Gators making noise in Louisiana

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Florida coach Will Muschamp knows how hard it is to recruit Louisiana.

He did not land any defensive prospects from there in his three years as an assistant at Texas, a neighboring state, and signed just one in two years as Auburn’s defensive coordinator.

Muschamp has also experienced the flip side, having coached three years at LSU and landed in-state players at will.

But as Florida’s head coach, Muschamp is starting to have success in Louisiana.

Incoming freshman defensive lineman Gerald Willis III chose UF over LSU at the Under Armour All-America Game in January, and dynamic receiver Derrick Dillon committed to the Gators on Friday.

Muschamp came close to signing some Pelican State prospects a couple of years ago.

U.S. Army All-American defensive end Jermauria Rasco visited Florida the weekend before signing day before picking LSU in 2011, and four-star linebacker Lorenzo Phillips pledged to UF the following year but later flipped to the Tigers.

“Heck yeah,” Muschamp recently said when asked if it’s hard to beat out LSU for Louisiana recruits.

Derek Lewis is on a recruiting roll in his home state of Louisiana. (Photo by GatorCountry.com)

Prior to Willis, who enrolled at UF earlier this month, it had been 12 years since the Gators signed a prospect from the talent-rich state.

Florida tight ends coach Derek Lewis, a Louisiana native, has helped changed that. He was the primary recruiter for Dillon and Willis.

“Derek Lewis does a fantastic job recruiting,” Muschamp said. “He’s from New Orleans and knows a lot of people there.

“So much of recruiting is trust. Just knowing people and understanding the background in all those situations.”

Dillon and Willis will be huge additions to Florida’s football team. Dillon has 4.4 speed and gives the Gators an electric playmaker for the slot position, while Willis is a versatile lineman who can fill the role of Dominique Easley with his ability to play both end and tackle.

247Sports rated Willis as a five-star recruit and ranks Dillon as the 70th overall prospect and No. 2 player in the state for 2015.

The Gators may not be done this year in Louisiana, either. They’re in contention for cornerback Xavier Lewis, a former LSU commit, and defensive end Isaiah Washington, a current LSU pledge who visited Gainesville in late March.

UF also has cornerback Tre Jackson on board for its 2016 class. He’s the son of former Gator receiver Jack Jackson and committed last summer.

“There’s a lot of good players over there,” Muschamp said. “The University of Florida is an attractive place for a lot of people.”

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43 COMMENTS

  1. Tulane is a great school Drew and I agree UF will have little overall success in LA. Muschamp definitely has some ties there but anyone familiar with thouse grounds knows it is all about the purple and yellow and PJ’s coffee. Roll Wave.

  2. I will be the first to admit Tulane athletes are often part of “University College” which is a separate admissions process than Tulane. I took many classes with the athletes. It is like UF athletes applying to Santa Fe. At least Tulane differentiates the two but it is still a joke since they get a degree and scholarship. Don’t fool yourself, Vandy, Stanford, Northwestern and a handful of other schools are unique.

  3. It’s not about ruling the state as far as recruiting goes. It’s about being able to grab a good player or 2 every year instead of every 12 years. LA. produces some fine players but is tiny in the numbers of players compared to Florida or Georgia and of course with only one true powerhouse in state they will get most of the good HS players to stay there…..Go Gators.

  4. It is difficult to get kids from Louisiana, but it’s worth the effort because there are a lot of great players. FSU thought they were getting Dupree this year, but the ties to LSU were too hard to overcome. I guess Warrick Dunn would be the top pull from the state. UF had one who contributed last year in Damien Jacobs, a guy who committed to FSU and ended up at UF after leaving FSU and going to junior college. UF has another guy who will probably start this year that did the same thing from the same class, Darious Cummings.

  5. UF is light years ahead of lsu in academics—lsu can recruit players that UF can’t look at and somehow keep them eligible for 2-3 years with a bunch of mickey mouse classes and special “tutors” and look the other way when they break rules

  6. Willis was a nice get but losing Speedy was a big loss. The Canes have always had some success in Louisiana especially with Marrero kids. Muschamp has some good ties to the state but unfortunately I think this is his last year as gator coach. O’Sullivan is also on the hot seat- what a joke the last two days were for gator baseball.

  7. I will be interested to see what it means to say the “haters” are proved wrong and, conversely, when the pumpers will admit UF is still a mediocre team. If UF loses to UT is that enough proof for one side? What game does UF need to win to show the pumpers were right? Midway, Alabama, LSU, Missouri, & Georgia loom. How will UF fare against them, I wouldn’t doubt UF will be an underdog in each. For instance, the demise of Missouri has been greatly exaggerated, I feel, and I’d take their new starting quarterback over UF’s returning starter.

  8. If the haters disappear midway through the season it will be because UF is back to winning games with true “student athletes” unlike the FSU’s, Bama’s and LSU’s of the CFB……an easy way to find them is to just start talking about UF’s superior student athlete standards and watch their little troll heads start popping up. Go Gators.

  9. Yet another entry turned into a pissing contest btw snowprint nole and others. Give it a rest one time. Predictions of Muschamp’s demise or great success …. while no one knows what’s really going to happen. Love you clowns who think you know it all and you have absolutely no clue.

  10. True Sid…..sometimes they want a better ride than the scooters our guys ride to class on and others want a 5400 square foot home for their mama to live in when she’s on a $14 K a year job……I can provide details on these cases if you’re interested. I scrong !!!!!!

  11. Yes Drew most players at other schools get paid and don’t have the academic standards of UF. Think you are confusing UF with Vandy , Stanford, and some other top academic schools. Chris Walker did not have good academic credentials did he?

  12. paperwork lol. He is one of the dumbest athletes in the country. I am a huge fan of his but it is a great example of UF taking someone who many schools wouldnt take. Love the troll theory when someone disagrees with you. Guess Santa Fe coursework is getting to you

  13. Actually maybe it’s JD Drew and he is the real troll. That guy is hillarious blaming a bad football season on UF’s academic standards. That is a theory nobody has brought up other than JD himself.

  14. Let the season play out Drew. I, as a true Gator fan, choose to have hope. Life without hope is a miserable place to be and I think it’s obvious that some people, that post on this site and others, are miserable. GO GSTORS!

  15. I still can’t understand why people like snow print spend so much time on a gator website. I have very little free time each day and I’m certainly not going to spend it checking up on the criminoles.

  16. Snowprint does this on many sites- not just here. But I’ll play ball. Snowprint- if UF loses to Tenn, I would say that the end is near. Florida should beat that team – with zero returning starters on off and def line that’s a game gators should win. Of course, I’ll caveat that because if Florida loses that game but somehow wins out, it wouldn’t be as relevant.

  17. GI Gator, I am prepared just as you and other TRUE Gator fans are to let the chips fall where they may this season. Most of us feel pretty good about the team in general although there may be some uncertainties until we get to the meat of the schedule. I love talking about CFB in general and pay attention to other teams as well….However I would not for the life of me go onto other teams boards or blogs EVERYDAY posing as a fan just to troll their sites. I think it is quite funny the reaction though when you bring up superior academics….they just can’t stand it and it makes them show their true colors.

  18. Sid, you just called a current Gator one of the dumbest athletes in the country……but you’re a big fan also…..what is your real agenda here ?? Seems you are quite conflicted my friend….And please for those of us who are curious provide a list of schools who would not take him.

  19. So Sid it’s ok to just fill up every SCHOLARSHIP with an uneducated thugs to represent COLLEGE sports, right ??? I think that in itself proves that you are no Gator…..a bandwagon fan at best and more likely just an “average troll”. Every true Gator that I know relishes the fact that our guys are for the most part true student athletes. So again, what is your real agenda ?

  20. I think it’s true that the moniker of student-athlete should be reversed in this era. A lot of the best recruits that everyone wants are no longer even pretending interest in the student part of the equation. They just picture the school as a stepping stone towards their goal of playing in the NFL. They make that clear when they make their announcement of the school they choose when they say they are taking their talent for the “three” years.” It doesn’t matter how smart the kid is, it’s just that the student part is not as important to them as the athlete. Very few of these kids graduate in three years, so their agenda is pretty clear from the beginning. A lot of these kids only go to class to stay eligible to play. There are a lot of kids that are good students, but there is a high percentage, especially the highest rated ones, that only have one thing on their mind, getting to the NFL as soon as possible. Why do you think that every UF player that had a possibility of being drafted, except possibly Dunbar, declared themselves ready for the NFL last year? How many of these players had graduated? Don’t kid yourself, UF takes the same players with the same aspirations as every other school that aspires to be good in college football. On another note, when is UF’s football camp? Usually you can expect a handfull of guys to commit from attending camp.

  21. A perfect example of a Gator would be Dominque Easly. He could have gone pro after his junior year but stayed because he said he wanted a degree and to graduate a Gator. Despite his injury after only 3 games he was still rewarded a 1st round pick. Many rival fans questioned his academic ability coming in. Same goes for Jeremy Brown last year. Although his football career was never what it could have been because of injuries he stayed the course and got 2 degrees. I can never feel bad about giving guys like that schollies….some of the other clowns from other schools not so much….Yes there may have been 1 or 2 from UF over the years, not nearly as many as other schools.
    Perhaps if schools lost football schollies for guys who didn’t graduate within their eligibility things would change.
    The NFL could do for by creating a developmental league for the “non athletes.

  22. Snowprint, what about the plenty of athletes tha declare early for the NFL, but still finish their degree while they play in the NFL? You’re generalizing. There are plenty of dumb athletes. There are plenty of athletes just focused on the pros. But there are also lenty of athletes who are brilliant. There are plenty of athletes who want a good degree even if they go pro. And the fact still stands that UF has higher academic standards then a lot of places.

  23. Drew I am not sure why you think UF has such high academic standards for its athletes. I have been a huge gator fan for 35 years and honestly nobody including everyone I know at UF thinks this. It is a great academic school but the athletes do not have anything close as far as credentials as the student body. Almost every school is the same throughout the whole country, with the exception of Vandy, Northwestern, Stanford and a few other isolated schools. The majority of the football players are not very good high school students- I could care less and the same goes for most gator fans- I don’t root for Donte Fowler because of his academics.

  24. Thomas, why don’t you change and become a fan of Harvard or one of the other Ivey League schools. If academics are all you care about, such a switch should lead you to happiness. You continue to compare apples and oranges. No one has claimed that student athletes are on par with the top students. One could turn that around and say that the top students aren’t on par with student athletes. Whether you chose to accept it or not, sports have been a part of schools for years and that’s not going to change. I can tell you, from personal experience, that many of the lessons learned on that practice field are valuable, when it comes to living life. The same can be said about military service. The things I learned, on the practice and battle fields, have served me as much or more than the ones I learned in school.

  25. Thomas no most athletes don’t have the academic the rest of the student body does. They don’t have to compete with them academically like most do. They compete with other athletes athletically to make it in. The difference is they STILL have to meet the minimum requirements. Every school has minimum requiremnts. The facts are UF has higher minimum requirements than most schools. Not all schools for those who want to keep bringing up Vandy and Stanford. That’s not what we’re saying. But the minimum requirements to get into UF are higher than those of FSU, Miami, Bama, etc. Just ask Zach how many recruiits have been commited or favoring UF then had to go somewhere else because they didn’t qualify academically. Just ask how many signed LOIs and ended up having to go to JUCOs because it was too late to commit elsewhere and they failed to qualify academically

  26. Spurrier couldn’t even get life long Gator fan, RB Travis Henry on the UF campus for an official recruiting visit. So Henry asked Tenn. They took him right in, gave him one of their famout tUTors, and kept him eligible to play until he left for the NFL. Dumb as a rock from what I hear,,, but a great/rich NFL RB anyway.

    The last time I looked, UF had more student/athletes on the SEC Honor Roll than VU did. And UF does that while owning the SEC All Sports Trophies, (Men’s-Women’s-Combined).

    UF is an AAU school and the S.I. ‘Mountain Top’ of college sports.

  27. I REALLY hate to get in this PISSING contest about ACADEMIC superiority and the win / lost record because of it, BUT you know that’s a bunch of bull. Whatever the standard are now they were there for the past 10 years, how did we win then?? These are the same caliber athletes that were coming here 10 years ago, stop hiding behind academic standards. Stanford, Harvard and other HIGH academic institution win on a continuing basis. I think many of you really know what the REAL problem is at UF, but you are just hoping it will go away, YEAH so do I, but i’m not going to blame HIGH ACADEMIC standards. Be real swallow the pill and face your fears. GO GATORS!!!!

  28. I’m not blaming academic standards and I don’t think most of us are. Academics standards is not what got us 4-8 last year and there’s no sense denying it. BUT there are people on here claiming it’s just as easy to get into UF as it is FSU, Miami or some others. There are people on here saying UF doesn’t have higher minimum requirements than those schools. People sayin we haven’t lost recruits due to not qualifying academically. And you know as well as I that that is a load of bull.