My Mail Stack has been getting lighter and lighter each week, as many of you seemingly don’t have much to ask about recruiting and/or you have more questions and concerns about the future of this coaching staff and football team.
And that’s totally understandable.
Nearly every comment section turns into a debate about something other than the subject of the story. As one fan told me this week, it’s hard to care about recruiting when it’s uncertain who Florida’s coach will be next season.
Several of you asked me about Will Muschamp’s fate, coaching candidates and who recruits would want if a change is made. I’m not going to cross that bridge with you all until the time comes.
As bad as things feel right now, UF is still in contention for the SEC East title and recruits haven’t lost interest in the Gators and Muschamp … yet.
I will say this: Florida, in my opinion, needs to win the next five games. The Gators get two struggling teams at home in Missouri and South Carolina as well as what should be easy wins against Vanderbilt and Eastern Kentucky. A fourth straight loss to Georgia might be the nail in Muschamp’s coffin, but it’s looking like Todd Gurley will be suspended for that game.
For UF to beat UGA and the other aforementioned teams, personnel changes will have to be made (it’s already happening at quarterback) and players at a few positions need to step up.
But the next five games are all winnable, and for the sake of Muschamp’s job, his team’s psyche and the 2015 class, I don’t think UF can afford to have another loss before Florida State (and let’s just assume the Seminoles aren’t going to sit Jameis Winston and they beat Florida).
If, and at this point it’s a big but possible if, the Gators can finish 8-3 with the losses coming to an LSU team they almost beat and on the road at Alabama and FSU, that’s the best way for Muschamp to survive this year.
I know some of you are hoping that doesn’t happen and Florida falls flat on its face so a new coach can come in. Others are hoping for the best. No matter what side of the fence you’re on, just be patient and (try to) enjoy the football season. Everything will work itself out.
On to the questions!
How big of a hit did recruiting take last week? — @vinnyg18
After interviewing several big-name recruits Saturday night, I didn’t sense any negative repercussions from that loss.
The game actually put the Gators in better standing with a lot of kids.
If you read the five post-visit stories already on my blog and a couple more that are still to come, you’ll see what I’m talking about.
The atmosphere couldn’t have been better in The Swamp, and although several aspects of Florida’s play frustrated fans, most recruits saw a team that was more competitive against LSU than it was in 2013.
Linebacker Adonis Thomas, Florida’s shakiest commit, tweeted this Wednesday.
UF really had the LSU game now that I'm watching it
— Adonis Thomas (@_SimplyThatGuy5) October 15, 2014
IF a coaching change happens, which commits/prospects would be impacted the most? — @ryanponczek
Other than the out-of-state offensive line commits, the class members who aren’t from the state of Florida could be potential decommitments.
As far as targets still on the board, Byron Cowart, Ryan Davis, Jalen Merrick, Kendrick Norton and Roquan Smith are all recruits who would be impacted by a coaching change.
The Gators could probably get Jeff Holland, Martez Ivey and CeCe Jefferson regardless of who the coach is, and they’ll have a chance with any South Florida kid as long as Travaris Robinson is on staff.
Which recruits are must-haves and what are the chances of landing them? — @realbradglover
The priorities for UF in this recruiting cycle are linebacker, offensive guard and defensive end, and two of those three have been met.
Defensive end hasn’t been addressed, but Florida has five-star recruits Cowart and Jefferson waiting in the wings. Win and they’re in.
The Gators still need one or two more linebackers in addition to Jerome Baker and Thomas, but they’re in good shape with Te’Von Coney, Derrick Graham, Holland and Smith.
Outside of those positions, UF needs to land Ivey and pick up at least one more slot receiver to go along with Derrick Dillon. Antonio Callaway, Javarius Davis and Ryan Davis are the top remaining targets.
I see a lot of recruits say how much they want to play with Treon Harris. How much of an impact would be gained with him starting? — @DevinLamarr
Treon Harris is certainly is a player that recruits look up to and want to play with. It’s amazing that a quarterback who’s only thrown six passes in two collegiate games can be so popular, but he’s somewhat of a legend in South Florida.
He won two consecutive state championships at Miami Booker T. Washington and led his team to the No. 1 ranking nationally. His high school success is still fresh in the minds of many recruits who watched him play last year or competed against him.
The prospects in this recruiting cycle are mostly excited about what he’ll do at Florida in the coming years, but the sooner he plays the more of an impact he’ll have.
That’s all for this week! Be sure to leave your questions for the next mailbag in the comment section below.