If history had repeated itself in the 2015 recruiting cycle, Florida would not have landed Elite 11 QB invitee Sheriron Jones over the weekend.
In the past 12 years, the Gators have signed two quarterbacks in a class on four occasions. When it happened the first three times, what transpired afterward with UF recruiting was almost textbook.
Florida signed Chris Leak and Justin Midgett in 2003 and did not get a quarterback the following year. Midgett, ranked the state of Florida’s No. 1 QB by Rivals, then transferred to Eastern.
UF signed John Brantley and Cam Newton in 2007 and again came up empty at QB in the next cycle. Newton later left the school and went on to win the Heisman Trophy at Auburn and become the top overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft.
In Will Muschamp’s first recruiting class, the Gators enrolled Jeff Driskel early and made a late signing of Jacoby Brissett, who transferred to N.C. State after competing two seasons with Driskel.
The Gators weren’t going take a QB for 2012 — mostly because they couldn’t land a quality prospect at the position — until Brent Pease was hired late in the cycle and flipped three-star recruit Skyler Mornhinweg from Penn State just before signing day.
The point of that history lesson? When you sign two really good quarterbacks in the same class, one eventually transfers and you’re not going to get a good one the next year.
At least that’s been the trend at Florida — until now.
Four months removed from signing U.S. Army All-Americans Will Grier and Treon Harris, Muschamp and new offensive coordinator Kurt Roper have done something rarely seen in regards to recruiting quarterbacks, the most important and high-profile position in football.
They landed a consensus four-star QB after taking two studs in the previous class. Jones has been invited to the nation’s premier quarterback competition and will give the Gators a deep and talented depth chart in 2015 with Driskel, Grier and Harris. Mornhinweg sticking around past this season is very unlikely.
And unless UF bucks another trend and somehow keeps both Grier and Harris throughout their eligibility, one of them is going to leave.
If and when that happens, now the Gators have someone who’s talented enough to legitimately compete with Grier or Harris. And should one of them get hurt, Florida’s season won’t become a disaster like it did in 2011 when Brantley went down and last year when Driskel suffered a season-ending injury.
The Twitter reactions from UF director of player personnel Drew Hughes and recruiting coordinator Joker Phillips immediately following Jones’ decision show just how big his commitment is for the football program.
— Drew Hughes (@dhughes234) June 8, 2014
— Joker Phillips (@jokerphillips) June 8, 2014