All those Gator ledge-jumpers should calm down for a second.
Well, those concerned about the team’s offensive woes after the mortifying display at Alabama, stay put.
Those there because they are afraid Bama’s 31-6 rout inside one of the most impressive stadiums in the country and in front of one of the most tenacious crowds I’ve ever seen, relax.
Yes, Florida looked overmatched and that was a pretty amazing atmosphere to be a part of, but Florida shouldn’t feel too much of a negative repercussion as far as recruiting is concerned. Not only was a small group of prospects Florida is heavily going after in attendance, but this game means little in the grand scheme of recruiting — for the Gators at least.
For Alabama, yes, this was an incredible way to treat recruits. For guys interested in the Tide, this game only rivals the season finale against Auburn in excitement.
For Florida, it meant little as far as going after prospects.
First, not many prospects who were in attendance are guys of interest for Florida. That’s not to say they aren’t talented. I mean, Nick Saban pretty much showed he’s rivaling Urban Meyer as the nation’s best recruiter with the talent he showed Saturday. A question that should be asked is if Florida will start to piggyback Saban for guys after major difference in talent seen on that field?
Guys who were of major interest to Florida’s staff included tight end commitment A.C. Leonard (Jacksonville University Christian), West Palm Beach Dwyer defensive end Curt Maggit, St. Augustine Pedro Menendez linebacker Tony Steward and Tide safety commit Hasean Clinton-Dix (Orlando Dr. Phillips).
Some other prospects there on Florida’s radar were Moultrie, Ga., Colquitt County offensive tackle Xzavier Ward, Lagrange, Ga., Troup athlete Quan Bray and Griffin, Ga., defensive end Xzavier Dickson.
There were tons of prospects in Tuscaloosa, but Florida wasn’t either in it for or going after a bunch.
One thing that could unease Gator fans is the fact Leonard made his second official visit of the year away from Gainesville. He told Rivals.com he thoroughly enjoyed his trip to Alabama and he’s got some thinking to do. He hasn’t changed his mind on Florida and still considers himself a Gator commit. Remember, from the start he said he was planning to take all of his official visits.
Secondly, with how Florida played, depth becomes a factor for Gator recruits. This could be one of those games where prospects look and see where they could fit in, where they could make plays that didn’t happen. It seems at this point, there’s more emphasis put on playing time and early contributions.
It’s also a way to fire up committed players. From the guys I’ve talked to, they’re even more motivated after a loss they didn’t even take part in. This has turned into a pride situation for some Gator commits. That helps recruits bond rather than waver.
Another reason Gator fans shouldn’t fret over the loss? This is just one loss. As ugly as it was, outside of the last two games with the Tide, Florida hasn’t lost much. It’s not like losing is an on-going trend.
When it starts to be, that’s when you should worry.
I’ve gotten a lot of messages about how this loss might affect Florida’s recruiting efforts from here on out, so I felt it necessary to give my opinion on the matter.
I’m not saying this will jump-start recruiting for Florida, but I definitely don’t think it will crush this class or the next.