It’s Tennessee week, which is always an important time for UF football recruiting.
Every other year it produces one of Florida’s biggest recruiting weekends.
This season is an away game for the Gators, but it’s probably more significant from a recruiting standpoint than last year’s matchup at home.
Coming off the disappointing showing and lopsided loss at Alabama, Florida’s performance against the Vols has to be noticeably better (and good enough to win) for prospects to feel confident about where Muschamp has this program headed.
If UF plays poorly and loses again, the turnout by recruits for the LSU game might not be so great.
On to the questions!
How long until we see some commitments? — @vinnyg18
It’s been a while since Florida added a new member to its recruiting class. After gaining five verbal commitments during the summer in less than a month, the Gators haven’t landed a pledge in almost two months.
That being said, they haven’t missed on any recruits other than wide receiver George Campbell, who chose Florida State over UF and LSU on Sept. 5.
At this point in the 2015 cycle, most uncommitted prospects — especially the bigger names — will likely take their recruitments through the fall and decide after their senior seasons, any time from December until signing day on Feb. 4.
That time period is the heat of recruiting season, so the Gators still have a couple of months to impress kids with wins and gain some momentum.
If they aren’t picking up commitments before, during and/or after the All-American games in early January, that’s when Florida fans should start to worry.
With Will Muschamp’s seat getting hotter and hotter, what do you see the effect being on the overall recruiting class this year? — @Ayers2404
By the end of this season, Muschamp’s job security should be pretty black and white for recruits to see. The Gators will either have a good season and Muschamp gets off the hot seat, or Florida’s record will teeter at .500 throughout the year and Muschamp won’t survive 2014.
If Muschamp’s team does what it must for him to keep his job (team is more competitive, improves offensively and posts record of 7-4 or better, in my opinion), those requirements should be enough to alleviate the concerns from recruits about the coaching stability at UF.
If those things don’t happen and Muschamp loses his job, that will no doubt have an impact on recruiting. As much as fans would like for prospects to commit to schools instead of coaches, that just doesn’t happen like it should. Muschamp has said several times that recruiting is all about relationships, and some Florida commits and targets may lose interest in the school if Muschamp gets fired.
However, there’s also the possibility that a new coach could come in, bring excitement to the program and make a quick impression on recruits. Again, it’s all about relationships. Florida’s 2015 class would definitely take a hit without Muschamp as the head coach, but it could be salvaged with a home-run hire.
Has the LB board changed? How do we look there? — Iv0_Solis
There hasn’t been much shifting yet, but the potential for change is there.
As I wrote last week, Florida linebacker commits Jerome Baker and Adonis Thomas are planning to take visits (like they always have), and both still seem to be considering their No. 2 schools, Ohio State and Alabama, respectively. However, it would likely take a coaching change at UF for them to flip.
Te’Von Coney, Jeff Holland and Roquan Smith remain the top three targets left on the board, and all of them attended Friday Night Lights. Notre Dame appears to have a strong shot at Coney after his official visit to South Bend last month. The Gators are still in the driver’s seat for Holland, while they have a tough battle ahead of them with Georgia for Smith.
If Baker or Thomas end up elsewhere and Florida misses on one or more of its targets, another name to watch out for is Derrick Graham of Wauchula Hardee.
I was told in the summer that the coaches were very high on him, and he received an offer from Muschamp the day after camping at UF on June 9. He plans to officially visit Florida next weekend for the LSU game.
Do the Gators have a shot with Damien Harris? — DevinLamarr
They do, but it’s a slim one.
The five-star running back from Berea (Ky.) Madison Southern visited Florida on March 20 and plans to return for an official, but it will be difficult for UF to beat out Alabama and in-state Kentucky.
The Gators have their sights set on Clemson commit Ray-Ray McCloud III, Miami commit Dexter Williams and North Carolina running backs Nyheim Hines and Bryce Love. They might also make a run at former UM pledge Jordan Cronkrite, who attended Florida’s game against Kentucky.
I’ve noticed that UF has a lot of 3-star commits right now in spite of most of them having elite offer lists. Any chance of them moving up the rankings? — Jake
Yes, but they’ll have to perform this year as seniors.
Rivals is the only website that doesn’t have athlete Derrick Dillon as a four-star prospect. That should change in the near future.
Offensive linemen George Brown and Tyler Jordan are rated by most sites as three-star recruits but have one or two four-star ratings. You could possibly see them earn four-stars on every site.
I also think quarterback Sheriron Jones and linebacker Adonis Thomas, both consensus four-star prospects, will move up in overall rankings if they continue to play as well as they have been.
That’s all for this week! Be sure to leave your questions for the next mailbag in the comment section below.