enquirer, but instead of going after celbrities that hold themselves in the limelight, you do it to kids who have no idea how to handle the attention they’re getting. EXPLOITATION: the word of the day.

  8. As a long ago graduate and former QB from St. Thomas Aquinas, and a Gator alum, I assure you that we can read and do math quite well. We can even construct complete sentences. Seriously, over the years, UF has never recruited south Florida as well as FSU and Miami. Marcus Gilbert and Major Wright are among the very few STA players to come to UF over the past coule of decades, so Joyner’s decision should be no surprise to anyone.

  9. Ed, I usually find you information stellar but not this time.

    1. Chris Martin has been all over the map and has, purportedly, had at least five school number at the top of his list and has changed his mind over and over and over. Putting stock into what he says about the recruiting process is foolhardy.

    2. Joyner has long admitted that FSU was his childhood dream. And then the internet did its’ thing and all but anointed OSU the favorite. And besides, the people at the Aquinas program think that Riggs is a far better corner – I’ve seen him play twice, he has better cover skills.

    3. The sky is not falling.

  10. Week old news is still news I guess. You haven’t mentioned a single recruit that Florida even had the lead on. Bad news? I would think firming up our existing commits has gone quite well and now its time to finish up with a final 8-10 more. Bad news? Really?

  11. I think sometimes kids are looking for an excuse to go elsewhere, they can’t diss UF’s football success, graduation rate for FB players, academic integrity(do you hear me, F$U?) or the SEC. So they worry about an asst. coach, even though good asst. coaches are rarely around 4 years anyway.
    Look at Luc. If he was so in love with Charlie, why not follow him to UL, which is as good a program as F$U anyway? He doesn’t have a LB coach at F$U either as of now. Half the F$U staff just got fired!

  12. Everyone is forgetting that regardless of this years class leaving that Florida has an awesome aresenal of young players. They’ve been having top 5 and top 10 recruiting classes. Ala Brendan Beal, Omar Hunter, Andre Debose who couldn’t play this year, Will Hill is not going nowhere, Dee Finley the possibilities are endless.

  13. Why is Meyer going so far from the South to recruit players? Does it go back to his connections from Utah? The further you try to pull a player from his home, the greater the risk that you won’t be able to sign him. LSU, FSU and Alabama have no trouble getting great local talent. We lose opportunities to sign the very good ones from the south trying to convince an 18 year old from Colorado to play far away from his parents and friends.

  14. We are going to lose a lot more defensive recruits if Meyer does not name a defensive coordinator soon. with charlie and Gonzalez gone Vance Bedford is our best recruiter and he was a DC before, he got joshua shaw DB from Cali. Coach Meyer hire Vance and let’s start kicking butt. GO GATORS…………..

  15. If you ever thought Joyner was an OSU lock or that UF had a better shot at him than FSU, then you need to get out of the business. Joyner was a silent to FSU for months and has been a heavy lean for over a year. He toyed around with OSU for a while, and UF was never in it.

  16. I coached down in Brooksville for several years. Floirda was hot after Hernando High School star Jerome Brown. The football offices were flooded with ashtrays, notebooks, and all sorts of Gator material. When Jerome signed with Miami ALL contact with Florida, including the freebies was lost.
    It was almost like a message that “we didn’t get, what we wanted so to hell with you.” As a Gator alum I was puzzled by this attitude. High school coaches have long memories and although this was in the past, under different coaches, I wonder if a “of course you want to come to Florida” portrays an arrogance that does not sit well in high school coaches.
    minds. And high school coaches do talk. Maybe that is why some high schools are Gator pipelines and others are not.