Zach’s Mail Stack 11/29


Hope you all had a Happy Thanksgiving.

I received a lot of questions this week that can basically be summed up by what Chad asked: “Is the sky falling?”

Things aren’t collapsing for the Gators in recruiting, but I wouldn’t say the sky is the limit for their 2014 class.

While the majority of commits seem like they will stick with their pledges, Florida could have difficulty getting more to go along with them.

Most kids see an opportunity to play right away when they look at a losing team, so the Gators have that going for them. But the staff turnover that’s anticipated after the season creates an issue.

Recruiting is all about relationships, and if prospects don’t know who the assistants will be next year, that may turn them off. Will Muschamp has to act quickly so they aren’t in the dark for long.

If Muschamp can make some homerun hires and put a positive spin on the coaching changes, it may actually help his recruiting efforts. Time will tell, though.

On to the questions!

Because we’ve had such a bad season, will a loss FSU on Saturday not hurt us in recruiting this year as much as it would in others?Greg

Losing to your rivals is never good for recruiting, but I see your point. Will it matter less to recruits because they expect Florida State to win? Sure, it could. However, many high school football prospects, particularly ones in the state of Florida, view this matchup as a measuring stick.

If UF gets blown out this weekend, that might make them feel like FSU is the superior football program and will be for years to come. The Gators received a similar reaction last season when they beat the ‘Noles in Tallahassee. Now, there’s some kids who grew up Gator fans and will still want to come to Florida with the idea that they can help their favorite school return to prominence.

But by and large, the loser of this game will face some negative repercussions in recruiting as a result of the outcome. It’s just the nature of the beast.

Looks like the LB class is pretty thin. Any realistic shots? — Scott 

UF was scheduled to host three linebackers on official visits for the Florida State game. Now it appears Nyles Morgan will be the only one.

Morgan recently popped up on Florida’s radar and has expressed interest, but at this time he’s expected to join his former high school teammate Laquon Treadwell at Ole Miss.

Raekwon McMillan cancelled his trip to go to Auburn instead, which isn’t a surprise. The Gators never had a realistic shot and didn’t need to waste their time with them since they have so many other recruits in town.

Dwight Williams was the third linebacker who planned to be at UF this weekend, but his playoff game tonight on west coast time will probably push back his visit. Nevertheless, he is Florida’s best chance at landing a prospect at this position.

Given the performance of our staff, why would any receiver sign with the Gators? Seems like UF is where WR dreams come to die. Nicolas

I understand where you’re coming from, and that has been the case for years.

But not this season.

Florida’s receivers are performing well under veteran coach Joker Phillips. The top three wideouts have combined for more than 1,500 yards, which is impressive given the fact that UF hasn’t had a passing game to speak of since Tyler Murphy was injured in the LSU game.

In my opinion, the biggest offensive problem for the Gators is they haven’t had an elite quarterback under center since Tim Tebow. The offensive line’s inability to pass block hasn’t helped, either.

Ermon Lane wouldn’t be coming to Florida if he didn’t think Will Grier could buck that trend.

They were teammates at The Opening in July, and Lane saw firsthand what kind of arm Grier has. I’m sure Lane believes his dreams as a receiver can come true with Grier as his quarterback.

The key for UF moving forward will be getting more recruits to feel like Lane.

What will it take for the coaches to turn Dalvin Cook back to the good guys? A new offensive coordinator that demands respect? — Jimmie, McCauley, Travis, Ryan

In case you missed it, Cook came out Tuesday and said he was 80 percent committed to the Gators.

I’ll be interested to hear his comments after he meets with Florida’s coaches at his house next week. Sometimes a sit down is all it takes to shore up — or gain — a commitment. The staff was able to flip Demarcus Robinson from Clemson last year during an in-home visit with him.

Cook has a strong relationship with Travaris Robinson, his primary recruiter, and he hasn’t been able to hang out with the coaches since his visit to Friday Night Lights.

That being said, some face time with Florida may not be enough to keep Cook from going elsewhere. But it will matter more to him than a new offensive coordinator he doesn’t know and has probably never talked to.

Do you think the Gators will get any players to commit on Saturday? — Keith

Unless UF pulls off the upset and some 2015 kid jumps the gun, I don’t expect any public commitments.

But I do think offensive tackle David Sharpe, who is officially visiting, will privately give Florida his pledge if he hasn’t already.

By now, it’s pretty obvious UF has him. He still wants to hold a ceremony at his school, but maybe he’ll get caught up in the excitement of the trip and just announce his decision on Twitter.

Despite the lack of suspense surrounding Sharpe’s recruitment, the importance of his impending commitment can’t be overlooked. The biggest needs for the Gators in this recruiting cycle are quarterback, offensive tackle and defensive tackle. They will meet those three with Grier, Sharpe and Khairi Clark, all of whom are big-time prospects.

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


  1. As always great read Zach. I’ve read a lot of articles saying we could potentially replace the oc and the ol coaches. Who are some names that you think we would go after? Also curious if you could give us your mock signing class. Thanks

    Go Gators. Win or Lose.

  2. “Remember not getting what you want can sometimes be a wonderful stroke of luck.” Not orried about Cook. Zach, if we lose and can’t get the other back (can’t remember his name off the top of my head) what are the chances we take a kicker. I think that’d be a good way of turning a negative into a positive

  3. The U of F football program is in a unique positin to have a great recruiting class! Our coaches are interested in ball players not stars! The numerous stars behind a players name does not always result in the ability of the recruit being able to play the game of football as it should be played. Coach Muschamp and his staff recruit ball players and they play them when they are ready to play! Recruits see this, they also see opportunity! So to the recruits I say, come on and be a part of something special! A Florida Gator!! Go Gators!!

  4. Just want to go back to being the old Gators.Fun & Gun offense,& a decent defense.Use to love watching opposing coaches trying to stop receivers for example Ike,Anthony,& Green in the slot going deep,with Taylor in the back field.Bad part about that offense,it was’t even what they call today a spread offense.Man those was the days.1 or 2 lost back then was ok,because we love the product that we was putting on the field.Just had a moment thinking bout the good ole days.Go Gators!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. @Jake I don’t know if Zach has anyone else on his mind, but so far the only underclassmen I could see leaving are Purifoy, Roberson, and Powell. With this kind of season (and injuries) there have really been no other underclassmen who have made enough noise to get drafted high enough to leave early

  6. Reakwon is a big athlete. Living in Georgia i had the opportunity to see him play. I can honestly say he didnt really impress me other then his body size and speed. On to the question. With a possible OC change coming our way will it affect any of the recruits? I know Will Grier is rock solid from your comments on him, but any of the other athletes that would possibly falter from their commit?

  7. Purifoy was burned repeatedly this year and is apparently afraid to tackle people……and he is going pro. Doesn’t take much to be a CB in the NFL these days, I guess. And Roberson was injured most of the year, or suspended. I guess that makes him highly NFL ready as well. And Ronald Powell was never the defensive player at Florida he was hyped to be. Put a block on him and he will never get off of it. He should have been moved to TE as a freshman and maybe the Gators would have had a TE this year….but…of course….no one this year to throw him the ball more than 2 to 4 yards down the field….which is obviously considered a big play in the Gators offensive scheme under Muschamp.

  8. LT…..

    I sure would like to see if the really fast kid from California this year (Jackson) could change the lack of west coast production at Florida. And Joshua Shaw transferred back to USC and started in their defensive backfield….and he was considered great coming out of high school as well….and could not hack it at Florida/SEC.

  9. Zach,
    Do you think the firing of Coach Pease and Coach Davis will drastically impact this class? Will Sims and Sharpe look elsewhere? Also, who do you think will enter the draft early besides Purifoy, who I think is not ready for the NFL. Most of the draft eligible juniors didn’t do much to help their draft stock this season, really the whole team didn’t do much to help with anything this season.

  10. OL recruit targets Angus and Sims were both quoted today as saying the firing of Davis negatively impacts their commitment status or commitment prospects with Florida. Angus stated that Davis was the only coach he had talked to, which indicates Florida was not that sold on him. Sure hope Muschamp can and will announce a OL coach hiring soon and that person can get out on the recruiting trail……or at least the recruits will know who their OL coach will be and can start communicating with him. Beefing up the OL is vital this year.

  11. Plan A: Bring in a new OC (thus Foley’s 2nd show of support for Muschamp). If we can convince our pick to take the job, he will be allowed to bring in his own OL coach. Plan B: If A fails, promote within and find a OL coach. With no additional games to play and recruiting being limited, we have to act fast so expect more news in the next few days. Also, Will has indicated in so many words that he is willing to adjust his philosophy and he has to, othewise his own words “We are not on a 5 year plan” will echo louder than ever. Go Gators!

  12. @Tampa Gator I don’t know what you’ve been watching but those 3 are very NFL ready. Purifoy may have gotten burned a few times, but he also had great coverage most of the time and was one of our best playmakers, whether it be sacking the QB and causing a fumble we need, or blocking a punt, or whatever. True this wasn’t his best season. He started a little slower than usual and didn’t have as much of those game changing plays this year but 1. No one on our team had their best year this year and 2. the NFL is smart enough to look at the player’s whole body of work, not just 1 year. And his whole body of work has been stellar. Marcus Roberson may have been injured a lot this year, but so was our whole team so I suspect NFL coaches are smart enough to see where the trouble really lies. When he wasn’t injured he was our best cover corner. Roberson could always make great plays on the ball and always had the tightest coverage. There’s a reason we were rated the best secondary coming into the season and those two are a big part of it. Even before the season they were both projected as 1st round draft picks and one 4-8 season is not enough to change the whole body of work. But I guess you know more than the NFL scouts so maybe you should go inform them of their mistakes. As far as Powell is concerned, talking of the whole body of work, before the injury he played great for us, leading the team in sacks. He showed jut what kind of player he can be in the NFL then he got injured. He didn’t come back as good as expected so I doubt he’ll be a first round pick like many thought, but he played well enough to keep his name in the scout’s mind. I don’t know what games you’re watching but he played well all season. May not have been flashy but he did his job. He is the reason a lot of our other payers got their sacks. Football isn’t an individual sport it’s a team sport. When you can help your team out by flushing the QB out to someone else for the sack you did good. So seriously don’t be one of those ignorant guys attacking our est players. They deserve better than that from the fans.

  13. i’M NOT ONE TO ATTACK THE PLAYERS, BUT I WILL COME TO MAKE A POINT ABOUT PURIFOY. REMEMBER back in Fallball when the COACHES were DIc…. around with PURIFOY moving him here and there and saying he’s going to be playing here and here and her?? he never got enough (effective) playing in any of those other positions and I think alot of that ruined his FOCUS and EFFECTIVENESS of the things that he really was GOOD and EFFECTIVE at. Again if you remember back these COACHES seemed to be jumping around on many things and they themselves were not FOCUSED, they seemed to be GUESSING and HOPING that some things would fall in order for them if they just made a few changes in the spring and summer. WERE They really ready to perform their jobs for this University, I submit they were not, YES in MY opinion that includes MUSCHAMP!!!! GO GATORS!!!!

  14. I like Bobby Petrino to lead our new offense. His experience and work is SEC proven. Some may argue ‘he has sinned’ and they haven’t… The man is ready and we’re in a unique position to get him. He’s got my vote! Go Gators!

  15. I notice in the paper we get while deployed that there are high school football games played among the American students on the bases. Are any of these kids recruited to play college ball back in the US at the college level?