Zach’s Mail Stack 10/24


Florida coach Will Muschamp was asked Wednesday if the offensive struggles this season are hurting recruiting on that side of the ball.

He responded, “Some of those (recruits) look at it as, ‘What a great opportunity to come to a program like Florida and play.’ ”

I believe Muschamp’s statement is accurate, and most, not just some, prospects do feel that way about the offense. UF running back commit Dalvin Cook said as much in my latest update with him.

I received a lot of questions about the commitment status of Will Grier, and he remains 100 percent solid with the Gators. In fact, I was told he would still attend UF even if Brent Pease gets fired or leaves for a head coaching job (he received some offers last year).

Next week I will take a look at five Florida commits who could potentially leave the class.

On to the questions!

Offensive line — Ben, Bob, C-Slim, Daniel, Devin, Eric, Gary, GatorBait, Goose, Ira, Rob, Ryan, Tamayo

Once again, offensive line questions filled my Mail Stack this week. Florida currently has four commits (Dontae Angus, Taven Bryan, Travaris Dorsey and Nolan Kelleher) and hope add 1-2 more linemen (preferably tackles) to this class.

Many asked who those recruits could be, so I’m going list the targets I know of as well as some prospects who could receive interest in the future.

OT David Sharpe, 6-6, 288, Jacksonville, Fla./Providence
Sharpe is not only the No. 1 priority at his position, but he may be the top overall target on Florida’s board. UF led during the spring and summer, but a couple of visits to Georgia in September had the Bulldogs “peaking” for him. The Gators appeared to close the gap on UGA after Sharpe attended Florida’s game against Arkansas. He will see both teams play next Saturday in Jacksonville, and the winner could gain the edge in his recruitment. Regardless of the outcome, Sharpe is Florida’s best shot at landing a stud offensive tackle.

OT Damian Prince, 6-5, 295, District Heights, Md./Bishop McNamara
Prince has been thought of as a long shot to Florida for quite some time as things have looked like a two-team battle between Maryland and Florida. But on Tuesday, he told 247 Sports national recruiting analyst Ryan Bartow UF has been recruiting him the hardest. After spending time with Prince at his school, Bartow, who has a good track record of predicting where prospects go, now thinks he will pick the Gators. Prince is scheduled to officially visit UF for the FSU game on Nov. 30. If the Gators become a serious contender for Prince, it will be interesting to see how that affects Sharpe. While Florida would gladly take both tackles, that’s probably an unlikely scenario.

OT Chukwuma Okorafor, 6-6, 285, Southfield, Mich./Southfield
First off, isn’t that an awesome name? Gator fans should get used to hearing it, because the UF coaches offered the Western Michigan commit a scholarship Thursday. He’s another relatively unknown prospect to pop up on Florida’s board, but Arkansas also recently offered him and Maryland could be next. I don’t know much about him, but he definitely has the size and it shows on his tape. With the program prestige of Florida compared to WMU, I’d imagine the Gators will get consideration and a visit from Okorafor.

Avery Gennesy, 6-5, 307, Scooba, Miss./East Mississippi C.C.
Could UF dip into EMCC for the third consecutive recruiting cycle? Gennesy hails from the same junior college as defensive tackles Damian Jacobs and Darious Cummings, and he’s more highly touted than they were. He has a Top 3 of Tennessee, Texas A&M and Ole Miss and holds several other offers, including Georgia. Gennesy will use his fourth official visit to check out Ohio State this weekend but doesn’t have any trips planned after that. Given Florida’s need at offensive tackle and the pipeline already in place, it may be worth the Gators’ time to extend an offer to Gennesy and see if they can convince him to use his final official for a visit to Gainesville. At this point, UF has nothing to lose.

Nick Gates, 6-4, 272, Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman
This prospect was brought to my attention last week by Ira, who lives in Vegas and attends Gorman games. He has spoken to him and said he expressed interest in the Florida. Gates has been offered Alabama, Baylor, Oklahoma, Oregon and Texas A&M, among others. If the Gators are unable to land the aforementioned linemen, they may want to give Gates a look.

Who out of the current list of commits and targets is expected to be an early enrollee? — Chas

Five of Florida’s 14 commits are scheduled to enroll early at this time — quarterback Will Grier, running back Dalvin Cook, cornerback Duke Dawson and offensive linemen Taven Bryan and Nolan Kelleher.

The Gators are also targeting five recruits who plan to be January enrollees — junior college receiver Eric Lauderdale, tight end DeAndre Goolsby, linebacker Raekwon McMillan, cornerback Jalen Tabor and safety Jamal Adams. Adams and Goolsby officially visited UF for the weekend of the Tennessee game, and the others will visit Gainesville in the coming months.

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


  1. We have a ton or needs so I can see how recruits would see opportunity for themselves but I’d prefer the ones who are DETERMINED to re-establish our UF brand! No doubt there will be coaching changes, but even at our worse, UF is a very attractive offer. We have some guys sporting redshirts now that hopefully will be coming off; no sense in holding anyone/anything back now. I am hoping Adam Lane gets some carries and Jarrad Davis gets more reps. Hate to see J. Powell go down, he was coming on and was probably going to earn some pt! Hang in my beloved Gators!

  2. Zach,

    What are your thoughts on Grier putting up ridiculous numbers this season and how much of that is related to the competition level he is facing. I’m not familiar with his high school division, is it competitive or relatively easy?

  3. Matt – you might as well forget about Scarborough. He’s not going to back out of Bamer? I believe Cook will be just what we need, anyway. We have power backs and Cook will give us a little different twist. We will have Jones back, as well. I believe Jones is much better than what we saw this year and hopefully, he will bounce back and become the great back we anticipated him to be this year.

  4. Zach,it’s hard to take some of your info seriously, lists Prince as a 5star,Sharpe as a 3,you quote a source “who has a good track record of predicting” as saying he thinks Prince will pick Gators,but even tho you make it seem as Sharpe is somewhat shaky,he’s the #1 recruit on the Gator’s board? Really?

  5. Macjbe, the Gator staff has been on Sharpe for a couple if years, he has long been their top target at tackle. Prince is a newcomer on the scene for the staff and it’s because they’ve list other top tace targets and Sharpe has started to slip away. With tackle being a priority position for the Gators that makes Sharpe priority number one. Prince and others are backup options. Recruiting rankings and stars are subjective measures and vary from service to service. The coaches do bit pay attention to then and neither should you. Hope tha clears it up for you.

  6. Sharpe has a higher upside which is something ESPN and Scouts takes into account moreso than Rivals. Sharpe is also in-state from an area Florida needs to dominate to win the state. It’s also important to get Sharpe so Florida does not lose out on the top in-state offensive tackle 3 years in a row. Hope that clears it up for you.

  7. @ Kyle,
    Attrition is a big part of our ‘rebuilding’ and our coaching staff locks in on who will play and makes a conscious effort to ensure that attrition will not be an issue. Here are a few names to watch: Raphael Andrades, Andre Debose, Rhaheim Ledbetter, Alex McCalister, Skyler Mornhinweg, Latroy Pittman, Jeremi Powell, Max Staver, Kent Taylor, Colin Thompson, Trip Thurman, Quinteze Williams, Trevon Young. I am not writing them off but acknowledging they may be discouraged at this point and the immediate future of their careers. I never could understand how Andre Debose “is not consistent” enough to help our team prior to his season ending injury. Uhh Oh! I promised myself I wouldn’t be negative so I will end now. Hang in my beloved Gators!

  8. Of the 29 we brought in (including JUCOs and transfers), only Fullwood, Robinson, Taylor, Davis, VH3, and Moore have seen significant playing time. Some have seen minor playing time here and there or on special teams. I am not sure of the guys who have participated and still have red-shirting as a possibliliity (due to the rules regarding injuries and amount of participation allowed). But we do have several guys who have not played at all and still sport the red-shirt. At one point McMillan was supposedly being considered for a starting job…

  9. Eric B and Jeffery,thanks for “clearing things up”. Maybe i didn’t make my point very well,I really don’t need a lecture on the subjectivity of recruiting services, Rivals is one that I give some credence to,espn’s is a joke,you and Zach feel differently,to each his own. I was merely trying to say,don’t build up and quote a source and in the next breath contradict said source.

  10. Taylor most definitely should be starting. If blocking assignment is of concern, that’s on the coaches to teach him. He’s done far more good than harm thus far. He gives the team much needed confidence, runs hard, plays with a purpose and a sense of urgency. His body language between plays alone blows away the other backs on the team. We need more of that from our guys and it can’t be talked up (Coach to M. Jones), its flows naturally and it’s urgent (“Stall Ball” smothers that fire!)…prepare, envision, and execute with determination and expectation to win each battle in the war! I AM READY! Finally, I hope we give Adam Lane some carries and keep all of the backs fresh. and their fires burning! Go Gators!

  11. I know this sounds crazy but……..let’s pursue Everett Gholson as QB in 2014 class. The guy has some wheels and can ball-out. He has to re-apply at ND and no guarantees they’ll accept him. Would be nice to have another QB in camp that can get it done.

    What do you guys think?

  12. Delray Mike, I doubt too many will consider your “crazy” scenario, but I’ll give it a try: He was committed to the Tar Heels before ND (proximity to his home state SC)…most who cheat wouldn’t be accepted back but the way it was handled to me suggest a deal was already in place. Besides that, I don’t see any reason he would be interested in us with the direction we’ve taken. Lastly, we know our current staff prefers checkers to chess…not big fans of too many pieces and possibilities. Go Gators!

  13. In addition to O line recruiting/rebuilding, you need to add a coach who knows how to coach the O line, the Gators have suffered through too many recent years of bad offensive line play. Also, when are the Gators ever going to incorporate the TE into the offense, and not just as a blocker. Aaron Hernandez raised the bar and Jordan Reed was never utilized properly and is now a top ten TE in the NFL. Teams know they need not worry about covering Gator TEs, we never pass to them.

  14. I have seen Will Grier play three games this season. In a sense, his stats are inflated because the level of competition can’t keep up with him. But, the young man is under a lot of pressure for two reasons. He is not blesssed with a competent running back. And his O-line at times breaks down. He played two games aagainst much stronger teams in a higher division. He lost last year to Country Day by almost 40 poinnts. This year, he led a fourth-0uarter comeback in less than two minuts with no timeouts out. It was impressive. In the only loss of the year against a much better team, Grier was harassed all game, his receivers dropped passed, and they lost the game in the last few seconds on two crucial penalities. He has the arm, he is mobvile, and he can check down. IF Muschamp lets him be Will Grier, we are in good hands. This student/athlete is lefit.