Recruiting weekend rewind


This past weekend, Florida hosted three official visitors and over a dozen targets from the 2013, ’14 and ’15 recruiting classes combined.

Safety Marcell Harris (Orlando, Fla./Dr. Phillips) and offensive guard David Dawson (Detroit, Mich/Cass Tech), both ESPN150 members, were the only uncommitted targets that took officials.

Harris hasn’t done any interviews about his trip yet and did not answer my calls or reply to my texts. But several sources close to him and his family told me his visit went great and the Gators are definitely in the drivers’ seat right now.

One source said UF will likely land him no matter what, but if junior safety Matt Elam leaves for the NFL as expected, that will surely seal the deal. Harris wants to play right away and believes he can compete for and win the starting strong safety spot if Elam is gone.

As some of you may have seen, Dawson did not pop on his visit. He had his recruiting rifle loaded and was ready to shoot, but surprisingly, he didn’t pull the trigger.

His mother not being present was one of the reasons and Dawson plans to return with her for Florida’s banquet weekend on Dec. 8. He also wants to take officials Alabama, LSU and Michigan State. But the Gators are still his leader and have put themselves in prime position to pick him up down the road.

UF offensive lineman commit Cameron Dillard (Canton, Mich./Canton), Dawson’s close friend, was the third official visitor and will also be back for the banquet.

“I got to experience the full gameday atmosphere and what it was like after a victory,” Dillard said. “I just really enjoyed it and I’m glad that I’m a Gator.”

But not all the big uglies were blown away on Saturday.

Five-star offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil (Lake City, Fla./Columbia) unofficially visited UF for the second time in three weeks, but he said the Gators’ last two wins at home haven’t helped their chances.

“Not really, Florida is still the same to me,” Tunsil said.

Georgia and Alabama remain the leaders and Tunsil admitted he just doesn’t have interest in the Gators. When asked if that will change should they beat those two teams this season, Tunsil replied, “We’ll see.”

I told Florida fans to turn the page on Tunsil back in early September, and now it may be time to close the book completely.

UF also received unofficial visits from Alabama tight end commit O.J. Howard (Autauga, Ala./Autauga Academy), Auburn linebacker commit Trey Johnson (Lawrenceville, Ga./Central Gwinnett) and Georgia cornerback commit Reggie Wilkerson (Ocala, Fla./North Marion), but Howard and Johnson are the only ones being targeted by the Florida coaches. I was told they don’t expect to flip either of them, but Howard and Johnson both had fun at the game and plan to officially visit later this year.

Clemson receiver commit Demarcus Robinson (Fort Valley, Ga./Peach Country) was a no-show for the second-straight home game. He told me via text that his ride fell through, but he still tuned in and was impressed with Florida’s 41-11 win over South Carolina. Robinson said he will “definitely” take an official to Florida at some point.

Immokalee 2014 running back D’Ernest Johnson visited UF for the first time on Saturday and tweeted after the game that he was committed to the Gators. When I called to interview him, however, Johnson said he had not spoken to Will Muschamp yet. For those who don’t know, no verbal commitment is official until it is accepted by Muschamp.

Johnson said he was going to speak with him on Sunday but it never happened. And if Muschamp wanted him, they would have talked. He is not ready to take Johnson this early in the recruiting process. That’s not to say Johnson isn’t talented enough, because he does have a UF offer, but it’s not committable at this time. The Gators still have a plenty of running backs, including Johnson, they need to scout the rest of this season, in the spring evaluation period and during summer camps.

Last but not least, Florida offered 2015 linebacker Sherrod Pittman (Jacksonville, Fla./First Coast) after Saturday’s game. The 6-foot-1, 215-pounder is teammates with UF linebacker commit Daniel McMillian and also has early offers from Florida State and UCF.

NOTE: In case you missed my tweet, I came down with a fever on Sunday and was not able to write this story that night as scheduled. I apologize for the delay.


  1. Zach, what is the point of extending an offer to a recruit if the offer is not commitable? Does this turn off kids if they try to commit only to be told they have to wait? Any info you could provide on this situation would be greatly appreciated. Also, thanks for reaching out to the recruits and getting this info for us!

  2. Regarding Tunsil, good luck to him at either Bama or UGA. He appears to be enjoying the recruiting process and going to some great games…good for him. Regarding the verbal offer that is not ‘commitable’…I don’t understand that one either.

    Any Juco’s that the Gators are pursuing?

  3. Zach, please tell the UF staff to stop extending an offer to Tunsil. This dude is a clown. He’s never been interested in Florida so why waste time & money bringing him in when its obvious he’s not coming here!?!? Dude is playing UF & they keep letting him! Leave this dodo bird alone & let him go suck up to FSU, Georgia, or whoever the heck wants him. If he doesn’t like competition, good coaching, & a great education then screw him. Spend time w/ recruits who are interested in attending-not those who want to be coddled & are attention seekers…

  4. Totally agree about forgetting about Tunsil, if he doesn’t want to be here, why would we want him anyway? Good RIDENCE, never good luck, we have to play against him! I would prefer to have guys that want to be a Gator & when you decide to not be a Gator……YOUR’RE GATOR BAIT!!!!! Learn it, live it, feel it!

  5. Why is Tunsil constantly being dogged on this website in the comment section? He’s being pursued, prefers other schools, and is TELLING THE TRUTH!!! Seems like he’s NOT playing the games that other recruits play. Telling the truth is the best thing for the coaches, other players, media, and fans. Are we as fans so self-centered that we can’t understand and accept that this young man prefers another school? Celebrate the success we’re having and the guys who do choose UF and give the Tunsil trashing a break.

  6. Zach,
    I understand UF’s class is getting close to full. How many do you expect to sign with UF, and which recruits do you believe at this juncture will most likely fill those spots?

    Obviously we all know that recruiting is an imperfect science, and you do a phenomenal job. I believe I’m not the only one saying this; you have been outstanding with your information to GatorNation and appreciate all your hard work!

  7. Ram a schnitzel up your snout Euroboy. He has been borderline condescending to UF and he fans reactions are directed at the program as much as Tunsil. Regardless, pound dirt with your own condescending remarks. D-1 football is extremely competitive and aggressive. If fans want to tee off on this guy, so be it. Go watch a friendly…mate.

    Lol at Tunsil. Your likely a head case like Seantrel Henderson. Get lost. Go to either one of those hee-haw other schools son. I wish you well. Know this, you will be taking some long quiet bus rides home from either The Swamp or Jax in coming years. I would still gladly accept your enrollment at UF because you obviously have quite the skill set. But that doesn’t appear to be in the cards. But honestly, I WANT BALLERS! Spare me all l the other stuff. You can join us or we will soon be kicking the crap out of you son. Carry on.

  8. I agree with you all, I’m tired of Laremy Tunsil , let’s not talk about this guy anymore.. he acts like he’s god and just pisses people off. We don’t need him, he can go to UGA and get his ass spanked by us for years.

  9. My ears are bleeding from all the whining on here about Tunsil. I don’t see how he is stringing us along or ‘playing the game’ if he has been open and honest about where we stand in his recruitment for the last 6 months. If he wants to come to the games – then so what. Its like hearing people bitch about Urban Meyer all over again. I bleed orange and blue as much as anyone, but good lord you guys neewd to grow up!

  10. When is the last time we landed a recruit out of Lake City Columbia? Seems like Florida has whiffed on the last two major recruits out of there and at least one them was a Gator fan growing up (Jernigan). Last guy on the Florida rosters that Google found was Tre Orr in 2001. What’s going on?

  11. the people “dogging” per say because of the fact that he says he has no interest in us, but more so because he continues to come to our games and give us false hope that he continuouslyy downplays by restating uga an ua as his leaders. if no interest, dont come!! u can watch the game at home cause i promise you it was on tv

  12. Tunsil wants to be a Georgia Bulldog and his mom wants to go to church with coach Richt on Sundays. Bama is a second option. He is probably only waiting to commit to Georgia based on all the pressure on and unhappiness with….by the Georgia fan base. Tunsil does not go to Georgia is Richt is not there. And….if a team has Humphries, Green, Moore, and Garcia as OTs next year….would you want to come play there if you want to start as a freshman. If Richt stays, Tunsil will be the starting LT for Georgia next year…..and they need him a lot more than the Gators at this point.

  13. I’m just gonna throw my two cents on Tunsil out there … I am in NO way saying that we are going to get him, or even that we have much of a chance. But to all those who are calling for the staff to give up on him because he’s just playing the game and seeking attention, IF I remember correctly, tons of folks were saying these same things about a man named Fowler 9 months ago … is anyone complaining about the time spent on him now?
    Seriously, with most of the class locked up at this point, we can afford to shoot for the stars. Even if we have a 1% chance of landing him, he’s worth pursuing IMHO.

  14. Virginia Gator,

    I too was thinking Fowler the entire time I was reading the above comments also as I recall we had the same situation with one Matt Elam and I think we are glad we kept after him as well.

    Zach, I recall you mentioned in an earlier post that you expected a surprise FSU current commit to flip to UF. You did not name said commit out of respect for him but I am curious if you stil feel the same about this individual?

  15. Our new recruiting power is jumping each week! We’re being courted by more than we can handle/take…we very well may have to turn down some Blue Chip talent because we decided too early on another kid. Keep winning and this wave of top tier talent will be the norm so yes, we need to continue this ‘conditional offering.’ It’s a good problem to have!

    Irony of Tunsil: Decipher the words and evaluate the actions. Also, give our coaches credit; they know they have several promising linemen on deck and wouldn’t waste time recruiting ANYONE who they felt was a lost cause. My estimation, there is a mutual courtship going on. Look, you don’t keep answering the phone to say you’re not interested, or keep visiting just because we offered and you DEFINITELY – DO NOT sit around damn near 100,000 CRUNK Gators trying to learn to how to be a roll of toilet paper or an ugly dog!

  16. While the Fowler and Elam situations have some relevance here because both are situations where we continued to recruit despite their interest in (even commitment to) other schools, this does seem to be a different situation. Tunsil continues to say that he isn’t interested.
    The problem here is that (supposedly) grown men are bagging on a young man for being honest about a decision he’s making which has public interest. Some of you need to realize that he’s getting a chance to go to these games, meet coaches, players, staff and he can do it without much cost or planning – and he’s not doing anything wrong – other than not being swayed in his decision. Who wouldn’t take the same opportunity if given it? If I wanted to go to UGA or UA and could do what he’s doing, I would.
    Don’t think the coaches don’t know what he’s doing. They are okay with it! They’re willing to trade feeding him and spending some time with him for the chance that he might change his mind. Seems pretty simple to me.

  17. I believe the overall feeling, on Tunsil, is for everyone to move on. Stop talking about him coming to UF, specifically. If he ends up coming, fine – if not, that’s ok, too. I think peolpe are just tired of it looking like we are begging him to come to UF and that rubs some people the wrong way. I, personally, believe he is going to Bamer. Truth be known, there’s various incentives for him to go to Bamer or UGA, that he can’t get at UF.

  18. Look-All of you who are saying to lay off of Tunsil-forget it! Fowler & Elam were different in that at least during their recruitment they acknowledged that UF had a chance & was in their top 2-3 w/ FSU or whomever as their top school. This clown has NEVER stated that UF was his leasdr & even went so far as to drop them from his top 3. C’mon-if you can’t see that the dude is gravy training his way to free visits, shirts, etc then you’re blind. Let’s move on-I’m happy with our maulers A.K.A. the O-line. They are moving people left & right. I agree dude might’ve been a good one here but seems like if he’s as good as he THINKS he is then he could come here & TAKE a position, am I right?!? I mean if you’re that good dude, prove us wrong. Come here, work hard, & TAKE someone’s starting spot. Otherwise go where a job is given to you b/c you cried & whined for it…

  19. I will tell all of you why this is different than Elam and Fowler. If you recall they both had actual interest and good things to say about UF. I remember last year with fowler he always had great things to say like “I love big crowds and I can really see myself playing in front of this crowd”. That was when Fowler was already committed to FSU. As oppose to Tunsil, the kid isnt even committed but he never really has anything great to say about UF. When he’s asked he’s usually saying “oh i really like Geogia and Alabama for their…….” or he’ll say “UF is 3rd, nothing changed for me”. If Tunsil actually seemed like he enjoys UF and is actually intrigued then I would say to still go after him, but the kid just to wants to go elsewhere. That’s completely fine, its his right. Let’s just move on though to other great recruits.

  20. For those of you criticizing Tunsil for continuing to come to games, maybe you don’t understand how that works. UF (and other schools) allow pretty much any decent high school player to come to a game as long as they call ahead and make the arrangements. I coached a kid in basketball who also played football. He was a 1-2 star type guy that you have never heard of and had no chance of going to UF. But, he went to every game a couple years ago b/c he loved football, it was fun to go, and it was close to home. That’s all Tunsil is doing. As long as he is not negatively recruiting while at the games, continue to let him come and enjoy his time. He’s not playing any games or saying bad things about UF. He’s just saying that things haven’t changed for him and we are not leading for his services. Remember that you never want to burn bridges in recruiting, either with the high school coaches or the kid and his family. He may go to Alabama, get homesick and depressed, and want to transfer closer to home. You never know how these things will play out and you almost always keep the door open.

  21. Tunsil going elsewhere doesn’t really bother me. We are building a very solid OL through recruiting and transfers. What I don’t get is kids coming out of Lake City. Jernigan last year and now Tunsil grew up and played 30 miles away from G’ville but have no interest in playing or the home team. I read that their HS coach is the same guy who coached Tebow in HS, so I can’t imagine him being anti-UF. Maybe they just want to get away from home. If so, have at it boys. Enjoy your careers and expect to get beat down by the Gators. Jernigan’s turn comes Thanksgiving weekend. Tunsil can find out a year from this weekend.

  22. Hard to understand about a town just down the road, but Lake City has a high percentage of FSU fans. UGA fans as well, as it is all across the border counties in the north part of the state. The UGA fans are residual from the old days (80’s) when they owned us, the FSU connection? go figure. I believe it mostly is a result of previous UF staffs that recruited primarily from Tampa south and rarely looked at Jacksonville or other north Florida recruits unless they were 5 star plus athletes. This is a situation that will take time and a serious commitment from the current coaching staff to change. They have made some nice inroads the past year (see Mcmillan, Fullwood,etc in our current class) Still a lot of work to be done in establishing and maintaining relationships with the coach’s, and schools of North Florida, but don’t be too suprised if the situation remains pretty much the same. The truth is that south florida schools have dominated in the high school playoffs for years and still do for the most part. The UF recruiters have “cherry picked” mostly from the south half of the state and the leftovers (north and panhandle) have mostly gone to UGA,FSU and of late Bama. Thus when a real player does show up in these area’s, we are often late to the dance in their recruiting process. Relax about Tunsil, we will be more than fine.

    Nothin Greater than a GATOR!

  23. If feels like some people are bashing on Tunsil way too hard. Based on the reviews I’ve heard, it would be great if he were to come here, but some kids just want to leave their immediate area when they go to college. I read an article yesterday that this is the case with James Hearns (a UF pledge who is from Tallahassee), so we’ve got to accept when the same thing happens to us (but I understand not liking it). It appears it may be time to forget about Tunsil in this class, but there is no need to be hostile with him. Also, as others have pointed out, our class is close to full, so the staff can spend additional time on a player that may be a longshot, but would provide great value if he decides to come.

  24. We keep recruiting Tunsil just in case something changes. For example, Richt gets canned. or maybe a close family member gets ill and he wants to stay closer to home. he’s good enough for us to suck it up and let him take advantage of the situation and get free tix to sweet games.

    as long as he doesnt do something to piss off our staff (see D. Henry) he will have the option of changing his mind up to the very end.

    go gators!

  25. Zach, please stop interviewing Tunsil. He’s just this year’s Jernigan, looking for every excuse not to pick UF. He clearly wants to get paid at Alabama or buy the perennial Georgia hype. The kid has an attitude and obviously thinks he’s too good for Florida. I really wish we would quit bending over backward to try to suck up to him and tell him how great he is. Please stop giving him the attention he so clearly desires. We have known for months he’s not interested, so can we start ignoring him now?

  26. Call me CRAZY but for some reason, I believe Tunsil will end at Florida when it’s all said and done. He gives me the same feeling Dante Fowler did last year and we all know how that turned out. Only difference is that Tunsil is NOT committed to ANY SCHOOL!

  27. Ken….really? is an absolute shame for you and others to get so personal and resort to name calling because he is not leaning towards our school. I am sure you were a much better thinker when you were a teenager. I can accept Laremy Tunsil for being honest and not giving the wrong impression, actually we are better off for it so that we can focus on others if he feels UF is not the place for him. What do you want him to do….commit to UF, tell a lie, flip and go somewhere else and you hate him worse? Laremy, by far, is not the idiot here.

  28. Ken is either 12 years old, acting like he is 12 years old, or is a troll. Seriously, the guy being honest while our coaches recruit him is refreshing. We are letting him know we are here if he changes his mind (and obviously his mind is not made up). Remember the coaches are recruiting him. He obviously has some interest in us, that’s why he comes to the games. If he wants in, he has it. Its us thats making a big deal of the coaches trying to get the player they want. They are recruiting Laremy for the team, not for fans that post dumb comments. He obviously isn’t burning his bridges with us either because the coaches still are entertaining him.

  29. I have to say, I agree with Phil. I was like most of the posters, saying if he is not intereted then he should stop coming to the games. Well like most of the rest of you I forgot abut Dante Fowler, maybe the kid is interested and is really trying to make sure of his decision. It has been said that Saban had restricted other Bama recruits from visiting Florida, so why not Tunsil. The coaches MUST know something that us armchairs don’t. Guess what, those guys have done a pretty good job to this point so I guess we should trust them and shut up about Tunsil. In a couple weeks or months we might just be praising him for his decision. GO GATORS, BEAT THE DOG Sh… out of the bulldog!!!!