Zach’s Mail Stack 10/10


I struck out this week with the three official visitors Florida hosted.

Tight end Bryce Dixon, defensive Lorenzo Featherston and UF offensive lineman commit Nolan Kelleher have always been hard to get a hold of, and this time was no different.

They ignored my attempts to contact them, as they did with most media outlets. But I observed all three of them during the Arkansas game, and they looked like they were enjoying themselves.

Florida quarterback commit Will Grier sat with Dixon and Featherston in the south end zone bleachers and talked to them throughout the night.

Both reportedly had great trips according to Ryan Bartow of 247Sports, and Dixon told him the Gators have taken the lead in his recruitment.

I still feel Featherston stays close to home in the end and chooses Clemson, but Dixon is now a legitimate target for Florida after initially being a long shot.

On to the questions!

What’s up with J.C. Jackson and Miami? Anything to worry about there? Also, with Ermon Lane and Dalvin Cook looking to visit other schools, is it just them enjoying free trips or is that a concern?John, Nate

Jackson visited Miami for the Florida game and again this past weekend. He says he’s 100 percent committed to the Gators and those two trips were just spur-of-the-moment stops at a nearby school.

As long as he doesn’t continue to visit UM, there shouldn’t be much to be worry about. But it’s definitely something to monitor given the fact that he has already decommitted once before (from FSU). If anyone were to leave Florida’s class, it would most likely be him.

As for Cook and Lane, they have always planned to officially visit other schools. This is nothing new, and it’s probably just them taking advantage of some free trips. Judging by their comments to the media, interactions with recruits and the Gator-themed pictures they post on their Instagram accounts, they seem pretty solid to UF.

Who do you think we have a chance at flipping this year? — Devin, Mark, Tamayo, C-Slim, Ron

Florida’s recruitment of Bo Scarbrough has been well documented on here, and he has to start showing his face in Gainesville before anything can happen.

Junior college receiver Eric Lauderdale decommitted from Tennessee on Sunday, which happened, in part, because of the offer he received from the Gators on Sept. 30. Lauderdale plans to officially visit UF in the future, and while it technically wouldn’t be a flip, he’ll be one that got away from the Vols if Florida lands him.

The Gators are also still going after Clemson receiver commit Artavis Scott, but like Scarbrough, a visit needs to happen for Florida to have a chance.

Per, one prospect committed elsewhere who does plan to check out UF is Auburn linebacker pledge Tre Williams. He will be hard to pull out of the state of Alabama, but getting him on campus is the first step.

Any chance we take another QB to give Grier some competition? — Choco Gator

If the Gators had room and were losing their starter, maybe that could happen. But UF currently has just 15 scholarship available for 2014 before attrition, and quarterbacks Tyler Murphy and Jeff Driskel will be back next season.

Assuming Driskel returns in 2015, Grier would be in line to take over the following year as a redshirt sophomore and have to beat out Skyler Morhinweg and Max Staver if they don’t transfer. Competing for the starting job against two upperclassmen, though not as talented, should be enough of a challenge for Grier.

Looks like it’s 50-50 now for David Sharpe with UF and UGA. If we beat UGA and he visits for the FSU game, it seems like he will be a Gator, right? — Christian

There’s a lot more that will go into his decision than that possible scenario, but it would certainly help Florida’s chances if things play out that way.

After speaking with him earlier this week about his visit to the Arkansas game, I did get the sense that UF had closed the gap on Georgia’s lead. The ‘Dawgs still have a slight edge in my opinion, but if Sharpe comes back to Florida for the FSU matchup and an official visit after the season, it could put the Gators over the top.

The key for them is to continue showing production in the passing game and sell him on playing close to home. A victory over UGA wouldn’t hurt, either.

You said UF told Khairi Clark they want another DT. Are they done with Anthony Moten or looking somewhere else? — Mike, Tamayo

I think the coaches turned the page on Moten as soon as he decommitted. To my knowledge, the primary targets they have been pursuing at defensive tackle are Thomas Holley and Gerald Willis III, both of whom seem unlikely to end up at Florida.

Unless the staff can find someone under the radar or in the JUCO ranks, Clark will be the lone DT in this class. The Gators signed five tackles in the previous cycle, so only taking one this year won’t hurt the depth at the position.

It’s been a while since Florida’s last commitment. Any prospects that may pull the trigger soon? — Jake

Unless someone commits sooner than scheduled, it should be at least another month before the Gators have any additions to their 2014 class. Florida appears to be in serious contention for a dozen recruits at this time, and the earliest time frame of those 12 for a decision is mid-November.

Here are the prospects to watch out for and when they plan to make their announcements: receivers Eric Lauderdale (TBD) and Travis Rudolph (Under Armour game), tight ends Bryce Dixon (mid-November) and DeAndre Goolsby (December), offensive tackle David Sharpe (December), defensive ends Lorenzo Carter (signing day), Lorenzo Featherston (signing day) and Da’Shawn Hand (Nov. 14), linebacker Dwight Williams (Army game), cornerback Jalen Tabor (Under Armour game), safety Jamal Adams (November) and athlete Adoree’ Jackson (signing day).

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


  1. Thanks, Zach, for a really informative, knowledgable update. This is much more encouraging and positive than where we seemed to stand a week ago. Are there any under the radar guys you think might be on our list?

  2. Maybe not Mike. It’s all up to Jeff in my opinion. Driskel obviously has all the physical talent: Big arm, accurate, great runner… The only thing that I personally have seen with Driskel is his tendency to force passes. If he learns from what Murphy is doing and takes what the defense gives him and plays loose and just plays as himself, then he could be a great QB. But if he continues to do what he did early this year and tries to force big passing plays rather than taking the run or outlet pass when it’s there, then obviously he won’t be very good and Murphy will be the starter next year followed by Grier the next year. It should be interesting the next couple years to watch the QB battles

  3. I don’t think anyone should give up on Jeff Driskel. High level of natural talent, got thrown into the quarterback situation at Florida too soon. Needed a redshirt year and another year behind a savvy, better developed starter. With his injury and Tyler’s emergence, Driskel in effect gets both. He’s demonstrated he’s a true blue Gator, great attitude, and it wasn’t his fault he landed at UF when we were thin at QB and receiver and our OL was misfitted for a new offense. I pull for all these young men. Go Gators!

  4. I was going to offer up the realistic possibility of Driskel coming back and starting but didn’t want to crash the party. He is finally getting what the coaches never afforded him – an opportunity to look at the game from the sidelines. I’m sure it would be unpopular, but it’s more likely than you may think…IMO he eventually reverts back to what we know him too well for. Tyler, with coaching and dedication only gets better…ask Spurrier or Saban (wow!) Kel. Taylor: get him some carries! FSU is a hard read, but there is a lot of truth to his protest. How can OC Pease not know if we’ll red-shirt the #1 RB out of HS? He was never so encrypted at Boise. IMO this will have a BIG effect on recruiting! 2.8 yds per carry…C’mon Man, give him some meaningful carries and see what happens (see T. Murphy). If nothing else, it preserves the other backs (you said fumbling and blocking are not issues). Regarding LSU…special teams will be the difference. Go Gators!

  5. I agreed with you until you started on the Taylor stuff. Please don’t be one of those kinds of fans. Until you can tell me you’ve been to every practice and know for a fact Taylor is performing at a higher level than Jones or Brown then you can’t say he needs to get more carries. Jones and Brown are very talented backs and if we can’t block maybe we should look towards our blocking or gameplanning. And don’t forget that teams are have been scheming strictly against the run up to now. That’s gonna play a major toll on the run game. Don’t worry though Murphy is making them pay and soon enough they’ll start paying attention to the pass opening up the run again. Look I like Taylor and I think he’ll be a great back for us, but it’s wrong to constantly complain that Taylor should be in at the expense of Jones and Brown. The fans did the same thing to Christ Leak when Tebow was in. Tebow wasn’t ready though. If Tebow starts I guarantee you we don’t make it to the Nat title game. I know you have good intentions and you’re just thinking that Taylor could help, but in reality when all the fans start going on and on about giving a backup more playing time or the starting spot then it’s a direct shot at the current starter. Would you want to play for fans who are constantly taking shots at you?

  6. I don’t disagree with you TJ, but I would like to see Mark Herndon get some carries between Brown and Jones as a change of pace RB. He seems the fastest of the three. He should have gotten a shot to get a carry as much as we were struggling in the run. Wouldn’t have hurt to do so either. Arky probably would have thought it was all pass if he was in the game. Make a possible big run if that happened.

  7. It seems like the timing on Lauderdale’s decommitment from Tennessee and Rudolph trending toward FSU are related. Do you think Rudolph was turned off by the pursuit of Lauderdale or the interest in Lauderdale is due to the uncertainty in Rudolph? Or are the two recruitments unrelated?

  8. You do realize that it’s possible to have more than two guys carry the football? look at LSU and Bama guys continue to come and both are loaded at rb. There is a reason; if you have talent you don’t redshirt you get your feet wet and see if you can help the team, then when an injury occurs there is no drop off. BTW dynamic skill players prefer to play with QB’s who will get them the ball to make plays. One qb has given guys more chances in three games than the other for over an entire season.

  9. What’s up fellas? The BRGF is STOKED for this week!! All of the weak minded, mis-informed lsu fans are thinking UF’s offense stinks & are busy buyin’ & fryin’ gator this week, which is utterly riduculous but I digress. Why not just play all of the tailbacks? What’s the use of having them come in at the tailend of games for garbage time? That’s demoralizing to a player & makes them feel as though they’re not part of the team. Please Pease-go right at lsu. They’re not that good & don’t be afraid to take shots in the passing game as they have 2 true freshman playing corner. They blew major assignments the past couple of games that resulted in touchdowns. GO GATORS!!!!!

  10. I see a tight game 17-16 with UF pulling it out. The so-called ‘experts’ here are predicting a high scoring game w/ lsu winning. I can’t see it. The only way that happens is if UF reverts back to the days when they couldn’t tackle a lick. If UGA can handle Hill then certainly UF can. Georgia’s defensive front is nowwhere near Florida’s so if they can play sound gap defense they should be OK. Landry has a bad ankle & shouldn’t be 100%. Stay on Beckham & all should be good. GO GATORS!!!!

  11. TJ, I appreciate your reply and I partially agree with you on some points, however I think you’re missing the bases of our argument: We’re not saying replace or remove anyone, but rather enhance what we’ve already got going. Our style is very physical and it can wear a defense down…but it will definitely wear down your backs. I love Matt and Mack and think they are ideal for our style WHEN THEY ARE FRESH. D. Cook, E. Lane and other offensive recruits are taking note of this situation and have to be concerned. We’ve got him, see if he can help…that’s all. BGRF, hope we make life in The Rouge a lil bit better for you come Saturday! Go Gators!

  12. I have somewhat followed recruiting for years. But this stuff has gotten out of hand. When it becomes news that someone sat and spied on recruits at the game to report that they “looked like they were enjoying themselves”, things have gone too far. People pay way too much attention to this stuff. First off, even if they “commit”, they often “decommit”, if that is even a word. Then we have people on here all the time talking about “must have” recruits. Wow. Half of the “must haves” we get end up not living up to the hype or being total busts. (Currently Jeff Driskel, Kent Taylor, Jessamen Dunker, AC Leonard, JuJuan Story) but there have been many more) Where are all those “must haves” now? I’m not criticizing Abolverdi because he is just doing what he is paid to do. It is his job and I get that. I guess I’m criticizing the people who take this stuff so seriously that he gets paid to do that. Most of them are full grown adults following children like their lives depend on it. It is pathetic.

  13. LT, so you don’t understand sports fans??? Your post reminds me of the old “I wasn’t looking at you, you were looking at me” thing. Don’t know what to tell you…find something you enjoy and dive in Bro! Go Gators

  14. @ Tiger Cat

    There is a difference between fans and the lunatic fringe. People who immerse themselves in the decisions of 17 year old kids, especially non binding decisions, are the lunatic fringe of sports fans.