Zach’s Mail Stack 11/14


Da’Shawn Hand surprised the recruiting world Thursday with his college selection, but it wasn’t for Florida.

The five-star defensive end chose Alabama over Michigan, the school long considered to be his favorite.

The Gators never had much of a shot with Hand, but at least they can hang their hang hat on getting him to visit during a losing season. He had 94 offers and could have visited anywhere.

With Hand off the board and Cory Thomas committing to Tennessee, the remaining options for UF at strongside defensive end are Malik McDowell and Gerald Willis III, who officially visited this past weekend with Hand.

Willis’ father spoke highly of the trip with, but I still feel like LSU has the upper hand with it being the in-state school and getting his last official visit on Nov. 23. Willis plans to announce his decision at the Under Armour All-America Game in January.

As for McDowell, the Rivals100 member from Southfield (Mich.) is scheduled to visit Florida for its rivalry game against Florida State. However, he is considered a Wolverine-lean and attended their game last Saturday. With Michigan missing on Hand, the heat will turn up even more on McDowell.

I’m curious if the Gators will consider Delray Beach’s Kevin Bronson, who I mentioned in last week’s Mail Stack. He’s only a three-star recruit but holds offers from Arkansas, Miami, Mississippi State, Nebraska, Rutgers and others.

Unless it’s a top-tier prospect, UF may not have the scholarship room for someone to go along with Justus Reed and Taven Bryan at strongside defensive end, although Bryan is projected to play offensive tackle in college.

On to the questions!

Is Brent Pease the primary recruiter for any ’14 or ’15 recruits? If so, which recruits may we lose if he is fired? — Wilbert, Devin, Uncle Willie Sam, BobN

Pease is involved in the recruitments of most offensive players and does a good job from what I can tell, but quarterback is really the only position he focuses on primarily.

As I reported a few weeks ago, sources close to Will Grier told The Sun he would not back out of his commitment under any circumstances. Judging by what he posted Monday on his Instagram account, he has his mind set on enrolling early at UF in January.

Aside from Grier, I don’t see any offensive commits or targets having an issue if Pease leaves. It would be pitched as a positive thing to recruits, and with the way Florida’s offense has struggled, they won’t be hard to convince.

What type of skill set does DeAndre Goolsby bring to the table, and is there a kicker on the radar? Logan

His junior season highlights are impressive, and he’s caught 27 passes for 400 yards so far as a senior. He has some similarities to Jordan Reed, and that’s how Florida plans to use him.

Goolsby is tall with a lengthy frame, but he needs to put on some weight to become a better blocker. He shows great hands and route-running ability on film.

Derby (Kan.) coach Brandon Clark had this to say about Goolsby’s skill set when he spoke with the Orlando Sentinel.

“He’s very talented, about 6-5, 225 … really skinny so he has a lot of room to put weight onto his frame. He hasn’t tried to gain weight at all. He’s very talented. (Speed) is really good, probably about 4.6 (seconds in the 40-yard dash).”

While the Gators certainly need another kicker on their roster, they simply can’t afford to use a scholarship on one after signing Austin Hardin in 2012 and being tight on numbers this year.

Are we in the mix at all for LB Clifton Garrett? I know he liked his visit. — Jerome

Garrett gave high remarks following his trip to UF in September, and the Gators are still in the mix as far as being one of his finalists. But they aren’t expected to get his commitment and never were.

LSU has been his public leader for quite some time, and that’s where he’ll end up barring change. Florida’s best bet at landing a linebacker is Dwight Williams or Nyles Morgan, who will both officially visit for the FSU game.

Where do you suspect the remaining slots in this class go to?Jake

With around six or seven spots left for 2014, Florida has met its needs at quarterback, running back, tight end, defensive tackle and defensive back. Although the Gators are set in the secondary with four corners committed, they would still like to add safety Jamal Adams and are believed to be his leader.

Look for UF to fill out the rest of its class with a weakside defensive end, a linebacker, a couple of receivers and one or two offensive linemen. The most likely recruits Florida could land at those positions are Lorenzo Carter and Lorenzo Featherston (DE), Morgan and Williams (LB), Adoree’ Jackson and Eric Lauderdale (WR), and David Sharpe and Jordan Sims (OL).

Will you update your percentage chances on potential recruits to UF — Shawn

The Gators’ four-game losing streak obviously isn’t a good look, but I still think they can finish with a solid class if they close on their targets. The selling point with them will be an opportunity to play right away and help turn around a football program at one of the nation’s top universities. It worked with Goolsby.

I’ve taken some names off the board and added a few as well.

RB Bo Scarbrough — 10%
WR Eric Lauderdale — 55%
WR Charles Nelson — 50%
WR Speedy Noil — 15%
WR Travis Rudolph — 35%
OL Jordan Sims — 65%
OL Damian Prince — 30%
OL David Sharpe — 55%
DT Thomas Holley — 20%
DE Lorenzo Carter — 60%
DE Lorenzo Featherston — 50%
DE Malik McDowell — 30%
DE Gerald Willis III — 35%
LB Raekwon McMillan — 10%
LB Nyles Morgan — 30%
LB Clifton Garrett — 20%
LB Dwight Williams — 90%
CB Jalen Tabor — 30%
DB Jamal Adams — 80%
ATH Adoree’ Jackson — 70%

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


  1. Zack, Thanks for all your efforts but giving updates on Florida’s recruiting is similiar to giving minute by minute updates on people landing in the water as Titanic sinks. I will give you a pass. You have tolerated more than enough, take a vacation, rest up and watch the CNN Special on Kennedy tonight.

  2. Zack….

    I think Hand just scheduled a free trip to Florida (just happened that it was associated to the university of) in November to get out of PA in November. He was even quoted as saying the weather was nice. Also, I am more than a little worried about all these key recruits coming to the FSU game. If SC blows the Gators out this weekend, which they might with a not very talented RS freshmen at QB for the Gators, THE SWAMP might be occupied by 75 percent FSU fans…with a final score possibly being lopsided in one direction as well. What then?

  3. I’m actually shocked that your percentage for Lo Carter isn’t higher. From all things that I’ve read about him he seems all but a lock to UF. Tampa Gator-I agree with your Lane/Cook/Grier assessment but the game prediction I don’t like. I have a sneaky feeling that Ol’ Champ will motivate his players like crazy during fsu week to treat it as a bowl game. I think that game will be the best that they play all year & ruin their season. I really hope that happens because both of my brothers are rabid criminole fans & are now bordering on obnoxiousness (is that a word?) Anyway GO GATORS!!!!!!

  4. I agree with Tampa Gator about Hand. He said the weather was nice and the food was good. He never had any intention of coming here.

    On a side note regarding the kicker scholarship, arent players contracted year to year on their scholarship? If that is the case, then if Hardin is a bust, then pull it and he can pay to go to class here like the rest of us! I admit it isnt nice, but you cant have him take a spot for the next 3 years if he keeps missing and getting beat out by walk ons.

  5. In defense of Hardin, and we know he hasn’t performed up to expectations. He’s a freshman and we NEED to give his adjustment time (1 more year), to be the kicker we gave a scholly to for that purpose. Many are willing to give Muschamp another year and he was not tossed after his first dismal year, this is he 3rd year and the WORST in recent Florida history. This is a BUST year, don’t put that much on the back of a freshman. GO GATORS!!!!

  6. When did the expectations for Hand coming to Florida get to a point where many people REALLY thought that was really a realistic possibility? I would have been SHOCKED if he would have chosen Florida. I think since we have not had very good recruiting in the OFFENSIVE line category, most are hoping that we stack up on D-lineman to keep the scores down and we can steal a victory. Well we know that is not going to happen consistently in the SEC, you have to go out every week and win your games not hope the other team lose one. We have to build a TEAM, starting with the heart of the TEAM, the O-line. GO GATORS!!!!

  7. Nov. 30 FSU vs. FLA battle for the top recruits. The four and five star players come from winning tradition teams. The players are looking to play for winners not losers. Right now the gators are losing and no one wants to be a loser. The recruits are making it sound good for the gators, but in reality they are not going to the gators.

  8. fsu-ur an idiot! Just go away!! My how quickly you’ve forgotten how in the not so distant past that the crimmies were getting routinely housed by the likes of Maryland, NC State, and any other team with a pulse. The crimmies are having a good year but it won’t last too long. Enjoy the Gator downfall now but let’s see how well the crimmies would’ve fared if 1/2 their team was injured. Recruits would rather go to UF than to free shoes u any day (see last year at Ron Zook field). GO GATORS!!!

  9. I like it. The question that looms is whether UF is going to become UT after they fired Fulmer. It may be time for UF fans to play “Glory Days” by Springsteen. Do you really believe you are going to be good with Driskel as your quarterback next year?

  10. I can say we never missed a bowl game like the gators are going to do this year. Tebow time is in the rear view mirror move on. The play Driskel got hurt he threw a pick6. I would like to take this moment to thank Mr. Foley for hiring Muschamp. I can say with out the two of them FSU would not be where we are now. We got the five star recruit that would have went to the gators from Lake City. Muschamp was selling the recruits on seat being empty in the stadium. Well, who seats are empty now Mr. Mushcamp. I wish WR Robinson would have came to FSU. Waste of talent sitting on the sideline, all because he is in Muschamp “doghouse”. I would again like to thank Muschamp for helping FSU turn our program around. Without him we would not have gotten the recruit we got.

  11. Main question is this, and would love to have this addressed in the mail stack: are you or is anyone really confident that we can compete for national championships year in and year out with Muschamp at the helm? How about Pease?

  12. We need to defend the Swamp and not let FSU get more than their allotted seats! If you have tickets, go and support the team or sell them to a real Gator fan! It could end up being the best game of the rivalry. We always have a chance, in this game!

  13. I am pleading with coach Muschamp. Start playing more freshman and sophomores. Evaluate talent so these recruits can see if there is playing time in the near future. 4 and 5 star have some significance, but we have had a large share of those who look awful and outplayed every week. Almost lost!

    We will beat FSU if we run the ball very effective and no turnovers. I say remember 1997 when Fred Taylor went nuts along with Elijah Williams.

    Can’t give up! I went to school when it was Emmit run left,Emmitt run right, and Emmitt run up the middle. This to shall pass my Gator friends.

  14. Floyd, Elam, Reed and Easley were recruits of Urban Meyer the last I knew. Wow, Muschamp is taking credit for the 11-2 season last year. It was the recruits in which Urban left the program gave the fans something to cheer about. Just look at what Urban is doing at Ohio undefeated in 2 years. The stadium will start being empty for awhile, because fans are not going to pay their money to watch these coaches make a joke out of a winning tradition. One more year isn’t going to make a different, but by then the program will be so far gone it will take years to rebuild.

  15. Three teams in the top 25 from Florida. UM…FSU…UCF
    Those teams look the part. Muschamp coaching style is boring and it is going to turn recruits off from the gators. Dalvin Cook, Adoree Jackson just to name a few aren’t going to come to Florida.

  16. I read a story about how the Gators have so many top ol recruits that never panned out, do we shot lower at 3 stars that really want to play for UK or keep shooting for the stars??? Hold a block for 3 or 4 secs for 90% of each play is not that hard