Zach’s Mail Stack 8/29


Florida suffered a big loss on Friday when defensive end DeMarcus Walker committed to Alabama, but the Gators still got good news on the recruiting front this past week.

Four-star receiver Alvin Bailey did the Gator Chomp after scoring a touchdown in his game on Friday and it looks like UF is the driver’s seat for him. He is supposed to make his decision by Saturday, but if he doesn’t, it should be sometime in early September. Bailey said he already knows where he’s going.

Florida may have also solved its recruiting need for a second guard to go along with Octavius Jackson. True freshman Jafar Mann was moved from defensive tackle to offensive guard and should do well with the switch given that he was a three-year starter at the position in high school.

Joshua Outlaw (Lithonia, Ga./Martin Luther King) says he’s still considering the Gators despite his decommitment, but right now I doubt he rejoins the class or UF lands a suitable replacement this fall. All of Florida’s former targets have either lost interest or committed elsewhere.

On to the questions!

Latest on Laremy Tunsil?Christian and James

The five-star offensive tackle is currently “on break” from recruiting with his senior season underway and still has a Top 3 of Georgia, Alabama and Florida (in order, though he won’t admit it publicly).

UF continues to recruit him harder than any other school, so for the Gators to be in third place says a lot. Will Muschamp will stay after Tunsil all the way through National Signing Day, but I don’t anticipate things changing with him.

I would advise Gator fans to move on (as some have) and not worry about Tunsil until he gives you a reason to. I’m covering his game next Thursday and will have an update on him afterward.

If you had to put money on which players will fill out the current class (assuming that the rest of the commits will sign) who do you think they are? — Ken

Well first and foremost, I would never put money on recruits coming to Florida or any school for that matter. They can change their minds at the drop of a dime.

Having said that, Bailey and safety Marcell Harris are the two targets I feel most confident about. As I’ve mentioned previously, both have so many factors that favor Florida (friends, family preference, distance, playing time) and I don’t see them going against those.

Of the few prospects that have decommitted recently, which individual do you feel will come back and sign his L.O.I. with the Gators?by Slickgator

I think offensive tackle Roderick Johnson would be the most likley candidate. Muschamp took over his recruitment after Aubrey Hill’s resignation and he continues to pursue him despite his desire to take trips and academic concerns.

Johnson in turn is still considering the Gators and if he doesn’t like want he sees at other schools, he could very well end up back at Florida.

Do you think another linebacker could enter the class, filling the spot that Dillan Lawson left? Also, looking ahead to 2014, what are your opinions on where top RBs Bo Scarbrough and Sony Michel could end up? Extremely early in the process, but how do you feel UF’s chances are with both? — Go Gator

With the recent defections and changes to current roster (i.e. Mann), I think the Gators may try to add a fourth linebacker again. The most likely candidates would be Notre Dame commit Alex Anzalone and Florida State commit Freddie Stevenson. Both are still solid in their verbals, but UF was one of their finalists and could make another push if they visit this fall. Local linebacker prospect Keith Kelsey Jr. out of Gainesville High is another name to look out for. He is the son of former Gator LB Keith Kelsey and may get an offer from Florida if things fall in place for him.

As for the 2014 running backs, Bo Scarbrough has Georgia leading with Alabama second and Sony Michel has Miami in front of Florida State. So the Gators aren’t really a factor for either at this time. But like you said, it’s still extremely early.

Besides Muschamp, which current coach has the greatest impact on recruiting right now since Hill left UF and why? Examples? — WoodyBass

I would say the top four assignments in recruiting are running backs coach Brian White, tight ends coach Derek Lewis, linebackers coach D.J. Durkin and defensive backs Travaris Robinson.

White landed Ronald Powell and Josh Shaw out of California in 2010 and is responsible for much of Florida’s out-of-state success. Robinson is probably the most personable coach on the staff and will likely become the face of the Gators in South Florida now that Hill is gone. Lewis has led Florida’s recent surge in the Tampa area by helping land kids like Dante Fowler Jr. and Kent Taylor as well as Jordan Sherit and Vernon Hargreaves III this year.

But right now, I gotta give the nod to Durkin. He was named the recruiter of the year in 2012 after signing four of the top 14 prospects in the state of North Carolina according to Rivals.

He also primarily recruited Brian Poole and Jeremi Powell, who both had academic issues in high school and brought their grades up thanks to heavy influence and involvement from Durkin.

Are you going to have a weekly report on how current Gator commits and targets perform each Friday night? — Travis

Glad you asked this question, Travis. This weekend I’m starting a series called “Gator Prospectus,” where I will do a profile of each member in Florida’s 2013 class. I plan on covering at least one Gator commit from the state of Florida every week of the regular season and then I’ll do the out-of-state commits afterward. I’ll also throw in some news and notes from other players each time.

The Gator Prospectus profiles will include a recap of their game with stats and highlights, a video interview, a scouting report, comments from an opposing coach or player and just general information (height, weight, recruiting rank).

I’m hoping it will be a fun feature to follow this fall and give you guys a better glimpse at the future Gators. If you have any additional things you would like me to include, please let me know.

Here are the games I’m scheduled to attend this season.

8/31: DeLand at Daytona Beach Mainland (LB Quinton Powell)
9/6: Columbia at GHS (OT Laremy Tunsil and WR Chris Thompson)
9/7: St. Pete Catholic at Crescent City (DT Caleb Brantley)
9/14: Trinity Christian at Sandalwood (S Nick Washington and DE DeMarcus Walker)
9/20: Kathleen at Winter Haven (RB Adam Lane)
9/21: Mount Dora at South Sumter (S Keanu Neal)
9/28: Glades Day at Yulee (RB Kelvin Taylor)
10/5: Plant at Wharton (CB Vernon Hargreaves)
10/12: First Coast at Yulee (LB Daniel McMillian)
10/19: Armwood at Hillsborough (WR Alvin Bailey and DE Jordan Sherit)
10/25: Evans at Dr. Phillips (S Marcell Harris)
10/26: Ridgewood at Dade City Pasco (DL Joey Ivie)
11/2: Tallahassee Lincoln at Ocala Forest (LB James Hearns)
11/9: West Nassau at Bishop Kenny (WR Ahmad Fulwood)

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


  1. PS Zach, Mann is just being tested out at G for 3 to 4 weeks before they decide on him. JUCO Trent Brown and Ira Denson needs to be our focus for OL. I said this in the beginning. Tunsil is just messing around with us an we should have moved on be now. Losing Walker hurt but not as much as loosing out on O. Phillips this 2012 season and beyond to UT. I not with you on Harris till I see it on paper. Just feels like a Tracy Howard thing all over again. Why didn’t we recruit J. Kearse son? He committed to Clemson. Gator legacy going to Clemson that could be a LB/S/DE in college. Shameful.

  2. Epic Battle alert! Lake City Columbia plays Baker County at home tommorow night, and while Columbia should win the game as they are a bigger program, the battle between Tunsil and Baker County’s sophmore all american and future GATOR CeCe Jefferson should be an epic one. Hoping that Jefferson takes him to school and makes him realize that he belongs in hogtown. I don’t think I can take another local kid with so much talent signing to Ga or Bama again. Bad as I hate to say it, I’d rather lose them to the girls school or thugu ( or maybe not ).. Go Gators

  3. Tunsil wants to start at LT as a freshman , Ga offers the best chance for that. He will not sign with Bamabecause of the depth chart.Lt at UF is DJH’s, who if he gets healthy and adds steady strength weight will be starting by week 6.

  4. If Mann moves and we already lost the other Fresh Dt due to acedemics all we have left is Jacobs and he’s a Juco,the Dt is starting to look slim after next year.So are we looking to add another Dt or two in this class not including the commits?

  5. ZACH!! Love the reporting you do bruh. Just asking about your trips scheduled…I know he’s clearly the best recruit we’ll get this year but are you planning on going to see VHIII play in a HS game this season? Love to see/hear what he does!! I’m all the way in VA…

    Either way…I definitnely enjoy your material and insight!

  6. Hey Zack, I watched The GHS vs. Yulee game last night. And Thompson looked great, but Derrick Henry was unstoppable. He torched a very stout GHS defense. He’s very big, he’s very fast, he grew up a gator, he’s from Florida. Why don’t we recruit him?? We could use another RB in this class.

  7. Austin – that ship has sailed. Lets just say I don’t think Henry and the coaching staff exactly hit it off. If you have noticed, a trend with WM and the type of recruits has been trying to bring this year – weeding out the knuckleheads.

  8. dbgator There is no epic battle Columbia leading Baker 43-0. running power-o play behind Tunsil right at Jefferson. Tunsil is driving Jefferson six yards of the ball on every play and has pancaked him 6 times. Henry was recruited by UF as a TE/LB the exact positions Bama is recruiting him for. Unless he changes from insisting on being a rb He will sign with UT the only school recruiting him as a rb.

  9. Excellent performance by Gilleslee. On the Recruiting Front: Although no fault of his, Mike will have real problems against SEC teams. The offensive line consists of real ‘stiffs’. That is why the inability of WM to recruit quality OL will ultimately be his ‘ticket’ out of G’ville. As I have said before the fault rests with AD Foley. As I have said before the GATOR FANS DESERVE BETTER THAN A ‘COACH-WAITING-FOR-A-JOB’ with ZERO head coaching experience who’s last ‘gig’ was defense coordinator of a 5-7 team!!

  10. I know many people do not want to up a post this morning, but here’s mine. We looked pretty bad on both sides of the ball, I’m not going to judge them on this one for reasons of all the usual; new coordinator, jitters,etc. I REALLY EXPECTED A WHOLE LOT BETTER THAN WHAT WE GOT ON SATURDAY! From what we were being told by WM and staff, we had a much better OL and the team as a whole was BIGGER, STRONGER, AND TOUGHER. I didn’t see it, The defense missed so many tackles I thought they were playing last years ALABAMA team. One last thing, I read this morning that Driskell had moved ahead of Brisset 10 days ago, so why put on the show of the “neck and neck” bull sh..,Why not come out and say what we have , this is what we are going with and be prepared. “IF this is true”, we have been critical of recruits all summer for now truthful and integrity. What does this say about our staff? Again If it is true why was it done? Because we thought Bolwing Green would be a push-over and we could give the appearance of fairness in the QB battle. If so 10 – 11 plays could not be considered fair. WM and staff have done some good things in forming a team that will have to play by the rules, but again “if this is true”, they like integrity. I know some post will be critical of my statements but again I say “If this is true”.

  11. WM and staff are doing the best they can. WM is simply NOT QUALIFIED for the position he has. Recruits may be immature but they are not completely stupid. PREDICTION: During the season many of these kids will start to realize that WM’s tenure will not be a long one. Zook was a more competent head coach. How many will want to step into the MESS that will be this program after this season!!

  12. WM will be gone in a year or two. But the fault rests with AD Foley. Foley hired Zook. Foley hired the Texas defenseive coordinator. The UF President ordered Foley to hire UM. The primary blame for this mess is not WM, its Foley.

  13. Imiation is the sincerest form of approval. Say what you will @ my opinions. NO ONE, yes NO ONE has generated or can generate the emotion among the Kneckle-Draggers except EMK. I can anger you anytime I wish to do so and the only thing must do is simply express a contrary opinion. Please note: Until LOI day or WM firing, I shall post elsewhere. But, not to worry, you will still have IMPOSTER. It is not much but there is only one EMK

  14. With the poor play and Driskell and Jacoby to step up why are we not recruiting a top QB in this class? Max Staver is only a 3 star guy. We should be able to land a top 10 QB to come in and play Pease system. New coordinator so let’s get a new QB.

  15. All you guys who slammed me post after post, perhaps you might want to step-back and think about this with some detachment. And, please don’t tell me how well WM is recruiting or about ‘the mess’ he inherited. The guy is clueless!! The guy brings in a successful OC and then apparently takes over the offense and tells the OC how to run that part of the game. Perhaps WM can turn thing around. If not, I hope the guy who is responsible for this ‘train wreck’, AD Foley will put his rather large ego aside and admit his mistake and hire a competent HC.

  16. Boys, boys. Settle down. You, too EMK. It’s week 1. I saw lots of energy, excitement & emotion on the field. Corraled and directed against the opponent they’ll live up to the hype. I saw an offense that does need one QB, probably Driskel. Gillislee can rush for 1,200 yards and hold us together while the QB gets his feet wet. I also saw a vanilla game plan holding off for Game Day at Kyle Field next week. BG is a good football team. Very experienced with probably an NFL backup type QB. Lots of top teams escaped with wins against supposedly inferior opponents. There are lots of great players that do not go to SEC schools. Just ask Wisconsin, Iowa, Penn State, Georgia and even Texas. Let’s hold off until December before executing the Head Coach. I very much prefer recruiting class athletes than the 5 star guys that are pains in the butt. I also want guys who want to be Gators. Here in Atlanta, the ‘Dawg fans hold their breath every Monday when the Athens Police Dept. lineup takes place. Go Gators! Beat Aggies!

    Atlanta Gator

  17. @AtlantaGator, I hear what you are saying about the level of competition and holding back for college station, but WM admitted that he told the OC to stay VANILLA and continue to run the ball for the benifit of T A&M but that means when we do break out whatever we were holding back from A&M we better have it down pat because we didn’t do some of the ROUTINE things too very well on saturday. I hope they (coaching staff) REALLY does have a surprise for all of us on Saturday. I agree it’s week one, and the play reflected that fact, I think we should have performed better and not struggle so much for so long with a talented BG team. You tend to look at the teams performance and compare it to last year, with slight changes and a familiar look STRUGGLING. I know we have Quality Players and I hope a good coaching staff (I’m only going to say good until they prove otherwise), hopefully this weekewnd will start to tell the story of this years GATOR TEAM. GO GATORS!!!!

  18. well said atlantagator.dont judge the gators on one game.other than a hold bunch of penalites ( which will be corrected)the gators played with fight and was in the the ball game all the way .glad it was a close game we needed that .BOwling Green was a good test and we came out on top.Coach has name his started at gb and lets go from guys guit nip-pickin,back your team,back your coach and you might be supprise the good it will do .go gators .thanks zach for the space keep up the good work/

  19. What alot of people dont realize is that current players talk to recruits. You can look and say yeah I .can come in and be a gamechanger.The reality is that if you dont have at least average ol and dl it does not matter. Look at the ol and dl and the most impressive players were true freshmen. The Thing that is making rounds is that if WM likes you play Look at the current top schools the BEST players play regardless of class.