Zach’s Mail Stack 12/20

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Gator fans should tune in to ABC on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET.

That’s when Southern Cal interim coach and offensive coordinator Clay Helton and the Trojans take on Fresno State in the Las Vegas Bowl.

Our old friend Jeff Barlis reported Tuesday that Florida will hire its next OC within a week, and it appears to be Helton considering the timing. Will Muschamp’s list of potential candidates has also dwindled over the past few days.

Helton’s offense against the Bulldogs will be different than what you’ll see from him at UF. Muschamp wants to convert to more of a spread system, which is what Helton ran at Memphis when he was offensive coordinator. Nevertheless, Saturday is still a chance for the Florida faithful to check him out before he arrives in Gainesville.

Before I dip in the Mail Stack, I need to remind everyone that inappropriate comments will not fly on this blog. I had to delete 142 this week, including a comment where someone was posting under my name. I usually don’t pay much attention to the comments, but I’m not going to let you guys attack each other. I appreciate all of you reading and sharing your thoughts, but comments need to be recruiting and football related or they will get deleted.

On to the questions!

With Tyler Murphy leaving, who are the potential QB options for 2014? Bryan, Kevin, David, Ivo

As I reported Sunday, Florida is now looking to sign a second quarterback in the 2014 class. Muschamp’s change in offensive philosophy suggests it will be a dual-threat guy.

Taking a junior college quarterback would be preferable to create separation with Will Grier, but there isn’t an obvious choice when I look at the Rivals.com rankings. ESPN doesn’t even have a QB in its Junior College 50.

However, there are a few possibilities from the Rivals.com dual-threat rankings of prep prospects.

The top uncommitted recruit is 6-foot-5, 185-pound Randall Cunningham, whose list of offers includes Baylor, LSU, Mississippi State.

Then there’s three quarterbacks from the state of Florida who are pledged elsewhere — Wisconsin commit D.J. Gillins (6-3, 185, Jacksonville Ribault), Syracuse commit Alin Edouard (6-2, 181, Hialeah) and Duke commit Nicodem Pierre (6-2, 203, Miami Coral Reef).

I know nothing about their recruitments, grades or talent, but these four seem like the most attainable options to me.

What is WR Ermon Lane’s status? Would you put him in a similar boat as RB Dalvin Cook? — David, Joseph, Briwash

In late October I did a blog about five Florida commits on waver watch. Cook and Lane now sit atop that list.

I can’t get them on the phone, and those close to them don’t know or give away much info about their recruitment, so their social media accounts are really the only way to glean where they’re at with things.

Up until December, both posted pictures of themselves every week with some kind of Gator theme (UF gear, doing the chomp, a designed background, etc.). Not only have they stopped doing that, but almost all of those old images have been deleted.

This could mean nothing, or everything. It’s certainly not a good sign, but maybe they’re just playing the game and building suspense for their final decisions (I’m sure Lane will have one as well).

The Gators are by no means out of it, but it’s going to be a roller coaster with them until the end.

Who else are we recruiting at RB in case Cook decommits? — ChocoGator, Rob

If Cook goes elsewhere, it might be Tony James or bust at the running back position.

James tells me he’s solid with Oregon and won’t decommit if the hometown Gators come after him, but we’ll see.

The offense UF ran with Brent Pease was one of the reasons James and the Gators never materialized. James didn’t feel like it was the right fit for him, and neither did Florida.

But with the changes coming under the new coordinator, maybe Muschamp can get his attention. If the Gators put the full court press on him next month, you’d have to think he’ll at least consider staying close to home and playing for his dream school.

D’Ernest Johnson of Immokalee tried to pull the trigger for UF after attending last year’s South Carolina game, but the coaches weren’t ready at the time. He’s currently uncommitted and could be a last-minute option if they still have interest in him.

Where do we stand with Adoree’ Jackson? — jligori

The five-star athlete is reportedly down to Florida and LSU according to Rivals.com West recruiting analyst Adam Gorney.

UF appeared to be the his leader after Friday Night Lights, then LSU gained momentum after his trip there in October. Both schools also have great track programs.

I think the hire of Helton could help the Gators given his relationship with Jackson at USC, but it’s critical for UF to get his final official visit in January. If Florida is truly one of his finalists, that should happen.

Any chance DL Gerald Willis picks Florida over LSU? Where does UF stand with DE Lorenzo Carter and and 2015 WR George Campbell? — GaGator2

No chance on Willis. He’s from Louisiana, and his mother is April Justin (read this about her). You might remember April from the Under Armour All-America Game in 2012 when her other son, Alabama safety Landon Collins, chose the Crimson Tide over her beloved Tigers on ESPN and she was not happy about it (here’s the video). I doubt she goes 0-for-2.

Carter said Wednesday it’s a “Georgia-Florida race” in a video interview with Atlanta Journal-Constitution. UF was his No. 1 school in July, but UGA has likely taken the lead after having Carter on campus a few times this fall. With the ‘Dawgs also scheduled to get his last official visit, he appears to be theirs to lose at this point.

Campbell decommitted from Michigan this week, which didn’t come as a surprise to most people. His decision in the summer was shocking and came out of nowhere. Florida, Florida State and Clemson are the three schools believed to have the best shot at him right now.

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

50 COMMENTS

  1. Jake,
    I think that’s currently the case. He made back-to-back visits to LSU on Nov. 29 and Dec. 6. But the Gators still have his godfather Joker Phillips going for them, and Will Muschamp received his last in-home visit. If LSU lands Alabama safety decommit Laurence “Hootie” Jones, that could also improve Florida’s chances. Adams plans to decide at the Under Armour All-America Game.

  2. How much better are those guys than guy and Wilkes?? I’d like a guy that can execute the run/pass option that Marshall and denard did so well… But that would be 3 different offenses and that is highly doubtful considering pease couldn’t get one offense executed. That’s what separates Todd graham and malzahn- they’re teachers not just schemers. Yes they’re the 2 best coaches.

  3. Im not surprised our top 2 Offensive skill player commits are undecided. After watching this year of UF offense i would be to. Helton better do a good job Saturday cause not only will he be “auditioning” for the OC job, he will also be the make or break guy for most of these commits. Even though he wont be running the same offense he might here, he better come out and show the recruits something. We can not afford him to come and get annihilated, especially if Muschamp has been telling recruits this is our guy.

  4. What about offensive line? Cook and Lane are not important since UF signed the best group of wideouts in the country last year and running back is in good shape if Jones recovers. I don’t think there is a quarterback available that is a difference maker, UF will have to hope for improvement with what it has or hope Grier will be an unusual freshman that doesn’t need to redshirt. The returning offensive line needs more bodies to push the returning players. Humphries was supposed to be great but got benched. This staff has to win now or they’ll be gone and if UF can’t block, the offense is doomed to the same results of the past years. Hopefully there is a playmaker on the roster already. Maybe Debose will finally come close to the player Meyer named the next Percy Harvin.

  5. Zach, Randall Cunningham, son of former QB Randall Cummingham of NFL Eagles, and nephew of Sam Bam Cunningham is currently a senior at a Hi School in Las vegas – he has great football blood lines.

    GrumpyGator

  6. Ditto that, good suggestion Mike! Zach that would be a cool little piece due to the recede not departs, can never understand why we get so many. Everyone claims that it is because of so many years of great recruiting…but these guys do the same & they tend to keep their guys! Can u shed some light as well?

  7. zack, how bout john wolford at bishop Kenny? very good qb! I thought one of the reasons to keep muschamp was recruiting? seems like we lose more then we get. I also don’t know why we go for so many out of state guys when we live in the best state for athletes.

  8. Hey Zach – check out Quinton Flowers as our possible extra QB. Currently committed to USF to play QB and also has several better offers to play WR. Wants to be a QB. He could be the perfect guy to bring in. Give him a chance at QB and move him over to WR if it doesn’t work out.

  9. Regardless if they have no more postings with Gator gear on I still think they both end up Gators. Has the staff been in touch with Cunningham at all & if so would he even be interested in coming way out to Florida for school? If this OC doesn’t show out later today then what? And why would he not run plays that would showcase what he can do? GO GATORS!!!

  10. Also I think Lorenzo sticks as well. He’s always been very complimentary towards the staff & university as a whole. Plus his parents love UF so that’s a big plus. He’s one of the most important recruits that seems to be wavering IMO. GO GATORS!!

  11. Zach,

    Would have any info on Quinton Flowers, currently committed to South Florida…He has an official visit to UF on 1/24, according to Scout…Rated a 4 star receiver AND also a QB…Perhaps he might be a viable option at BOTH positions….

  12. br gator, there is nothing for Lorenzo Carter to “stick” to. He is uncommitted, and has always been. He may love UF, but players from GA almost always go there when they visit there alot. Heck, even if they favor or even commit to UF(see Jordan Jenkins and Josh Harvey-Clemons), they STILL become poodles.

  13. HAHA! Point taken, Steve. Lorenzo seemed to really favor UF & it would just seem that since his parents loved their visit as did Lorenzo that he would choose the Gators. As for snowprint-are you a complete moron!!?? Cook & Lane not important??! They would be two of many buildings blocks necessary if Champ wants to have a winner in the coming years. GO GATORS!!

  14. Zach,

    We also have the QB that used to be a double AA baseball guy right? I remember he was a good size kid who had a strong arm. If memory serves he used to throw 90 plus fast balls. Have you been able to dig into his development at QB. Would like to get your thoughts and any info you can dig up about his former recruiting etc…because I think he picked BB over FB because of being drafted so maybe he is a gem waiting in the wings?

  15. I think Lane and Cook are important, but to be fair brgf, I think the point snowprint is getting at is those aren’t our 2 biggest positions of need and we could afford to miss on them. I agree wholeheartedly on Cook. He’s a dynamic player and would help us out tremendously, but I’m more than comfortable with Jones, Taylor, Brown, Herndon, Lane, and Showers. People site Cook’s speed and home run ability, but we also have speed with Showers and the handoffs to Debose I expect to see. I’d love to have Cook, but I won’t lose any sleep if he goes. As for Lane, though, I agree with you more than snowprint that we need him. I have confidence in what Joker is able to do as a coach and the talent we recruited last year, but Lane is the type of playmaker we could really use to boost our passing game.

  16. Zach, it seems like Muschamp will miss on some of these recruits. Transfers also will open up scholarships but I feel like we will be missing out on quality players. Do we hold onto these scholarships until next year or fill them with whoever we can get? What is your opinion?

  17. Face it, no one’s beating down the door to come with a possible lameduck coach and Driskel as the player to build an offense around. Is anyone really surprised that all the candidates that have been mentioned have fell off the table?

  18. Muschamp will never leave his comfort zone on offense. It’s not in his nature. He literally CANNOT do it. Our offense, as long as Muschamp is here will be run between the tackles and throw when desperate.

    A leopard cannot change it’s spots.

  19. UF plane landed at RDU Sunday night, maybe reaching out to Kurt Roper? I’ve lived in this football challenged NC Triangle 16 years and the job Roper has done at Duke is splendid. Would he leave David Cutcliffe for an SEC powerhouse program? His brother is Duke’s special teams coach.

  20. @Gator Todd. Oh yeah because completely changing the offense to a spread, recruiting receivers heavily along with a gunslinger like Grier, and recruiting 3 tight ends, one of which is converted to tight end from being a wide receiver, doesn’t show any emphasis on the passing game. Yeah no changes at all. Get a grip! Stop being negative for negativity’s sake. It’s getting really old and doesn’t help at all. Muschamp WILL be our coach next year. Nothing we can do about it. Get over it and try rooting for your team for a change instead of rooting against Muschamp. Because as long as he’s here rooting against him is rooting against the gators and yeah that’s being a great fan!

  21. Get a grip Arizona? What changes have been made, or have you watched a well-known spread offense OC like Brent Pease, which Bama’s Nick Saban wanted too, do exactly on offense the last two years instead of a spread system? It’s why Weis left and took the KU job, because Muschamp is a control freak.

    I’ve played for coaches like Muschamp when I was young, so I know the speil.

    If Muschamp changes, I’ll believe it when I see it, because he has shown NOTHING to me he’s capable of doing it.

  22. A percentage of human beings wake up every morning to thrive in conflict, have to have someone or someone to attack. Another percentage gets their jollies by chasing ambulances and fire trucks to witness a disaster. People who’ve jumped in Muschamp’s back won’t get off until he is fired or quits to go elsewhere. They enjoy the fight. Muschamp could win two nat’l championships and he would still be despised. This is why deep-pocket Gator Boosters (see a Stumpy Thompson) say they pay no attention to rants against Muschamp and why Jeremy Foley ignores them, too. To borrow and rephrase a line Jesus spoke, “the unhappy we will always have with us.”

  23. Very true Gatormac. Just gets frustrating to see people be negative for negativity’s sake. It solves nothing. Whining and complaining changed nothing. Just wish we could all be Gator fans and root for them instead of rooting against them.

  24. I’m entirely with you, Arizona. Also, maybe not for our OC job, but for the future, keep an eye on East Carolina’s young OC, a 29-yr old Mike Leach protege from Texas Tech. He’s the architect of ECU’s success and took a rather ordinary walk-on QB and transformed into a big producer. There are some good guys out there beyond Norvell, Helton et al.