Zach’s Mail Stack 1/11


It’s been a roller-coaster recruiting week for Florida, but there were far more highs than lows.

Six UF commitments came out winners in Thursday’s Under Armour All-American Game and made the future look bright, especially in the secondary with the play of Brian Poole and Marcus Maye. On Saturday, head coach Will Muschamp landed five-star defensive end Jonathan Bullard following his dominant performance in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

Six of Florida’s seven early enrollees started their classes this week and are now officially Gators. Defensive end Quinteze Williams did not make it in because some of the credits he earned through an early graduation program were not accepted by the NCAA Clearinghouse. He has to retake three of his classes and plans to enroll at UF in the summer.

Muschamp received more bad news Monday night when four-star JUCO lineman Visesio “Junior” Salt decommitted from Florida and four-star defensive end Jordan Jenkins surprisingly picked Georgia (more on that later).

According to a source close to the situation, the Salt defection has been expected by the coaching staff for the last two weeks. Salt still has to take another semester before he can transfer. To get into UF, he had to complete them at Mt. San Antonio C.C in Walnut, Calif.

To get into Utah, however, he’s able to finish up at a local junior college back home. Florida would not have accepted the credits from that school, so that’s how his decision came about.

But things quickly turned around in Gator Nation with the hire of Boise State’s offensive coordinator Brent Pease. The reaction from recruits couldn’t have been better and UF got a ringing endorsement from five-star wide receiver Stefon Diggs.

As I’ve said before, Diggs would be Muschamp’s to lose as long as he didn’t mess up the OC hire — and he knocked it out of the park. Based on his “we” statement and initial thoughts on Pease, the Gators are in great shape.

On to the questions!

What’s the fallout of Jordan Jenkins committing to UGA?Rolando and others

The University of Florida has plenty of money.

But its football team still needs another buck.

Muschamp missed out on his top target Monday and it caught many off guard. I was one of many UF recruiting reporters that thought Jenkins would pick the Gators and it turns out they were a distant third.

Now its back to the drawing board for Muschamp, who has few options and little time left to find someone for the buck position.

Here are the top three remaining target:

Dante Fowler Jr. (St. Petersburg, Fla.)

The FSU commitment has flirted with Flordia throughout his recruitment and he’s hard to get a read on. There are some that swear up and down he will be a Gator in the end, while others think he’s just playing the game and will stick with the Seminoles.

I’m with the latter group and I honestly have no idea what Fowler will do. I’ve interviewed him on about 10 occasions and each time he gives me a different impression of where he’s leaning.

He will take official visits to FSU (1/13), UF (1/20) and USC (1/27) this month and make his final decision on National Signing Day.

Jamal Marcus (Durham, N.C.)

The three-star prospect is being recruiting as an outside linebacker, but he has the size (6-foot-2, 230 pounds) and speed (4.6) to play the buck position. His finalists are Florida, East Carolina, North Carolina and Ohio State, but lately he’s been linked to the Gators a lot. He plans to commit on NSD after official visits to ECU (1/13), UF (1/20) and possibly OSU.

Tyriq McCord (Tampa, Fla.)

McCord has liked Florida all along and at one point I had commitments tell me he was a silent. But with better options on the board, the coaches slow played him down the stretch and I think he eventually decided to move on. When he committed to Miami on Saturday, UF wasn’t even a hat on the table.

The staff must feel confident on where they stand with Fowler and/or Marcus (who are better prospects in their eyes) to not be pursuing McCord. I’ve also been told that he has some issues with grades, character and work ethic. But if the Gators miss on the guys above, maybe they’ll make a last-minute run at McCord and hope for the best.

At this time, I would replace Jenkins with Marcus in my 2012 mock class.

What about UF’s prospects with Darius Hamilton? It seems like he could be an important part of developing a pass rush for the Gators next year.Martin

Hamilton surprised a lot of folks last week when he revealed that he’s making a return trip to UF this month. This time he will be accompanied by his mother and they will be traveling on their own dime. The five-star defensive end took an official visit Dec. 9.

His finalists are Cal, Florida, Miami and Rutgers, but this is a two-team race between the Gators and Scarlet Knights. He is scheduled to be in Gainesville this weekend before taking his last two officials to Rutgers (1/20) and UM (1/27).

The fact that he’s coming back to UF again shows his interest level, but I still see him heading to Rutgers. It’s the hometown team and I think the Gators getting Bullard (who plays the same position as Hamilton) hurts their chances.

Yo Zach, I really like Leonard Williams. What is his status with UF and when can we expect him to decide?  — Kreg

Williams will be a NSD decision and things were looking positive for UF during Under Armour week. He was having fun with the Florida commits and he finally rescheduled his official visit for Jan. 13.

However, he has decided to visit FSU this weekend instead. With trips already planned to USC (1/20) and Miami (1/27), Williams probably won’t check out Gainesville anytime soon.

Doesn’t make much sense for someone who grew up a Gator fan and claims UF as his co-leader with Auburn, but maybe the Bullard commitment turned him off. Williams spoke highly of the Tigers’ new defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder and right now I think he’s favoring AU.

Obviously LSU’s performance Monday night was less than ideal, and we’ve picked up a great OC. Is there any chance there are verbal commits to LSU that might be changing their plans? Is there anybody from their list of commitments that we could really use?Matt

Two words — Avery Johnson.

The four-star wide receiver has been committed to LSU since October of 2010, but he’s now wavering with three weeks left until NSD.

Muschamp has always been after Johnson, but the developments this week have really worked to Florida’s advantage.

Billy Gonzalez leaving LSU to be the offensive coordinator at Illinois was a big blow to Johnson. They had a tight bond and Gonzalez was one of the main reasons he chose the Tigers. Culminate that with the hiring of Brent Pease, who Johnson is very impressed by, and UF is a real player now.

He was supposed to visit this weekend but decided to postpone it until after Muschamp and wide receivers coach Aubrey Hill see him next Friday. The Gators will then get his last official on Jan. 27 and he’s making the trip with his father.

Robbie Andreu alluded that UF may be after Duke Johnson, who is currently committed to Miami. Is that really a possibility? He looks good and would seem to be a great addition to this class.  — Alex

Florida has indeed reached out to Johnson, but he is not a possibility at this time. He’s very solid with Miami and it’s too little too late for the Gators. With Wes Brown’s commitment to Maryland last Thursday, it doesn’t look like they will land another running back in this class.

That’s all for this week! Be sure to leave your questions in the comment section below for the next mailbag.


  1. Hey Zach, thanks for the update. Just wondering if there is any word on Tracy Howard. Last I heard of him he did the gator chomp in his playoff game, but that was because WM and co. were in the stands. He would be a great addition. I would love to see him with Roberson and Riggs in the future.

  2. “what is the deal with the comments Harvey-Clemens made to Davis about going to Georgia “with” him?”

    Where did you read this?

    “would love to get avery johnson if we miss on diggs”

    Would love to get Johnson in addition to Agholor, Diggs, and Pittman.

    Zach any word on Dalvin Tomlinson, and Vincent Valentine? We really need some help on the interior D Line. How is it looking for Howard? A lock down corner would help our D Line.

  3. i believe we will get diggs and agholor. the hiring of brent pease has opened the eyes of alot of recruits with pease the offense will throw down the field more which will open up the running game for gillislee, brown and jones

  4. Is there any chance that Agholor plays Safety at UF if they land him, Diggs and Avery Johnson?

    Also can we get an update on OV’s early next week?
    Jake Meador
    Darius Hamilton
    Vincent Valentine
    Alex McCallister
    Jeremi Powell

  5. I go to GatorZone and read the stats on Valdez Showers (198Lbs)
    Senior Year 29 touchdowns and 2024 yards
    Junior year 1572 yds and 20 touchdowns..Please tell me why this kid is not one of our running backs..great stats great size..we have safeties and corner backs coming out of our A–


  7. Hey Z,
    Why no interest in Todd Gurley from here in my hometown of Tarboro, NC? He is a studd running back with track star speed a 200 lbs plus size and been in four straight state championship games winning the last three. He was the hero of the day on many occasions. We don’t get guys like this in Eastern NC because of baskeball, and baseball. But he seams to be the kind of guy the Gators could use with the style O that Muschamp is putting in place. Not to mention Georgia and Auburn have offered. Just wondering.

  8. What’s going on with the running backs? This seems like a huge area of need and other than one commitment, it doesn’t seem like we have any more on board? Can this be considered a good class with only one running back signed?

  9. I asked this question of you previously, but missed your response/opinion. What are the chances that the Gators submit and/or receive a medical redshirt for Jeff Driscol? Since he played sparingly and had a “sprained ankle” is a medical redshirt possible? Has he been soundly beaten out by Jocoby Brisset and is there any word that Driscol may be looking at a transfer to another school looking for more playing time/a chance to start?

  10. Hi Zach, I had a question about our WR board I wanted to know if the Gators were recruiting Cordarrell Patterson the top Juco WR in the country? He is big, fast, and has reliable hands. The last I heard was that he has major SEC interest with Tenn, Ole Miss, Georgia, and LSU looking at him pretty hard. I have seen him play in person and wondered if the Gators are recruiting him? Thanks Zach!

  11. Hi Zach,
    When are you going to get fired??
    Your Mail Bags SUCK, they hardly even get posted on wednesday anymore (it’s 11:20 on wednesday right now and nothing), and since you got the job i have no clue who the gators are actually gonna sign

  12. Word has it that UGA is sending Coach Grantham and Coach Bobo to Valdosta Thursday. They are after Josh Harvey Clemons heavily. Appears that they may be sweetening the lowndes connection by bringing 6′3″ 293 left tackle Jared Davis to Athens with Clemons. He would play guard for Georgia. May break the ice in Lowndes with this one – two punch.
    Gators better block UGA on this one and go after these two.