Zach’s Mail Stack 1/24


The Mail Stack comes to you a little late this week due to the news of James Hearns.

Academic concerns caused Florida to drop the Tallahassee Lincoln linebacker on Thursday evening. This comes as no surprise to those who have heard the rumors surrounding him this month and read my story from Monday.

Although UF didn’t want to let Hearns go, the addition of Alex Anzalone earlier this month makes this a non-issue in my opinion. I expect Anzalone to be the future of Florida’s middle linebacker position, and he is the better prospect of the two according to the rankings of every recruiting website and based on what I’ve seen from both of them in person (Hearns at UF camp and his game against Buchholz, Anzalone at Gridiron Kings and the Under Armour Game).

On a separate note, this could change Florida’s position on former LB commit Quinton Powell. I was told earlier this week that the Gators were still on the fence about taking him back, but Hearns might have made that decision for them. As for Florida’s chances with Powell, I feel he’s leaning toward USC at this time. However, I think that can easily change if Will Muschamp decides to turn up the heat on him next week (which I assume he will).

On to the questions!

Who’s coming in for visits this weekend? — Jeff

The Gators are scheduled to have UF commits Alvin Bailey and Roderick Johnson officially visit as well as FSU receiver commit Kermit Whitfield. Whitfied says he’s solid with the Seminoles, although Florida happens to be hosting him at an opportune time with the loss of offensive coordinator James Coley on Thursday. Running back Sony Michel and FSU defensive end commit Denzel Ware, both 2014 prospects, will also be in town.

What are Florida’s chances with CB Jalen Ramsey? — Campbell, C-Slim,  Jordan, Julien, Kyle, Ivo

Better than ever thanks to USC firing its defensive backs coach Marvin Sanders. Ramsey really wanted to play for Sanders, and his departure coupled with Southern Cal’s disappointing season should be the nail in the coffin for the Trojans. I’m not sure when, how or even if Ramsey would announce a decommitment from USC, but I believe it’s inevitable.

Florida State has gained a lot of momentum this month and hosted the five-star corner on an official visit Jan. 11. It’s a close race between UF and FSU, but I think the Gators have a slight edge for a few reasons. He is closer with the commits in Florida’s class, has been recruited by the UF coaches longer and has several Gator fans in his immediate family.

Ramsey still has a dozen days left before he signs and in-home visits from the head coaches of all three schools next week. So his recruiting process isn’t over yet, but Florida is in great position to land him.

Same question, new week. Where are the Gators with DT Montravius Adams? — Derek, Campbell

New week, same answer. UF has recruited Adams hard (if not the hardest) this month and got him on campus for an official visit, but the consensus has been and still is that it’s a battle between Clemson and Georgia.

Jaynard Bostwick and JUCO Ole Miss commit Jarran Reed are the more realistic options at defensive tackle for Florida. The Gators are the biggest threat to flip Reed from the Rebels, but I actually like their chances with Bostwick better because they get his last visit on Feb. 1. Reed will take his official to Ole Miss that weekend.

Do you think RB Alex Collins is not an option at this point?Julien

As I mentioned in my story Wednesday, Miami and Arkansas appear to have pulled ahead of Florida. The Gators had the advantage in mid-December after his official visit, but any ground UF gained has since been surpassed by the Canes and Hogs. Florida isn’t even on his mind anymore judging by his most recent tweet about fans.

Do you expect us to get a huge Signing Day surprise? — C-Slim, Hunter, Adam, Trey, Marcus

I expect UF to land a few recruits on NSD, but I don’t think any will be a surprise. If there is one, it would most likely be a defensive end. All of the known targets on Florida’s board are either committed elsewhere or unlikely additions for the Gators, so they could have someone up their sleeve who won’t be revealed until Feb. 6.

Are you aware of any silent commits UF may have? — Tamayo, Trey, Hunter

I’ve been told by multiple sources of one prospect who has given the Gators his verbal privately, but I cannot name who it is. The only hint I’ll give is that he plays on the defensive side of the ball.

Mock class? — Devin, Chandler, C-Slim, TaylorGang

It’s been a month since I put one out, so what the heck. Just to be clear, these are not my predictions for National Signing Day. This is just how I think Florida finishes as of today. There are 12 days to go and a lot of changes still to come.

QB Max Staver
FB Kennard Swanson
RB Adam Lane
*RB Kelvin Taylor
WR Alvin Bailey
WR James Clark
WR Ahmad Fulwood
WR Marqui Hawkins
WR Chris Thompson
*WR Demarcus Robinson
OL Trenton Brown
OL Cameron Dillard
OL Octavius Jackson
OL Roderick Johnson
*OL Tyler Moore
DT Jaynard Bostwick
DT Caleb Brantley
*DT Darious Cummings
*DL Joey Ivie
DL Antonio Riles
DE Jordan Sherit
*LB Alex Anzalone
LB Jarrad Davis
*LB Daniel McMillian
LB Quinton Powell
*LB Matt Rolin
CB Vernon Hargreaves III
CB Jalen Ramsey
DB Marcell Harris
DB Keanu Neal
DB Nick Washington

— early enrollee

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


  1. Alex Anzalone playing MLB…I don’t know about that one. I’ll have to look at more film on him. He looks good in space and closes on the ball well but taking on SEC OLmen, HEAD and HANDS, shedding the blocker and getting to the ball with power game after game…that I question. Let me do my homework…hopefully I am way wrong on this one.

  2. Praying for the good Lord to make this list come true. I would be very pleased. Would give the Coaches a huge reprieve from last years closing day. Stopping some of the back of the mind dark cloud hanging over us some how.

  3. Zach I saw that and please don’t get me wrong I’ve been liking him for a while now…but I always envisioned him and McMillian at OLB. His high school film isn’t against the best competition and he rarely had to engage big linemen so its difficult to judge IMO. He has a good frame and Wildman Dillman has the know how and facilities to get him right. If not middle, he’ll be a big contributor to the program regardless. You saw him in person against better competition so I am going to take comfort in your word until I can evaluate him/them in the spring. Thanks.

  4. Zach, your coverage is GREAT!! I check in to read your latest updates at least 4-5 times a day…Could you please explain the reason for a “SILENT” commitment? Does a prospect remain quiet, so he doesn’t get a hassle if he is already commited somewhere else? Surely there must be some reason….Thanks

  5. Zach, I didn’t miss the update last week, I’m just wishful thinking! I just saw him say “other Gator commits,” which made him sound like a commit. I know we have no real shot, but I always keep hope alive with Muschamp running things. Thanks for all the updates and amazing insider info!

  6. TigerCatZeroZero- I think your absolutely on point with your assessment of Anzalone. He’s definitely not a MLB IMO. I also saw film and he and J.Hearns is like night and day not to mention the talent difference. The talent he played against wasnt that great, If James is playing in PA he is an All-American. Dont get me wrong I hope he works out, but I see another Graham Stewart. Only time will tell.

  7. If we get Ramsey with all-world Hargreaves in the same class, that would be a knockout at CB… I have to disagree with you guys on Anzalone though, that kid is mean, and I think he runs better than Hearns, and he is a real smart kid…no matter, Morrison will have the middle locked up for at least the next 2 years… I think we may have 1 more surprise before NSD up front on the DL as well… Go Gators!

  8. I think Anzalone’s movement will help him at mike, You don’t have to be an absolute Bull at the position, as long as you can shed blockers. With the strength coach we have I don’t see it as a long shot. I do agree that Morrison will likely be the top dog at mike though. Remember guys this TEAM will have interchangable parts, we are looking for the depth factors, that is what will make this team GREAT. GO GATORS!!!!

  9. Zach, that’s a great class. I follow recruiting avidly, and that’s exactly my mock class as well, except for Q. Powell, who I’m not sure about, and I also fear the Gators will lose Riles to the Poodles once he visits there. Instate pressure.
    This class will have us loaded, next year we will need Greer, another bigtime RB, a bunch of linemen on both sides(esp. OL), CB(we have great talent there, and will have ridiculous young talent if we get Ramsey, but need more numbers going past this year at CB), also a couple TEs.

  10. Dog fans are saying Coach Boom is stealing their recruits. Love it! A number of Dog recruits do not seem solid and are still taking other visits to Clemson, Auburn and the Vols. Richt really wants Nkemdiche but the local buzz is Ole Miss to please Mom. Zach’s mock class is dynomite and would solidify Coach Boom and the Gators as the team to beat going forward. Go Gators Always!

  11. Did James Clark cancel his official visit with Florida? He seems to be one of those rare explosive players that has a nice burst and can turn it on down the side lines. I’m sure Urban is selling him on the “next Percy Harvin” bit. I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up a Buckeye.

  12. I think the class is shaping up very, very well…kinda figured Hearns wouldn’t make it either from his grades or another school…another reason for an early signing period but I digress…from some of the comments I’ve been reading I wouldn’t be one bit surprised if Nkemdiche comes to UF…alot of the recruits seem to think he just might shock the world…stay tuned & Go Gators!!!!

  13. @FlaboyDg and Creek Gator: I had G. Stewart in mind when I wrote my last post. I may be expecting too much of Alex too early. I see the same issues personified in A. Morrision and the other MLBs. Morrison moves well, he’s a proven striker, but when those SEC lineman grab him, we have a problem. You don’t have to be a bull to stand in there but you’ve got to be someone the OL/RB/FB are not volunteering to run into…otherwise “gashed” is a word Gary Danileson will make sure all Gator fans despise. Alex has the heart and the motor, now it’s a matter of the coaches getting him “phone booth ready.” e.g. If we stuff him a phone booth with, say Ira Denson…is he coming out, and does he have enough left to minimize the RBs gain or are we looking at 2nd and short? If he can consistently handle that task, he’ll be starting before the year is out. SILENT COMMIT: Ramsey

  14. Ok so if the silent commit is on this list and on defense then that leaves Bostwick, Powell, and Ramsey. Zach has reported that Powell is 50/50 and that even Ramsay’s dad doesn’t know where he was going. So unless Zach was purposely trying to throw us off, then that only leaves Bostwick to be the silent commit. Am I missing anything?

  15. Zach, this may be a story for another day but I’d like to know what academic standards these football players actually have to meet. Obviously it’s lower than the general public, UF is very hard to get into. I’d be curious how these standards compare to every other non-athlete trynig to get in to UF. Do these kids not realize the opportunity they are given simply because of their athletic ability? If they can’t just buckle down and get it done then they aren’t worth taking. And how does UF’sacademic criteria compare to the Marshall’s, West Virginias and apparently Ole Miss’s of the world that have even lower standards?

  16. @ Fatback, careful or all on this site since many may label you a racist for asking such a question. While I agree that everyone should have to meet the same standards to get in, it Ain’t gonna happen as this is not about an education but it is about being farm teams for the NFL!

  17. @Fatback and Fred Thompson: The standards are lower for ALL student athletes and no doubt, some need to do a better job preparing themselves (nothing racial about that fact) – but these are kids man, they don’t have the wisdom that time has afforded most of us. I can imagine someone countering your argument by suggesting you dedicate yourself to becoming worthy of an athletic scholarship… There is a give and a BIG TAKE to this story that you’re over looking. The suits, coaches, local economy and everyone else that profits from these same kids would reduce entry requirements even more if it puts more money in their pockets. And for his service, the student gets what? A degree (hopefully), that’s great but some also leave with physical and mental injuries that they will face everyday for the remainder of their lives…

  18. @Fatback and Fred — and the two standards just occurred to you?? Where’ve you two been for the past few decades? Talent exemptions have been a part of admissions since Universities were founded. No different than legacies at Ivy League schools or that virtuoso musician who can’t speak English – both of which getting admitted. There is a floor to the talent exemption, at least in Florida. Other state University systems have their own minimums for these types of admissions.

    WVU and Nebraska come to mind regarding egregiously low standards for admitting these kids. Tom Osbourne wrote the book on this, how do you think he stockpiled all that talent in the ’80’s and ’90’s (cough, cough, Tommie Frazier, cough, cough). Remember that SI story on the matter in the mid-90’s? Osbourne almost punched the writer in the face for persisting in an interview on the topic.

  19. I am surprised that one of his HS coaches, Jacquez Green, did not stay on top of his grade situation. Maybe he did but James did not take his academics seriously.
    We knew of his knee injury and remained loyal to his recruitment. He didn’t fulfill his part by getting his grades and test scores up to speed.
    Now he will sign with a rival that has entrance requirements well below UF’s. Good luck!

  20. @by TigerCatZeroZero you are breaking my heart! This is the rub stupid. You get an opportunity to get an education while the university foots the bill for all of your FREE NIKE GEAR, FREE MARKETING on CBS every week etc. Hell, if you should think you are higher than that, then go straight to an NFL combine and try out and skip college. These college athletes are owed NOTHING more than the free stuff that they already receive. The bottom line should be either you score high enough like everyone else or you DO NOT GET IN!

  21. Fred – You do realize the university makes a lot of money off of these athletes. You make it sound as if these athletes are taking advantage of the school. Also the university does not pay for the FREE NIKE GEAR AND FREE MARKETING ON CBS. You also do realize that NFL has a rule that you have to be three years removed from High School to be eligible for the NFL draft.

  22. Fred I understand your perspective. However, these kids pay for their entire 4 year scholarship (the retail price) with the money coming to the University from ONE major network televised game. Considering these kids play in about 25-35 televised games in their 4 year careers — that is a staggering ROI for the University’s investment in these kids.

    If we’re talking Div I-AA or Div II/III, or Div I of 40 years ago (before the big T.V. contracts and bowl payouts) you make a good point. But this is big money football my friend.

    The real rogues here are the actuaries and accountants (I’m playing along with your misplaced outrage). Not making an investment in these kids is fiscal stupidity, especially for a school uniquely positioned in the south like UF is.

  23. Hey Zach. With UF recruiting Collins, the coaches clearly wouldn’t mind getting another RB in this class. They have also offered quick and shifty WRs like Clark and Timmons. Do you know what story is with Alvin Kamara? Have the coaches pursued him or not? Is he less interested in UF than other programs? Is the staff less interested in him than other RBs / WRs?

  24. @ Reality, I do not buy what you are selling. Again, these kids get the red carpet treatment once they arrive. I do not feel sorry for them like you do. You must have voted for that Moron in the White House as this is not an entitlement opportunity to seize the moment on. You should have to qualify academically like everyone else. Meaning, the same minimum score to get accepted into the university. To your point, these kids do get NIKE gear FREE along with the plane rides, etc. Seems most have lost focus on what the real reason to come and play at the college level is as this is not suppose to be a farm system for the NFL but to GET an EDUCATION! Unfortunately, most just come here to play football and to play, not to study like a real student! Enough Said!

  25. @ Fred, You really sound BITTER!! Do you know the percentage of football players that don’t graduate from UF?? Do you know how many come back int the off season to complete their degree. Sure many come for the pipeline to THEIR next job THE NFL. But DUDE that is a JOB! and one that pays well. And the Moron in the White House is a YALE GRADUATE! You are the real ignorant moron on this post, you are angry and bitter because these kids come here and make a living just like the ones that come here for purely academics reasons, to get a job. Take a second look they are doing the exact same thing, trying to become gamefully employed. GO GATORS!!!!

  26. @Fred, I’m not ‘selling’ a theory or anecdotal assertion. Allowances are made for the big money sports kids so that the rest of the athletic programs (all the kids on scholarship in the money losing sports) can flourish.

    Your ire should be directed at the fact the school, with all of its built-in fiscal privileges, gets away with raising tuition every year for the mainstream student body. One of those fiscal privileges being the multibillion $$ T.V. contract they are party to for football (yes, billions with a ‘B’), in addition to merchandising royalties. With the money the athletic department brings in from all sources ALL 40K of the kids should be going to UF for nothing.

    Still not ‘buying’ — download the UAA budgets for the last few years and read for yourself.

  27. I guess you bought the rest of the arguement about the universities being a pipeline for STUDENT ATHLETES to get a NON-ACADEMIC related job, So now you just have an issue with the PRESIDENT of the UNITED STATES of AMERICA and I guess about 71% of average Americans who voted for him, you don’t have to say it, I know you think all of US are SOCIALIST, DUMB & LIBERAL too! That’s cool with us but you are the one that’s BITTER and will have to deal with it for ANOTHER 4 YEARS!! I appologize to the rest of the poster for taking up sports and recruiting talk to further PISS OFF Mr. FRED. GO GATORS!!!!

  28. I thought we were on a recruiting blog??? Fred, I think I saw a political forum is that is more along the lines of what you’re interested in, most of us on here are concerned with the Gator football team and its future players!

  29. Sorry gang for the lapse in judgement and character, Thanks TigerCatZeroZero for bringing me back to a sensible frame of mind. I’m back focused on sports topics, sometime senselessness just flips me over, But I’m better now. GO GATORS!!!!

  30. A week later from the original mailstack and 5 days away form NSD and the experts have the Gators missing again this year on closing. I am hoping that Zack has it right. Bostwick, Ramsey, Powell, and Clark would be nice at this point. Adams would make it great!

  31. You’re good with me Creek Gator! I try not to entertain people who are not open to TODAY. Don’t let this world change you. Gator863 I failed to thank you for your post…after reading it, there was no need for me to post: you wrote EXACTLY what I thinking! Go Gators!