Recruiting is going to star to heat up now that the college football season is underway. Official visits will begin, and now kids will truly start to evaluate what they see from programs on the field.
With no further delay, on to the questions!
Ed, What does it take to be a five-star athlete? How are their qualifications different from a four-star prospect? About how many five-star football prospects are there in a given year?
— Bob Hines
I went directly to the source on this one and talked to a Rivals.com recruiting analyst. He said there’s nothing scientific about it. They study endless amounts of film and go evaluate kids live. Overall ability and athleticism are obviously part of the evaluation process, but they also look at the competition that the prospects play against. The grade scale deals with a mathematical formula that is just out of control and hard to understand, but at the end of the day, these guys basically evaluate all of the obvious tools the prospects either do or don’t possess.
The numbers used to determine start rankings are relatively random. A guy like Florida quarterback commit Jeff Driskel is rated a four-star prospect by Rivals and has a 6.0 rating, while a five-start recruit, like James Wilder Jr., is rated at 6.1. Most four stars range from 5.8-6.0. It’s a complicated system if you start to think about the mathematics they come up with for the ratings, but those numbers are developed primarily from the eyeball test.
Hey Edward, I enjoy reading your weekly mailbag. If the Gator coaches were to hand pick their top 5 recruits and they had to sign, who would they get at this point in the recruiting season? (They can’t pick players committed elsewhere)
— Eugenio Cortez
Thanks for the kind words, Eugenio. Since I believe Florida has about 10 spots left, this top five could be critical to how Florida shapes up its class. Well, not really because I’m sure the staff isn’t actually looking at blog for advice on how to recruit. But I think I might know a little about the recruiting world, so why not give it a shot?
My top five left on Florida’s wish list:
1. RB – Mike Blakely (Bradenton Manatee) Blakely is a guy who has had Florida at the top of his list for a while, but as the year has drawn on it feels like he’s starting to look around more. Auburn is a team to watch out for and he recently gave the Tigers a slight edge over the Gators. Blakely is one of the shiftiest and strongest backs in the country and I think he’d fit in whatever offense Florida finally decides to run. He might be further away from the program now than he was earlier in the year, but if Florida and Blakely finally get on the same page I think it’d be hard for him not to commit.
2. LB – Curtis Grant (Richmond, Va., Hermitage) — Besides Tony Steward, who is the top linebacker in the country, Grant is the next guy Florida’s staff is looking at. Steward would probably surpass him on this list if it wasn’t a foregone conclusion that Florida State has the upper hand. Watching him over the summer, he’s got great wheels and great awareness. I wish I could have seen him hit someone! Grant is a guy who had Florida at the top of his list this summer and word is that he tried to get to Gainesville for the Miami (Ohio) game. That’s definitely a good sign for the Gators. He’s taking his time with recruitment this fall, which is smart, and he told me he won’t be making officials until later in the year.
3. DT – Timmy Jernigan (Lake City Columbia) — Jernigan is a guy who gets better as the season goes on. He gets into better shape and seems to get stronger. He’s got great bursts, but has a tendency to get a little lazy toward the end of plays. To his credit, that has been more of an early season issues because his sack and tackle numbers seems to rise throughout the year. Florida State is the main competition for Florida, but Florida has had a lead for a while. I like the Seminoles’ push of late, and look out for Alabama, with whom Jernigan has had a lot of contact.
4. LB – Stephone Anthony (Wadesboro, N.C., Anson) — He’s had Florida at the top of his list for what seems like forever. The good thing for Anthony is that Florida is just as interested. He’s a fast, athletic and strong guy who would fit right in with Florida’s speedy linebackers. Word is that he could visit Gainesville for the Kentucky game (Sept. 24), but he won’t make a decision until January. Clemson and North Carolina are the teams that could most likely challenge Florida this year.
5. DE – Curt Maggit (West Palm Beach Dywer) — Talking to him over the summer, Florida was the leader and little has happened to change that. He’s a guy who is taking his time with recruiting and will announce after the season in late December. I like Florida’s odds to this point.
Ed, really appreciate your insight and hard work. On a completely unrelated matter, can you tell us if our pitcher who was a first-round MLB pick (forgot his name) ever made it to school? Thank You.
— “Bo” Hyde
Karsten Whitson (Chipley), who pulled a shocker as the No. 9 pick in this year’s MLB Draft by not signing with the San Diego Padres, is on campus. If everything goes as I expect, he’ll be the ace of Florida’s pitching staff. He was lights out in high school and has the arm to take over as the Friday night guy for Florida. He won’t start out as the No. 1 right away, but he’s got the stuff to be a star quickly in the SEC. The only thing that could hurt him is inexperience, and with the high expectations at Florida, he could feel the pressure early. Knowing coach Kevin O’Sullivan, he won’t rush Whitson, but he’ll let him know early that he’s expected to be a big part of Florida’s rotation.
What are the gators chances of getting Nick O’Leary? The kid is a stud.
The Twitter questions are the best. It lets me know that people are actually reading what I blindly type on my keyboard or phone. Originally, I was never on board as far as seeing O’Leary playing for Florida. For one, he would have to compete with ex-teammate Gerald Christian. Secondly, the system doesn’t truly fit him and he said as much when I spoke with him at Gridiron Kings. He praised Miami and Florida State for the way they use their tight ends. Now, I’m leaning further away from Florida. Miami and FSU are at the top, and Georgia and Alabama are also in the running. I don’t see Florida making up much ground unless the offense blows him away with the way the tight ends are used, and that was certainly lacking in week one.
Is it me, or is recruiting going slower than last few years?
Actually, Florida has more commitments now (15) than it did at this point last year (13). It only seems slow because Florida didn’t get a ton of guys early. But I think this year will go a little slowly because not only is the overall talent down, but Florida has about 10 spots left. That still makes for a ton of excitement for the next few months. What I like is that most of the top recruits out there are taking their time this year. They are actually making their commitments count instead of rushing things. Things will pick up once the season gets going and officials begin, but most of the excitement for Florida will come later in the year and spill over into 2011. Makes for intense times!