Wednesday is the day of the oh-so-popular “Ask Aschoff” recruiting mailbag, but with the news that Lane Kiffin has left Tennessee for USC — and the plethora of questions I’ve received on the subject — I’ve decided to double up today and give you a taste of both.
Kiffin’s departure has to give Gator fans a bittersweet feeling. Of course, none of you really liked him because of his off-the-field antics, but I know that you all were itching to get another shot at him on the football field. Kiffin’s absence has to make Urban Meyer and Co. feel better about the final couple weeks of recruiting because he was the only real SEC threat to snatch a couple of Florida recruits. So, to make things easier, I’ve listed a few prospects who will be affected or have already been affected by Kiffin’s departure.
Mack Brown, RB, Lithonia, Ga., Martin Luther King — Brown has been one of the most solid Gator commits since he pledged in July. He stood strong when Meyer stepped down and then stepped right back up. It wasn’t until running backs coach Kenny Carter left that Brown finally began wavering on his Florida commitment. He’s still committed, but has gone quiet. His coach told Rivals.com that he will take visits to Florida State and Tennessee after his visit to Florida this weekend. But with Kiffin out, there’s word that Brown won’t make the trip to Knoxville. With Kiffin gone, I don’t see Tennessee being the threat it once was. Florida State, on the other hand, could be. If his visit to Florida goes well this weekend, he might not make it to Tallahassee for his official next week.
Demar Dorsey, DB, Lauderdale Lakes Boyd Anderson — The only school I really saw competing with Florida for Dorsey was Tennessee because of the Kiffins. Now that both are gone, it’s FSU that stands in UF’s way. However, he will visit FSU first, meaning Gator coaches will get in his ear last. Dorsey told Rivals Tuesday night that with Kiffin out, he “probably” won’t be visiting UT.
Ronald Powell, DE, Moreno Valley, Calif., Rancho Verde — First off, Tennessee never had a chance and still doesn’t, but with Kiffin bringing defensive line coach Ed Orgeron with him to USC, I find it impossible to believe that Coach O. won’t make a run at Powell. It should be interesting to see what happens with these two, but I still think that it was Meyer’s relationship with Powell that won him over. Coach O. will have to do some major puckering up to develop any sort of relationship remotely close to what Meyer has with him.
Michael Taylor, LB, Atlanta Westlake — Taylor has decommitted from Tennessee and some reports have him committing to Florida, but I’ve been told that it isn’t official and that Taylor is still open. It seems that he’s Florida’s to lose and the news could come any day that he’ll be heading to Gainesville this summer.
Brandon Willis, DE, Duncan, S.C., Byrnes — He was committed to Tennessee, then decommitted, then recommitted at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. Now, he’s decommitted once again and is headed to North Carolina. He was actually packed to leave for Knoxville Tuesday night to enroll early but now will head north.
Delvin Jones, DE, Miami Palmetto — He’s a top athlete who was very upset with Kiffin’s departure and has decommitted. Just look at this quote from Rivals: “Heck no I am not committed (to Tennessee). I am opening things back up. Sure I will see what happens at Tennessee, but right now they don’t have a coaching staff.” Florida is full on the line, so don’t expect the Gators to get involved.
Calvin Smith, DT, Hialeah — Smith has decommitted from Tennessee and has an offer from Florida. With Florida’s d-line pledges, the same situation applies to Smith as it does Jones.
Markeith Ambles, WR, McDonough, Ga., Henry County — He strongly considered Florida over the summer, but off-the-field issues caused Florida’s staff to back off of him. Ambles had a tremendous day at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl and he would fit in well in Florida’s offense. However, I’ve been told that despite his ability, his off-the-field issues are too much for Florida’s staff. There’s no interest here.
Jawuan James, OL, Suwanee, Ga., North Gwinnet — Like Ambles, he had quite a bit of interest in the Gators over the summer but eventually committed to Alabama only to decommit and commit to Tennessee. There’s nothing public about him wavering, but Orgeron was his main recruiter at Tennessee and now he’s soaking it up in SoCal. James could get some attention from Florida’s staff if things don’t work out for UF’s other offensive line targets.
Ahmad Dixon, S, Waco, Texas, Midway — Florida doesn’t really have much of a chance here, but I found it interesting that he’ll be visiting Alabama this weekend after losing his head coach and defensive coordinator.
Kyle Prater, WR, Hillside, Ill., Proviso West — Reports were that he had decommitted from USC, but it appears that he’ll enroll at USC next week. Makes sense, really. He wanted to visit Tennessee this weekend to see Kiffin. Now Kiffin is headed to USC and there’s really no point in leaving at this time.
Jesse Scroggins, QB, Lakewood, Calif. — He gave USC until Saturday to find a coach before he officially started to look around. Well, Kiffin is in and it’s safe to say that Scroggins is as well. Tennessee was one of his finalists over the summer, so it only seems right that he stays committed to USC.
Jordan Hicks, LB, West Chester, Ohio, Lakota West — No, it’s not Tennessee that has the shot at landing him, but with ESPN reporting that Texas defensive coordinator Will Muschamp is the leading candidate to replace Kiffin, this could play right into Florida’s hand. Hicks’ relationship with Muschamp is what has given Texas the slight lead over Florida. If Muschamp takes the Tennessee job, he could end up being Florida’s to lose, as well.
Chaz Green, OL, Tampa Catholic — Tennessee was the only school in Florida’s way for most of the fall, and now that Kiffin is gone Florida now has a great chance of getting him back as aFlorida lean. Florida wants another offensive lineman and if Seantrel Henderson doesn’t work out, Green would be a great addition. This is the weekend where Meyer and interim head coach Steve Addazio will be able to make up the most ground for Green’s services.