Zach’s Mail Stack 11/15


Florida coach Will Muschamp and his staff will have some targets officially visiting this weekend for the first time since the South Carolina game.

Four-star defensive end Ebenezer Ogundeko (Brooklyn, N.Y./Thomas Jefferson) and Ole Miss JUCO defensive tackle commit Darius Cummings (Scooba, Miss./East Mississippi C.C.) are coming down and both will be on commitment watch. I don’t expect either to pull the trigger while in Gainesville, but they’re more likely to do so than previous prospects because of how high they are on UF.

I will have a preview story on Cummings out Friday. The Gators have a great shot at him and his teammate Jarran Reed, and I’m told they would take both. Reed decommitted from North Carolina immediately after Muschamp offered and will visit Florida sometime in January.

The FHSAA playoffs begin this Friday and every school from the state of Florida that has a 2013 UF commit will be in action. Defensive end Jordan Sherit (ACL) is out for Tampa Hillsborough.

For those who asked, here’s the list of games featuring future Gators:

RB Kelvin Taylor: Glades Day vs. Champagnat Catholic
RB Adam Lane: Winter Haven at New Symrna Beach
WR Alvin Bailey: Seffner Armwood at Largo
WR Ahmad Fulwood: Jacksonville Bishop Kenny at Ponta Verde
WR Chris Thompson: Gainesville vs. Hernando
DT Caleb Brantley: Crescent City at Union County
DL Joey Ivie: Dade City Pasco vs. North Marion
LB James Hearns: Tallahassee Lincoln vs. Fleming Island
LB Daniel McMillian: Jacksonville First Coast vs. Buchholz
LB Quinton Powell: Daytona Beach Mainland at Lake Gibson
CB Vernon Hargreaves III: Tampa Wharton at Orlando Dr. Phillips
S Keanu Neal: Bushnell South Sumter vs. Jacksonville Raines
S Nick Washington: Jacksonville Trinity Christian vs. Pensacola Catholic

On to the questions!

Any word on why Marcell Harris delayed his announcement? — Seth

Orlando Dr. Phillips safety Marcell Harris was scheduled to commit this Friday at his high school, but he pushed back his decision to Nov. 29 so he can make his announcement on TV. In my opinion, nothing has changed with regards to Florida and I still believe he picks the Gators.

Do we have any backup plans if Hearns, McMillian or Powell decide to go somewhere else? If so, who? — Phillip, Mark, Robert, Caleb, Jerome

Hearns, McMillian and Powell plan on taking some official visits in addition to Florida after their seasons are over with. McMillian is going to Ohio State, Hearns will check out the Buckeyes and possibly Florida State and Louisville, and Powell wants to see Miami, Oregon and USC.

I don’t anticipate any of them flipping, but obviously anything can happen when they’re visiting other schools this late in the game. Hearns is the most likely recruit to switch right now. He’s the only one of the three who refers to the Gators as “they” and says he’s 80-90 percent committed.

Trey Johnson (Lawrenceville, Ga./Central Gwinnett), Keith Kelsey Jr.(Gainesville, Fla/Gainesville) and Matthew Thomas (Miami, Fla./Booker T. Washington) are the top linebackers left on the board.

Johnson unofficially visited for the South Carolina game and will return for an official on Dec. 14. If Auburn fires head coach Gene Chizik as expected, UF will be the school to beat. Kelsey is a Gator legacy (Keith Kelsey Sr., 1995-1999) and has attended every home game this season. He has offers from the likes of Louisville, Iowa State and USF, but he would commit to Florida on the spot if offered. Thomas is a long shot, but he has expressed interest in visiting UF.

Zach, do you know anything about Alex Collins? Do we really need another running back with Kelvin and Adam already in the fold? It seems that if we were not really interested in a recruit we would shut it down to not stir up the recruits we have. — Doug

Running back Alex Collins (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./South Plantation) decommitted from Miami on Nov. 7 and was offered by Florida in early October. The Gators are currently in fourth place for his services behind the Canes, Florida State and Wisconsin. Collins says he wants to visit UF and could set something up in the future, but right now the Seminoles seem to have the edge with his teammate (John Franklin) recently committing to them.

But like you said, he is not a necessity with Taylor and Lane on board. Neither of them would leave if Collins committed, though. By the way, Lane told me he is no longer enrolling early with Taylor as planned.

It’s frustrating how elite WR prospects only flirt with us. All the playing time that’s available to step in and make an immediate impact. Why are we struggling to land these guys? — C-Slim

First and formeost, Florida’s passing game has been one of the nation’s worst since 2010. Those stats along with the head coaching change, three offensive coordinators and three receiver coaches in as many years don’t attract the top-tier prospects. Secondly, many of the targets UF missed lately were from out-of-state and chose to stay close to home. Then you have some like Tampa’s Nelson Agholor, whose lifelong dream was to play at USC and off he went.

So it’s been a combination of those things as well as some kids just not liking the Gators. But make no mistake, Muschamp has done well at the position this year with four commits. He landed one of the state’s top receivers in Fulwood, who is the tall wideout that’s been missing from Florida’s offense. Bailey, Thompson and Marqui Hawkins (Columbus, Ga./Carver) also show promise and potential, and each one of them brings a unique skill-set to the position.

If UF keeps winning and the passing game improves with quarterback experience and upgraded play from the offensive line, recruiting receivers will become easier for Muschamp.

Zach, with us only having one center returning for next year, who on the OL will be moved or will one of the incoming freshman play center? — Ken

Redshirt junior Kyle Koehne and redshirt freshman Tommy Jordan could play there for depth purposes, but UF offensive lineman commit Cameron Dillard (Canton, Mich./Canton) is being recruited as a center and should be the future of the position after Jonotthan Harrison graduates next year. Here is my video interview with him after his official visit to UF on Oct. 21.

Who does Florida end up with at the end of ’13 class? — Gator Grind, Dustin, Kyle 

I’m not ready to make any predictions other than Harris, but right now I think Florida finishes with him, Cummings and/or Reed, Ogundeko and JUCO offensive tackle Trenton Brown (Milledgeville, Ga./Georgia Military College). I doubt the Gators will be able to add another receiver, but they’re trying.

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


  1. Zach, do you know if anybody from UF has been watching Wakulla High School? They have 2 starting freshman on the varsity that should be closely watched. These kids are among a fantastic group. This school will be state champ contenders the next 3 years in a row. Monterius Loggins and Keith Gavin are the 2 currently starting on the varsity squad. If these 2 have not been on UF’s radar they need to be very quickly. Not sure how we can make that happen but I know FSU has been watching these two all last year as 8th graders.

  2. I say we tell Hearns to take a hike. We stuck by him and didn’t pull his offer when he was injured, but now he’s not sure if he want’s to stick with us. Wish him the best and bring in Kelsey, who will give everything he has to the Gators! If you’re not a Gator, you’re Gator BAIT!

  3. Honestly……… why would anyone tight end, wide reciever or pro style quaterback want to come to UF……….all we do is run….

    And to be honest, its BOOORING to watch…. winning is the key, but football like everything else on TV is ENTERTAINMENT!!!

    Watching boring, low scoring football games is painful…. MUSCHAMP BALL is boring….. and if we want to recruit, then we need to become EXCITING…

  4. Hey Zach,

    I heard you mention Matthew Thomas is a long shot – too bad. I was wondering if you could describe the situation for these other top undeclared recruits (specifically where the Gators stand with them), and when they will be announcing their decisions:

    Robert Nkemdiche
    Laremy Tunsil
    Mackensie Alexander
    Montravius Adams
    Stacey Coley

  5. Some people just don’t get it! If you are a successful Coach, you play to the strengths of your team. Our strength, this year, is running the ball and I would say it has been very successful. We have 1 loss and are ranked 4th in the country. When we get WR’s that came consistently get open and catch the ball and an OL that can pass block, we will throw the ball a lot more. Pease didn’t become one of the best OC’s by being one dimensional. Our passing game should be much better next year and as Pease has more time to get to know the top offensive recruits, he’ll pull in more top guys. I’m extremely happy with what we have done thus far and look forward to laying the wood to the school out west! HOORAH!

  6. Hey Zack. They reported on Comcast’s “In the Huddle” that McMillian has said he is open to a flip to Ohio State. Has something happened we don’t know about? I thought it was just a visit for the sake of the trip.

  7. Sam,
    Other than Montravius Adams, none of the recruits you listed have much interest in Florida. Adams said he will “most likely” visit UF officially at some point, but nothing has been set up yet. He is probably a NSD decision.