The recruiting down period


Greetings from Crested Butte, Colo.! I know, I know, I shouldn’t brag about being in a snowy, Christmas paradise while most of you are hanging out in the 60-degree weather in the Southeast. That humidity must be way more fun to be in than the 26 inches of snow we’ve gotten here in the past 48 hours.

Before I get into some recruiting tidbits from the weekend, I’d like give a HUGE shout out to Colin and BK at the Gunnison Brewery, who took care of me for roughly six hours while I waited for the rest of my party to come in. Not only is the Brewery the quintessential winter pub, but the clientele couldn’t have been anymore cordial. From the moment I walked in the door — duffel bag and briefcase in hand — Colin was extremely hospitable, while BK made sure my drinks were always filled.

I knew I truly made the right decision to crash at the Brewery for the better part of my day when I was offered a delicious slice of pizza as I pondered whether or not I should order my second meal of the night. Needless to say, with my appetite, I ordered that second meal and was pretty pleased with how the chicken tenders turned out. If you’re ever in or near Gunnison, be sure to stop by the Gunnison Brewery for a nice, cold —or hot — beverage, some good food and some great company. Thanks guys!

OK, now onto the fun that is Florida recruiting.

Monday officially started the dead period in college football recruiting. That means there can be no off-campus contact with coaches and prospects. Coaches can also only make one phone call to prospects or their parents a week. Recruits can call coaches as much as they want. There are no official visits and coaches and recruits will finally get some much-needed rest from the monster that is recruiting. This is a time for prospects and their families to make REAL evaluations without being hounded by coaches.

The dead period ends Jan. 3.

Heading into the dead period, Florida’s new coach Will Muschamp made it back to campus to help host six official visitors — De’Ante “Pop” Saunders, Chase Hounshell, Trip Thurman, Tommy Jordan, Kyle Christy and Nick Waisome. All are committed to Florida and all are expected to stay committed to the Gators come National Signing Day. Running back commit Mike Blakely was also on campus this weekend, but for an unofficial visit.

This was a chance for Florida’s commits to get nice and cozy with the new guy in charge, while Urban Meyer was still roaming around. Florida’s commits have been impressed by Muschamp, so far, and besides Ryan Shazier, who decommitted from Florida and picked Ohio State last Friday, it looks like Florida will keep most of its 2011 class together.

Christy, who will enroll at UF in January and is expected to take over for Chas Henry as the Gators’ punter, was hosted by redshirt freshman offensive lineman Kyle Koehne, who, like Christy, is from Indiana.

“It went really well,” Christy said of his visit. “Everything was even better than I would’ve expected.”

Christy has really gotten along with Muschamp and hasn’t wavered on his commitment one bit, but he certainly has some pretty big shoes to fill now that Henry will be gone.

Thurman, who could be Florida’s most polished offensive line commitment in this class, also had a good visit with the old and new head coaches. He and the other recruits talked the future of Florida with Mushcamp and had dinner at Meyer’s house for fun.

Thurman said his visit was “great” and primarily hung out with Sam Robey, Koehne and Trey Burton while he was in Gainesville. Thurman was the only visitor who won’t enroll at Florida in January, but isn’t expecting to take any visits between now and Signing Day.

Dead period gives Muschamp time for coaches
Because he won’t be doing a lot of talking with recruits this week, Muschamp has the perfect opportunity to get his coaching staff together. While he said nothing will be done until after the bowl game, for recruiting purposes, it’s very important that he get a move on this. Now, he’ll have plenty of time to talk with potential assistant candidates. He needs to get a jump on his offensive and defensive coordinator before the bowl game because those are the two areas recruits are most concerned with.

Hounshell told that Muschamp said he’s expecting to make a decision on his offensive coordinator this week.

Story visits elsewhere
Florida wide receiver commit Ja’Juan Story (Brooksville Nature Coast) officially visited Oregon this weekend. While he’s committed to Florida, he’s certainly exploring his options. Georgia is another school that seems to be making a move on Story.

Muschamp and Story have only talked on the phone, but Story should meet with Muschamp in person in January.

Orlando guys generating more interest
Multiple media outlets were all a buzz this weekend when Orlando Dr. Phillips teammates Dee Hart and Hasean Clinton-Dix both said they’ll officially visit Florida in January. Clinton-Dix, the nation’s No. 1 safety prospect, is currently committed to Alabama and his commitment seems pretty solid, but he met with Muschamp last week and came away very impressed.

It will be tough to pull Clinton-Dix from Alabama, but expect Florida to put the full-court press on him when he visits in January. Plus, safety is a huge concern for Florida next season with depth being an issue.

Hart, the nation’s No. 1 all-purpose running back, is committed to Michigan, but told The Orlando Sentinel that if Rich Rodriguez were to be fired his next choice would be Florida. Talks between Hart and Florida have increased since Muschamp’s hire, so it looks like he’d be willing to take two running backs in this class.


  1. Wow. I thought Waisome would be one of the guys who would stick, Ed. Guess playing for Meyer was the real attraction. Not all the stuff he rattled off about feeling at home and getting a good education. Too bad, Nick. Thought you were one of the good ones. Good luck and good riddance.

  2. Ok Ed, you just said Waisome was I see ontwitter you announce he has committed to stae. What’s the deal? Is he ours or not? Any player that decommits from UF shouldn’t have committed in the first place. It really shows a lack of loyalty. We only want players who are committed to the program not a coach. I wish you luck Nick because we so you in the Swamp in 2011.

  3. i dont nick, i hope u break your leg tonite. men stick by there word, and you said repeatedly that you were a gator. so go play for those crimi-noles. the real question is, why did you commite in the 1st place? my quess is loyalty isnt a trait passed down in your family. just remeber lil fella, if ur not a gator, ur just gatorbait. see u in november boy.

  4. Nice write up, Ed. The shout-outs were very gracious. The amount of (illiterate) vitriol from tomk and others regarding Waisome reflects poorly on Gator nation, however. A conflicted young man who obviously has favorable impressions of UF made a difficult choice. The fact that UF cannot tell him who his coach will be is a recruiting issue not of his making. May Muschamp get the house in order soon- he seems like a class act.

  5. tomk – You’re an ass, wishing a kid to break his leg because he won’t stay committed to your school. What, are you a child? Who are we kidding, if it is just about the school then we would never have to recruit or blow smoke up some kids ass. Of course its about the coaches and he grew close to this coaching staff, which is getting blown up at the moment. I can’t blame the kid for leaving, its the biggest decision of his life – you sir can leave with him, your kind give Gator Nation a bad name.

  6. SuwanneeG8tor — Not even you can be a buzz kill on my vacation. It’s called “fun” my man. Don’t spend too much time running from it in life or else you’ll miss so many cool things. … I admit I was wrong about Waisome, but everything I was told up until today had him sticking with Florida. He said he really liked Muschamp and was excited about the official visit. Not knowing who other coaches were have worried him though.

  7. I’m disappointed that Waisome broke his promise, but then again, when he promised, it was to a different head coach. Just please stop calling these announcements committments until their signature is received on national signing day or they enroll in January classes. Stick with the term leader until that time. As for tomk, you act like he personally stabbed you in the back. It’s time to grow up and stop living vicariously though the life of seventeen and eighteen year olds.

  8. Coach Muschamp needs to start this year with a solid class. If he can hold unto Driskell, and a solid player at each position than the Gators will be alright. FSU is definitely benefitting the most right now and next year on the field will change that.

  9. Any prospects considering decommitting and Gator fans in general would do well to remember their Gator football history.

    In 2005, UF had just hired a new coach, after 3 consecutive 5-loss seasons and 3 straight bowl losses. Florida State had just wrapped up the #2 recruiting class in the nation. Florida had just wrapped up the #15 recruiting class in the nation.

    Most folks should know the rest of the story, but for those who don’t:

    Florida would go on to win 3 SEC East titles, 2 SEC Championships, 2 National Championships, 3 BCS bowls, and go 64-15 (.810).

    FSU would go on to win 1 All Cupcake Conference title in ’05 (with an 8-5 record no less), no National Championships, lose the 1 BCS bowl they made, vacate countless games and go on probation for widespread academic cheating, and go 35-31 (.530).

    Let’s face it, Florida is Florida, plays in the SEC (which has a 14-5 BCS Bowl record), and will always be on a different level than FSU. FSU may get a token victory every now and then; but UF being dominant over FSU is how it’s always been.

    And, FSU is FSU, plays in the worst conference in college football, with the all-time worst record in BCS Bowls (2-10).

    If a kid with a UF offer picks FSU instead, that’s his prerogative; but knowing the history, it’s hard to figure out why any would… that’s kind of like shooting yourself in the foot.

  10. Thought I’d expand on the previous thought; food for thought for any prospects who have NFL aspirations. The last 4 drafts:

    UF – 9 players (3 in 1st, 3 in 2nd, 1 in 3rd, 1 in 4th, and 1 in 5th rounds)
    FSU – 3 players (1 in 1st, 1 in 6th, and 1 in 7th rounds)

    UF – 3 players (1 in 1st, 1 in 4th, and 1 in 5th rounds)
    FSU – 1 player in 2nd round

    UF – 2 players (1 in 1st and 1 in 3rd rounds)
    FSU – 3 players (1 in 3rd, 1 in 5th, and 1 in 6th rounds)

    UF – 9 players (2 in 1st, 1 in 3rd, 2 in 4th, 1 in 6th, and 3 in 7th rounds)
    FSU – 5 players (1 in 1st, 3 in 3rd, and 1 in 4th rounds) –

    Totals Last 4 Drafts : UF – 23 players, 7 First Round Draft Picks
    FSU – 12 players, 2 First Round Draft Picks

    If this was a fight, that’s what they’d call a 1-punch knockout… UF has had almost twice as many players drafted and more than 3 times as many first rounders.

  11. We only need guys that want to be Gators and buy into the Florida Way. We will be fine without these two. I’m sure Muschamp has a few Texas recruits he knows that will fit in better than Shazier and Waisome. I don’t know this as fact but it wouldn’t surprise me to find out that after with meeting Muschamp, coach encouraged these two to look elsewhere because he has better waiting in the wings. I trust him to do what’s best for the program, if it meant keeping Shazier and Waisome, then he would have.

  12. It’s going to be a wilder ride (though apparently not James Wilder Jr) on the recruiting front this year, given the coaching changes. It’s the nature of the beast. This is a big decision for these kids, and I don’t begrudge them having concerns over who their coordinator is going to be. We hung in there with Elam, and he was worth it. Muschamp will come through, on signing day and in the fall!

  13. Man- you guys really need to get lives. These are kids. They have a right to go to school and play ball where they want. Wishing one to “break his leg” and generally complaining like petulant children shows an alarming lack of maturity.

    And for the record- Janorris Jenkins is as good as gone. I mean, why wouldn’t he go as a consensus top-15 draft pick?

  14. Hey Joe-

    ‘If it meant keeping Shazier and Waisome, then he would have?”

    What kind of comment is that? He does not “own” these kids? He has no control over them – unless you are alledging he would be paying them to stay. C’mon guys- be better than this……Florida will round out a solid class with kids who want to play for their program and their new coach. But for those that don’t- to dog them or say they weren’t fit to play here when they were just days ago – is childish and earns Florida fans the bad reputation they have across the country.

  15. As bad as it may seem to have lost a couple recruits. We must keepp in mind that Florida has recruited well enough to withstand a top 15 class, which is what it looks like it will be this year. Over the last three years we have had top 5 recruiting classes so we should be fine. We also will get some quality coaches who can actually coach these guys up the right way after loosing so many top notch assistants over the last three years. It looks bad now and even I was a little irritated to see a couple of guys jump ship. I think the players we have on board including recruits we keep, will take all this let down personal and have a 10-11 win season. Lets get the best coaches we can find and let em coach. Next years class looks to be alot more talented top to bottom anyway. By then recruits will see the vision of our new coach. I’m behind Muschamp. “We are the boys from old Florida. Filled with tradition and pride”!!!

  16. Yeah, let’s not lose heart here. We area already stacked from recruits of previous years. This is already a great recruiting class and I think Will Muschamp will hire some awesome coaches and next year will be a very different gators team. Hey Ed, we are badly in need of some great LB’s. What are chances of landing Stephone Anthony, Curtis Grant, Lamar Dawson, Curt Maggit?

  17. ED

    I think SuwanneeG8tor just doesnt want to see you ruined by the likes of Dooley. Dooleys articles are so self centered and just garbage. His radio show is the worst ever. I just cant bring myself to listen anymore. Its just mindless babble about his kids, his wife, his dog, his home life, his complaining about traveling, complaining about food on the road, complaining about parking, complaining about press boxes,etc. Its just NOT what people want to read or listen to. I could care less about the details of his daily life. Its cool to throwin some personal stuff from time to time, just dont do it all the time like Dooley does.

  18. Wishing ill will upon prospects, et al, and attacking their family is despicable and beyond the pale!
    These are teenagers making a seminal decision based on a mix of factors, the chief of these likely being their perceived relationship with the would-be primary mentors of their next few years.
    Their teetering “commitments” are no doubt a result of the cacophony of voices playing on their emotions.
    Talent is important, but all of the top programs get their fair share of talent. Orchestrating this talent into a cohesive unit is on the Coaches!
    So, criticism of the likes of Steve Addazio or Urban Meyer, etc., is appropriate, but that of a prospect who “defects” (or even an under-performing team member, who can be benched by the coaches) is not.
    Therefore, I only wish good luck and good fortune to the likes of a Nick Waisome. He will get his and ours will get theirs.
    To the victor go the spoils, BUT may the best [coached] TEAM win (The Stanford Cardinal come to mind)!

  19. Joe – yeah I’m sure that is what happened, Muschamp took time to sit down with 2 very highly saught after recruits to encourage them about not coming to the Florida program. WHAT???? You can spin this anyway you want, but this is not good. Not the end of the world, partially expected, but not good. The biggest reason these kids fall in love with a school is the relationships they develop with those envolved, during the recruiting process. Now, those “envolved” are gone. One sit down and a phone conversation with the replacement is suppose to put their mind at ease? Tough sell. Muschamp has his work cut out for him with this class.

  20. Ed, perhaps you can shed some light on something that’s bewildering to me. Why would we have recruits de-comitting, stating that they based their decision on Meyer stepping down, when everything I read says that Meyer will still be with the program in some capacity. It is particularly disturbing that these defections are occurring on the defensive side of the ball. Most of us thought the Muschamp hire would bolster the recruiting on the defensive side of the ball. Very confusing. I know this, I would play every table in Vegas before I would handicap recruiting. It is unpredictable and bizarre.

  21. Ed,
    do you think that the reason Muschamp is waiting on coordinators is that he already has an agreement but they are coaching a team perhaps in a BCS bowl and do not want to rock the ship? …. Smart at Bama and Petrino’s brother?

  22. Some good questions herein, Ed. Looking forward to your answers!
    PS: Here’s one of my own that I’ve asked before a couple times: Could RB Mack Brown have been Red-shirted? (was, can, will he?).