Ask Aschoff 10/7

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It’s October and the recruiting is hot. More officials are being taken and more kids are starting to figure out where they fit the best. Florida’s not looking too good on the field, but that shouldn’t hurt the Gators’ recruiting efforts, unless things don’t change.

Good questions this week from a smart bunch of readers. On to the questions!

What are the financial boundaries of these “official visits?” Are the schools allowed to provide air fare or do they have to travel on their own dime? I can’t imagine how some recruits could afford five trips. We always hear about the recruits getting steak dinners but could you give us an overall look at what the schools are permitted to give these kids?
— Daniel M.

Official visits are like free vacations for recruits. They are the fun trips where you don’t have to worry about expenses because universities are allowed to pay for transportation and provide lodging and meals for recruits, their parents or whoever travels with them. Coaches can arrange tours around campus and the football facilities, have them sit in on meetings with players and coaches. Whatever the heart desires.

Recruits are hosted by a player the coaches think will be the best fit, whether it’s a former teammate, someone at the same position, a family member — whatever the coaches think will give them the best chance.

On these visits, recruits get the royal treatment because they are allowed to be on campus for no more than 48 hours. So that’s two days to hang with players and coaches. Players can take them out on the town and show them around. It truly is a special experience for players because most of the attention is on them for two days.

Recruits are allowed five official visits after the first day of classes of their senior year and must send coaches from schools their official ACT or SAT score and a copy of their official high school transcript before the visit. No test? No visit.

Kids love taking visits during the season to get the full game-day feel, but coaches usually prefer after-season visits because they get the full 48 hours to meet with recruits. The later the better.

Ed, many thanks on the great coverage! You’ve mentioned many atime you believe we need another QB in this class. Does UF have any (or many) in mind, and if so who? Do they have a scholly? Dual-threat or pro-style? Thanks again!
— Jack

At this point, it seems that Jeff Driskel is the only quarterback Florida will take. I’ve mentioned that Hollywood Chaminade Madonna athlete Jerrard Randall would be someone to keep an eye on, but the longer it takes for Florida to extend an offer, the less chance the Gators have of pulling him away from his Oregon commitment. Seeing Randall over the summer, I couldn’t get it out of my head how athletic he was, but the Florida’s coaches spent more time working him out at wide receiver than quarterback. When he was at quarterback he and Driskel were easily the best quarterbacks on the field.

As for any others, there aren’t many left on Florida’s radar who aren’t already committed. When I asked Urban Meyer about possibly going after another quarterback in this class he said (without naming names) that he’s happy with his quarterback situation for the future. Look for 2012 to be where Florida goes after another quarterback. As long as Driskel is committed, Florida is done at this point.

Hey Edward. Great stuff. I heard on another board that the Gators are close to pulling another commit very soon … i.e. the next day or so. Might it be Curt Maggitt out of Dwyer? Or maybe Chris Jones out of Minor in AL? Heard a rumor that Jones was committing to Alabama over Florida after practice today, but … again, just a rumor. Thanks!
— Taylor

Well, Jones did commit to Alabama, but I’ve heard rumblings of a possible commitment soon for Florida. It just so happens that Florida is hosting LSU for a major night game in The Swamp. This is a huge recruiting weekend for Florida and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Gators grabbed a commitment from someone.

As far as who I think has the best shot of pulling the trigger? My guess would be Ocala Trinity Catholic safety Chris Johnson. He got a 17 on his ACT, which is what he needed to become eligible to play for a Division I school. He still plans to increase his score, but at this point he’s free to commit anywhere. Florida has been his school from the beginning, but when I spoke with him the other day he said he was still trying to decide on things. South Carolina has now become one of his favorites as well. I’m not promising Johnson will commit now, but he said Florida’s coaches still want to talk to him a little more. Now, if I were Florida, what better way to register some excitement in the locker room (if Florida beats LSU) than having a guy like Johnson announce in front of everyone that he’ll be committing to Florida? If I had to go with someone committing now, I’d go with him.

Ed, what impact do you think all the freshmen playing is having on prospects for the 2011 class? Trey Burton is obviously the trophy recruit now – even though he was not that highly regarded by rating services coming in. But Ronald Powell, Sharrif Floyd, Cody Riggs, Robert Clark and Dominique Easley have all gotten significant playing time. I would think a potential recruit would be encouraged to come here seeing the coaches playing so may freshmen. Have you gotten any feedback on that note?
— jp

It helps a lot. It helps because high school kids can look at Florida and say Meyer likes to play his young guys. Sixteen true freshmen have played this year and that will definitely help Florida sell playing time. It also helps because recruits can look and say, “Hey, these guys aren’t redshirting. That means they have one less year to be there.” It could mean more playing time down the line for some guys.

It always helps when recruits see young guys getting on the field early.

At the same time, some kids could see that they now might have one more person to beat out at a position. It goes both ways, but so far everything I’ve been told is that recruits are happy to see the emphasis put on developing young players on the field.

With the way Meyer is stubbornly insisting on trying to use the same offense with John Brantley running the same plays as Tim Tebow, what do you think the chances of Jeff Driskell having second thoughts about running the offense and maybe signing with another team?
— Ken Frier

Driskel is a different kind of quarterback, who can actually run some of those Tebow plays. The play-calling won’t affect Driskel while he’s in high school. Running more spread plays could actually help because he knows the offense won’t be that much different. Even if the offense turns into more of a pro-style operation while Brantley is there, I don’t expect it to affect him because once he’s in, this offense will be back to its old spread ways. Fans don’t have to be worried about Driskel defecting from Florida unless something unforeseen happens.

2 COMMENTS

  1. I get the feeling that Florida is going after more so-called 3 and 4 star recruits this season, which is fine with me. Is that accurate? Do you have any sense that the Gators are beginning to look at players who might be flying under the radar a little bit, as opposed to going after a lot of 5 star recruits? Would that be a fundamental change in philosophy?
    Thanks.

  2. Hey Ed, thank for all the info. I look forward to your weekly articles. I see that we just signed Chris Johnson out of Ocala, and if he’s half as good as the last Chris Johnson from Florida, we should be fine. I wonder how good this secondary class is shaping up to be, in relation to other classes we’ve seen. In addition to Johnson, we already have Waisome, Purifoy, Saunders, and Showers. In recent memory, we seem to always have good secondarys, but this incoming class could be the best we’ve seen. Is it possible that Florida is becoming known as a destination for top DBs? There sure are worse things to be known for.