Ask Aschoff 12/1


Welcome to the first December addition of “Ask Aschoff.” We here at the most popular Gators recruiting mailbag want to thank you for all the questions we’ve received this week. We had so many that it actually took me a while to figure out which five would make the cut. Keep them coming! Obviously, comment questions are the norm, but don’t forget to submit questions via Twitter (@EdAschoffGSUN).

We’ve got a lot to get into today. The fact that it’s December is huge in itself. First, I’m sure most of you out there didn’t think anyone would get through that disaster of a season the Gators had. But, hey, everyone made it out alive and we can all concentrate on getting those Christmas decorations in order. We can also concentrate on the next few months of recruiting. These are crucial months for every team, but Florida coach Urban Meyer said these will be two of the most crucial months for Florida recruiting. There are plenty of holes this team needs to fill and these next couple of months will go a long way to making that happen.

So, sit back with that cup of hot cocoa, turn on some John Legend and lets get on to the questions!

Ask Aschoff, we desperately need a dominant DE. Where do we go from here? Ray Drew? Any chance at Jadeveon Clowney?

Unfortunately for Florida, there aren’t a ton of top-flight defensive ends left out there that haven’t already been snatched up. Also, it hurts that defensive line coach Dan McCarney is gone. All of these guys will be impacted by McCarney’s departure because they don’t know who will be coaching them if they were to go to Florida. Ray Drew (Thomasville, Ga., Thomas County Central) is one of the top defensive linemen in the country, and Florida has been making a major push lately. Last weekend, I was told tight ends coach Brian White went up to Thomasville to check in on Drew. It’s only about 20 minutes away from Tallahassee, so the trip to see him made sense. Drew recently cut his list to his final six and Florida made the cut. The surprise was the fact that Florida State didn’t make his list. He plans to commit to one of the schools listed in his final six and the Gators are sitting in good position, but I still really like Georgia and Auburn here. Georgia has always been near the top, and Auburn has done a great job recruiting him. This one is far from over, but Florida will have to make up some ground on those other schools. Remember, there was a rumor that it was Drew that Meyer was giving that Gator chomp to after the Georgia game.

Jadeveon Clowney was never really recruited much by Florida. He said very early that with Ronald Powell at Florida, he didn’t have much interest in heading to Gainesville. South Carolina could be the school for him in the end, but Alabama and Clemson are pushing hard.

The guy Meyer is now personally recruiting is Tampa Alonso’s Anthony Chickillo. He’s currently committed to Miami, but is upset with the firing of coach Randy Shannon. If Miami brings in a big name, I don’t see things really changing with him, but Florida has always been in the picture. He’s a Miami legacy, but if he’s not comfortable with the new UM coach, Florida has a great shot here. Chickillo is one of those blue-collar guys whom Meyer loves. Unfortunately for Florida, Chickillo and McCarney had a very good relationship.

Guys like Ishaq Williams (Brooklyn, N.Y., Abraham Lincoln), Xzavier Dickson (Griffin, Ga.) and Todd Barr (Lakewood, Calif.) are all guys on Florida’s radar. Barr has already been in for an official visit and he’s someone who could play both inside or outside on the line. It looks like the West Coast schools have the edge right now for Barr, though. Williams was supposed to visit Florida over the summer a couple of times and never made it in. I’m not expecting to see him make a trip to Gainesville any time soon. Dickson is someone to keep an eye on. He’s expressed interest in Florida, but there are other schools higher on his list. Still a long time until National Signing Day.

So after two visits to Florida last weekend, and spending tons of time with the staff, what’s 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?
— Simply Wess

From what I know about Jernigan’s recruitment, Florida isn’t out of it by any means. He has a very close relationship with Meyer, but he also was really close to McCarney. That could hurt Florida, but I think Meyer taking over his recruitment will help.

Jernigan is all about seeing what is the best fit and seeing what’s out there for him. He’s got so many ties to Gainesville and UF, that if he were to be a Gator, not much would really change for him. There’s nothing wrong with that. He has to be happy with where he really wants to go. Too many times there are kids who go to schools they really don’t want to attend and things never really pan out. It’s happened at Florida a few times recently.

Alabama, FSU, Michigan and LSU are the favorites he’s listed, but he told me at his U.S. Army All-American Game ceremony that he could go to a school not listed in his top four. He’s going through the recruiting process and trying to find out what’s best for him. That’s always a good thing for kids. Actually taking the time to THINK is what some kids lack in recruiting.

On Florida’s end, there have been questions about Jernigan’s work ethic at times. That’s actually on everyone’s end, really. Wherever he goes, he’ll have to improve that and his playing shape immediately.

What do you think would be the impact on recruiting if there is a change in the offensive coordinator position? Thanks.
— Doug

It really depends on who Florida gets. Remember, while fans may despise Steve Addazio’s play-calling, he’s an excellent recruiter. A lot of Florida’s commitments have developed strong relationships with him. His impact at Florida goes beyond the offense. He was the guy who kept last year’s recruiting class and the team together during the whole Meyer saga.

With that said, there are some recruits who are really unsure what Florida is going to do, and that is hurting UF. It’s never good when recruits don’t know who will be coaching them when they arrive. If Florida is going to make a change, that change needs to come sooner rather than later. Florida needs to give its recruits time to think about and adjust to the new coach. The later it is in the recruiting process, the harder it is for kids to feel comfortable.

Everyone knows how awful Florida was on the offense this year, but it wasn’t all on Addazio. The players fumbled, threw interceptions, ran poor routes, dropped balls, had penalties called on them and had no idea what they were doing on the field, not Addazio. Recruits see the problems with Florida and not all are sold on it being Addazio. If Florida were to make a change and made a big splash with a hire who blows recruits away, then of course things would probably go pretty well with Florida. Finding someone known for having an explosive SPREAD offense is the key if a hire is going to be made.

To me, the biggest thing right now is the uncertainty surrounding Florida’s program. Kids don’t know who will be coaching on this staff next year. That is the biggest impact at this point.

Where do you see Jeoffrey Pagan ending up along with the Serra boys?

— James_Bravo

Well, I’ll start with the easy one. By Serra boys, I assume you mean wide receiver George Farmer and athlete Marqise Lee. I’d be shocked if both didn’t end up at USC. That’s the school that has been out in front for both guys since the beginning, but both insist all the school they’re interested in are even. Yeah, whatever. The only other school I think could pull those guys away from USC is Oregon. Both had good visits to Florida, but it was almost like a tease for the coaches and fans.

As for Jeoffrey Pagan, this one could be pretty exciting. He’s been very iffy on his Florida commitment for a while, but the loss of McCarney was one of the reasons he decided to cut ties. While linebackers/special teams coach D.J. Durkin was pretty big in his recruitment to Florida, not having a defensive line coach didn’t feel right with Pagan. The school I’ve heard the most about concerning him since his decommitment is Clemson. He’s always liked Clemson and the Tigers have never stopped recruiting him. It’s very close to home as well. One source said Clemson is the presumed new favorite for Pagan. Alabama and Tennessee are also schools I think will get a lot of interest from him.

Still, there is still a lot of time for Florida to find a new defensive line coach and for NSD to get here. He’ll still probably visit Florida for an official and by then a new coach could be added. My opinion is that if he doesn’t end up back in Florida’s class, he’ll end up at Clemson.

Ed, I was wondering if you have watched ESPN’s latest 30 for 30 film documenting Marcus Dupree? I have often thought that the recruiting process these days is nothing but a clown show. It probably is, but after watching this it made me realize that recruiting 30 years ago was even worse. There just was not the coverage and access to all that took place. I have watched many of these films and this was one of their best so far. In your lifetime who would you say is the best overall recruit that you have watched?
— Chas

Man, you couldn’t have summed up recruiting any better. It really is a clown show. It’s fun to cover and follow, but man you have to wade through so many egos from all directions. Also, I’m ashamed to say that even as a Mississippi boy, I haven’t seen that “30 for 30” episode. I went to tape it and my DVR messed up. If anyone knows how I can watch that one PLEASE let me know!

The best recruit I’ve ever seen? OK, that’s pretty tough because I’ve only seen a few guys live, but I’ve seen plenty of guys on video or during all-star games. I’ll just divide this thing up in three ways for you.

Jeff Driskel —
I know. I know. I’m only feeding the hype monster, but in my short time covering recruiting, he’s the most exciting player I’ve ever seen live. Lakeland running back Steward Butler would have taken his spot, but when you watch a quarterback take three hits from the blind side and turn them into runs that go 15, 65 and 91 yards, I’m sorry but there is no getting past that. Plus, he had such command over his team during the game. He was a true leader that night. Oh, and he showed off a cannon for an arm.

Noel Devine —
I think I had his video playing in my dorm for hours at a time when he first surfaced on YouTube. Well, maybe not hours, but it was pretty sweet to watch. I’ve never seen someone with so many cuts and speed. Percy Harvin had pretty impressive tape, but Devine was the best I’ve ever seen on video. Yes, better than Reggie Bush’s video. Let the bashing begin.

Ronald Powell —
He was pretty fun to watch in last year’s U.S. Army All-American Game. He scored a touchdown as a tight end, had a sack and returned a blocked extra point for two points. He was a no-brainer for MVP in that game.


  1. thanks ed for the recruiting info. We dont NEED a big name DE, powell and martin are book-ends for the next 3years! we have the talent to play anyone in the country, its our terrible coaching that has us down this year. we do NEED saftey help, how is our chances of landing Wayne Lyons? also we need more depth there, besides our singie chris jonhson. So who is out there in reach for next year?

  2. Ed,
    I really enjoy your column, and I was wondering if you foresee any early declarations for the NFL other than Janoris. I would think he’s gone for sure. Will Hill says he’s staying (as he should). Thanks for any info.


  3. I’m interested to see if we could get in on Clowney. Powell plays OLB now and the coaches seem desperate. I wouldn’t put anything past Meyer when he is as determined as he sounds now. Also, out of all the LB’s out there this year, I think that Tony Steward is the best. Is there any hope there? Like I said, both of those guys could come in and contribute at need positions more than at any other school.

  4. Randy wouldn’t want to come to Florida, for what? Terrel Austin has only been here one year and deserves to get the defense back in tact. Just remember we had one of the best secondaries in college football. Yeah towards the end we got burned a few times but against better QB’s and no pass rush what so ever.Lets get a quality D-Line coach. I also think meyer needs to take back special teams and let durkin work exclusively w/ the linebackers. Let’s also get Kerwin Bell at OC and let loeffler go he was brought in to work with Tebow and he is no longer here. Kerwin could take over coaching the QB”s and running the offense. I do agree that Addazio is a valuable recruiter. I would just keep him to work with the OL exclusively and see if he can’t shore things up with that horrible OL and it’s coaching.

  5. Aubrey Hill is on Miami’s coaching staff and is very well thought of there. Supposedly, he is an excellent recruiter in South Florida since he grew up in Miami. Being one of the more memorable Gators from the Spurrier era, and a great potential receivers coach, I wonder if that would make sense for us.

  6. Terrel Austin is an NFL coach, its not the same! He has never delt with a QB who can run and his defencive play calls involve to many CB blitzes and single coverages. FSU killed us because they targeted moses jenkins[ who hasent played all year since the injury] we havent played good in the secondary since befor the LSU game. BUT if our offence is on the field for a 3 and out EVERY DRIVE, our deffence will look crapy. ADDOZIO MUST GO! lets try Kerwin Bell at OC, and Aubrey Hill at WR coach! and NO, DO NOT LET THE CANCER OF ADDOZIO STAY ON THE STAFF. show him the door.

  7. How about a big time offensive who is not a puppet to Myer…he needs to let go before it gets worse. No great running back is coming here (see south carolina) and it obvious they have no answers is passing game.

    Even Cam Newton would not have had the same year here with our pass blocking.

  8. Ed,
    Don’t toe the company line, man.
    When players don’t know the fundamentals, don’t line up properly, don’t know when to be on the field, and are confused about, well, EVERYTHING, those are ALL COACHING PROBLEMS. One of Addazio’s main jobs as OC is to make certain every player knows when they are supposed to be in and what they are doing on every play call. PERIOD. Don’t you start blaming the players for being poorly coached. We hear enough of that garbage from Dooley.
    As for Pagan, tell the truth to the rest of your readers. He opened up his recruiting, declared everyone on his list was even, and he would “pick a hat” on signing day. That isn’t a guy concerned about UF losing the Dline coach. That’s a guy deciding he wasn’t getting enough attention. Problem is, he tore his ACL and PCL, and may well find himself choosing between an NCState hat and a Rutger hat. Would serve him right. UF was going to honor the commitment, even though he faces a long rehabilitation and may never play at an elite level again. He had a chance to still go to a top school and get a quality education. Now, he’s just damaged goods with nowhere to go.

  9. If we can bring in Aubrey Hill, we probably have to let Azzani go. Too bad, he seems like a good coach. However, he’s a midwest guy. IF we can switch to a receiver coach that’s just as good, and a much better Florida recruiter, that’s an upgrade. And we are in dire need of some coaching upgrades.
    As for Kerwin Bell, he runs a similar offense at Jax U, right? I say bring him in, let him coach OC and QB, let Loeffler go (guy is a waste of space, all our QB’s regressed this year), and put Daz back at Oline and recruiting coordinator/asst head coach.

    OC/OL Daz
    QB Loeffler
    WR Azzani
    OC/QB Bell
    OL Daz
    WR Hill
    looks to me like a serious upgrade for the offensive coaching staff, in both production AND recruiting.
    One more thought on Bell. Unlike many of the big name OC’s out there, he wouldn’t be here for a year or two before bolting for a HC job. We could count on him for a longer tenure. And if the day comes when Urban decides to retire or move on, Bell will be right here, ready to step in and take over.

  10. Lizardgrad89 — I never said I was only blaming players. In fact, all I said was that players that I’ve talked to haven’t been overly concerned with Addazio, they’ve seen the mistakes Florida’s players have made. They see that as a chance to play early. Some have expressed concern with Addazio’s play calling, but few have really questioned the coaches. They’ve all said that they know how young Florida’s team is. Also, Addazio’s play calling might be very questionable at times, but it doesn’t help when the players really are just that bad at executing when a decent play is called. I think Florida’s problems are on everyone involved, but I’m not going to sit here and think that every single issue with Florida has to do with one coach. That doesn’t make sense. Company line? Please.

    As for Pagan, to be clear, he tore his MCL and PCL in his right knee. Also, if Florida’s coaches were done with him and no longer interested they wouldn’t have visited him this week and Florida’s commitments wouldn’t be calling him like they have been since he decommitted. Also, at this time, he’s still expected to take an official visit to Florida. He has always kind of wavered and has always talked about taking official visits, but not having a coach at his position was a factor in his decision. I don’t think this one is over with Florida. He might not pick Florida, but he hasn’t completely cut all his ties there.

  11. How does anyone on these boards figure Kerwin Bell runs an offense similar to what Urban Meyer wants to run? Jacksonville’s starting QB ran for -15 yards this season. We all know who QB’d Bell’s Trinity Catholic teams; a QB Meyer clearly has no use for. There is absolutely no way Meyer is interested in spending his offseasons debating the value of the read option with Kerwin Bell.

  12. As far as and offensive coordinator with elite knowlege of the spread, we need to go after a big name, not another guy who hasnt coached at an elite level such as bell, he is an incredible coach, but do you really want to take chances at this point…

    with all the recruits saying how UF lost it explosiveness, and how they didnt like how it looked this year, why not go after a guy like, say… Dana Holgrenson, of even better Mark Helfrich, the OC at oregon

    recruits are raving about oregons offense and how exciting it is, it a spread designed a dual threat QB, ala driskel, and he has had huge succes the past couple year. Helfrich has been open to going to a larger university for the same role. He has been linked to texas after their OC gets let go, among others. Not to mention Meyer tried to watch tape of oregon to try and implement a similar hurry up, with little success. What better way to put in that system than with a new QB, and a new OC that is most familiar with it. With the athletes UF has it should be explosive. Not to mention it would be something that we could immediately sell to recruits, starting with this class before NSD.

    As much as I like bell, if you are gonna go demoting guys, or firing guys, your next hire needs to either be a guy who knows the recruits already, or a guy who is an excellent recruiter and would make a big splash with the hire such as Helfrich. I know bell has been at UF before, and is in Florida, but he isnt familiar with the kind of recruits that UF is talking to, and isnt gonna make a splash as a big hire. So unless you are gonna make a big hire then why go firing guys or demoting guys who have already developed relationships for another guy who has never succeeded at a championship D-1 level?

  13. Ed,

    Dan has better content. Our fans need to up their expectation of the local Sports media coverage in the face of all the lavish praise and recent horribly inaccurate evaluations from the coaching staff.

    Hill, Howard, Hicks, Hunter, Brantley, Beal, Gary Brown and even Meyer and Adazzio.

    All were busts or just did not get any better this year. These are good athletes not PLAYERS (Black) and will not win at the highest level of competition. Let’s get a coordinator to run the OREGON TYPE OFFENSE AND HIGHLIGHT A RUNNING BACK AND SHORT PASSING GAME WITH REED.

    The Defensive Line Coach needs to be a recruiter from a state of interest outside Florida…

    Who is our middle linebacker next year BURTON?

    Win or loose- Media and Meyer need to be more objective and transparent.

  14. There are two philosophies to the spread. Running the ball like Auburn or throwing like the Tony Franklin system. As I see it there were two problems with the Gators offense this year. Coaches couldn’t decide and didn’t have the right personnel to run the spread. Rainey and Demps need to be used on the edges putting pressure on the defense. You establish the perimeter than bust a zone read with a good running quarterback. Once you get that established than it opens up the short passing game than you work on going over the top.

  15. Chris — Yeah, I agree. My blogs, mailbags, coverage of the football, baseball, and basketball teams, videos and tweets have been lacking over the years. You obviously don’t follow me on Twitter (@EdAschoffGSUN) where I pretty much let this team have it when it’s bad and compliment it when it’s doing well.

  16. Hi Edward. To prevent confusion, this is Joe’s Dad. You are doing a superb job keeping the faithful informed. I don’t visit the site as often as I would like but when I do, I look for your posts. You are living the dream – UF Grad, Gainesvillian, excellent start to a great career in journalism, etc.! It doesn’t feel like it has been 6+ years since we watched you leaving Oxford on your great adventure. Anyway, it has been a tough year for Gators but I for one still believe we have one of the top coaches in the nation and a program that will not be down for long. Keep up the great work!

    Joe Blackburn

  17. Ed, Lakeland’s Stewart Butler is the buzz EVERYWHERE!! He has now rushed for over 3,000 yard THIS season! It would be a travesty if we let him out of Florida. I know we have Blakely, but talent is talent. Is Stewart anywhere on UF’s radar? You’ve seen him when you came 3 wks ago. Do you think he would fit and be an impact in Meyer’s spread?

  18. Joe’s Dad – Good to hear from you, sir. It’s been WAY too long. Thanks for the compliments. I just try to inform the best I can. I’ve talked to Joe a few times recently. One thing we can agree on these days is that we are pulling for Cam Newton. Hope all is well for you guys. Tell everyone I said Hi.