Zach’s Mail Stack 12/21


Seasons greetings, Gator Nation!

The last two times I’ve sat down to write the Mail Stack, Florida had all sorts of bad news going on.

The first week of December saw two UF targets (Keith Marshall and Kurt Freitag) pick other schools and Mike Davis decommit from the Gators. Last week’s mailbag followed Charlie Weis’ departure to Kansas and an uneventful recruiting weekend.

Things are much better this time around.

Florida received commitments from two elite JUCO lineman (Damien Jacobs and Visesio Salt) and the nation’s No. 1 cornerback did the Gator chomp in his last high school game.

“Recruiting is going extremely well,” head coach Will Muschamp said in his press conference Monday.

I’d have to agree.

I noticed many of you were upset about the length of the previous Mail Stack. I failed to mention that when our blog format changed, I wasn’t able to get any questions from the old comment section because they were erased. That was the reason for the lack of answers, and I’m sorry I couldn’t give you guys more.

I was happy to see all the questions that were sent to my email and twitter this week. Please keep it up!

Before I get to them, I want touch on Davis. He was asked about the most.

I predicted the four-star running back would be a Gator again following a face-to-face visit from Muschamp & Co.

Well, that was under the assumption they would make the trip to Stone Mountain, Ga. which isn’t happening anymore.

A source close to the situation told me the UF staff has stopped recruiting Davis and will not go after another RB in this class.

With plenty of options in 2013, the coaches will try to land two talented tailbacks next year rather than wasting a scholarship on a second-tier prospect in 2012.

On to the questions!

What are our chances for Nelson Agholor and Stefon Diggs? We need playmakers on offense badly. Adam and others

Sky high. Agholor and Diggs enjoyed their official visits to Oklahoma this past weekend and they have more coming up. But several of my sources have said Florida still has the advantage even with Weis leaving, and Muschamp would have to completely flop on the offensive coordinator hire for them to go elsewhere.

Staying on that note, I think Muschamp will hire Kerwin Bell as the quarterback coach and passing game coordinator and make running back coach Brian White the running game coordinator. No inside info there, just my prediction for those who asked.

What’s up with Dante Fowler? I’m not hearing about him anymore. Are we done recruiting him? Has he lost some interest in us? Qualand

Florida is still after Fowler and both parties haven’t shown any drop in interest.

The UF staff saw the five-star prospect during the contact period and he is still scheduled to officially visit in January.

“The coaches are still after me like they’ve always been,” Fowler said. “They came to see me and my parents at my house and the visit went great. My dad spent some time with (defensive coordinator) Dan Quinn and got to know him … He’s looking forward to coming down with me and my mom next month.”

Before and after the FSU game, Fowler told me there was a “25 percent” chance that his commitment could change. That percentage remains the same and it can only bode well for the Gators.

How many recruits do you realistically see UF signing this year?  Muschamp said 32?  I hear 28-29 is more realistic. Mike and Emily

Muschamp said he could sign 32-34 players if he wanted to, but UF won’t reach that number.

The Gators have room for 28 signees as it stands now, but I believe they will only sign 26. Florida doesn’t have many desirable prospects left on its board and Muschamp won’t add extra bodies just to do so.

The question is, who will the final eight be?

At each position, who do you think we end up with that’s left on our board: RB, WR, OL, DE, LB and CB? C-Slim

I’m not ready to give a mock class just yet, but I can tell you how the eight spots breakdown position-wise and who will make it in.

Running Back: 0

Wide Receiver: 2 – Agholor and Diggs.

Offensive Line: 0 – I think it’s Avery Young or none at OL, and with him now claiming Auburn and Georgia as his leaders, I’m leaning toward the latter. The Gators are in good shape with the three lineman they have committed.

Defensive End: 2 – Jonathan Bullard and Leonard Williams.

Buck: 2 – UF lands Tyric McCord and either Jordan Jenkins or Fowler. Jenkins will announce his college destination Jan. 9 at 7 p.m. on Fox Sports. His finalists are Alabama, Auburn, Florida and Georgia, but it will come down to the Gators and Crimson Tide.

Linebacker: 1 – Josh Harvey-Clemons.

Cornerback: 1 – Tracy Howard.

Of the current uncommitted recruits that UF is recruiting and bringing in for official visits, which are eligible to enroll early? degator74

Now that JUCO offensive lineman Pierce Burton is off the board (committed to Ole Miss Wednesday), none of UF’s remaining targets are early enrollees. The addition of Jacobs brings this year’s EE total to eight.

When are the All-Star games and who might commit to us at those games? Roger

There will be several players-of-interest taking part in the two games, but only a pair of them are scheduled to make announcements.

Four-star LB/DE Tyric McCord and five-star DE Jonathan Bullard, who pushed back his decision earlier this week, will announce at the Army-All American Bowl on Jan. 7. Bullard’s three finalists are Clemson, Florida and South Carolina and McCord’s top two are the Gators and Gamecocks. I see both committing to UF.

Also playing in the Alamodome are Diggs, Kyle Murphy, Harvey-Clemons, Howard and UF commits D.J. Humphries, Kent Taylor and Omari Phillips.

At the Under Armour All-American game on Jan. 5, which I’m covering, those to watch for will be Agholor, Young, Fowler, Jenkins, Williams and UF commits LaTroy Pittman, Colin Thompson, Jessamen Dunker, Brian Poole, Marcus Maye and Austin Hardin.

I will have a preview of each game once they get closer.

Is there any chance that Billy D signs a quality big man in the 2012 class or are we going to have to wait until 2013? — Zach

The Gators currently don’t have any top-tier centers in their grasp, but they could still get some help inside at the power forward position.

Five-star Anthony Bennett (Findlay Prep, Henderson, Nev.) and four-star Ricardo Gathers (Riverside Academy, Reserve, La.) are giving Florida a hard look.

Bennett has yet to visit Gainesville but his mother and coach both like UF. The Gators are in his top nine along with Connecticut, Kentucky, Ohio State, Oregon, Pittsburgh, UNLV, Washington and West Virgina. He checks in at 6-foot-7, 230 pounds and should be Billy Donovan’s top priority once we enter the spring signing period. Last week Bennett said Florida is one of the hardest schools recruiting him.

Gathers decommitted from St. Johns in November and recently emerged on Florida’s radar. He favors four in Baylor, Duke, LSU and UF, but the Bears appear to have the edge right now despite having two power forwards (Isaiah Austin and Chad Rykhoek) already signed. Although he’s just 6-foot-6, Gathers is one of the best rebounders in the country.

Both prospects plan on making a decision following their senior seasons.

Hope you all have a Merry Christmas!