It hasn’t been the best month of recruiting for Florida and its staff. It seemed as though Will Muschamp was really picking up some momentum, even after losing Nick Waisome and Ryan Shazier. He still had Belle Glade Glades Central wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin interested and was getting talked up by a bunch of recruits at both January all-star games.
But in recruiting, things aren’t always what we really think they are. Benjamin is committed to Florida State and other prospects are starting to move in other directions. We ALL get fooled every now and then. Those who say they aren’t or haven’t are just too prideful to say otherwise. It’s a crazy game. Recruiting can be fun (at times) and it can be a pain (most of the time). I caution die-hard fans when it comes to reading about recruiting and getting too high or low on prospects.
Rule No. 1 in recruiting: Nothing is certain until those Letters of Intent are signed.
With that said, Florida has had an unlucky month. Chase Hounshell decommitted and committed to Notre Dame. Jeoffrey Pagan committed to Clemson after being a former Gator commit, as well. And Tuesday night, Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas cornerback Marcus Roberson committed to Texas Tech, where his uncle is now the defensive backs coach. He’ll still visit Florida this weekend and he said he remains open … OK … This one isn’t over with Florida. He told me this month that he really does like Florida and wants to see how his mom likes Gainesville. Muschamp and defensive backs coach Travaris Robinson have a shot at turning him. If not, then I think Florida will be done recruiting in the secondary unless the staff can really get in Orlando Dr. Phillips safety Ha’Sean Clinton-Dix’s ear. But that Alabama commit is pretty strong.
There are still two weeks until National Signing Day (Feb. 2) and Florida is in for a lot of the nation’s best players. I’m not saying Muschamp and Co. will finish with an amazing class, but Florida won’t end with a sorry group of kids coming in. Remember, it’s never easy for new coaches to haul in a great class in their first year. Muschamp has proven in the last month that he is a great recruiter. It’ all about relationships and he’s making great ones in the 2012 class …
So back away from the ledge Gators fans, grab Will Smith’s “Homebase,” put it on repeat and let’s get on to the questions!
Need honest answer.. U think Muschamp dropped the ball in recruiting so far? If so do u think he can make up ground?
No. Not even close. Has it been a total success for him? No, but it certainly hasn’t been a failure. He came all the way from Texas and is trying to get back into the swing of recruiting in the heart of the Southeast. He’s fortunate that he has some of those relationships with high school coaches he had when he was the defensive coordinator at Auburn and LSU. It’s almost unheard of for a first-year coach to absolutely kill it during his first recruiting cycle. It doesn’t matter what program you are taking over. USC felt it last year and Florida and Miami are feeling it now. It’s a part of college football life. To think Muschamp was going to come in and immediately dominate is silly.
He has shown at each school he’s been at that he’s a tremendous recruiter and that won’t change, in fact it will only increase, now that he’s a head coach. Urban Meyer struggled with his first class at Florida (it truly bombed) and he went on to win two national championships and consistently bring in top-five classes. If Muschamp wins, things will only get better for him.
It was just going to be too hard for him to create all those relationships in such a short amount of time, but he and his staff have really worked hard.
How many recruits do you think we’ll end up with and I know it’s a guess but who do you think those final 5 or 6 will be?
At first, I was sure Florida would get 25 in this class. Even after Meyer’s resignation, I still thought there was a chance 25 guys would still come. Now, with all the recent changes surrounding Florida’s recruiting class and targets, I’m not sure if that will happen. Florida still has a few positions it needs to take care of in this class, and I think the staff will do that for the most part.
Florida could easily make it to 25 if the staff starts to go after lesser-known prospects, but I don’t see that happening. Muschamp is smart. He knows what he wants and he knows what’s good for the program. If that means not signing 25 guys, then that’s what he’ll do.
Here are positions that must be hit by Signing Day.
OL — Florida has Trip Thurman and Tommy Jordan committed. Hounshell’s decommitment means there will be a need for another tackle. Traverse City, Mich., West offensive tackle Jacob Fisher will officially visit Florida this weekend. With him decommitting from Michigan, this is the prime time for Muschamp and his staff to go after him.
LB — Florida lost its only linebacker in Ryan Shazier (Ohio State), so this is a major area of concern. Richmond, Va., Hermitage’s Curtis Grant is the top guy on the board at the position and Florida is one of his leaders. Ohio State is up there, too. Wadesboro, N.C., Anson’s Stephone Anthony has always been high on the Gators, but had a great time at Clemson and his best bud, Pagan, just committed there. It’s an uphill battle for Florida, now. Coral Gables’ Denzel Perryman is a viable option for the Gators and he reportedly really enjoyed his visit. Though, pulling him from Miami will be tough. Gainesville, Ga., linebacker A.J. Johnson might be committed to Tennessee, but Florida is still showing interest in him. It will be hard for him to decommit from UT for the second time, though.
DL — Clay Burton is already on campus, but that’s it. Pagan is gone. Florida is in the running for Tampa Alonso’s Anthony Chickillo, who is committed to Miami. Pulling him from the Hurricanes will be a tall order. Lake City Columbia’s Tim Jernigan is the guy everyone wants in Gainesville. He’ll meet with Muschamp this week and should visit Florida in some capacity in the next two weeks. FSU or UF here. McKeesport, Pa., tackle Delvon Simmons is still deciding between a Florida or USC visit. Huge for Gators if he visits. Palm Beach Gardens Dwyer’s Curt Maggitt is still very high on Florida’s list and Florida is high on his. Apparently, he’ll decide after Signing Day. Florida is also looking at a junior college guy. Johnathan Jenkins (Perkinston, Miss., Gulf Coast C.C.) will visit at the end of the month. The new guy linked to Florida is Coconut Creek North Broward end Tevin Westbrook, who claims an offer and will visit in on the 28th.
I still think Florida needs to land another quarterback for depth reasons. Palm Beach Gardens’ Jacoby Brissett is the hot name here. Offensive coordinator Charlie Weis has been all over him recently and he finally got that Florida offer. We’ll see where he goes from here.
Roberson might have committed to Texas Tech, but like I said earlier, he’ll visit Florida, so it’s not over.
So where do you think Florida’s class will finish? Top 5? Top 10?
If Florida can get to 25 signees, there’s a good chance Muschamp will wind up in the top 10. That would be a very impressive finish for him. Meyer only signed 18 and Rivals.com ranked his class 15th overall.
As far as a ranking goes, it’s hard to determine because all of the recruiting services rank prospects differently. Just look at the differences in the new Rivals and Scout.com final rankings. If we are going on my own ranking, then I can handle that. I’ll preface by saying I understand how tough it was for Muschamp to come in and recruit. But at the end of the day, rankings are based on the guys you get.
I think Florida will close with a good class. It might not be where I thought it would be a week ago, but it won’t be anything to scoff at. I think Florida has a great shot at landing both Jernigan and Grant and could also get Fisher. Maggitt is a guy I feel Florida is favored for as well. Just getting those four guys would make for a great way to end the class. And, hey, Roberson isn’t completely gone.
So, if things go the way I think they might, I’d say Florida will be right outside of the top 10. Still a solid class for a first-year coach.
Curious if Charlie and the new offense could give us a shot at some of the elite TE that are sill looking around (O’Leary, Rome…..)?
Nick O’Leary was never really interested in Florida. The Gators were on the outside from the beginning. Rome isn’t considering Florida, either. With A.C. Leonard on campus, Florida is pretty set at tight end. However, there is still one more guy out there that could make it into this class because he could play both tight end and wide receiver. Moreno Valley, Calif., Rancho Verde tight end Junior Pomee was visited by Muschamp recently and the Gators are still in the running for him. The thing about Pomee is that he’s big enough to play tight end and fast enough to play receiver. He would be perfect in a two tight end set. Florida is still after him even with Meyer gone. Unfortunately for Florida, Pomee used his official visit last year and might not make it back to Gainesville before Signing Day. That means a lot of sky miles for this staff …
Make sense of chase decommittment please. He was all Gator and was unfazed by coaching change. New coaches pushed him out?
No matter what Hounshell Tweeted shortly after Meyer’s resignation, the loss of Meyer and Addazio was big for him. There was a deep relationship there and from what I’ve been told his comfort just wasn’t there with the new staff. It’s not as if he didn’t like offensive line coach Frank Verducci or Muschamp, but he had been around Note Dame’s staff longer and was closer to them. You can’t fault Hounshell for his feelings. If didn’t feel like he’d be a fit with Florida’s staff, there was no point in him moving to Gainesville. Remember, he was supposed to be an early enrollee and decided against it because he wanted to meet Florida’s new staff first.
As far as Florida’s coaches pushing him out, three coaches were at his house the day before he decommitted. You don’t send three coaches all the way to Ohio to tell a guy you don’t want him. Florida’s coaches liked Hounshell’s athleticism from the beginning and while he certainly wasn’t the most polished linemen, his potential is what impressed Florida’s coaches then and now.