Ask Aschoff 11/17

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Pretty disappointing weekend for Florida in its SEC finale. So far, the reception from recruits hasn’t been that bad, but Florida did lose out on two official visitors Jordan Prestwood and Aaron Lynch — who committed to Florida State earlier this week. By all accounts, both were pretty heavy learns toward FSU anyway. Still, last weekend will go a long way toward forming Florida’s class and right now it’s in a pretty big lull. But December official visits are coming up, and Florida’s staff is hoping that will help pick recruiting back up.

Remember, Twitter is your friend and be sure to tweet questions to me — @EdAschoffGSUN. Me putting your twitter name in my mailbag is a great gift for the holidays, so don’t miss out!

Lots to get to, including my own predictions, so on to the questions!

Give me a bold or big recruiting prediction that happens before signing day, good or bad.
@Palhaco1

So many different directions I could go with this one. Do I say that Florida’s class crumbles with the mediocre season the Gators have had? Do I say that none of that really matter because losing hasn’t become a regularity around Gainesville? Decisions, decisions. Instead of predicting what kind of class Florida will or won’t have, I am going to make a prediction on a couple of prospects Florida is going hard after.

I’ll start with the bad news for Gators fans. From the start, I’ve said that Wadesboro, N.C., Anson linebacker Stephone Anthony was very high on the Gators. He’s always mentioned Florida as being his top school and he’s talked about how much he likes Florida’s coaching staff. The only problem is that each time he’s talked about visiting Gainesville, something comes up. He was supposed to visit for the LSU game and didn’t make it. There were rumors about him possibly coming for the South Carolina game, but again he didn’t show. Then last week he came out to say that Florida is no longer the overall leader and that the Gators were in a tie with Virginia Tech and Clemson. Doesn’t sound like a big deal with so much time left in the recruiting process, but the problem for Florida is that he’s seen those schools and has yet to make it to Florida’s campus. He told Scout.com after his visit to North Carolina that he plans to officially visit Florida along with Virginia Tech and Clemson. The interesting thing in all of this is that Florida seems to have gotten back into the mix with Lauderdale Lakes Boyd Anderson linebacker Kent Turene, who is committed to USC. The more the staff talks with other linebackers, the more the coaches feel uneasy about one, and I think that one is Anthony. Considered a “lock” for Florida at the beginning of the year, I am leaning toward him not ending up in Florida’s class. I see Clemson holding a slight advantage over Virginia Tech.

But I come with good news as well for Florida fans. While Lake City Columbia defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan dropped Florida from his list of favorites, the Gators are far from out of it for him. He made a last-second trip to Gainesville last weekend for the South Carolina game. His decision to come to Gainesville was a stunner to most, but what really got people going was that he came back to Gainesville Tuesday for the Florida-Ohio State basketball game. He was standing off to the side of Florida’s bench with Meyer and few other Florida players. This is no little deal by any means. The more Jernigan is around Florida’s coaching staff, the better for Florida. It seems that the main thing keeping Florida down in this one is that Jernigan is looking for a little change in his life. Gainesville is so close to his home and his sister lives here that attending UF might not be the change he’s looking for. However, the more he stays around Florida’s staff and the more he’s in Gainesville, the more likely he’ll end up in Florida’s class. If that trend continues I see Jernigan committing to Florida during the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in January.

We can only hope to land a recruit like George Farmer, but lets say we have no shot at him. What other WR recruits are the Gators looking at seriously? You hear the names like Sammy Watkins and Kelvin Benjamin often thrown around. Do we have a legit shot at these two guys? It seems like we need some serious playmakers at wideout, some real “Harvin” like playmakers.
— Dalton Smith

I’ll start the conversation by talking a little about Farmer. Word is that he had a great trip to Gainesville and was really impressed by Florida’s stadium and crowd. The outcome didn’t really affect him. That’s both good and bad for Florida. It’s good because the best offensive player in the nation had a good time on the trip. It’s bad because it really seems like a tease to Florida’s coaches and fans. USC has been the school from the beginning and while he says he’s open and will take his visits, the chance of him leaving California or the West Coast seem slim.

As for other wide receiver prospects, Florida has few options left this year. With two guys in Ja’Juan Story and Javares McRoy committed, Florida will look to get at least one more in this class. Three will probably be it for the Gators. Benjamin (Belle Glade Glades Central) is very high on Florida’s list and so is Watkins (South Fort Myers). Benjamin and Florida wide receivers coach Zach Azzanni are very close, but there is talk that Florida State might have taken the lead for Benjamin. One thing I think is pushing Benjamin away from Florida a little is the play of Florida’s offense. He told me he wants to see Florida throw the ball more and get its receivers involved.

Watkins is a guy who seemed to be a perfect fit for Florida’s offense. His half-brother Jaylen Watkins is already on the team, and with his size and speed he figured to be a great weapon in Florida’s spread. The problem is that he’s just not as interested in the Gators as a lot of people once thought. Florida isn’t even in his top list of schools, but he made the trip to Gainesville anyway. It didn’t do much to change his feelings toward Florida and it looks like Clemson, Michigan and Miami will be his finalists.

Florida is looking at Moreno Valley, Calif., Rancho Verde’s Junior Pomee, but he’s most likely going to end up a tight end in college. Florida does have a great shot at landing him, and he visited Gainesville over the weekend and said he had a pretty good time.

If Florida can’t land Benjamin, the staff could be done at wide receiver in this class, unless another name pops up in the next couple of months.

All of you who booed … say goodbye to the recruits. Thanks for your stupidity. This is not pro football. Maybe you should remember that the next time you feel inclined to boo college athletes or a coach who just won you two NC … TRUE GATORS DO NOT BOO GATOR players or coaches. PERIOD. You might want to but you don’t. Show more GATOR NATION pride next time, please.
TampaGator

This isn’t a question, but I wanted to address this issue since it has come up before this season. Fans booed against LSU and booed against Mississippi State and the booing at South Carolina was pretty loud, too. I’ve seen a lot discussion about if booing really does turn recruits off. From all the guys I’ve talked to, booing doesn’t seem to be a problem. It can mean a couple of things to recruits. First, these kids aren’t dumb. They know when an offense looks bad, especially with how well the offenses at Florida have looked in the past. A couple of kids said if the fans are upset with how the team is playing, it’s their right to express whatever feelings they want. They paid their money to watch the game and it’s the team’s responsibility to show up. One recruit told me he didn’t hear the boos while he was watching the game on TV, but that it wouldn’t bother him because fans have that right. These guys aren’t so thin-skinned that they would let boos get to them.

Another way for prospects to take it is that Florida’s fan base is that passionate. Every recruit I talked to that was in Gainesville over the weekend said the crowd and the atmosphere was incredible, boos included.

Some people get pretty bent out of shape over booing a team and how it might affect kids looking at that team, but in the end, it’s not that big of a deal to these kids. Some don’t even notice it when they are at the game.

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 redshirted?
—IGTBAG!

While this isn’t directly a recruiting question, Brown was one of Florida’s top recruits last year and I’ve gotten a ton of questions about him this season. In regards to playing time, he’s been bothered by a hamstring injury that he had during his entire high school career. It got really bad his senior year and after everyone thought it was gone, it came back this season. The staff tried to use him on special teams, but he couldn’t get through practices. Though he’s played in three games this year, there’s still a chance the staff might try to redshirt him.

There has also been a little issue with his weight. He entered training camp weighing 193 pounds. Brown told me before the summer that the coaches wanted to get him to at least 210 or maybe 215 before they could really think about using him consistently in games. I’ve been told that hasn’t happened, yet. I expect Brown to get more reps during the spring, if he can get his weight up. The goal is for Brown to be the big back Meyer has wanted and the hope is to use him more next year if he can get to and stay between 210 and 215.

16 COMMENTS

  1. ED, please help me understand the thinking behind NOT playing Jordan Reed full-time at QB? thats what we recruited him as. He came all the way from conn. to play QB in a spread-option offence, like the one we run…. when Brantly isnt playing. I guess what im really asking is , dose it matter who we recruit if steve addazio is still in charge of the offence? My 80 yr old grandma is calling out what plays we are running befor the snap! IM NOT JOKEING!

  2. Dose any high-levle recruit that you talk too express any concern over playing in steve addazios offence? From the storys I have herd on this site, alot of the recruits in-fact are turned-off by the terrible play calls. who can blame em?

  3. Ed, which DB in the 2011 class do you think will see the field the fastest? And why? Also, everyone knows Jernigan is the “big fish” still out there however, what other d-line prospects do you think we have a legitimate shot at(looks like that team out west-fsu- is racking up? As you know defense wins championships….

  4. Tomk – It wouldn’t matter if J. Reed came from China. Brantley has not only earned his right to take over this offense, but he waited way longer than J. Reed has been around to do so. Everybody knows Brantley had dibs on the QB spot after Tebow left. I think anyone with half a brain know what is really wrong with this team. It is hands down the coaching and their stubbornness to adapt to the players they have; although by listening to them they would have you believe that they are capable of adapting. How else to you explain an offense who is currently just slight above Louisiana LaFayette in terms of national rankings. 80s-90s rankings with top 5 talent in terms of recruiting. How is finding that next Harvin working out for you guys??

    All I know is for my next vacation trip I am booking it to whatever fantasy land Meyer and Addazio are living in. Hope to see ya’ll there!!

  5. I have been on here before beating the drum for Jamal Golden from Wetumpka AL. I’m still beating that drum. He was awesome against Alabama 6A powerhouse Prattville. (Prattville is the team that knocked off Hoover in the state championship while their show was airing on MTV. Before this year they also had gone to 5 consecutive state championship games.) He accounted for over 300 yards of offense. You can see the highlights at: http://www.wsfa.com/Global/category.asp?C=57225 select the Prattville vs Wetumpka clip. I know Jamal may not be projected as a QB at the college level, but he definitely would be a great athlete to have on any team. Also, there is a receiver on the Wetumpka team by the name of Demario Bell. He is the one who hauled in the 78 yard touchdown pass and out ran the Prattville Defense. He also went up over 2 Prattville defenders and caught a 12 yard TD pass.

  6. Ed – Florida is obviously good at recruiting Florida and lately, California. However, there seems to be an abundance of talent in Texas and Louisiana. How would you grade each state’s crop of talent and Florida’s ability to penetrate those talent bases? Are there any other states that Florida should look at (e.g. Virginia)?

  7. Thanks Ed, for specifically mentioning the relatively minimal effect that some of the negative fan reaction has had. I think we’re all probably more than a little concerned, about how much of an effect the recent poor play of the team, will have on the eventual 2011 recruiting class. Could you give us a rundown of what you know about our current commits, and where they stand? I definitely haven’t heard of any decommitments, but is anyone waivering? Also, it was mentioned before that Driskel and Blakely would both be campaigning for Florida, and trying to pull in new guys. How is that going?

  8. Ed, great reporting as always. Wondering about Florida’s OL recruiting situation this year and next. With Carl Johnson, James Wilson and Matt Patchan in consecutive recruiting classes it looked like Florida was becoming a 5-Star OL pipeline, but it has weakened a bit in recent years. What’s the future outlook?

  9. Ed,

    Your research and insights into Gator recruiting is great!
    Thanks for sharing your observations!

    My question is about the Star rating system. I understand it ia mainly based on physical/observed statistics. How does one evaluate a player like Kerwin Bell. He came to Florida as a walkon, 5th string quarterback. Injuries and other factors allowed himt to quarterback in the Orange and Blue game. Coaches were immediately impressed with his talents. How was he so far under the radar? Do we need to add a 1-5 heart measurement to insure that attitude and committment are also looked at? ______ has 4 stars in performance/potential and 5 hearts (because he will put team above himself, attends class, shows class in losing, respects his teachers and coaches…).
    The heart measure would probably measure teachability and that a kid isn’t a prima-donna. I have taught at schools where a star football player was not disciplined for misbehavior because coadh needed them for Friday. Great message to send to them, right..)

  10. So after two visits to Florida last weekend, and spending tons of time with the staff.. Whats the news on Timmy Jernigan..? Do you think him leaving Florida out of his top 4 was more of negative recruiting than how he really feels about the Gators..?