Zach’s Mail Stack 11/29

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As Will Muschamp said last Sunday, it’s a positive time to be a Florida Gator.

UF capped off its regular season with dominating win at FSU, punched a ticket to the Sugar Bowl and just landed one of the nation’s top safeties in Marcell Harris.

Things are going good for the Gators just when they need to be, too.

Next weekend is Florida’s banquet, which is going to bring in a lot of recruits as most of you know by now. A large portion of Florida’s 2013 commits are taking their official visits and a handful of targets will be on hand as well.

I’ll have a running list of visitors out on Wednesday and then I hope to get around a dozen video interviews that will begin going up on our website the following week.

I received a lot more questions this week as I hoped for, but most of you asked about the same topics. What can I say, great minds think alike.

On to the questions!

How are we looking with RB Alex Collins, any chance we can pick him up? — Clay, Sam, Sleezie, Brian, gatorfan, Tamayo

With this week’s news of an official to UF, the possibility of landing Alex Collins (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./South Plantation) has become real. Florida running backs coach Brian White visited Collins on Wednesday and he returns the favor on Dec. 14.

Florida State and Miami have had the upper hand with Collins and he has ties to both schools, so Florida’s chances will likely be determined by how well his visit to Gainesville goes. Collins has said he likes the offense under coordinator Brent Pease and isn’t afraid to compete with the four backs UF will have next year.

As was the case with Harris at the safety position, I think Collins is a plus-one guy for the Gators and they won’t pursue another running back unless he’s a highly-rated prospect such as FSU commit Ryan Green.

Has Florida got a shot with Laquon Treadwell or James Clark at WR? — Brian, Tamayo, Sam

Florida didn’t make the cut for Laquon Treadwell (Crete, Ill./Crete Monee) in early October and his Top 2 is Ole Miss and Oklahoma with Michigan, Michigan State and Oklahoma State still in the race.

UF has a great shot with Clark, though. The New Smyrna Beach receiver recently started getting recruited by Pease and will have an assistant coach visit him Friday. He has camped at UF in the past.

The Gators want to add a fifth WR and there aren’t many options left, so Clark could get an offer soon if they like him enough. Should that happen and he gets the green light to commit, I would expect him to jump on board quickly. Clark has over 20 offers and an impressive highlight tape from this year.

Zach, any chance Kennard Swanson joins the good guys? — tcroot, Brian

The fullback from Lakeland Lake Gibson decommitted from LSU on Wednesday. I don’t know too much about him, but Nola.com feels Florida is in the driver’s seat for his services.

Swanson visited for the Jackonsville State game and was offered by UF shortly afterward. However, he has grade concerns and is not qualified yet. The Gators will need to see some academic improvement from Swanson and miss on some remaining targets at other positions before they consider taking him.

How does the recent coaching changes effect our 2013 class (FSU, Auburn etc.) — Jonathan, Jeremy, Austin

As I mentioned last week, Florida is pretty much out of the picture for receiver Marquez North (Charlotte, N.C./Mallard Creek). He was the only recruit UF could have capitalized on with Derek Dooley’s firing. The Gators don’t want any of Tennessee’s commits, which says something about the talent gap between the two schools.

Linebacker Trey Johnson (Lawrenceville, Ga./Central Gwinnett) decommitted from Auburn on Tuesday, and he’s the most likely prospect Florida can land with the coaching change there. The Gators lead for him along with Ohio State and he officially visits UF on Dec. 14.

Looking at the Tigers’ commitment list, the only other kid I see Florida wanting and having a realistic shot at is defensive end Carl Lawson (Alphretta, Ga./Milton). He attended Florida’s Junior Day back in February and had great things to say about the trip afterward. But he hasn’t expressed much interest in the Gators recently and probably won’t unless he visits again.

As for Florida State, Bartow linebacker Freddie Stevenson and Hollywood Chaminade Madonna cornerback Adrian Baker both visited UF during their recruiting process and are the two commits I could see the Gators try to flip because they want to sign another prospect at those positions. However, Florida is not recruiting them anymore to my knowledge.

We have to be close to filling our class. How many spots are left and who do we need the most? —  Sam, C. Bedgood

Florida has 77 scholarship players on its roster excluding walk-ons (who won’t count against the 2013 class). The Gators have room for 21 signees because of the 13 seniors graduating, but there is now 22 commits with Harris. However, UF will likely have 2-3 transfers and Sharrif Floyd is expected to go pro with Matt Elam and Jordan Reed possibly joining him. Any transfers or early declarations will create more openings, and I think Florida will have room for a full class of 25.

The Gators still need to sign another receiver, offensive lineman, defensive tackle and defensive end.

Can you provide your latest percentage of getting our main targets in orange & blue? — Phillip, Tamayo, Keith, James Dean, Charles Gibson, Robert, Mike

RB Alex Collins: 35% — Florida still trails FSU and Miami, but he’s never been to Gainesville. Let’s see where he stands after his official.
WR James Clark: 25% — I wouldn’t be surprised if this happens, but he has to get an offer and visit again before I’ll believe it.
OL Trenton Brown: 95% — The Gators still lead after his recent visits and they’ve been his favorite since early September.
OL Roderick Johnson: 4o% — UF has continued to recruit him and offensive line coach Tim Davis will be at his school Friday.
DT Montravius Adams: 30% — The Gators visited him Thursday, but he needs to return for an official for them to have a shot.
DT Jarran Reed: 7o% — Florida leads over Ole Miss and I think his teammate Darious Cummings will sway him to UF.
DE Elijah Daniel: 6o% — If he has the grades, he’ll be a Gator. He officially visits on Jan. 11.
DE Ebenezer Ogundeko: 45% — He says Clemson and Florida are even, but the depth chart favors the Tigers and that matters to him.
LB Trey Johnson: 5o% — I think he likes UF the most, but OSU needs him more and will pursue harder. He also has a late visit to USC.
CB Jalen Ramsey: 25% — Monte Kiffen’s resignation might make him decommit from USC, but that doesn’t mean he’ll be UF-bound. He still has an official with Alabama and will visit the Trojans last.
CB Shaq Wiggins: 25% — He visits Florida on Jan. 18, but he’s currently committed to UGA and has two officials scheduled with other schools.

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

46 COMMENTS

  1. Seeing how Mack brown and the longhorns are recruiting Florida athletes now(marcell Harris), when does cwm start recruiting Texas for lineman? The respect time is over he needs to go get some bigs and use his relationships in Texas to get some.

  2. Great Point “J”, we have GREAT talent he at home if we can harvest it. The Texas BIGS are not getting the job done for the home team as is stands right now, why do we need then. Let’s do a better job of harvesting the GREAT STATE of FLORIDA and the “Sweet Spots” in Georgia and we will be more than fine. Great work ZACH!! GO GATORS!!!!

  3. Hey Zack-why such a low percentage on Ogundeko? I truly believe he will sign with the Gators. I think he really likes it there and his relationship w/ Dominique Easley I think will ultimately sway him to come here. I think he would be a perfect fit into Coach Boom’s system.

    • Baton Rouge Gator Fan,

      Ogundeko does like the Gators, but he is very turned off by Florida’s depth at the Buck position. It’s the reason why he pushed back his initial decision (which would have been UF) in July. Clemson knows that and probably promised him playing time on his official visit last weekend. Muschamp doesn’t do that. Also, Ogundeko and Easley are not close like that. They just have a connection because they’re both from New York. The Gators are definitely still in it and he says they’re tied with Clemson, but I think the Tigers have the slight edge.

  4. From a Gator living in Minnesota. Wish we would start recruiting our bigs from up in this neck of the woods. Look at Wisconsin, Nebraska O-lines. Year in and year out some of the best. They are physical and the kind of player that Coach Muschamp wants on the team. These corn fed farm boys would more than love to come to G-ville for the weather and the co-eds laying out in their bikini tops in March. I can tell you they will see none of that up here at that time of the year.

  5. Heard from one of the coaches who opposed Will Grier in the championship playoff game that he may not be able to play as a Senior due to his age. Said he was already 19 and North Carolina regulations make him ineligible. He did acknowledge that it was a rumor the staff had heard. Any rumblings of that? If so, how might that affect his recruitment? The rumors around NC are that the Gators are high on his list. BTW, saw the title game and despite playing against lower division competition he looks like the real deal.

  6. I’m w/ JW, use those relationships while they’re warm. It’s a relationship business. We’ve done quite well with out of state talent over the years, be it Percy, Shariff, Easley, Powell, Roberson, Humphries, Spikes etc. Florida talent is terrific but if you’ve got some contacts, be it TX or whereever, use them.

  7. Zach, you just turned me off on Ogundeko. We can’t have guys that want the easiest route to playing time. If this guy is a big time beast he will either win the Buck position or the coaches will find a way to get him on the field via rotation or otherwise.

    Is it fair for me to question his mental toughness here?

    Please, somebody call me out if I’m wrong. And don’t start your comment with “Today’s kid….”

  8. Delray Mike, I agree 100%, same with Gilmore going to LSU because they promised early PT. Coach Muschamp might lose some recruits for not doing this but I think it’s better to be straight with the kid and tell him if you earn it, it’s yours if not there’s a place on the bench for ya (see Dubose and Pop Saunders).

  9. Delray Mike-I posed the question to Zach to which he responded (Thanks, Z)…I’m hoping he decides to come to UF…we forget that we have Ronald Powell coming back hungrier than ever & I think Ogundeko would only flourish behind RoPo…I’m hoping he does the good thing & come here to learn from him & work to get better…it would be a shame if he went to Clemson just because the path would seem easier…seems to me that he should want to make it tough for Coach Boom to NOT put him out there & push RoPo…look at what Dante Fowler & Jonathan Bullard did…he could do the exact same thing…Go Gators!!!

  10. Delray Mike…
    I agree. He sees Powell coming back next and he also saw how wel Fowler did. He sees the writing on the wall that it could be a while before he starts or gets significant playing time. This is the same issue with Tunsil. He knows for a fact he can’t beat Humphries at LT to get that job so he’s going elsewhere. Florida recruits great players. Those same players have to understand you got to come here and work. you have to earn everything you get. the coaches will see it. They’ll put you in the best position to succeed. These kids, as you said, what it easy and given to them. I question these types of recrutis true interest…why settle for a weaker team to get playing time. Everyone knows SEC is where it’s at. Secceed there and you get respect! Gators all day! Thanks for the material Zach. enjoyed it.

  11. Hey Zach,
    I just read an article that said that when Muschamp was at Texas, he was trying to recruit Manzel as a safety. Also, I know Purifoy, one of our best playmakers, played WR in highschool but got switched to CB. Any chance that Muschamp is doing what Spurrier used to do for a while in hogging a few playmakers to his side of the ball that could possibly help out our production on the other side of the ball and balance us out a little?

    • Gator N NC,
      It’s confusing. Transfers technically don’t count towards an annual recruiting cycle, they’re just another scholarship player on the roster. But JUCO prospects like Trenton Brown and Tyler Moore are part of the class they sign with. However, most JUCO prospects enroll early and schools count them back toward the previous year so they can sign more prospects in the current year. For example, Brown and Moore enroll in January and UF will count them back to the 2012 numbers, but they will still be considered part of the 2013 signing class.

  12. Stop with all the “projections” on why a recruit will or want come to UF. The reason kids dont come are the same as why many come. Uf locked up three instant impact(potential) and now there are lb’s they like better(Foster, Rolin, Johnson). It is a two way street so stop pretending that Uf is being done wrong. They call it recruiting for a reason.Max Staver was supposed to be the only QB in this class, yet another qb is in the picture. I hope the Gators get the best fits at every position availiable.

  13. oN THIS EARLY PLAYING TIME PROMISE,a kid should EARN his playing time or there is no incentive to perform at you highest potential. Sharing (rotation) time is actually to the benefit of the great athletes. They get the breathers and they are fresh longer, therefore perform better LONGER during the game and the entire season. If those same kids will look at this years TEAM, they could see that is why we had such success this year. TEAM effort, we DON’T have ANY individual superstars that carried this team. It’s ALL been team effort and performance because players were rested because of the ROTATION. Those kids that think they have to be on the field every play are use to being the BIG FISH, it doesn’t work that way in the SEC (major College) football. GO GATORS!!!!

  14. What positive problems Fla is having in recruiting, trying to decide on whom to sign. Things are only gonna get better and better. The future looks exciting for Fla. All this POSITIVE ENERGY. 11-1, wow, could have been 12-0. GoGators.

  15. I know for so long it was said that we were pretty “content” with Kelvin and Adam as our RB’s in this class. Now we’re going after Alex Collins. Does anyone know the reasning? Is there any rumblings with Mack Brown? Is he a transfer condidate. And, for the record I have no issues about going after Collins. Just was wondering what sparked the late surge in our pursuit of him? Love to hear thoughts or insight from any of you and maybe even you Zach if you have any information on it?
    Gators have risen again!!

  16. I think our coaches are looking to increase our chances of not missing at our biggest positions of need: RB, OL, WR, DT/Pass Rusher. If we get too many, oh well. Our RB situation looks good but would look better with A. Collins, R. Green or G. Bryant on the committee. Right now we don’t have a proven every down back..and I haven’t mentioned durability. Personally I don’t see us getting him. Miami stars are raised to be Canes and when they do go against the grain, very few come our way. Let’s hope he takes the road less traveled.

  17. As to be expected, recruits and programs are reconsidering their choices. Recruits can easily de-commit, however a program like ours has to be much more subtle… Q. Powell probably will be announcing for USC soon…so look for us to turn up the LB hunt. Not sure if he just had a change of heart or we were being ‘subtle’ to him. He would have come in undersized anyways…luckily we’re in position where our plan b or c is potentially equivalent or better than our current plan a.

  18. Zach,

    It was reported that David Dawson was a silent commit and changed his mind based on personal circumstances with being to far from home. Now I am seeing reports that Alabama is the mix and will get a visit. I don’t get it can you shed some light on this?