It’s been an interesting month to say the least as far as Florida recruiting goes. The Gators lost coach Urban Meyer and brought in Will Mushcamp. Florida’s class then took a couple of blows when Plantation linebacker Ryan Shazier and Groveland South Lake cornerback Nick Waisome decided to decommit and commit to different schools. Both were talented guys, but there have been questions if either really fit the bigger, more physical defense Muschamp is trying to run.
Still, I was a big fan of Waisome, who committed to Florida State this week, because of how “big” he played despite his small stature. He’s a little guy, but man he’s good in coverage. He’s a big get for FSU.
Losing offensive coordinator Steve Addazio might be music to Gators fans’ ears, but he was a great recruiter for Florida. It might not hurt Florida this year, but he’s a guy that was instrumental in a lot of Florida’s commits over the last few years.
But I’m not ready to say that Florida’s class is now a shame. There are still some top-notch recruits out there that are either just getting on Florida’s board or are just waiting around to see who is hired by Muschamp to fill out the Gators’ staff. There is still a lot of time between now and National Signing Day and there will be a handful uncommitted guys who will be officially visiting Florida in January. Muschamp will have a good chance to sit down and talk to all of them face-to-face. Some fans are jumping off the deep end with Florida’s class, but I’m not ready to say this will be a wash year for Florida as far as recruiting is concerned.
Before we get to the questions, I just want to wish everyone a happy holiday and stop with all the hating on my Celebrity Crush idea. It’s Christmas for crying out loud and was meant as kind of a fun little gimmick. It might never happen, but, man, some of you guys really do take things too seriously.
Grab some hot chocolate (parents sip your egg nog), snack on some of Grandma’s delicious Christmas cookies, cue the Charlie Brown music and let’s get on to the questions!
Do you think Jeff Driskel will be a better pro style quarterback or better in the spread? Is there anyway you think he could come in and learn the offense good enough to start as a freshman
Honestly, after watching him play, I think he could fit in either offense. He’s got a great arm and good technique and mechanics, so he could do just fine if he sat back in the pocket. He’s also very agile and can get out of trouble with his feet. He’d work very well in the spread, but with his throwing ability he’s a guy that wouldn’t need his feet to make plays. It’s really a plus for him.
When Driskel was first recruited he talked about how he’d like to play in a pro-style offense because he’d like to showcase his arm more than his feet in college. When I was watching him, that was very evident in the way he played. Only on designed runs did he not think “throw first.” Every time he dropped back he would look down field first before either throwing or being forced out of the pocket.
I think Driskel will be comfortable in either offense, but he might be more of a factor in a pro-style offense because his running won’t be expected as much.
As far as starting as a freshman, that’s a very tough order for any quarterback, especially in the SEC. It’s the fastest, most physical conference in the country and not even Tim Tebow started as a freshman. Granted, Chris Leak was a more experienced and polished quarterback than John Brantley, but I don’t expect Driskel to be Florida’s starter next year. Well, if Brantley sticks around. If Brantley bolts, then it’s a possibility that a few games in (like Leak in 2003) Driskel could get his chance. I think Driskel is a very talented quarterback, but I don’t think he’ll be ready to start immediately as a true freshman. If the quarterback play suffers during his first year, then there definitely is a chance he could start later in the season. If Brantley stays, count on him being the starter, especially with the more pro-style offense coming in.
Are there any recruits who have shifted interest from their committed school TO UF secondary of the Muschamp hire?
There are a couple guys that come to mind here. Obviously, the first one is Alabama commit Hasean Clinton-Dix. The safety from Orlando Dr. Phillips is a guy that wasn’t expected to visit Florida while Meyer was still Florida’s coach and showed little interest in the Gators. Sure, he liked the program, but he was very set on Alabama. In comes Muschamp and all of a sudden there is more interest from Clinton-Dix. He’s spoken with Muschamp and will be in Gainesville for an official visit in January. The fact that Muschamp is a defensive coach is huge for Clinton-Dix. Florida is definitely a factor now.
Clinton-Dix’s teammate, running back Dee Hart, who is committed to Michigan, has gotten a lot more interest from Florida since Muschamp’s hire. He’ll visit Florida with Clinton-Dix in January as well. The only thing is that Florida already has Mike Blakely committed and there are already a few running backs on Florida’s roster that will be around next year. It would be pretty cluttered if Hart decided to commit to Florida. Although, Hart is the bigger back needed in a pro-style offense.
Florida is also targeting Pensacola Catholic defensive end D.J. Pettway, who is also committed to Alabama. He’s expected to visit Florida in January.
With Muschamp wanting to implement a pro-style offense, I’m assuming Jordan Reed and Trey Burton will play full time at TE and H-Back, respectively, next season. And Tyler Murphy is still a relative unknown at QB. That leaves Brantley (provided he stays) and Driskel at QB. Do you think this new coaching staff will try to add a second QB to this class, one that fits their scheme and also provides some depth?
I’ve said from the beginning that Florida should take two quarterbacks in this class because Reed’s future is at tight end and once Brantley leaves there will only be two quarterbacks on the roster in Murphy and Driskel . I always think it’s good to have three scholarship quarterbacks on a roster. But that’s just me. I think it’s a little too far into the recruiting year to go out and find another quarterback with SEC potential. Let’s face it, Driskel is the quarterback of the future at Florida, but he’ll need someone to push him. Murphy could be that guy, but we know less about him than any other quarterback on Florida’s roster.
I’ve always thought he and Brantley had the best technique during warmups, so he certainly could have the potential to be a player. However, can he work in a pro-style offense? He ran the ball so much in high school that it’s tough to tell what he would do if asked to just sit back and throw. I’ve been told he’s a very talented guy and has looked very good in practice, but the plan was to redshirt him from the beginning.
I don’t see Florida going after another quarterback in this class, but the coaches will definitely go for someone in 2012, where the pro-style quarterback crop is pretty good. One guy to look out for is Fort Mitchell, Kent., Dixie Heights quarterback Zeke Pike. He looked very good during Florida’s camp this summer and he’s already got a verbal offer from Florida. Expect Muschamp to continue to recruit him.
Hey Ed. Since Hesean Clinton-Dix is considering us now, do you think if we pull Kirby Smart from Alabama it would help us with him. Thanks for your info
While I don’t know if Smart will be part of Florida’s coaching staff, I do think he would be a huge asset to Florida’s recruiting staff if he was hired. He would definitely have an impact on Clinton-Dix’s decision. But even besides Clinton-Dix, Smart is in charge of recruiting a few guys who are on Florida’s radar. The guys on Florida’s board who he is recruiting are linebacker A.J. Johnson, offensive lineman Xzavier Ward, safety Malcolm Mitchell, linebacker Tony Steward, defensive end Xzavier Dickson and tight end Jay Rome.
Getting him on staff would not only bring a huge name to Florida’s recruiting staff because of his name as a defensive coordinator but it could help Florida with guys he was recruiting for Alabama who have had interest in Florida. It would be a win-win for Florida if he were to make the move.
Why would Muschamp wait to hire assistants? Did he not think it would hurt recruiting efforts?
I wasn’t too big on Muschamp waiting to hire assistants because the recruits that I talked to were all concerned with who the coordinators were going to be. Committed and uncommitted guys were pretty worried about that. Waisome was concerned even after he left his official visit last weekend, and now he’s headed to FSU . I thought it would hurt Florida’s recruiting in December, but the two defections don’t appear to be linked to Florida’s lack of a staff. Both those players might not have been the best fit for Muschamp’s defense and naming a coordinator might not have changed things.
Now that the dead period is in full swing, it’s time for Muschamp to make his hires, or at least get agreements out of coaches so that he can have guys in place when the dead period ends on Jan. 3. Once the bowl game is over, Muschamp had better have the main components of his staff in order or it will a poor way to get the most heated part of the recruiting season going.
Here’s another thing to keep in mind, if Muschamp is really going after NFL guys, their season doesn’t end until Jan. 2 (then the playoffs), so he wouldn’t be able to announce them until then anyway. Word is that the offensive coordinator will be named soon, but Muschamp has the luxury of naming guys no later than Jan. 2, because of the dead period. Anything after that could start to hurt Florida’s class because these guys have the priority of hitting the recruiting trail immediately after they are hired. Developing those relationships early is the key because a lot of these guys Florida is going after will be officially visiting during the first two weeks of January. The sooner the better once the bowl game is over.