Zach’s Mail Stack 1/31

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Well my friends, we’ve reached the end of the road.

National Signing Day is less than a week away and this is the final Mail Stack until the summer.

The 2013 recruiting cycle is the first that I covered from start to finish, and I had a blast bringing you all breaking news, writing features and answering your questions on this blog.

Thanks to everyone who left comments throughout the year, especially the ones from my most recent story. I appreciate all the kind words and can’t wait to get the 2014 class cranking!

This weekend Florida hosts JUCO quarterback Tanner McEvoy, receivers James Clark and Ryan Timmons and defensive tackle Jay-nard Bostwick. JUCO defensive tackle Jarran Reed (Ole Miss) and defensive end Tashawn Bower (Auburn) will visit the schools they’re currently committed to, while linebacker Quinton Powell and cornerback Jalen Ramsey stay home to mull over their decisions.

As I first reported on Wednesday, fullback Kennard Swanson will attend a junior college because of his academics. And for those who asked me yet again about Robert Nkdemiche and Montravius Adams, it’s not happening folks. Ndemiche is Ole Miss bound and it’s either Clemson or Georgia for Adams. The Gators got them on campus for official visits and recruited them diligently. Aside from a commitment, that’s all you can ask for when pursuing five-star prospects.

On to the questions!

Is it going to be another quiet signing day for UF like last year?Georgia GATORBOI

Barring a surprise commit, I would say so. But this year will be quiet for different reasons. Last February, Florida struck out with every uncommitted prospect it was in contention for and didn’t sign a full class. The Gators have already met their needs this time around and they’re only in the running for a handful of recruits as a result. Their class has made so much noise that it won’t matter whether or not they have a quiet Wednesday.

What are the chances we actually flip Jalen Ramsey?Brandon, Bamos, Christopher, Dustin, FS, Garrett, Jake, Jacob, Jerome, Jimmie, Nathan, Sebastian.

Most sites have him either sticking with USC or flipping to FSU, but I believe the Gators remain right in the thick of things. The Ramsey camp is completely quiet right now and all three schools feel confident, so it’s hard to say for sure what he’s going to do. I think Ramsey doesn’t even know yet and will make a final decision over the weekend.

At this time, I still feel it will be Florida when I make my official prediction on Tuesday. Will Muschamp got the final in-home visit with Ramsey on Thursday night and is the last coach to see him before he signs. That face time coupled with the pro-Florida factors I listed last week gives UF the edge in my mind.

However, that’s just an educated guess and my opinion on Ramsey could change by the time you’ve read this blog. That’s how fluid his recruitment has been. And although missing out on a five-star corner for the second-consecutive year (Tracy Howard in 2012) would hurt Gator fans, it won’t hurt Florida’s cornerback position. UF already has the nation’s top CB and No. 2 overall prospect committed in Vernon Hargreaves III. End of story.

Who does UF want more between James Clark and Ryan Timmons? Would they take both receivers?T.J., FS, Phillip

If you compare offers and watch their highlight tapes, it’s pretty clear that Clark is the better prospect and he’s the priority for UF. Timmons put up some impressive numbers in high school, but Clark has better moves and appears to be faster.

Florida’s board is shrinking as we approach NSD and the Gators would have room for Clark and Timmons if both wanted in, but the likelihood of that happening is very slim. Seven receivers is a bit much for one class and I doubt UF wants two wideouts with basically identical skill sets. Besides, I think Timmons stays close to home and picks Kentucky.

Zach, who’s the guy nobody is talking about right now from this class that people are going to end up remembering? A guy like Ahmad Black. — Jimmy

I haven’t heard much about Kelvin Taylor, so I’ll go with him. Jussst kidding. All (bad) jokes aside, I’m going to stay in the secondary and say Keanu Neal. Even though Neal is an All-American, I feel like he’s been overshadowed by Hargreaves and Marcell Harris in this class. But I’ve been impressed every time I watched him in a game or combine. Neal is absolutely jacked and knows how to play the safety position. He has a great head on his shoulders and a brother who played in the NFL for seven years, so I think he can become a memorable player at UF.

Final mock class? — Devin, Trey

Last week I had Florida closing with Bostwick, Clark, Powell, Ramsey and Swanson, who is now out. Another prospect I’m going to remove is Powell. Last week I said the Trojans had a slight edge. But after dropping James Hearns, I thought the Gators would turn up the heat on Powell (which they did) and surpass Southern Cal. However, after speaking to him Thursday, I still get the sense that USC is in the lead for his services even though he’s telling me it’s 50-50. I hope to pick his brain some more before NSD.

QB Max Staver
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 Jay-nard 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 Matt Rolin
CB Vernon Hargreaves III
CB Jalen Ramsey
DB Marcell Harris
DB Keanu Neal
DB Nick Washington

— early enrollee

37 COMMENTS

  1. Thanks Zach for all the news. I enjoy reading the mailstack each week. Pray that Ramsey is smart and joins the Gators. Powell would be crazy to go to USC w with Kiffin on his way out. Bostwick and Clark need to join the orange and blue. Go Gators! Adams is an SEC player and should not even think Clemsy. NKemdiche will go to Oxford but will watch Bama, LSU, and Tex AM top them every year. Family makes a huge mistake.

  2. What a great looking list of recruits… If these all pan out we will have addressed needs probably better than anyone in the country. I guess that’s why it may be the #1 class in the country. You hate to speculate, but the potential is truly there to develop a great team… Zach,is there any potential for surprises or a shocker out there in the last week until NSD? Go Gators!

  3. Swampman. Law of averages says 1/3 of these guys will never make an impact with the Gators. That’s just the way it goes. But I hope you are right. If we can get 70% contribution from this class, that would be huge.

  4. Great work this year!!!! Love the work you put out. I must say though that I sincerely hope your picks play out the way you predict. However, I disagree with the statement that Clark is better than Timmons, but I will take either one. Great job once again and looking forward to next year.

  5. Going out on a limb here I believe we dont get any of these guys, Powell, Clark, Ramsey, Bostwick or Timmons. We can use them however Ill be shocked if the come aboard just my gut feeling. Hope Gators prove me wrong# NSD just days away! “Stay Tuned”

  6. Ramsey should come to UF just because of Hargreaves. If he goes somewhere and he’s “the lockdown corner”, teams will just throw to the other side. If Hargreaves is over there, they can’t do that. His best chance to get a lot of int’s and big plays is at UF.

  7. Tom, if only 33% of our recruits amount to anything, our class will have been considered a miserable failure. The average is about 50-60% successful in some capacity, with 70% and above considered a successful class… I know something about 10 or so of these kids, and they are good kids, good athletes, good families, etc, so lets hope the coaches have done their homework. I’ve been told they are making it a priority to get and keep kids who are “high character”, which has become so cliche these days. I’ve been told they even have a checklist of some type. I’ve never seen it, but that is the word anyway… I feel good about this class… Go Gators!

  8. Great job Zach, @ Lizardgrad89… Very good observation. I hope Ramsey is thinking on those lines as well. It would actually benifit both of them, The OC will now have to pick his POISON. With the returning DB’s we have, they will need to try and figure out where do we pass on FLORIDA, do we have time to pass on FLORIDA? This could make teams one dimensional and that will be disasterous against this TEAM. I think we are loaded and will perform like Champions and be CHAMPIONS if we get those last 4 or not. It will be better if we have them and I hope that we do. GO GATORS!!!!

  9. Zach,

    Enjoy your articles with the comments and questions and answers.

    Great class if all the above sign on. Muschamp is doing a terrific job bringing in good assistant coaches and players to meet our needs.

    I still feel we have a chance of picking up two more 5 stars
    defensive players by NSD. Yes, Ramsey is one of them.

  10. Thank you Zach for all of the time you put into our blog. I go into football withdrawls when the season ends, and you help keep this pain at ease. I would still like to believe that NKemdiche will choose the GATORS because with his addition our defenase willo be top 5 again and he would create the much needed depth that will play behind him. GO GATORS!

  11. @Swampman — where did you get that statistic? If 4 out of 25 become difference makers or stars, that’s considered a success. That means that of your 22 starters on O and D any given year 16 are superstars. 70% success rate year after year is impossible. Even 50% is a ridiculous bar to set for recruiting.

  12. Q. Powell is scrambling to put a decision together now. I would guess our coaches have decided to leave the light on for a select few and save the remaining scholarships for’14. C’mon Wednesday!! Go Gators!

  13. The end of a great year, Zach! You have done a phenomenal job, keeping Gator Nation informed. You are definitely the best! Hopefully, you will be around a while; however, you will move on to accomplish great things.

    It surely would be something if we landed Nkimdiche. I believe he will sign with Ole Miss, but, one can’t count Muschamp out. I hope we get Ramsey and Clark, at a minimum. If we land them, this will truly be a class to remember and I feel confident that 60% or more or these kids will have memorable careers. We have Coaches that know how to develop players.

  14. Mike, you don’t rate recruits that way…very few recruits become as you say, “superstars”. If that were the case, no one would be successful at recruiting. What you look for is kids who make a contribution to the team (starter, in the rotation, or good special teams contributor). Everyone else is considered unsuccessful in terms of recruiting, those include: transfers, significant injuries, and underachievers. If you reread my post, that’s what I was saying in terms of successful in some capacity. That is how recruiting classes are typically judged… This looks like a great class on paper, lets hope most of them contribute in some way… Go Gators!

  15. Mike, recruiting classes are not judged by how many become as you say, “superstars”. If that were the case, no one would be successful at recruiting. What we look for is kids who have made a significant contribution to the team, those include: starters, in the rotation, and even significant special teams contributors. most everyone else is unsuccessful, those include: transfers, significant injuries, and underachievers… If you reread my post, that is what I was trying to say about being successful in some capacity. This potential class looks terrific on paper, lets hope they end up being successful… Go Gators!

  16. @Swampman – if you are talking about percentage of kids that matriculate as a UF football player (a lower bar than I was describing) then Gatortom is about right. If two-thirds of every class matriculates that’s a pretty good average. Throw in transfers (in) a few walk ons, and a class of red-shirt guys and the program’s recruiting would get a gold-star over time. Perhaps you or I mis-read Gatortom’s post??