Weekend in review

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It was a big recruiting weekend in Gainesville, and Florida coach Will Muschamp came out of it with two new commitments.

But he also put the finishing touches on what could end up being a memorable 2012 class.

On Monday night, video interviews from half of Florida’s visitors — TE Colin Thompson, DT Jafar Mann, DE/LB Bryan Cox Jr., DE/LB Dante Fowler Jr. and CB Brian Poole — will be up on GatorSports.com.

I’ll eventually get an update on five-star CB Tracy Howard, but QB Skyler Mornhinweg, RB Matt Jones, WR Stefon Diggs and DE Alex McCalister are hard to get a hold of. But I’ve been able to gather some info on their trips.

With so much that went on, what I’ll do is run down the visitors list by position and give an update on each recruit.

Quarterback:

LSU wide receiver commit Avery Johnson (Pompano Beach, Fla./Blanche Ely) didn’t show up for his trip, but the Gators still had 10 official visitors this weekend with the addition of quarterback Skyler Mornhinweg (Philadelphia, Pa./St. Joseph’s).

He came down at the request of new UF offensive coordinator Brent Pease, who is trying to sign a 2012 QB and has targeted the Penn State commit. The two talked at length this weekend and Mornhinweg’s father and Pease have known each other since college.

The 6-foot-3, 215-pounder had a great visit according to UF tight end commit Colin Thompson, who knows Mornhinweg personally and thinks the Gators will land him. The three-star QB has an official visit planned to Virginia Tech next weekend.

Pease is also looking at Jacob Guy (Dade City, Fla./Pasco) and Paxton Lynch (Deltona, Fla./Trinity Christian Academy), who will visit Indiana this week and Florida on Jan. 27.

Running back:

Four-star commit Matt Jones had this to say about his trip.

“It was great,” Jones told Scout.com. “I’m ready to go. I love the staff, it’s the best. I love the fans. I am so happy to be a Gator.”

Wide receiver:

Five-star WR Stefon Diggs (Olney, Md./Our Lady of Good Counsel) enjoyed his official to UF, despite reports that he was “bored.” Diggs made that comment on Friday night because at the time he had only done things with his family and he wanted to go out with players and recruits.

He got his wish.

“The Florida trip was an awesome trip,” Diggs told ESPN. “The people, the atmosphere, the family, the coaches — everything about it was awesome.”

Diggs also tweeted this on Saturday afternoon.

“I love it. Love the environment and just the thought of being a gator.”

Stefon Diggs on his official visit (from Diggs' Twitter)

Diggs did not commit (at least publicly) and he’s pushed back his decision to Feb. 10 so he can check out Maryland and … hold your breath … Ohio State.

However, the fact that he visited UF with his whole family and went to Cal and Auburn alone speaks volumes to me. Whether they accompany him on his remaining officials or not, I think Diggs’ family members are sold on UF and if today were National Signing Day he would be a Gator. I don’t see that changing, either.

Nelson Agholor, another five-star WR from Tampa Berkeley Prep, didn’t make it in for his unofficial visit because he couldn’t find a ride to Gainesville and also had a basketball game Saturday.

There’s a lot of smoke out there that Agholor is leaning toward USC (where he’s officially visiting next weekend) and could be a Trojan in the end. I have no inside info on Agholor at this time and he rarely does interviews, but two of his best friends (Marcus Maye and Kent Taylor) recently told me Florida is his top school. And until they change their tune, I’m not changing mine. Agholor’s distance factor, relationship with current commits and fondness of Muschamp will be too much for him to pass up.

Defensive Tackle:

Three-star commit Jafar Mann (Stone Mountain, Ga./Stephenson) spent most of his weekend with current players and loves the social life at UF. For what it’s worth, Mann said he had a talk with Diggs and the five-star WR told him “I got you” when Mann asked him to come to Florida.

Jafar Mann on his official visit (from Mann's Twitter)

Defensive end:

Florida found its 2012 buck prospect in Bryan Cox Jr. (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla./St. Thomas Aquinas), who formally committed to the coaching staff Saturday. Cox is happy to be a part of Gator Nation and already made some teammates.

Bryan Cox Jr. on his official visit (from Cox's Twitter)

On Saturday night, Cox tweeted that UF would land a commitment Monday from fellow official visitor and three-star DE Alex McCalister (Clemmons, N.C./West Forsyth).

“Shout out to (McCalister) he gone commit to the Gators on Monday!!! #GatorNation show him love.”

Cox confirmed that tweet to me Sunday morning and said McCalister told him he’s committing to UF. I’ll have a story up as soon as he announces Monday, which is scheduled to be at 1 p.m.

The Gators also had their final shot at five-star DE/LB Dante Fowler Jr. (St. Petersburg, Fla./Lakewood), who got the full-court press from coaches, commits, parents and current players. My video interview with him is a must-see. Although his commitment to Florida State is still “100 percent solid,” he will make a hat pick on Feb. 1 between UF and FSU. He cancelled his visit to USC next weekend.

Cornerback:

Four-star commit Brian Poole (Bradenton, Fla./Southeast) has put two rumors to rest. The first was that he’s wavering after an in-home visit from Notre Dame last week. Poole said he’s all-Gator and can’t wait to get to Gainesville for good.

The second was that he and Miramar cornerback Tracy Howard have an issue with each other. That got squashed with this photo from Poole.

Brian Poole and Tracy Howard (from Poole's Twitter)

As for Howard, the five-star told me his offical visit was going great at Saturday’s basketball game. Howard is no longer visiting LSU next weekend and will go to Miami instead. His finalists are Florida, Florida State and Miami and he will commit on NSD.

Howard’s top schools have shifted around a lot, but UF has been the one constant. I overheard some very positive things about him Sunday afternoon and the vibe from this weekend is that he’s a Gator.

Florida also received unofficial visits from 2013 prospects Adam Lane (Winter Haven RB commit), Ryan Green (St. Petersburg/Catholic RB), Alvin Bailey (Seffner, Fla./Armwood WR) and Vernon Hargreaves III (Tampa/Wharton CB), whose sister Carina attends UF. The 5-foot-11, 180-pounder will be one of the nation’s top corners next year and the Gators lead for his services.

Vernon Hargreaves and his sister (from Carina's Facebook)

27 COMMENTS

  1. We’re not going to land a “franchise” type QB this year. We do, however, need to sign some depth at the position. Backup QB’s play an important role on the team and this kid fits the bill. I really like the Guy kid. He seems to have a foundation that can be built upon. Also, we need to prepare for the possible transfer of Brissett or Driskell. It will not be shocking to see the loser of the battle transfer. I hope not, but, gotta be realistic!

  2. Zach,

    Are there any more additions to the offensive line in this class?

    Looks like a lot of three stars for the “buck” position; anyone else being entertained these days?

    Why is Pease going after a QB? Is it possibe that we end up with another Brantley like player in four years? Meaning, someone that didn’t quite fit the system, or was a late last grab to fill the roster.

    Thanks and GO GATORS!!!!!

    Beau

  3. I feel good about this class turn out. I like Cox. He was all gator from the beginning. With JHC hanging on the fence we had to give it to him. I think once he trims up he will follow his father in OLB. I think we need 3 RB in next years class. Lane, Taylor and Henry would be my picks for the Gator Draft Day/NSD. QB Lynch I think has the best shot to push the other three that are here for playing time.

  4. WE are looking STRONG on the O-line, and will likely have some depth as well, as the new guys find their way and begin to mesh with each other and the good ones we already had to form a cohesive unit as the season goes on.
    Mornighwheg will almost certainly fulfill his commitment to Penn st. (he came in as a courtesy to Pease, a long time friend of his dad), but Pease’s sharp eye for talent and continued contact with the two talented young QBs that each encountered injuries that turned them from highly-rated prospects as juniors to “late-charging”, off-the-radar and under-valued 3-stars by now have us likely with our choice of one or BOTH of Guy (mobile and inventive) and Lynch (“pure pocket passer with a cannon arm”). I, too, like Lynch most of all for our system, from what I know and have seen, but that’s just an early impression–if there’s room scholly-wise on NSD, Pease might even get to grab BOTH…either way, I’m confident in his judgement here.

  5. Zach, current situation at Alabama has Phillip Sims, a big time recruit, backing up Mccarron and 1 year behind him. Our QBs( Drisk, Brist)are the same year, but do you see a possibility of whoever does not start to redshirt this year instead of transferring to get 1 year behind the starter. If a guy like Sims can stick it out then our guys should find a way also. Unlike Cam Newton and Tebow situation which of course Newton had other problems. So we would have to have a capable backup which is why getting a QB is important.

  6. Do yall think that Florida is gonna get beat by UGA again this year? I feel like the they might start there own 18 out of 21. Pretty sure a big recruiting class will not do much for musCHUMP. Doesnt know how to coach but he sure knows how to scream. He definitely wins that award. Love to see the gators down in the dumps for the next 10 years and the way Urban did yall….priceless.

  7. I think Young and Williams are Auburn’s to lose right now and JHC will pull the trigger for UGA. I think Meador is leaning Mizzou and regretably, I think sleezeball Kiffin has Agholor leaning USC. Diggs, Howard, Miles are the only strong Gator leans right now. I still think Fowler is playing games, though we have a shot. The intresting one right now is Hamilton. The guy really wanted to get his mother down here for a visit at their own expense. I feel if he had his way he would be in Gainesville next season, but I think mom is trying to keep him in state.

  8. Zach will you do a final mock class? Do we land Darius Hamilton? If we truly are trying to switch to a 3-4 then why has Muschamp only recruited 1 player, Quinteze Williams, with the size to play in a 3-4? Cox has the size to play the buck position if he can actually do it. It doesn’t look to me like Muschamp is recruiting players, defensively, that fit his system. McCallister, Bullard, Phillips, Mann, and Morrison are all currently undersized to play in the front 7 in a 3-4. However, if he were to switch to a 4-3, these guys, except McCallister, could find spots they fit at their size.

  9. Just watched the video on Mornhinweg and I am sold on this kid. Quick release, good arm strength, good accuracy, and he has some wheels. I think he could compete for a starting job. New OC, new system, he has a chance. Even If he didn’t win the starting job, he could develop into a solid #2 if we were to lose Brissett or Driskell.