I hope everyone is ready for the new year because I’m sure Florida’s staff is. Or isn’t, depending on the Urban Meyer situation. His latest move has really caused a stir in the recruiting world, but things seem to be OK for the Gators right now. The next month will be crucial for Steve Addazio and Meyer when it comes to finishing out this class and planning on what they’ll do for 2011. Lots of big-time prospects are still uncommitted and looking at Florida. How much with Meyer’s drama impact them?
On to the questions!
Ed, any news on Ronald Powell? I heard that he was pretty dazed about the overall roller coaster change of heart from Meyer. I read that he is now talking more with USC coaches. UF made a great impression on him but do you think he will still favor the Gators over USC? Wasn’t Powell recruited hard by Meyer?
Ronald Powell went from ready to commit to Florida to as confused as the rest of the country following Meyer’s flip-flop. Powell was set to commit to the Gators on ESPN, but after it didn’t work out between both parties, he decided to postpone it with every intention of still committing to the Gators. Now, he’s backtracking, which is completely understandable. Powell recently said he’d like to have a face-to-face meeting with Meyer to see what is really going on with him and his future. His high school coach said that there is a feeling that Meyer might be saying he’s coming back in a year just to preserve this recruiting class. That’s got Powell nervous about committing. If Meyer isn’t going to be there for his freshman year, I find it very hard to see Powell in this class.
It looks like USC is going to benefit from this and Miami is also supposedly getting some attention from Powell. However, once the dead period is over in early January, I think Meyer’s first objective is to go out (with Addazio ) to California to see Powell. If he wants to keep this guy a Gator lock, he’ll need to get to him as soon as possible. I still think Florida wins out, but only if Meyer can be up-front and honest with Powell on his entire situation. He’s pushed back his announcement date until he talks to Meyer.
MEYER is the key to Florida landing Powell.
Ed, now that it is out in the clear, what affect will the Urban Meyer leave of absence have on uncommitted recruits such as Powell, (Jordan) Hicks, (Seantrel) Henderson, etc.? Or will it not really matter due to fact that they are probably being recruited by other UF assistants coaches?
— 2010 class
It matters greatly. The problem that Florida has is that even though Addazio will be the interim coach, there is still no definite word on when (or if) Meyer will come back. There is no guarantee at all. Like I said above, Powell and Meyer are so tight and his recruitment has been done personally by Meyer. A source close to Hicks told Adam Gorney of Rivals.com that Meyer’s situation is hurting Florida’s chances. Hicks will announce on National Signing Day and that’s actually a good thing for the Gators. It will give Meyer and Addazio enough time to visit him and keep up the communication until the very end. Texas has the upper hand with Hicks, and I find it hard to see him going anywhere else at this point. Meyer’s situation drastically changed Hicks’ mindset, but things started to turn Texas’ way after Charlie Strong left for Louisville. Still, there is time for Meyer to make a lasting impression on Hicks.
Henderson is like Hicks and Powell. Meyer is the key to his commitment. However, naming Addazio the interim coach helps. He’ll be in charge of Henderson on campus, so things might not be as bad as most think. Like Powell and Hicks, he’s shutting the media out at this point, so it’s hard to really read what’s going on. I know that his father was blown away by Meyer, and Henderson really connected with him. Meyer’s absence hurts, but he’ll have a month to finish recruiting for this class. What he does in the next month will make or break Florida’s finish with big-time recruits.
Question, can a team count an early enrollment commit on the 2009 list and redshirt? This could give a team more than the 28 in a particular year? Right or wrong?
— Gator Al
Early enrolled commitments still count toward the 2010 class. They will be on campus during the spring semester and will count to the 2010 roster, not the 2009 one. They have no bearing on the number of scholarship athletes for this year’s team. Wide receiver Stephen Alli counted toward the 2009 class because he enrolled over the summer and had a chance to play in the fall. None of these kids have a chance to play for the 2009 team, even if Florida was playing in the national championship after January enrollment and registration.
Plus, if they were to be counted as redshirts it would take a year off their eligibility. You can’t cut a kid’s college career short without him even having a chance to play his first year because he wasn’t on campus.
Any QB commits on the horizon? Trey (Burton) will be the next Tebow-like, who might be the next (John) Brantley-like?
— Ken Frier
Florida’s staff has become very interested in Cincinnati, Ohio, Moeller quarterback Andrew Hendrix. He’s committed to Notre Dame, but is still deciding if he will look around in January. He’s taking Christmas break to think about his future. He met with new coach Brian Kelly and came away impressed, but Florida has been turning up the heat on his recruitment. He cut off the media, but should reopen lines of communication in the coming weeks.
He’s got decent size (6-foot-3, 220 pounds) and he’s got some mobility but is primary a drop-back passer and would compare more to Brantley. Getting Hendrix on campus will be the first thing for Florida’s staff. Of course, things change now with Meyer’s situation, but if Hendrix visits Gainesville things could get interesting.
I feel as though that Florida’s staff is looking more toward the 2011 recruiting class to find a quarterback. This year’s quarterback class wasn’t great and next year’s is definitely better. Guys like Matthews, N.C., Butler’s Christian LeMay (who has Florida ties), Miami Northwestern’s Teddy Bridgewater, Myrtle Beach, S.C., Myrtle Beach’s Everett Golson and Suwanee, Ga., North Gwinnet’s C.J. Uzomah are just a few names to watch for next year.
Ed, I like the list that you posted for a Gators Christmas Wish List. But my question to you is if you had to pick one player regardless of position (committed or not committed) that the Gators must have, who would that be? I believe Ronald Powell is committed to the Gators so I would say Shariff Floyd! Would you agree?
— Mike C.
Well, if we are talking both committed and uncommitted, it’s a bit tricky. Powell is the best player the Gators are going after, he’s a defensive end and Florida could lose both starters after the season. Although, Mack Brown was a huge running back commitment for the Gators. He’s the first truly complete back Meyer has been able to land, and if he sticks will be a huge addition to Florida’s backfield. He can be that every-down-back that Meyer has desperately wanted. Plus, Tim Tebow is gone and he’s the only true running back it seems Florida has.
But then you have Chris Dunkley. Florida showed this season that they are in need of quality receivers and Dunkley has been a Florida lean for so long that they have to land him. He has the ability to come in and immediately make an impact — although he won’t enroll this spring as originally thought.
You can’t leave out Josh Shaw. He’s one of the top cornerback prospects in the country and he will have a great chance to replace Joe Haden if (and when) he leaves for the NFL Draft.
So out of all four of those guys, I’m going to go with Powell because of his ability to come in and contribute on the defensive line immediately. The Gators want receivers and a big-time running back, but they have pieces in place to manage there. The defense will be hit hard by the draft, in my opinion, and getting someone as athletic and talented as Powell in early would be HUGE.