It’s been a wild couple of weeks as far as Florida recruiting is concerned and it will only get crazier in the weeks before National Signing Day. The U.S. Army All-American Bowl could go a long way to rounding out Florida’s tremendous class this year. Urban Meyer’s situation is starting to be an afterthought in recruiting, meaning the Gators aren’t missing much of a beat as the last few weeks approach.
On to the questions!
Now that (Mike) Leach has been terminated at Texas Tech, do you think we have a legitimate shot at Kadron Boone, and if so, where would you rank him versus Chris Dunkley, Ivan McCartney, Kenny Stills etc.?
Boone’s name has been coming up in a lot of recruiting conversation of late. He was near the top of Florida’s list over the summer and when I saw him play last year and over the summer, he was one of the most dominant players on the field. The Ocala Trinity Catholic receiver has got great speed and hands. When I talked to him after one game last season, he was gushing over the Gators and how he loved Florida’s program. Even after camps this year, he was all about Florida and Urban Meyer. Then something happened. He kept delaying a commitment that everyone expected. There was a rumor about grades being an issue. Eventually he committed to Texas Tech in early August. With the offense that Leach ran, you’d think that was a pretty good choice. But Leach is gone and now there is uncertainty at Tech. I talked to a source that said Boone has a chance to make it into Florida’s class. If grades really aren’t an issue, then I could definitely see Boone making it in.
I read where he is starting to weigh out his options and will take visits this month, now that Leach is gone. Expect Florida to get one of those visits. If that connection is rekindled on both sides, it wouldn’t surprise me to see him in Gainesville next fall.
Now, as far as ranking him with the other receivers Florida is going after, I still think Miramar’s Ivan McCartney is the top receiver left on Florida’s board. Boone might not have the athleticism that McCartney and Dunkley have, but he’s definitely got the skill to make it as an SEC receiver.
Ed, I saw on Meyer’s interview with ESPN that he still plans to recruit after the bowl game and his LOA won’t be in full swing until after National Signing Day. How effective will he be because of his health concerns, and do you think he might have to recruit harder to make up for the uncertainty he has created? Thanks, keep up the great work.
— Zach Abolverdi
It’s already been pretty apparent that Meyer’s involvement with recruiting has been enormous thus far. Florida grabbed Dunkley and got a surprise out of Dominique Easley on the same day. It looks like Moreno Valley, Calif., Rancho Verde defensive end Ronald Powell is likely to commit to the Gators during the U.S. Army All-American Bowl Saturday. Florida could also get another big pick-up if Philadelphia, Pa., George Washington defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd chooses Florida as well Saturday. Not to mention former Gator commit Matt Elam is thinking more about Florida since he and Meyer had an emotional phone conversation Monday night.
Meyer isn’t doing a very good job of taking a leave of absence right now, and I don’t think Gator Nation is having much of a problem with that considering the tremendous job he’s done in the last week in recruiting. He helped keep Florida’s stellar recruiting class intact for the most part since both of his announcements over Christmas break and it seems like it just keeps growing with every week. If Meyer truly is returning this fall and he’s telling recruits that, then Florida should end this recruiting cycle very close to the top.
Ed, how big were the commitments of Easley and Dunkley at the Under Armour All-American game? I know Dunkley was reportedly a silent commit, but did you see Easley ending up in this class?
I briefly mentioned this in Monday’s blog, but those two commitments were huge for Florida’s class. Yes, they added two top athletes to their class, but it goes beyond that. In a time in which people were unsure about Meyer’s future, Florida was able to grab two top prospects on national television. That has to make other recruits who were on the fence about Meyer and Florida rest a little easier about the program. These two commitments could help to draw an end-of-the-year pipeline to Florida for top prospects.
They also provide some nice depth to Florida’s roster next year. The Gators struggled to find any real passing threats outside of Riley Cooper and Aaron Hernandez this season, and next year those two will be gone. Dunkley is a player who has the ability to make an impact as a freshman.
Easley was just plain dominant on the defensive line during the Under Armour game. He can play inside or outside in college and I think they might move him inside. He has great speed to go with his strength inside and really reminds me of Omar Hunter. Florida will lose some players in the interior of the line, so getting Easley was a huge pick-up for the future. But getting his commitment was a huge plus because no one saw it coming. A surprise during a time like this only helps you down the road.
Hopefully this fits into your mailbag in time, but I saw on a link posted in the “GCG” thread over in the recruiting forum that Sharrif Floyd said Dominique Easley wasn’t actually going to UF. What is up with that? After seeing this kid in the UA game, it’d be horrible to lose him.
That rumor is definitely out there, but I’m not sure how much substance it has. He was pretty upset over the summer when Florida’s coaches reportedly informed him that there wasn’t enough room in this year’s class for him, so he committed to Penn State. It didn’t help that Jackson, Ga., defensive end Neiron Ball committed to Florida the day Easley was supposed to. Steve Addazio kept in contact with him and he pulled the surprise on Saturday. I asked someone covering the all-star game in San Antonio if they had heard about Easley possibly decommitting and he didn’t think that was going to happen. Rivals.com’s Mike Farrell said that Easley committing to Florida — and the possibility of Powell committing — actually help Floyd’s chances of heading to Florida because he wants to play with talented teammates around him.
Easley is visiting Florida on Jan. 15 and that should solidify his commitment.
Edward, how exactly does the dead period work? It appears the NCAA is very liberal in their managing of not contacting prospects during the dead period. I am speculating, but using common sense, Elam’s phone probably blew up the night Meyer announced he was retiring from coaching. Just see the quote below from Mack Brown: “I had like 10 schools call me like the second after it happened,” Brown said. “A few of them have kept up with me, like Florida State, Tennessee, and Alabama.” Are you aware of what consequences there are for contacting during the dead period?
— Chas Morris
According to NCAA rules, the recruiting dead period starts on Dec. 16 and runs until Jan. 4. During this time, college coaches can only call a prospect once a week. Of course, there are ways to get on the phone with recruits more often than that, but the NCAA mandates one call and coaches aren’t allowed to call at any other time.
Schools also can’t conduct official visits, unofficial visits, evaluations, visits to high schools or even speeches at public forums (banquets) for high schools during this time. Obviously, kids who have enrolled early are allowed to talk to coaches as long as they want when they are on campus.
Now, those schools could contact Brown, as long as it was one call placed to him. By keeping up with Brown, it could have been through e-mail or some other way. The loopholes are endless in recruiting when it comes to using PDA’s these days.
Contacting a recruit during the dead period more than the allotted one call is something that happens all the time at every school. Monitoring it can be tough. Unless the contact got completely out of hand and heavily influenced a prospect, I don’t foresee a major punishment from the NCAA.