Zach’s Mail Stack 1/11


Slow recruiting week, eh?

The past couple of days have been up-and-down for Florida, but the positives have definitely outweighed the negatives.

Building off their momentum from the commitment of defensive lineman Gerald Willis III at the Under Armour All-America Game, the Gators flipped three recruits for early enrollment in cornerback Jalen Tabor, running back Brandon Powell and offensive tackle Kavaris Harkless.

The decommitments of receiver Ermon Lane and cornerback Chris Lammons put a damper on things, but Lane was expected and Lammons leaving was a byproduct of Tabor coming.

As I’ve already alluded to, Florida’s class is successful regardless of Lane and Dalvin Cook, or Lammons for that matter. The needs at cornerback were already met, and replacing Lammons with Tabor is just an upgrade.

As for Cook and Lane, their positions aren’t the biggest priorities for UF in the 2014 recruiting cycle. Those are quarterback, tight end, offensive tackle, defensive tackle and cornerback, and the Gators have landed their top targets at those positions.

Moreover, Florida has since replaced Cook with Powell, and there are several options left at receiver (see HERE).

I was asked a lot about certain recruits and topics, so I’m just going to address each one with my thoughts.

On to the questions!

Where things stand at running back

Many of you wondered why UF went after Powell with Jeff Jones and Derrell Scott scheduled for trips this month.

The answer is simple — you take guys that want to be Gators.

Although Jones is receptive to Florida, he remains pledged to Minnesota and will take his last official visit to Michigan. Scott will be in Gainesville next weekend, but UF trails both South Carolina and Tennessee.

Powell, however, told Florida coaches he wanted to come on the day he was offered. You don’t turn down a kid like that to wait on two others who might choose your school.

I think the Gators have a shot with Jones and Scott, but if Powell is the only back they get, there’s nothing wrong with that. He’s a speedy playmaker who will be a perfect fit in Florida’s new spread offense under Kurt Roper.

On another note, I’m told by people close to both recruits that Oregon commit Tony James and Alabama commit Bo Scarbrough simply don’t have interest in UF.

OT Damian Prince

Since my update with him last week, there’s been some changes in his recruitment.

Prince has moved up his decision date to Feb. 5 and is down to Florida, Maryland and South Carolina.

The Gators now get his final visit, and the hire of offensive line coach Mike Summers is a potential game-changer in his recruitment.

“Everything is still good with Florida,” Prince told on Wednesday. “I’m still taking my official visit there but it will be on Jan. 31 now. It’s a good program there. They just hired Mike Summers from USC. He was my favorite offensive line coach in terms of the way he coaches and his personality. He recruited me very hard at USC but he knew it was going to be very hard for him to get me there. Now that he is at Florida it is much closer. Hiring him really helped Florida’s chances with me.”

Also playing in UF’s favor is the addition of Tabor, who is close friends with Prince. The Gators appear to be the team to beat for him at this time.

ATH Adoree’ Jackson

He recently named Florida, LSU, Oklahoma, Tennessee, UCLA and USC as his finalists.

Two schools that surprisingly didn’t make the cut were Florida State and Oregon. FSU was thought to be up near the top of his leaderboard, while Oregon was supposed to receive his final official.

Will Muschamp is going to push for that visit, which could seal the deal for UF if it happens. It’s shaping up to be a three-team race with the Gators, Tigers and Trojans.

The commitment of Tabor should not affect Florida’s chances with Jackson, who is being recruited as a cornerback, receiver and returner. Tabor will strictly play in the secondary.

DT Thomas Holley

Last week I wrote Holley flipping to Florida is unlikely if defensive line coach Larry Johnson stays at Penn State.

Well, there are reports that Johnson wants to leave the school after not getting the head coaching job.

Should that happen, it could be a deal breaker for the Nittany Lions. However, I wouldn’t underestimate the recruiting ability of James Franklin and the distance-factor pitch he will give Holley.

In the end, I just expect him to stay close to home.

DE Lorenzo Carter

Following my interview with Carter at the Under Armour media luncheon, I felt like UF was by no means out of it.

This tweet from him days later confirmed that:

A recruit and/or his family members can visit a college campus during the dead period. They just can’t have in-person contact with the coaches.

The fact that Carter’s family chose to stop by Gainesville despite not being able to see the staff shows what his interest is in Florida.

The Gators are in a dogfight with Georgia, but I’d say it’s pretty even going into the home stretch.

His official visit to UGA on Jan. 31 has to be concerning for Muschamp, though.

How UF closes

UF currently has 20 members in its 2014 class and 25 scholarships available. It doesn’t matter how many early enrollees get counted back toward the previous year. There’s only room for 25 signees.

I think athlete J.C. Jackson eventually decommits and offensive tackle Dontae Angus won’t qualify academically. His high school coach told me Angus may have to go to prep school, and he hasn’t heard from Florida since Tim Davis was fired Dec. 1.

That would put the Gators at 18 commits, and right now I see them landing Jackson, Prince, Eric Lauderdale and another receiver, a second quarterback, a defensive end and one more surprise pledge.

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


  1. Surprise pledge… if any of our top 5 targets sign, that would be a surprised pledge for me. What other quarterback could we be looking at aside from the Treon Harris kid?

    Thanks for the info you share Z… enjoy your weekend.

  2. Good work Zach! I am wishing Lane the best but truthfully (and I would never say this publicly if he were still on board) the skill set he brings we already have in SEVERAL others. We are in need of quickness that strikes fear in defenders. Zach you’ve got some good ones listed as alternatives; personally, I love I. McKenzie. He plays fast and with bad intentions. Up watching Duke/AM (DVR)…salivating! LUV UF!

  3. Andre Debose (if healthy and with a good attitude) is going to bring back that speed UF has missed since Rainey and Demps left. we need the “yungins” to step up, and we need a TE that can take some pressure of off the WR’s not to mention Driskell likes a TE he can throw to. Lane was gone when cook and the other kid left so no surprise there. LOVE the RB pick up thats the type of player you know will give the proverbial 110% he bleeds orange and blue. I think Adoree ends up in the Swamp. He is also going for Track and oh look UF has one of the best track programs in the nation at the moment. Not to mention a rebuilding team that if the HC gets his ish straight and lets the OC be the OC we could end up playing for a natty in as little as 1-2 years.

  4. Great update, as always, Zach! It’s been awhile since we’ve gotten a single list if scheduled upcoming visits. If you put such a list together, could you also include prospects who visited earlier and remain uncommitted? Meanwhile, this class is shaping up as a great one, and if Jackson, Prince, Lauderdale, MacKenzie and Carter get on board, it will be a grand slam haul.

  5. Shariff, I want you and others to REMEMBER that MUSCHAMP said that he wouls have an “OPEN” competition. Those were the words he used when addressing the departure of Tyler Murphy. He said he told Murphy that he have an “OPEN” competition, so “if” MR Grier is up to the task, the sitting may be limited and as ED mentioned both may play (situational football). I think Champ has had enough “NEGATIVE” feedback on his coaching and may look to be a little bit more open minded in his approach this year! GO GATORS!!!!

  6. James Fisher, you really need to get a life. How come we never saw you on this board a few years ago when we beat FreeShoesU seven years in a row? Looking forward to beating you guys in Tallacrappy AGAIN this year!

  7. Zach, great stuff, as always. Can you short list your surprise pledge?

    Fellow Gators, the only reason Jumbo Fingers comes to this board is because people respond to her numbskull comments. If noon ever responds, the wart will go away, so please do not respond to her anymore and she will leave.

  8. Fisher reminds me of the Georgia Tech Trolls on UGA blogs in the Atlanta area. Can’t wait until the girl Jameis raped gets his azz in court. My prediction is now his best receiver goes to NFL and he gets greased in Civil court, he bypasses next year and goes to MLB.

  9. All of you negative posters, be quiet. I bet you never attended/graduated from our amazing university. Same goes for the F$U guy – I bet he never graduated high school. Listen, Muschamp is our coach, he’s awesome and was one fumble away from playing for the SEC in 2012. We’re lucky to have him and I can’t wait for next season. Speaking of F$U, without Jernigan and Benjamin next year, even MD will beat them. PROUD to be a gator – especially after this story:

  10. Yeah because duke had the same talent that Florida has.. Daddy Rabbit just do yourself a favor and shut up…
    On a realistic note I’m pumped for this class if we even get just prince and Jackson we have a loaded class and it’s very likely we land Mckenzie and Lauderdale so the loss of Lane, while it still stings, will not be that bad. Looks like Will continues to take in the talent!

  11. I was disappointed with the Cook defection, and I for one know it’s because his recruitment was thrown into chaos by internet factors within the UF football program, but overall, when you look at Cook, you also see that he was coming into a loaded backfield already.

    Taylor, Borwn, Jones, Lane, and Showers (and now Powell) is a deep backfield to consider, and I think that also factored into his decision, but I stil hate HOW we lost him.

    I also hate that he’s going to a team that we face every year too.

  12. Until any of these players actually do something on the college field, then they are busts…remember these gems?
    Callahan Bright, Fabian Walker, Adrian McPherson, Xavier Lee and Fred Rouse just to name a few busts.

    The new coaches and redshirts from last year, combined with the new recruits = 10 or 11 win season, SEC championship and NC in 2-3 years. The Cryminoles will fade back into mediocrity, where they will remain for another 20 years.

  13. All these idiot semis that keep old are you 6….so very silly for adults to post such gibberish ..ridiculous really .
    You better hope that you are not in a similar situation in the near know karma and such…you usually get what you back at you what you do to others

  14. Finally a good news Mailstack..

    Lousy losing Cook and Lane but we lost some players that it would have been really nice to have for better players we HAD to have. Not saying it doesn’t sting but the way things are starting to work out more than makes up for it. Also, I love the high percentage of early enrolees in this class. Hope we finish strong with the players we are currently looking good for and we will have started 2014 out the right way.

    Quote of the article:

    “You take guys that want to be Gators.”

  15. The Nole trolls show just how classless they are. Pay them no mind as they obviously haves serious issues in there lives that they it makes them feel good to come on here and trash the gators. No real life which is sad for them. FSU is clearly a better team than us right now which will likely b the case for the next 2-3 years and the jury is still out on WM. That said, we are recruiting very well despite this past season. My biggest issue is where were these trolls for the past decade when we dominated and they sucked? Fair weather fans that still have confidence issues or they wouldn’t feel the need to come on this board and prop themselves up. What would you really expect from losers in life like this? BAMA has been on top for a long time now yet I don’t see there fans slamming us on here. Why? Because they know they are good so no need to stoop to the Nole troll level to make them feel better.

  16. You and your trolling nonsense. Why come on here and try to cause trouble? Don’t you noles have your own sight to crow on? There is no reason for you to come on here unless you are trying to make trouble. And yes, I realize you have a right to be here but there is no reason to be here.

  17. So your are admitting you specifically are an idiot..if the shoe fits wear name calling here..just calling a spade a spade..
    And let me spell it out for you “fisher” I said you are making silly immature comments LIKE a 6 yr old might make…I figured you were an “adult” so how about acting like one and maybe contribute something intelligent
    For instance discussion is about Gator recruiting…If you think our current commits are plan B type players..why are they highly regarded and recruiting experts are talking about how well our class is shaping up?

  18. All of u fsu punks-yea that’s fight I said it-PUNKS-are sad & pathetic. James Fisher & snowprint have nothing better to do besides go onto a Gator site & trash recruits, the coach, & loyal readers??!! Thats why I’m glad to be a Florida Gator. We have sense, class, & pride. While fsu was constantly losing to the likes of powerhouses like nc state, maryland, andvthe like UF was winning NC’s against legit teams like lsu, alabama, & oklahoma. Enjoy ur little sucess now cause UF is comin’ back hard!! GO GATORS!!

  19. WOW!!! Say what you want to about Champ, that guy can recruit!!! And he is setting UF up for success whether it’s for him or his replacement for years to com. Personally, I like the guy and would LOVE to see him be successful here. To go from a class of 15 that was MAYBE in the top 15 to a class of 25 firmly in the top 10 after a 4 and 8 season….WOW!!! And say what you want about the guys that transferred or left early for the draft…with the exception of Powell, I see an upgrade at every position for those who left. I like these kids that are committing after a 4 and 8 season too. There are some dedicated kids ready for hard work in this class. It’s an exciting time to be a Gator. Let’s hope we improve significantly in 2014 but more importantly for the many years that follow.

  20. If the SEC has a max recruiting class size of 25, why does Tennessee have 33 commits? Are they going tell 8 of those commits that they can’t sign them?

    FSU and UF recruiting class are very similar in avg stars per recruit according to FSU has 29 commits right now though.

  21. Zack, Florida just offered the OL, Mike, from Arizona, (per Gator Country) and he is now going to take an official visit to Florida. And the site also said another big time recruit is on the verge of committing to Florida. No name given, however

  22. Gator863,,,,,

    I believe you can only sign up to 25 on signing day. I would assume the additional 8 recruits on the Vols list are early enrollees and will count backwards towards the 2013 signing class…allowing them to bring their roster up to no more than 85 total. You have to be able to replace those who leave early, transfer, or those asked to leave.

  23. Gator863….

    In fact, I just checked and 13 of the Vols 2014 class have already signed their letter of intent and are now enrolled at Tennessee. That means the Vols still have 5 more spots they can fill for this years class….which could bring their recruit totals up to 38. Obviously, the coaching change brought on wholesale roster changes and roster reduction in Knoxville that needs correction this year.

  24. Looks like another class right near the top 5 for UF, and thif it’s top 5, that’s be three years ina row. Not even fsu had top 5 classes the last two years, they had concensus #10 and #11 overall, while UF had concensus #5 and #4.

    Many here realize I am no fan of Muschamp’s, but I have to hand it to the man in one regard… he can recruit with the best of them.

    The addition of Powell could really add some “umph!” to the offense and the special teams returns if he’s used right, although I can’t help but chuckle at everyone, even Zak, who keeping thinking we’re going to be running an entirely new offense next season when Muschamp himself said we’re not changing to terminology and playbook. 😉

    It’s going to be the same offense we’ve always run, only tweeked by Roper.

  25. Allowing early enrollees allows for coaches to make up severe deficits to their rosters….being below the 85 man limit. Otherwise, coaches could not replace players who leave early or transfer. But you can only sign 25 recruits on national signing day if you currently have up to 25 open spots on the roster. Florida had 85 on their roster this year, I believe. But 25 players did not graduate, but some left early and transferred leaving Florida with around 25 open spots to fill. Some enrolled early, but Florida can only now sign enough to fill back that 85 man limit on the roster. I am not sure how many roster spots the Vols have after the 13 enrolled early…..but they certainly have a lot and will try to sign as many as possible to bring their roster back to the 85 man limit. That is how it works….although some coaches do abuse the rule by playing games with recruits and current players, etc (including gray shirting). That is the dirty part of the game, and I believe Nick Saban is one that is guilty of that kind of recruiting activities. But he always ends up with 85 on his roster, so what he does is not illegal….just morally questionable in my mind.

  26. Gator Todd….

    Muschamp has clearly stated to the press and to current recruits that he is switching to a spread type of offense, but he will continue to employ a power running game from it….probably similar to what Auburn did this year. And Driskel and Crier are clearly better suited for a spread type offense. But you keep on being a doubting Thomas. Muschamp, I believe, wants to keep his current job as the Florida Gators head coach. And telling lies to the press, recruits…and therefore Gator Nation…..will not get that done for him.

  27. Well, Gator Todd, the proof will be on the field of who controls the UF offense. If we see a bunch of options to the short side of the field, always running on second and long, and three yard passes on third and 9, we’ll know Muschamp is still holding the reins. If we see some more downfield passing and variability in play calling, we’ll know he let Roper run the offense.