Zach’s Mail Stack 12/6


Florida’s football season is over, but Will Muschamp is still a busy man.

He’s trying to replace two coaches and hitting the recruiting trail hard with his assistants.

I’ll have a recap Monday of who they went to see during the first week of the contact period, and Robbie Andreu posted a blog yesterday with some news and notes on offensive coordinator candidates.

I think Arizona State’s Mike Norvell is a name to keep an eye on moving forward.

As many of you saw in my recruit reaction story, Muschamp is telling prospects he wants to have more of an up-tempo, no-huddle offense.

On to the questions!

Any chance we actually lose some offensive recruits now that we are allegedly moving back to a spread offense? — ChocoGator, Joe

It should be noted that there’s some differences between a typical spread offense and the spread option offense, which is what Florida ran under Urban Meyer.

I don’t think Muschamp wants to move back to that. I see him going for more of an Air Raid attack to jump start the passing game, while also trying to maintain a power running game given the style of backs on the roster.

This will certainly help Florida’s recruiting efforts on the offensive side of the ball, and quarterback commit Will Grier should be able to thrive under this system with his dual-threat ability.

What’s your gut on Dalvin Cook?Keith

Man, that’s a tough question.

First of all, I don’t view him as a member of the Gators’ class right now.

Cook has signed three financial aid agreements with Florida, Florida State and Miami. He took an official to FSU and will officially visit UM this weekend. Conversely, he isn’t using one for UF and hasn’t been to Gainesville since July.

He’ll make a final decision on Dec. 14 at the state championship, which doesn’t bode well for the school he’s supposedly committed to. Is he really going to gather his team and the media after the game just to say he’s sticking with Florida?

My gut tells me no. That wouldn’t be logical, but we’ll see. Sometimes recruiting doesn’t make sense. I really don’t know where he’s headed, but it doesn’t appear to be UF at this time.

That might change by next Saturday after an in-home visit from Will Muschamp, who knows. This is a very fluid recruitment, and every week offers new twists and turns.

I can give an argument and scenario for each school to land him, and any of them could happen. But one thing is for sure: Cook’s decision will not be final until he sets foot in a college classroom next month.

After his announcement, Cook will still have 22 days of three coaching staffs being able to contact him because of the papers he signed. He’ll also get bombarded by recruits committed to those schools for a week at the Under Armour practices and game.

I would say grab your popcorn, but it hasn’t even started popping in the microwave yet.

What is the deal with offensive linemen Damian Prince and Jordan Sims? Will not having an offensive line coach deter them from UF? — Devin

It will with Sims, who said Tim Davis’ firing would “definitely slow things down” between him and Florida. The coaches have tried to get him on campus several times to no avail.

Prince has UF in his Top 5 and plans to officially visit on Jan. 24, but the Gators are third on his list at best. Maryland and Florida State seem to have separated themselves from the pack, and I was told the Seminoles stopped recruiting David Sharpe because of how confident they feel about Prince.

Sharpe is the top overall target on Florida’s board as well as the most realistic shot at adding another offensive lineman for 2014. He’s making his commitment next Thursday, and my prediction for him remains UF.

How many more possible five-star recruits can we get? Jonathan

By more, you must be referring to 247Sports or Scout. They are the only recruiting websites that have any of Florida’s commits rated five-stars (Ermon Lane for both, Cook for 247Sports).

Sharpe is rated a five-star recruit by just 247Sports, so the addition of him would give the Gators three on that site. The other five-stars on both 247Sports and Scout that UF is in the running for are defensive ends Lorenzo Carter and Gerald Willis III, linebacker Clifton Garrett and athlete Adoree’ Jackson. Safety Jamal Adams is also a five-star recruit on Scout.

ESPN rates Carter and Jackson as five-stars, while Rivals has Jackson and cornerback Jalen Tabor, who officially visits Florida this weekend.

Of the aforementioned recruits, the Gators have the best chance with Adams, Carter, Jackson and Sharpe.

I know that UF is currently graduating 17 seniors, but which juniors do you see declaring for the draft early to open up recruiting slots? Jake

UF is actually graduating just 10 seniors excluding walk-ons, and any returning walk-ons who were on scholarship this season won’t count against the recruiting numbers for 2014. They get awarded on a yearly basis.

With that in mind and Loucheiz Purifoy already gone, the Gators currently have 69 scholarship players returning next season. That leaves room for 16 signees, which is the number of commits they have right now.

I expect them to lose Ronald Powell and/or Marcus Roberson, have about 3-4 transfers and finish with a class size of 20-22 signees.

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


  1. Roberson also had such an incomplete season it seems unlikely he’ll get the slotting he needs from an NFL evaluation to justify an early departure. You would hope guys like Ronald Powell, Leon Orr and Quinton Dunbar would weigh the risks of leaving early and come back for one more year.

  2. Well here’s what you gotta think about with guys like Powell and Roberson. They may not want to risk another year after seeing half of their team go down! Would you wanna risk your NFL career after seeing that?

  3. Zach,
    Do you think 2015 WR George Campbell honors his commitment to Michigan and signs? What are UFs chances of flipping him or will it take Brady Hoke getting fired or leaving for him to look elsewhere? He would be a huge get for the new offensive system, assuming Muschamp is still the HC in 2015. Also, do you think Jalen Tabor will be a Gator on signing day?

  4. Powell and Roberson’s draft status is based off of perception and not off of productivity. After the season Roberson (and Purifoy) had, they have no business declaring for the draft. I am not sure if he will start next year over Poole. Powell had a decent season but did not look full speed. He also had very little help on defense. Another year will help both of these players.

  5. Poole stating over Roberson is not happening. Dunbar leaving early is silly, he would not be drafted. I don’t know if another year does any good for Powell, he has been predicted to be a “beast” from day one and, by this time, it’s time to face the fact that he was overrated.

  6. A common misnomer is that because someone had a poor junior year NFL scouts wouldn’t be interested. Staying another year helps sometimes, but not always. While field performance is a factor the NFL is so much about the combine — what’s your 40, what’s your high-jump, if this kid could practice for unlimited hours versus just 20 hours per week per NCAA rules what could we turn him into, etc. I think what you saw from Powell this year is exactly what you’d get from him next year. Ditto Roberson. There’s risk in staying too, their family situation, etc.

  7. If you are apart of a defense that gave up 429 rushing yards in one game you have no business leaving early for the NFL. Powell, Purifoy and Roberson all had subpar seasons as far as I’m concerned. Anybody else see Purifoy repeatedly smoked by Benjamin?? Please, Hargreaves looks more ready to leave than those three.

  8. I totally agree with you Zach and the other posters, concerning Powell and Roberson…and Orr and Dunbar…I find it really hard to believe any of these guys would even be drafted…I mean, is the food at the training table that bad?? If any of those players are incredibly concerned about injuries, then scrape some nickels together and buy an insurance policy….I mean did any of them make an allstar team? As far as Cook, he’s not coming here…Wouldn’t surprise me if he signs with “U”, as he is from that area…Regardless of how average the ACC is, many recruits from South Florida just seem to want to stay there…Perhaps Muschamp can really raise his stock if he convinces him to “recommit”…, which really seems silly….

  9. Forget about the stars behind a recruits name! Recruit ball players, guys who play in powerhouse programs. I have a concern regarding Will Grier, he plays for a very small private high school in N.Carolina, against other very small high schools. Chris Leak came from a powerhouse high school and played against other high schools of similar stature. What is wrong with the U.of F.recruiting offensive and defensive linemen from high schools like G.H.S. and similar high schools in our area? These guys have played against the big schools and know what big time competition is! These guys are ball players! We have a diamond mine in our own back yard and other colleges are doing the mining!

  10. Guys-have faith in Cook. I think he’s coming. The coaches know to make headway on him which is why they went to see him first. He will be a Gator!! I also think Powell stays-he will play much faster next year!!! GO GATORS!!!

  11. Of course I would love to see Roberson/Powell come back next year, but I can see where they would go. If they come out a year early, they start getting paid a year earlier so that is one more year of earning for the NFL career. With the draft rookie $ slotting, incoming draftees don’t make nearly what they did several years ago. So that additional year of earning offsets the additional $ they would get in their first contract by being drafted a round or two earlier. It is not that big of a difference in $ as you would think.

  12. Why are they stuck on a recruits “star” level. Has anyone learned yet that those are not valid indications of a players true abilities. They are a score given by attending a specific camp. Other D1 schools are burning FL with players from FL because they are evaluating the players actual ability not some bogus star given after watch 20 seconds at an over crowded camp that the player has paid several hundreds of dollars to attend. Then players with great abilities are over looked by FL since there is no star rating or not as high and come play against FL and are stand outs like Richardson, Boone, PJ Williams . True talent should not be based on that bogus rating system. I think FL is the only school that hasn’t figured that out. Then they bring in a five star class and feel confident till we start loosing with the five stars and instead of getting it they go right back out looking for the “five star” player.

  13. I can see both sides of the Powell/Roberson thing. Admittedly this was not the best year for either guy — I attribute that to injuries. Powell just hasn’t been the same since he’s come back from surgery and Roberson hasn’t been his ball-hawking self of late. Everyone knows the draft is about finishing strong. They could both come back — Powell could put on some weight and show he can move with a little more wreckless-abandon while Roberson needs to show he can be dominant for 12 games in a row. At the same time these guys have a limited shelf life and they have to ‘get’ while the ‘gettin’s good’. Good to both of them whatever they decide!

  14. I think Powell should return because, as others have mentioned, I don’t think he was back to full strength yet this year. I suppose if he had a great combine, though, NFL teams would decide he was fully recovered and his stock would rise. With Roberson, he’s proved over three years what he can do, so his injuries this year shouldn’t hurt him too much. I haven’t seem him projected as a first-rounder, but I could easily see him as a second or third rounder, which would be high enough to come out early. With Orr and Dunbar, I just can’t imagine either of them would be drafted, sot they should come back.

  15. Roberson has a 1-2nd round grade. Powell a 3-5. That’s pretty much a consensus on the draft sites. Roberson grades out higher than Purifoy and of the 2 is the one who makes more sense to leave. I could see Powell helping himself coming back but just as easily see him blowing a knee and actually becoming the undraftable player that some people seem to think he is. Personally of the 3 I think Purifoy’s best move would be to come back and move to safety where his assets (length, speed, athleticism, blitzing) are highlighted while his weaknesses (man to man coverage and zone discipline) are not as glaring. He’d need to start sticking his head in there and hitting some people though. I guess it’s apropos of nothing, all 3 are gone IMO.

  16. Zach so with Calvin Cook seeming to not be 100% committed to us right now and Darrell Williams committing to LSU today do we go after another rb this cycle or maybe use that scholarship towards another ol or maybe kicker. What do think the coaching staff does now? Also just curious what you think our chances are of getting Bo Scarborough?