Zach’s Mail Stack 8/22


It’s been an exciting week in Gainesville.

UF campus is packed again now that the fall semester has started, and there was a large crowd on hand for Tuesday’s student-only open practice.

I chose to attend (yes, I’m still a student, two semesters left), and you could feel the anticipation of the season approaching.

This time next week, Florida’s opening game will be two days away.

There’s not been a lot going on with recruiting recently due to the Quiet Period that went into effect Aug. 1, but that will change on the first of September when the Evaluation Period begins and college football is underway.

On to the questions!

Zach, what, if anything, does awarding scholarships to two walk-ons mean when we’re in a limited scholarship situation? I think we’re targeting 21. — Foreverag8r

It doesn’t mean anything. Scholarships given to walk-on players are only for a semester or calendar year, and they won’t be renewed if the Gators need to make room for recruiting, which they will in 2014.

Case in point: Tim Clark. The fifth-year defensive back had been awarded a scholarship the past two seasons, but he wasn’t expecting to get one this fall and was surprised when he received it Tuesday along with running back Mark Herndon.

Florida still has 15 scholarships currently available and should be able to sign around 21 prospects after attrition.

Are Adoree’ Jackson and Dwight Williams a package deal, and does Florida have a good chance to pull both? — Devin, Derek, James

Well they’re technically not a package deal because both are top-tier prospects. A package deal is when a school takes one highly-rated recruit and his lesser-known teammate/friend (see Alabama commits Kalvarez Bessent and Chris Williams).

The Army All-Americans from Gardena (Calif.) Junipero Serra don’t seem determined to go to the same college, but the possibility could work in Florida’s favor since both look like they’re leaning toward UF at this time. If the Gators are going to land a linebacker and another cornerback/receiver, these two might be their best chance.

Zach, I guess I’m a little concerned about the lack of DT in this class. What do you think about that and about our depth at the position as a whole? — GatorCooken, Evan

I feel Florida is fine here. In the last class, UF signed five defensive tackles in Caleb Brantley, Jay-nard Bostwick, Joey Ivie, Antonio Riles and junior college transfer Darious Cummings.

The Gators return all of them next season along with Leon Orr. Then they bring in Khairi Clark, who was the No. 1 target on their board at the position this year.

If another tackle joins Clark, it will probably be a former commit — JUCO Jarran Reed, Anthony Moten or Travonte Valentine, who is rumored to be wanting back in Florida’s class despite his pledge to Miami. I’m not sure if he has the grades to do so, but it’s something to keep an eye on moving forward. After those three, there aren’t many realistic options left.

What is the latest on David Sharpe? — Conky3000, Wesley, Ky Gator

The Jacksonville Providence offensive tackle had his first high school game of the season Thursday night, and afterward he gave some details on his recruitment.

As of now, Sharpe plans to take four of his five official visits to Southern Cal, Alabama, Clemson and likely Georgia. UF may not get his final trip, but he will attend a game.

“I’ve been to Florida so much,” Sharpe said. “There is no point in taking an official there. I have seen everything I need to see there.”

Which receivers do you think we have the best chance with now that we have Ermon Lane, and do you think he is a lock? — Sharonda, Chris, Tamayo, Uncle Willie Son

The known targets remaining at receiver are Jackson, Travis Rudolph (West Palm Beach, Fla./Cardinal Newman), Speedy Noil (New Orleans, La./Edna Karr), Josh Malone (Gallatin, Tenn./Station Camp) and Johnnie Dixon (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla./Dwyer).

Of the five, Jackson and Rudolph appear to be the most likely. Both visited for Friday Night Lights and will be back for official visits. I think the other three stay close to home with Noil to LSU, Malone to Tennessee and Dixon to Miami.

As for Lane, no recruit — committed or not — is a lock to any school. But I do believe Lane is solid to UF and will stick to his verbal based on his actions as well as his group of friends coming with him to Gainesville. For what it’s worth, he posted three pictures on Instagram this week of himself doing the Gator Chomp at school.

Zach, players verbally committed players are least likely to be in the class? Thanks! Taylor

As I’ve mentioned before on this blog, it’s pretty much a forgone conclusion that offensive guard Joseph Paul won’t stay in Florida’s class much longer. Aside from him, the only one in my mind is offensive tackle Benjamin Knox.

In April, Knox told the Sun he was “55 percent” committed and there’s a chance he could decommit if the Gators get Sharpe. He has since solidified his pledge, but it will be interesting to see if that holds in the event that Sharpe does pick UF.

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


  1. With regards the DT question from Evan. I had read somewhere that Dontae Angus (Germantown HS) Philadelphia, PA 6-5/305 said he was asked by the staff to start off playing D-line. I also read in another article that Taven Bryan (Natrona County HS) Casper, WY 6-5/250 is supposed to be a DE. Zach can you verify? Some of the recruing sites still have these guys as OTs.

  2. Hey Mailbag, with today’s social media, camps and Internet access it’s much easier to get to know prospects and even watch them compete. I am wondering if current players: (a) understand the magnitude of signing additional talent vs. seeing them as a threat (b) keep up with recruiting news/(eg: Gator Prosepctus) (c) have their own personal favorites to be landed. An assortment or mixture of player feedback would be a great read IMO. Go Gators!

  3. Thanks Zach for all the great work that you do. I have been a little concerned with this class because in recent years we have seen staff turnover affect us in recruiting (ie Charlie Weis and Stefon diggs) is there any chance with this group of future gators that a position coach or coordinator leaving could make recruits flip ? If any which ones ? Thanks and Go Gators !!!!!!!

  4. Hi Zach, I didn’t realize you were still in college. Wow, your certainly are headed for success and your already there actually. This is a tough job and throw in the fact your combining it with school. That’s tough. They can’t be paying you enough! Keep up the great work and all this means is as soon as you graduate you’ll most likely be gone. Well earned!

  5. I sure hope they keep renewing Herndon’s scholarship. There’s no one who deserves it more, and as I understand it there may not be anyone who needs it more. I like winning and I understand getting all the best recruits you can is a big part of that, but first and foremost you have to do the right thing. And in this situation, if Herndon keeps doing what he’s doing and gets the PT I’ve heard he’ll get this season, ten the right thing is to keep renewing his scholarship. To not renew his scholarship based solely on getting 1 more recruit would be beyond wrong, and I would be beyond disappointed in our staff.

  6. It wouldn’t surprise me if we end up red shirting both Taylor and Lane. I know with M. Jones presently unavailable, the chances are reduced; however we’d still have M. Brown, V. Showers, T. Burton, and M. Herndon (until Jones returns) – all were ahead of the true freshmen on the depth chart. We’d also have D. Cook coming in next year. I’d hate to see either waste a season or lose confidence and become frustrated getting few significant minutes/carries. No question they can both tote the rock. Go Gators!

  7. I hope if Taylor and Lane do get redshirted, it’s with their own approval and the coaching staff is able to convince them of getting bigger, quicker, etc. Make it a positive move instead of a negative move. I think Muschamp knows Gator Nation is wanting to see both of them run. If I was Muschamp I would spread the ball out to all of them, always keep fresh backs pounding the ball on offense.

  8. @ron It is called the DJ Humphries effect. We know he is the starter for the next 2 years and possibly a 3rd if he doesn’t leave early. For these kids looking for PT it’s probably hard to go to a school where a guy like DJ is holding the spot, not to mention all the great things we have been hearing about big ol’ Trenton Brown(beast). I’d be more concerned with trying to get Ivey from the ’15 class.

  9. @ GoGator: Red shirt with players’ approval? Seriously? I’m sure Lane and Taylor are seeing the same unacceptable actions/behavior the coaches are seeing. I doubt they will both get redshirted, however if redshirting happens I’m sure it will be obvious to them and the rest of their team mates that RS’ing is the best option.

    Maybe I’m old school, but the sense of entitlement ends when the players hit the practice field.

  10. I took GoGator’s comment to mean he hopes the kids accept it with positive attitudes and make the best of it…obviously I was being optimistic. For the majority of the past year or so Freshmen have been engulfed in individual accomplishments such as rankings out of HS, camps, and scholarship offers – then they get on campus and they are battling for depth chart ranking and individual playing time…at this point, they have not learned to be committed to the team just yet. Many young players don’t understand the potential benefits of red-shirting and instead worry about public perception and often feel as if they’ve somehow failed (maturity issues). Johnny Manziel was fresh off a red-shirt season. You’ll know they are committed when they go to practice everyday and putting in blood, sweat and tears (like a starter) for the advancement of the team! Go Gators!