Zach’s Mail Stack 8/15


I get the feeling Gator fans are more excited about me opening up my mailbox tonight than Florida holding its first open practice.

I’m flattered, really. 😉

In all seriousness, I look forward to interacting with you guys again through this blog.

The 2014 class, now at 16 commits, has started to take shape for Florida, and I’m ready to answer your questions from now until signing day.

Let’s get it started!

Do we need to worry with RB Dalvin Cook planning visits to USC and Texas? — Nate

Fans never want to see their commits visiting other schools, but this is one case the Florida faithful shouldn’t worry about. Cook has been solid to UF since he flipped from Clemson and shows no signs of wavering.

He sent daily “Gator Nation” text messages to receiver Ermon Lane before he pledged to Florida on Monday. He also got his Miami Central teammate, 2015 WR Da’Vante Phillips, to join him in Gainesville.

This past weekend, Cook was taunting former UF commit Anthony Moten at their local media day. He even posts Gator-themed photos on his Instagram almost everyday.

One of the reasons Cook changed his mind on Clemson was so he could play closer to home, so I don’t think the Gators need to be concerned about him going on a couple of out-of-state trips for free.

Here’s the video interview I did with Cook at Friday Night Lights.

[youtube k9oIj5FzSQs 580]

Why is UF not taking at least one more RB given that there will only be four scholarship RBs on the roster in 2014? — Ben, Roland

There’s actually four backs on the roster this year — redshirt junior Mack Brown, sophomore Matt Jones and true freshmen Kelvin Taylor and Adam Lane. The addition of Cook next season will give the Gators five backs, which is plenty of depth for the position.

UF is limited on scholarships in the 2014 recruiting cycle and can’t afford to take another RB unless it’s someone like Alabama commit Bo Scarbrough or Joe Mixon (Oakley, Calif./Freedom). But despite Scarbrough transferring from Tuscaloosa (Ala.) County to IMG Academy in Bradenton for his senior season and Mixon scheduling an official visit to UF, I just don’t see either of those prospects ending up in Florida’s class.

Who’s on the DE board besides Lorenzo Carter and Dewayne Hendrix? — Bill, Levy, Wesley

The nation’s No. 1 defensive end, Da’Shawn Hand of Woodbridge (Va.), is still up near the top of the board. He has UF in his Top 3 along with Alabama and Michigan, his presumed leader. He plans to officially visit all three schools and make his decision on Nov. 14.

Some other targets for Florida are Lorenzo Featherston (Greensboro, N.C./Page), Davon Godchaux (Plaquemine, La.), Cory Thomas (McCalla, Ala./McAdory), Andrew Williams (Mcdonough, Ga./Eagle’s Landing Christian) and Gerald Willis III (New Orleans, La./Edna Karr).

Each of the five has listed UF among their leaders, but due to the distance factor, it doesn’t appear any of them will pick the Gators. They’ve led for Carter since July and will host Hendrix for the Arkansas game, and these two are their most realistic options right now.

How are we looking to finish out the DB class? — Ryan, Wesley

The safety position isn’t a priority with three signing last year, so I don’t see Florida taking anybody except Jamal Adams (Lewisville, Texas/Hebron). He visited UF on June 14 and will return for the Tennessee game on an official visit. The Gators are currently considered the favorite for Adams, who is the godson of receivers coach Joker Phillips.

With four cornerbacks already committed, Adoree’ Jackson Gardena, Calif./Junipero Serra) and Jalen Tabor (Washington, D.C./Friendship Academy) are probably the only two recruits who will still be pursued by defensive backs coach Travaris Robinson. Jackson visited for Friday Night Lights and is very high on the Gators, while Tabor seems to be leaning toward Maryland after having Florida in front earlier this summer.

As of today, I think UF closes with Adams and either Jackson or Tabor.

Zach, what positions are left for us to fill and what do our numbers look like with five months left? — Taylor, JerseyGator91, Devin, gatornation9

With 80 scholarship players and 10 seniors, there is room for 15 signees at this time. That number was previously 16, but redshirt senior Andre Debose (torn ACL) is applying for a sixth year of eligibility and should get it.

Once offensive line commit Joesph Paul announces his anticipated exit from the class (for more info, click HERE), the Gators will have 15 verbal commitments and be at their max.

However, I still expect them to be able to sign at least 21 after attrition. And I think those final six spots will be used for another receiver, an offensive tackle, a defensive end, a linebacker and two more defensive backs.

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


    • Josh,
      Cook didn’t pay for those summer trips to Texas or USC. His coaches/family covered the costs, which were probably just the plane tickets. I’m sure the coaches at those schools gave him a “discounted” price to attend their camps. There were basically free trips for him just like the official visits will be. Again, there’s nothing to worry about with him.

  1. Good to see we are stocking up on lineman. It is worth saying though, that big is not always better, and having a guy for 4 years is an advantage over bringing in juco guys. By all accounts Trenton Brown got schooled all night in the open practice the other night. Being lost on coverages is a function of learning the playbook. In fairness these guys probably need a year or so to do that. That leaves us with only one good year from these guys at best.

  2. @sharonda

    I think Travis Rudolph is our best bet at another WR with Jc and Adoree Jackson being potential WR candidates. As for Ermon he’s from south florida so there’s really no such thing as a lock from any prospects down that way, but I don’t think you have anything to worry about with he or cook.


    Sharpe said he’s going to take an OV to USC which is probably because one of the coaches(can’t remember which one) played there. Pretty we will get an OV once they are set up. Don’t think we lead necessarily like people claim but we are definitely in his top group and I would think he ends up a gator

    Hope I helped answer u guys question

  3. Zach, thanks for the update, I look forward to them. However, since both USC’s seem to be regularly in play, can you specify the difference between them in your article. The best way I’ve seen is to put the lowercase e or w after it, ie, USCe, meaning east for South Carolina.

  4. Zach,

    I get what you’re saying, but it’s not a “free” trip, as you said – someone paid for it. And he can say that he’s solid all he wants, but the fact is it doesn’t matter until his LOI is in hand. Overblown recruiting coverage has shown us that anything – ANYTHING – can happen. Heck – Reuben Foster has an Auburn tattoo and ended up at Alabama.

    My guess is that he’s seen our depth chart, recognizes how great Taylor and Lane have reportedly been this spring/summer, and is exploring all of his options.

    That’s not to say Cook won’t end up in O&B, but let’s be realistic here – this wasn’t an official…he paid his own way. We would be naive to think that his family would drop the cash to pay for – at the very least – plane tickets if there wasn’t a sliver of a chance that he would wind up going to school there.

  5. I know that it is way incredibly early but what do you think of the 2015 commitment of George Campbell to Michigan? Based on what I have read and seen Florida really needed him just based on his size and speed alone. Do you think he is a solid commit to them or do we have a chance of swinging him back? Again it’s incredibly early but I just hate to see someone so talented get out of the state.

  6. @Delray Mike

    Quit with the Juco hate man. Didn’t you see Cordarrelle Patterson? He was a Juco and he dominated his first year on campus. You don’t recruit based on labels or stars. You recruit based on what you see in each individual player. That’s what the smart ones do anyway. That’s what Muschamp does. Or has Muschamp not earned your trust yet? He’s more than earned mine and proven he knows what he’s doing. Just chill out and trust Boom until he proves he doesn’t deserve that trust anymore (and I don’t see him doing that). Maybe you misread what you saw in Brown. Maybe it was an off practice. Maybe he wasn’t feeling well. I don’t know. But by all accounts he’s impressing and competing for a starting job. Sounds like a great pick up to me.

  7. Was at last night’s practice…..and Demarcus Robinson was impressive, as was Dunbar and Patton at WR. Fullwood looked like a freshman to me. Clay Burton looked good catching the ball from the TE position, which surprised me based on previous things written about his pass catching skills. He must have really improved over the summer. Driskel….in the pocket….still makes me uneasy. Still taking a long time to get rid of the ball and does not seem to be picking up secondary receivers still. I hope I am wrong about that when the season starts. But he was throwing the ball long after the defensive lineman were going past him (due to the red jersey he was wearing).

  8. @TJ: Not hating on Juco guys, or Trenton, just calling it like I see it. One can make an argument for the Pattersons of the football world, unfortunately there are many more Carl Moore’s to offset the Pattersons a few times over. My only point is that giving a kid 4 years to acclimate (sp?) and excel is more realistic.

    Muschamp forgets more about football when he sneezes than I will ever know so, yes I trust his judgment. I’m just questioning whether the ROI on a 2 year scholly is more than a 4 year scholly. Every kid is a measured risk, just seems that JUCO kids are more a long shot than kids out of HS.

  9. @josh- I believe Zachary already answered your question. Cook is solid. If you want to read into every small detail to make yourself worry – knock yourself out. Nothing is a 100% guaranteed, but he looks pretty solid.

  10. @Scooterp – (A) I’m not worrying. If he shows up, awesome. If not, we’ll find someone else. (B) How is Cook paying his own way to see another program a small detail? I think that’s a much larger detail than a kid taking a free trip. All this reporting (here and on any other media outlet) that a kid is “solid” is absurd because until they sign, so much can and will happen. We’re assuming that all Cook paid for is transportation (again, based on reporting), but NCAA rules state that unless he’s staying with an enrolled student athlete on campus, (which is possible) at the very least he’s paying for lodging as well. Seeing as Cook traveled with family, that means SOMEONE was paying for a place to stay (unless, obviously, they have friends and family there to stay with.) Again, I’m sure Auburn thought Foster was “solid” once he inked their logo on his body. None of this matters until signing day.

  11. When you’re a wanted prospect, people will get you (and whomever you want accompanying you) to whereever they want you to be…everyone knows it and no one complains. Travel to camps, unofficial visits, hotels, local transportation, food and entertainment all happens on someone’s dime but very rarely the prospect’s family. You won’t hear high school coaches complaining… If #6 shows up and shows out, recruits (especially offensive playmakers) will get here. If not, we’ll be looking to W. Grier to change the way Blue Chippers (offensive) see us. We’re close and this is the year to show the college football world. There is not 1 game on our schedule that we should not win. PERIOD! Let’s go Jeff and Let’s Go Gators!

  12. Zach,
    What have you heard about Class of 2014 QB Nick Smith from Merritt Island, FL?
    I heard the Gator Coaches were interested starting at camps back in June of 2012 but have not heard much since. I know Kentucky and Louisville are showing interest.
    Any insight on this Pro-Style QB?