When Aubrey Hill resigned from his UF post on Aug. 3, many Gator fans worried how this would affect Florida’s top receiver commitment Ahmad Fulwood.
He made the masses breathe easy when he posted this on his twitter account:
“As long as the university of Florida stands (I’m) 110% committed to the gators,” Fulwood wrote.
The four-star wideout followed that tweet up with this:
“I look at it like if coach hill would have left halfway through my sophomore year I wouldn’t leave Florida then. Coaches come and go.”
That is the mentality UF coach Will Muschamp hopes all his commits have.
“When young men commit to the University of Florida or any school, they commit to the school — I hope,” Muschamp said.
As we’ve seen this month, that isn’t always the case.
Florida’s 2013 class has shrunk by four members in August and many of the current commits have chimed in on twitter, including Nick Washington.
The four-star safety told the Sun that regardless of the circumstances, recruits should stay firm and find a way to make things work.
“I feel like if you make a commitment you need to stick with it,” Washington said. “I don’t know what their reasons are for decommitting, but I don’t really like it.”
Like his close friend Fulwood, Washington feels that committing for factors other than the school itself can cause defections.
“I definitely think guys commit for the wrong reasons,” Washington said. “Whether it’s for coaches or thinking they’re going to start rather than the school that fits them the most.”
Although most of the “decommitments” actually parted ways with Florida mutually, this was still caused by them not giving their full commitment to the school they pledged to be a part of.
Receiver Rodney Adams and offensive tackle Rod Johnson were told they needed to improve their grades, but instead of focusing on their schoolwork, they turned their attention to visiting other schools and then began wavering when coach Hill left.
The UF coaches felt offensive guard Josh Outlaw and cornerback Tre’ Bell were dishonest and that ultimately turned them off. Outlaw refused to let the staff know why he was suspended from his team, while Bell told Muschamp he wasn’t allowed to workout at FNL and then competed in a 7-on-7 tournament the next day.
In short, these recruits didn’t do what they were supposed to do to stay in the class. Players that show a lack of commitment in high school usually have the same issue in college.
Of the five transfers from Muschamp’s 2011 class, four wavered at some point in their recruitment. Receiver Javares McRoy (Texas Tech) and linebacker Graham Stewart (Boston College) left their original school of choice to join the Gators, receiver Ja’Juan Story almost flipped to Ohio State on NSD and tight end A.C. Leonard decommitted from Florida during his senior season.
Washington said the recruits that are 100-percent committed from the get-go are the ones that won’t quit on the team during the trying times.
“Those are the guys you want to have around you in the locker room,” Washington said. “Even if a coach leaves or you lose a game or something isn’t going right, you’re still committed to the school and want to be a part of that family. And to me those are the two things that should matter more than anything.”
Muschamp believes Florida is one of the few places that sells itself, and any other recruiting pitches or factors a recruit cares about should be secondary to the school.
“We’re one of those special places where that certainly can happen,” Muschamp said. “Guys want to come here because it is the University of Florida, it is the state school, it does play in the SEC. At the end of the day it’s got a great tradition and it’s got a great education, so there’s a lot of positives about being at Florida.”