UF recruits, prospects enjoy visit despite bad loss

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While Florida’s performance at home against South Carolina was extremely embarrassing, recruits don’t seem to be running for the hills, like Gator fans.

Florida’s south end zone stands were full of top recruits, who by the end of the game looked bored to death. No one can blame them for having such a bad host Saturday night. With the exception of Andre Debose’s touchdown on the opening kick, there wasn’t much for the recruits to get into.

But the sun actually did rise Sunday in Gainesville and recruits seemed to be pretty happy with their visits even if the game wasn’t what they expected.

There are plenty of reasons for recruits to be mostly unaffected by Florida’s blowout loss. For one, these kids look at how Florida played and think they can come in and immediately contribute. No matter how how true or untrue that might be, recruits look at terrible performances and think there’s a real shot at playing. Looking at Florida’s performance, however, that could very well be true.

Another reason is that a lot of the guys who came in for the visit didn’t grow up die-hard Gator fans. Before they actually enroll, fanhood isn’t a major factor. Most guys look at recruiting as a business decision before anything else. Seeing how young Florida is, recruits understand that this team is going to have growing pains.

For the official visitors, the trip wasn’t all about the game, it was about interacting with the coaches and getting to see what Florida’s program is all about. This season is a wash, but kids know what Florida has done in the past. All teams have rebuilding years, and this a major one for Florida. Recruits know that.

Here’s what some guys said Sunday:

Cape Coral Island Coast defensive end Aaron Lynch: Lynch was one of the big fish hanging out in Gainesville for his official visit. He looked pretty bored after the game, but that was when South Carolina was celebrating. Lynch stayed pretty quiet Sunday, but did say in a text message that his visit “went great.” He’s down to Florida and Florida State and should decide soon.

Plant City offensive tackle Jordan Prestwood: Prestwood spoke with Rivals.com about his visit and said that while the game didn’t go as he expected, he now has Florida and Florida State even at the top of his list. Prestwood said Florida’s loss didn’t affect him at all, but what did was how much one of his family members enjoyed the trip. “Everything was good, but the highlight of the weekend was probably how much my mom enjoyed it,” Prestwood told Rivals. “That was the best part of it for me. It’s really important for me that wherever I go that my mom really enjoyed it.” He and Lynch are pretty good friends, so one could have an influence on the other when it comes to a decision.

Gators fullback commit Hunter Joyer: Joyer said he enjoyed his time in Gainesville but was disappointed in how Florida played. Joyer said it seemed like recruits in the stands were enjoying themselves. After the game, the recruits went into the locker room and talked with Coach Urban Meyer. Joyer said the coaches made it clear that Saturday’s game wasn’t an accurate portrayal of Florida’s program. “It just didn’t go their way and (Florida) didn’t play well, but everything will be fine,” Joyer said.

Gators cornerback commit Valdez Showers: Showers watched the game back at home in Michigan. Showers said Florida’s team is just young and that it looks like players aren’t on the same page, but expects that to change next year. He agreed that after Debose’s touchdown, Florida didn’t have any juice whatsoever. “They started off off with a lot of intensity,” he said. “They needed to put a big hit on the quarterback and running back and they didn’t. The offense failed to put up the points.” When asked if he heard the boos from Gator fans during the game, Showers said he didn’t, but also wasn’t bothered by it. “Fans are fans,” he said. “They pay their money to see a good game or the team they want to win. They are entitled to their opinion.”

Gators athlete commit Clay Burton: You could see Burton was making the rounds with recruits in the stands. He was trying to talk to as many guys as he could. (The recruits) “all seemed to be loving it,” he said. Though the game didn’t go the way he wanted either, Burton said the fans really made the environment special.” The atmosphere was crazy, but they just didn’t play well enough to win,” he said.

Gators offensive line commit Chase Hounshell: Like Showers, Hounshell watched the game from home in Ohio. And like Showers, he wasn’t too upset with Florida’s performance because he understands how young the team is. He’s still very solid with his commitment and said he only expects things to get better for the Gators. “They are just young,” he said. “The experience and flow will come. I’m not worried about it at all.”

Gators wide receiver commit Ja’Juan Story: Story was in the stands Saturday and said in a text message that his visit was “Awesome.” Story is a solid commitment to Florida and is a guy who with maybe a year of work will be someone an offense like this will need if he can really utilize his speed with the size he has.

Gators 2012 wide receiver commit Latroy Pittman: Pittman has been one of the more critical recruits when it comes to talking about Florida’s offense, but no one can really blame him for his honesty. He knows what he sees. With that said, he’s still a very strong Florida commitment. He and 2011 quarterback commitment Jeff Driskel have become really close and Pittman said he’s excited to get on campus and work with him. As for Saturday’s game, he was there and said he enjoyed his time with the other recruits and the staff, but said Florida’s team is very young and has a hard time getting anything going, but expects things to change next season. “It’ll be better next year,” he said.

30 COMMENTS

  1. No lines from Mr. Timmy Jernigan? Word is he left at half time. Hope the kid keeps us in consideration, but you know what they say if he doesn’t… If you’re not a Gator, you’re Gatorbait!

    Thanks again Ed. Good to know that some of these kids have a better understanding than most fans on how teams can fluxuate from year to year. It’s hard to dominate when you lose the kind of talent we lost. But, it looks like most of these guys aren’t jumping ship and are primed to turn this thing around.

  2. As much as I appreciate Addazio and his heart for the Gators he just isn’t effective as the OC. I think there is still some doubt about Urban’s commitment. You can’t be half in and half out. I know how important family is but football has given he and his family the opportunity of a lifetime. These boys deserve his full attention. By the way, when the fans express their dissatisfaction, its with the coaching…not the players. And by the way, we have EVERY RIGHT to do so. We have our hearts and souls and money invested in the team and all we get in return is an opportunity to feel like we belong to something special. It don’t pay our bills. If I were coach Meyer I would have given up some of my money to keep Mullins in Florida and Strong as well. His life would be much easier!

  3. Those recruits are saying the right thing but they know Addazio and his play calling is a problem. Maybe they know something we don’t. If we don’t pull Brantley and Addazio all these recruits will be wasted next year.

  4. They enjoyed the game despite the loss? Is that why about half of them got up and left about halfway through the third quarter? That said, these recruits know football as they have played it most of their lives. I did too in high school as well. MIKE, the only solution to our problems will be when Steve Addazio is gone and he takes his 7 points a game offense with him.

  5. I’ve been a gator fan since i was born… And that will never change. It’s good to see the recruits are seeing the big picture..
    The gators have to overhaul the program from top to bottom. This recruiting cycle isn’t done till 02/03/2011 and Meyer will succeed. 2011 recruiting class might not be the answer but it will help turn it around.

  6. I will always love the Gators but I refuse to stand behind Meyer anymore. Meyer is the only person in Gator Nation that doesn’t want to admit Addazio can’t handle his job. Meyer also doesn’t want to admit that Brantley is no good, regardless of what plays we run he can’t get it done. The fact that Meyer is bringing back Addazio and sticking with Brantley let’s me know he has lost his mind. Maybe the pills he takes for his chest pain is making him psycho! Jeremy Fooley needs to call Peterson from Boise and see if he is interested in the H.C. position.

  7. Obviously, prospects know who the top programs are.
    They look up Rivals, Scout, and ESPN to check out recruiting, just like us.
    They know that UF is perennially in the top five recruiting classes.
    So, will our poor season scare them away??
    In other years it may have, but this year we have a saving grace,… the Texas Longhorns!
    They too annually challenge for the top recruiting class, yet they are struggling this year even more-so than we are!
    And historically, Texas is no slouch nor johnny-come-lately.
    They are in 2nd place in total number of wins, 3rd place in winning percentage, and only seven teams in college football history have played more games than them.
    Even defending BCS Champion Alabama, also a recruit magnet, is in the throes of a sub-par season – already out of the SEC Champ. game, and facing a probable third loss.
    So, INFORMED prospects should not be affected by our performance this year.
    THANK YOU TEXAS! …”Hook ’em Horns!” (sorry).
    IGTBAG!
    Ciao

  8. Prestwood and Lynch going to FSU. Wonder how many more we loose with that pathetic offense we are running. When my brother and I can call our plays before we run them I know a good defensive coordinator can. I thought we were predictable last year and my wife reminded me of being critical of our offensive play calling last year. I am sure this is being noticed by recruits on the offensive side of the ball (could be good or bad). Go Gators and lets turn this thing around.

  9. Ed —
    Our running game has been hampered because our RB’s have been injury riddled. Why has Mack Brown been virtually ignored? Can he still be red shirted?
    IGTBAG!
    Ciao
    PS: Speaking of him, it’s interesting that both Florida and Texas, each struggling mightily, have MACK BROWNs in their football programs. Oooh,… twilight zone!; Do, DO, Do, do – Do, DO, Do, do!!

  10. Aaron lynch and jordan prestwood commited to FSU after the florida loss. Lynch on monday and prestwood on tuesday , lossing that bad with little effort and watching urban on the side lines looking lost. we have to win the next 2 games both are very important. Beat fsu at doak would be a huge boost.

  11. QUICK, Brown has been nursing a hamstring injury for over a month now. That’s probably the reason. HAROLD, I heard all that “we’ll turn this around talk” during the Zook Era, and it never happened. Sometimes, even the best intentions by a HBC fail (like Meyer’s promoting Addazio to OC instead of the QUALIFIED assistant Billy Gonzales). The problem wasn’t “turned around” until Zook was fired. Meyer is a smart guy, but his personal loyalties blind him to what’s going on. I still believe SA will be gone after this season because they will work this out that SA left for another job instead of Meyer having to demote or fire him. Addazio will end up with a head coaching job at a lesser school somewhere IMO. We have three top 5 recruiting clases on this roster right now, so there is NO EXCUSE for this mediocrity and incompetence. The main thing is, Meyer is being paid $4 million a year by UF to run this football program, and personal loyalties come second. I have no problems with the coaching staff being close friends, but this isn;t like Meyer has SA’s back in a bar fight or is helping him build a deck on his house, this is BUSINESS… MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR business, and Meyer needs to make the call on Addazio and demore or fire him. Just imagine the potential revenues UF lost by not winning the East Title last Saturday alone. CFB is a business, and it has to be run like one.

  12. Meyer, may be loyal, even to a fault, but I doubt that carries much weight with Jeremy Foley. Adazzio will be gone after this season, hopefully with a face-saving option like a head coaching job elsewhere. Meyer may be blinded by loyalty, but Foley’s been here before. Adios Adazzio. Say hi to Illinois for me.

  13. I agree with Todd regarding Adazio. He is a great recruiter but should not be an offensive coordinator. Since Dan Mullen left, the offense has been predictable, basic and mostly inept against good teams. The offense survived the past two years in large part due to Tim Tebow and some talented receivers. Was it my imagination or did we run the shovel pass to Hernandez last year over 10 times a game. This year, we must have run the pass the flats to Rainey/Demps over 10 times a game with most resulting in only a few yards or a loss on the play (and not it did not look like a check down from other routes, it looked to me like it was the primary read). Also, the reason we are not more explosive is that the talented offensive line cannot handle the blitz. I forget, who is our offensive line coach?

  14. Looks like Lynch and Prestwood just committed to FSU. Maybe the kids do have a sense that one program is on the rise and the other has insane fans. But maybe they were leaning towards FSU before the game. I wouldn’t be surprised if the terrible game helped make their decision.

  15. Don’t look now but Lynch and Prestwood have comitted to the Noles. Meyer put himself and UF on top with an explosive offense that was fun and exciting to watch. His comittment to keep Adazzio in the fold as his O cord. will hurt UF big time this year…..in areas other than the field.

  16. @Harold —
    Ill advised decisions were made on the Titanic, too. Some turned a blind eye. They thought even if they run into trouble – a reversal of fortune, call it (they were trying to impress by speeding up their arrival time) – they’d be able to “turn it around” no matter what! This was the Titanic, afterall – it was unsinkable!; and most strongly concurred!
    It was smooth sailing and good times most of the way, but then,… well, let’s just say the faithful Captain realized – too late – the error of his way(s)!
    To this day, still, many people are big fans of everything Titanic, myself included! They’re fascinated with the retelling of its tragic demise; of how the mighty had fallen.
    And why not? – it was a great… er,… MOVIE!
    IGTBAG!
    Ciao
    PS: If we (Gator Fans & Coaches specifically [and Americans in general]) don’t learn from history, then we are…
    if we don’t learn from history, then we are…
    if we don’t learn, then we…
    if we don’t, then…
    if, then…
    if,… if,… if,… … … …

  17. How long does a comment have to “wait for moderation” before it gets published. I made 2 comments on the 16th, neither with inappropriate language or content, and both are still “awaiting moderation”. What gives?