Welcome back my faithful readers! It’s been too long since we had such one-on-one experiences like the Ask Aschoff recruiting mailbag. We simply can’t wait so long to chat next time. I know it’s been an interesting summer for Gator fans following recruiting. One minute Florida isn’t doing anything noteworthy, then the Gators are hot. Tons of people have been wondering if Urban Meyer’s decreased role in recruiting had anything to do with it.
Having Meyer resting and relaxing while assistant coaches travel and do most of the communicating can hurt recruiting, especially with his recent health issues. I think that early on recruits — and their families — were worried about how much of Meyer they would see in the future. No matter what an assistant coach says, players are going to want to go straight to the source for their answers.
Now, things are different. Meyer has cleared up all his health issues and that trust he’s worked so hard to gain is back. Florida currently has 12 commitments — including the two that coaches grabbed the day of Friday Night Lights — just before the final summer evaluation period. That’s pretty strong, considering what position Florida seemed to be in during the spring.
With this being the first mailbag of the year, I can kind of understand only getting three questions, but step your game up, readers! I expect a better showing next week or I’ll use this blog to discuss my beloved Colorado Rockies instead. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Now, on to the questions!
Ed, every year we land one or more out-of-state five-stars in the month leading to NSD. Ronald Powell, Dominique Easley, Sharrif Floyd, Jelani Jenkins, Oma Hunter, Crarlos Dunlap and Brandon Spikes. What elite out-of-state guy do you think continues the streak for this class? I say elite because star rankings will be in flux for another six months.
Florida has been dominating in the five-star category lately. It doesn’t matter which recruiting site you look at, Florida has done very well with guys who have those five shiny, golden stars attached to their names. Here’s a look at the way Florida ranked with five-star signees from Rivals.com and Scout.com the past five years:
2010 — Four (Three out of state) Five (Three out of state)
2009 — Three (One) Four (Two)
2008 — Four (Three) Four (Three)
2007 — Four (Two) 10 (Three)
2006 — Four (Three) Six (Three)
As for 2011? Florida is involved with a handful of out-of-state prospects who will be classified in the elite category at the end of the year and will most likely be five stars. A few names that come to mind are linebacker Curtis Grant (Richmond, Va., Hermitage), wide receiver George Farmer (Gardena, Calif., Junipero Serra), receiver Kasen Williams (Sammamish, Wash., Skyline) and tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins (Gig Harbor, Wash.).
The guy I think fans should keep an eye on the most is Grant. Word is that he listed Florida as his No. 1 school earlier this summer. Now that he’s putting recruiting on the back burner so that he can concentrate on his senior season, he told me last week that he currently doesn’t have a leader. Still, I like Florida’s chances, and he’s developed a strong personal relationship with Meyer.
Out of all the prospective five-stars, I like Florida’s chances with Grant the most. He’ll decide after taking his official visits in December and January.
Ed, I hear Miami leads for both Kelvin Benjamin and Sammy Watkins. Do you concur? Also, who is the best receiver in Florida and the nation?
The latest from Benjamin (Belle Glade Glades Central) is that he currently has Florida, Florida State and Miami at the top of his list, with no school as his leader. Florida was his leader for a while, but now all three schools have pulled even. He’s got ties to FSU and UM. He was just at FSU for a 7-on-7 tournament and wants to schedule a trip to Miami, which shouldn’t be too hard.
I would say Florida has the slight edge, but there’s still a lot of time left for recruiting. I think it comes down to UF and UM later in the season.
Watkins (South Fort Myers) had Florida in the running during the spring but has recently pushed the Gators down on his list. It looked as if Watkins was down to Miami and Michigan and then that changed to Miami and Clemson. He told Rivals.com after his recent trip to Clemson that he no longer has leaders at the top, but I believe Miami is certainly the team to beat. He’s always described it as home and where he’s the most comfortable. I think Miami beats out Clemson in the end.
Since the season hasn’t started it’s tough to say who the best receivers are right now, but from all accounts, Watkins and Benajmin appear to be the best in the state of Florida.
From the video I’ve seen and the people I’ve talked to, I’d have to say that George Farmer (Gardena, Calif., Junipero Serra) is the top receiver nationally. He’ll be one that everyone will be talking about this season. I also like USC verbal Victor Blackwell (Santa Ana, Calif., Mater Dei) and Fontana, Calif., Summit’s Devon Blackmon, who were total studs at Gridiron Kings.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins will be making his choice on Aug. 16 between Florida, Texas and Washington. My question is has Texas offered him, and if not will he be a Gator?
After talking with Seferian-Jenkins at Gridiron Kings, he’s all about Texas. That is his school and that’s where he wants to go. The only issue is that he hasn’t been offered, but he told me expects to get an offer once he visits, which he is Friday. That could pretty much seal it for him. If Texas offers I expect him to commit on the Aug. 16. However, he says that it won’t be a done deal if he’s offered. Florida and Miami are still very much in the picture, he said. He likes the idea of playing in the state of Florida and loved both schools when he visited this spring.
Texas has the advantage, but if for some reason he isn’t offered, I give Florida the slight edge right now. But the tight end position is filling up in Gainesville.