Heeeeeere comes the future!
Catchy, isn’t it?
Well that’s what a catchphrase is supposed to do. It sticks in your head, plays over and over, and the next thing you know you’re saying it in the check-out line at Publix.
I have to give a lot of the credit for my world-famous catchphrase to my beautiful girlfriend, Lauren, who witnessed me struggling to conceive it. So she meekly suggested “Here comes the future” and I gave it a Gator twist by combining it with the classic public-address call as the players come charging out of the tunnel onto the field.
We make a great team.
Which is also what the Gators are trying to do with the Class of 2012. (How’s that for a segue, huh?)
Enough prattle, let’s get to your queries …
UF has been getting lots of love from defensive players and offensive lineman. Who are the offensive “playmakers” left on UF’s board or, should I say, which “playmakers” do YOU think will sign with UF? — UFgator_in_JAX
That’s a mighty fine question, my Jacksonvillian friend. And I thank you for not pressing me to go through the entire board. That could take days.
I think Florida has a good shot to end up with some dandy offensive weapons. As I’ve said many times, one gander at the UF roster is enough for fans to wonder where the potential impact players are hiding. The Gators need some star power. Here’s who they could end up with …
• WR Stefon Diggs, 6-foot, 185 pounds, Olney, Md.
• ATH Nelson Agholor, 6-1, 180, Tampa, Fla.
• TE Kent Taylor, 6-5, 215, Land O’ Lakes, Fla.
I’m not one for predictions, especially this many months from signing day. So I’ll just say the Gators are in the best shape to land Taylor, the No. 1 pass-catching tight end prospect in America. The two receivers are harder to gauge because they are five-star prospects with lots of options. Let’s just say the Gators are among both of their top teams at this time. Florida would love to have Diggs and Agholor in this class, and even getting just one would be big.
I’ve seen all three of these playmakers in action, and let me tell you, they’re all very special. Diggs, as many of you know, put on an air show at Friday Night Lights. He’s got wonderful hands, great body control, some cockiness and a flair for the dramatic. He reminds me of a slightly taller, less angry Steve Smith (of the Carolina Panthers, not the Philadelphia Eagles). … Agholor is an extremely impressive athlete, who has the size to be a do-it-all receiver or an impact safety in college. He’s got a great head on his shoulders — bright and thoughtful, charming and humble — and it shows in the way he plays and conducts himself off the field. … Taylor is a fantastic receiver. His hands are undeniable. He also shows excellent athleticism and focus. The idea of Taylor and his good buddy Colin Thompson lining up in a two-tight-end set and owning the middle of the field should tantalize Gator fans.
One last comment: While Florida coaches would like to add two more wideouts to this class, it wouldn’t be the end of the world if they get only one. The Gators have a number of young receivers on the roster and could survive until reinforcements arrive — in 2013. The rising junior wide receivers in the state of Florida alone are setting up to be a veritable galaxy of stars. Look for UF to go all-in at the wideout position next year.
Charlie Weis seemed like a pretty good recruiter at Notre Dame. How involved is he at UF? What other coaches seem like recruiting gurus? — @adambeaugh
Simply put, Weis is a recruiting star. He’s a household name, a proven offensive mind in the NFL and college. He actually eclipses head coach Will Muschamp in this regard, but the two have worked well together. Some recruits and their parents are rather in awe of the man, his four Super Bowl rings and his incredible rolodex.
Weis is very involved with each and every offensive prospect. Like Muschamp, he does not have an assigned territory. However, Weis did a bang-up job on the trail during the crucial evaluation period back in May. Reports from the road were that Weis commanded attention as he made his way across the southeast region, talking to high school coaches and evaluating everyone the Gators offered.
So far this cycle, the standout recruiters have been linebacker coach D.J. Durkin, who has cleaned up in the state of North Carolina (perhaps with more to come), and new defensive backs coach Travaris Robinson, who has really connected with a lot of players around the state of Florida and has an undeniable charm and exuberance.
Why has the media pushed so hard for FSU to be back? — Michael L. Johnson
I’d like to defend the media by saying it was the USA Today Coaches‘ Preseason Poll that gave Florida State the No. 5 ranking, one of its highest preseason perches in a decade. But the truth is the media has played a role in the Seminoles’ return to prominence. There are a few factors at play here. One, FSU finished its 2010 season on a considerable roll by finally toppling the not-so-mighty Gators and then beating up on longtime foil Steve Spurrier and his Gamecocks (minus Marcus Lattimore, it should be pointed out).
The other big reason the ‘Noles are en vogue again is recruiting, and it cannot be argued. The Florida State brand is indeed back. Last year, FSU was crowed with the mythical recruiting national championship by ESPN and drew second-place rankings from Scout and Rivals. This year, everyone’s got the ‘Noles in contention for the No. 1 class in the land again.
So are the Seminoles back? I’m not sure just yet. There is no denying the talent level is back on the rise and coach Jimbo Fisher has everything going in the right direction again. But it is not hard to stand out in the weak ACC these days. In fact, some observers are pondering a national championship run for FSU if — and this is a big if — the Semis can get past No. 1 Oklahoma on Sept. 17.
What’s the latest on these three top lineman left in the state of Florida? Avery Young, Patrick Miller and Abraham Garcia? All three would look good in orange and blue. — tomk
1. Avery Young (6-6, 280, Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.) is still considered by many to be leaning to Florida, which was the only school he had visited until he made the short jaunt down to Coral Gables to visit The U. Well, with the latest news about Miami and the swirling vultures, it sure seems Young is still going to lean toward Florida. I think he is the top remaining tackle on the Gators’ wishlist. He told me right before Friday Night Lights that he was heartbroken when he wasn’t able to make it up to Gainesville because his ride fell through.
2. Patrick Miller (6-7, 270, Palm Beach, Fla.) was all about UF when I spoke to him in the spring. He enjoyed his visit to the Orange & Blue game and talked about how many Dwyer High School teammates were waiting for him in Gainesville. Then Miller stopped talking about the Gators. He hasn’t officially altered his top three of Florida, Auburn and LSU, but Miller seems to have all but eliminated UF from contention. Perhaps the Gators coaches began to turn their attention elsewhere. Perhaps Miller’s strong connection with Auburn offensive line coach Jeff Grimes was the key. I don’t see him ending up in Florida’s class.
3. Abraham Garcia (6-6, 339, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) isn’t in my database to be honest. “Nacho” reportedly received a verbal offer and was on Florida’s radar until tearing a ligament in his foot. Now recovered from reconstructive surgery last October, Garcia says he is focused on the schools that stuck with him — LSU, Miami, Auburn and Wisconsin. Former Gator wide receivers coach Billy Gonzales has reportedly worked hard to keep LSU out front.
That’s all for this week, recruitniks. Thanks to everyone who submitted a question. I won’t threaten the rest of you with tales of the Colorado Rockies like Edward Aschoff used to, but we could use some more questions next week. Here’s how you can reach me …
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