Heeeeeere comes the future!
I asked for more questions and you delivered like the faithful readers you are. Nevermind that you can hardly navigate my blog, Twitter, stories or message board posts without accidentally bumping into a way to submit a question. Let’s just say I’m impressed with you as an audience. You’re well-informed, curious and passionate (sometimes a little too much).
OK, enough of this love-fest. You’ve got lots of questions so I’ve got lots of answers.
If Georgia coach Mark Richt gets fired, could 2013 prospects Derrick Henry or Brice Ramsey flip? Or even 2012’s John Theus? — @Ivo_Solis_UF
Ah, this is topical, huh? Georgia loses one game in which it’s the underdog and the vultures are already circling Richt. Gotta love it. And thanks for the tweet, Ivo. I enjoy your questions. Please keep ’em coming.
It’s obviously way too soon to predict the demise of Richt, but let’s do it anyway. Everyone is expecting his seat will get really hot if his Bulldogs lose to South Carolina this weekend. Imagine what another loss to arch-rival Florida would do! Or how about another loss to in-state rival Georgia Tech to end the season? Richt’s ouster would be a big deal for Florida because Georgia is fertile recruiting territory, and Will Muschamp and Co., have already been able to make considerable inroads there in this recruiting cycle.
It’s hard to imagine the Gators flipping Theus because he seems intent on following older brother Nathan to Athens. However, if Richt were to be fired, it could affect Theus’ feelings about Georgia. Even though his commitment to UGA was nearly a slam-dunk, he did say all along that Florida was a close second. I think it would depend on who Georgia hired. Ditto for 2013 quarterback Brice Ramsey. He’s big on UGA, but let’s imagine the Bulldogs hired a spread-offense coach like, say, Dan Mullen. That could push Ramsey right out of the state and into Charlie Weis’ waiting arms. Harvey, as I wrote yesterday, could have second thoughts about Florida anyhow. But keep in mind that a lot of prospects commit to the school first and the coach second. In the end, that is often the case, but it would also be foolish to deny the impact of shattered relationships with an entire coaching staff fired.
I’m sure Florida fans will be rooting against Georgia even harder this season.
Are we all done with the linebackers this class? And will any of our commits decommit? — ANSWER THIS
Thanks for posting your question in my blog comments, and let me be the first to commend you on such a creative and imperious username. The Gators already have commitments from three linebackers: Antonio Morrison (6-3, 215) in the middle and Jeremi Powell (6-2, 200) and Lorenzo Phillips (6-2, 200) on the outside. After Phillips committed, I figured the Gators were done at linebacker, but that has changed.
Josh Harvey-Clemons (6-5, 210) of Valdosta, Ga., Lowndes, is a phenomenal athlete who was being recruited by the Gators as a receiver until they recently decided to recruit him as a linebacker. He can do it all, even playing safety in high school. Harvey-Clemons recently said Florida and Georgia are recruiting him the hardest. He also likes LSU and FSU and plans to announce at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in January.
Some consider the buck position to be technically part of the linebacking corps, but I won’t include it in this discussion (especially since I went over the Gators’ buck prospects last week).
As for decommitments, I really don’t see any at this time. The one guy I want to talk to more closely is Phillips, the linebacker out of Patterson, La. Teams don’t normally go into Louisiana and take prospects away from LSU, but Phillips said he’s 100 percent committed this past summer. The only reason for any doubt would be that he had previously committed to Texas A&M in March and then decommitted a day later. That doesn’t exactly strike me as a wishy washy kid, and in my conversations with him, he sounded like a high-character young man.
Does having an elite player at a position committed hurt you for another? For instance, does D.J. Humphries hurt us with Avery Young? And does having Colin Thompson hurt our chances with Kent Taylor? — @SoupBone79
Thanks for tweeting, Soup! This is an interesting question, because it definitely does happen. Some players swear they are not concerned with competition for playing time, but depth charts are often a factor. If a college coach promises an elite prospect he’ll have a shot at playing early, it would only make sense to check the depth chart to see if that’s accurate.
The same is true in recruiting. Let’s say a coach tells Player A he’ll compete for a starting job at strongside defensive end because there’s a college All-American already at weakside defensive end. Player A commits. Then that same coach goes out and gets commitments from two other elite defensive ends. It’s safe to assume they’ve all been told the same thing. Player A feels a bit betrayed and certainly less trusting of the coach. He decommits. This might be similar to what’s happening with five-star DE/LB Dante Fowler at Florida State, although he is still committed to the ‘Noles. We’ll see how it plays out, but the whispers are that he’s not happy FSU is still recruiting defensive ends when they already have three elite prospects committed in their Class of 2012.
Sometimes the numbers can work in your favor. At Florida, for instance, the coaching staff is pointing to a dearth of offensive tackles on the roster. Many of the players who were recruited under former coach Urban Meyer’s regime have been evaluated by the new staff as interior linemen. Back in the early days of this recruiting cycle, word was circulating that the Florida coaches wanted four or five offensive tackles in this class. The Gators have two five-star prospects, Jessamen Dunker (6-6, 315) and D.J. Humphries (6-6, 280), but that’s not discouraging their other top targets.
Florida is in good shape to get pledges from Adam Bisnowaty (6-6, 275) and Avery Young (6-6, 280). Young has had Florida high on his list from the beginning. Bisnowaty was planning to take an official visit with his mother for last week’s FAU game until his flight was canceled. He told me he’ll look to reschedule for the Florida-Tennessee game in a couple of weeks. Both Bisnowaty and Dunker could eventually move to interior line positions.
As for the tight end position, having Colin Thompson actually helps Florida with Kent Taylor, as the two have become pretty good friends. Thompson is planning to take an official visit to Florida for the Alabama game on Oct. 1 and said Taylor will strongly consider making that his official visit to Florida as well. I’ll be shocked if Thompson is the Gators’ only tight end in this class.
The coaching staff at Florida has taken four defensive backs so far in this class. Is Tracy Howard out? Would UF take anymore DBs? — Kendall
Thanks for posting your question in the comment section, Kendall. I think Florida is keeping a spot open for Miramar, Fla., cornerback Tracy Howard (6-0, 175), who was recently bumped up to five-star status by Rivals. Howard is a physical cover corner, whom some have rated as the best in the nation. Florida already has a verbal from Bradenton, Fla., Southeast cornerback Brian Poole (5-11, 185), who is rated a five-star prospect by Scout. The other verbals in the secondary are safeties Marcus Maye and Rhaheim Ledbetter along with Willie Bailey, who could play either position. The fact is, Florida has plenty of bodies in the secondary on its current roster. And head coach Will Muschamp will continue to evaluate the players he inherited from Meyer.
I’ve gotten a lot of questions about Howard leaning toward Florida State and whether a spot could eventually open up for Gainesville, Fla., cornerback Chris Bivins (6-0, 170). It’s complicated. Howard is actually still rather early in his recruiting process. He favored Florida first, then considered Miami before having some concerns about UM’s future. He’s said he won’t go there if they are banned from playing in bowl games. Then he camped at FSU and came away impressed. His co-leaders are Florida and Florida State. But I think his recruitment is far from over, as Howard is planning to take officials to Alabama and LSU. Notre Dame and perhaps even UCLA could squeeze into the picture.
Florida won’t wait forever on Howard because the few remaining spots in their Class of 2012 are going to start filling up by the end of the year. Would that open the door for Bivins? Sadly, it doesn’t look good at this time. The Gators told Bivins they like him and want him in the class but have too much respect for him to give him an uncommittable scholarship offer. I say it’s a sad situation because Bivins is a high-character, hard-working kid who loves Florida, wants to stay home and play in The Swamp and would probably sign at the last minute if given the chance.
There are several intriguing plots to follow right up until signing day. One of them surely is whether Florida add any more cornerbacks.
Any chance we land Dorial Green-Beckham or Stefon Diggs? — Paddyshack
Shoutout to the GSMB! Thanks for posting on the recruiting message board, Paddyshack. I’ve discussed both players at length before in my blogs, so here’s a quick update …
No and yes.
Green-Beckham, also known as DGB (6-6, 220), is the top prospect in the nation. He hasn’t yet eliminated Florida from his list but he is expected to soon narrow it to a top five. Here’s my guess at that list: Alabama, Arkansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas. You can see a southwest flavor there, and I think it could very well end up a classic Oklahoma-Texas border war, although Alabama has made a strong impression as well.
Diggs has Florida high on his list, thanks to a strong impression on his visit for Friday Night Lights, during which he stayed with former high school teammate Jelani Jenkins. Diggs (6-0, 185) would give the Gators an explosive deep threat and an athletic playmaker, something they really need in my opinion. In his first game of the high school season, Olney, Md., Our Lady Good Counsel edged Bradenton, Fla., Manatee 24-17 in a huge game between two of ESPN’s top 20 nationally ranked teams. Diggs had six receptions for 132 yards and two touchdowns, including an 80-yard score in which he got behind his defender and ran untouched to the end zone. Diggs also missed parts of the second half with leg cramps.
OK, thanks for so many questions. Now put your thinking caps on and let’s do it again in one week. Here are your many methods to reach me with your inquiries …