Farrell: UF class will take hit, then resurge with new coach

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Florida lost its first commitment since the season started on Tuesday when linebacker Jerome Baker flipped to Ohio State.

Unfortunately for the Gators, Baker is likely a sign of things to come.

With UF coach Will Muschamp’s job in jeopardy, the once-promising outlook for Florida’s 2015 class can’t even be seen through orange and blue glasses now.

“The recruiting class is done,” said Mike Farrell, the national recruiting analyst for Rivals. “I think it’s going to fall apart, and then you’ll see a resurgence once they get a new head coach. If they do things right and hire him before Christmas, they’ll make a strong charge down the stretch.”

The Gators currently have 10 verbal commitments, and their 2015 class isn’t ranked higher than 44th nationally by Rivals, Scout or 247Sports. But with several top prospects still uncommitted and planning to decide on signing day, Farrell feels UF can finish well with a coaching change.

“Florida is a great place,” he said. “It’s got the college atmosphere, the tremendous tradition, the great fan base, the big stadium. And when it comes to recruiting, Florida is a Ferrari.

“But right now, the program itself has so much negativity around it that these kids will see positivity elsewhere and gravitate towards it. Some kids that get turned off will regain interest, but it has to be a home-run hire that they know.”

UF athletic director Jeremy Foley issued a statement Monday indicating that Muschamp was still being evaluated. But in Farrell’s opinion, waiting until the end of this season to pull the plug will hurt recruiting.

“From what I’ve seen over the years, it’s always better to fire a coach during the season,” he said. “Some schools don’t do that, but it’s always better. You can name your interim coach, who is usually a highly respected member of the staff and a pretty good recruiter, like D.J. Durkin.

“Then you have an opportunity for that coach to say, ‘I might be the guy next year or I might be on staff.’ But with Muschamp, there’s zero percent chance he’s going to be retained. So you might as well send somebody out on the recruiting trail who has a chance to be retained.”

Although Farrell and the majority of the college football world thinks Muschamp’s days in Gainesville are numbered, some of Florida’s top recruiting targets don’t want to see him go.

Five-star prospects Damien Harris, Jacques Patrick and CeCe Jefferson all supported Muschamp on their Twitter accounts Tuesday.

UF offensive line commit George Brown told The Sun he’s worried about Muschamp’s job, but it’s not a determining factor in his recruitment.

“It’s definitely something that I think about, but I just love the University of Florida,” Brown said. “It’s not just the coaches. It’s the campus, the academics and the relationships I have with everybody there. I feel like I made a great decision. If a coaching change does happen, that won’t affect me.”

45 COMMENTS

  1. George Brown….come on down!! U are the type of kid that I am always talkin about with recruiting!! “I just love the University of Florida”, these are the kids I want to play for the Gators, forget about stars & rankings, this kid wants to play for us regardless of staff, record, or whatever else. No self intitlement, sounds like good upbringing & maturity from the start!

  2. We’ve been through this change before. I agree with Farrell that this class will take a hit but not necessarily “fall apart.” More likely it will just stall as the hard core commits to UF wait to see who Florida hires. Then the new guy will close fast and salvage a decent class. He’ll win big in two years or less with the talent on hand and follow up with top level classes for 2016-17 and beyond. I agree with Farrell the decision needs to come soon and I would like Durkin to get a chance as interim and have the opportunity to stay, at least as DC, on the next staff. His unit improves each game, progress we ‘re certainly not finding with the anemic, bumbling offense.

  3. The Baker decision was a smack in the face. He was just in town and claimed to have a great time. This is what pisses me off & why there needs to be an early signing period. Why give someone your word that you want to be ‘committed’ to a school & then back off because the team is not doing as well as expected?? instead of being a bandwagon recruit that goes where the flow is why not be a part of the solution?? Be a person that wants to be a part of the change that takes place & then you can hold your head up high as one of the guys that turned this thing around?? That seems to be the mindset of Mr. Brown and THESE are the kinds of young men that UF needs. Come to UF to be a cog in the PROCESS of turning this thing back to 1996, 2006, 2008, & 2009 when the Swamp was indeed THE SWAMP!!! GO GATORS!!!

  4. Why does anyone get mad at Baker and wish there was an early signing period so that guys like him would be locked in to a program that’s become a dumpster fire? The truth is that most out of state recruits have no loyalty to the school, they are making their choice based on the relationship with the coaches. The only reason UF got Thomas Holley last year is because the coach he had a relationship with at Penn State left. It isn’t a secret that this staff is history. It’s wrong to retain anyone on this staff. The new coach should have an open slate to rebuild the program, not be saddled with holdovers from a loser regime. If the new coach wants to hire someone from Muschamp’s staff, fine. But it needs to be his choice, not a condition of being hired by the control freak, Foley.
    It’s time to accept the fact that UF’s recruiting is going to be poor this year. UF is now ranked 60th at Rivals. I expect Adonis Thomas to be the next to say sayonara to UF. I don’t know the situation with Jones, the quarterback, but if leaves as well, it’s a catastrophe since UF still doesn’t know if there is a good quarterback on the roster. The only thing known for sure is that Jeff Driskel is awful.
    UF will keep the in-state kids. As for the rest, it’s a shaky proposition. The only hope is that the new coach, along with the new assistants, can bring some guys with them, because all the guys being recruited by this staff are going to ignore them completely. Why even listen to a person that is getting canned except to be polite?
    The silver lining in this is that it has been proven that recruiting isn’t that big a deal in the first place. UF is well on it’s way to a second consecutive losing season with all the highly ranked classes of the recent past. What does it matter if Martez Ivey comes when the last can’t miss offensive lineman, D.J. Humphries, is a colossal bust? REcruiting is going to suffer, just deal with it. The most important recruit is the new coach. Let’s hope it’s not someone akin to Derek Dooley or UF will become a program like Tennessee has become after they fired Fulmer. Recruiting is the absolute last thing to worry about, it hasn’t made the slightest difference in the product on the field.

  5. I share in yoru frustration aux2, but what I was pointing out is that I’m not necessarily mad at Baker ut at the fact that if you commit, give your word that you want to be a Gator; then go the way of VH3 and Quincy Wilson & stick to it! Go out & be a difference maker in the class and make it BETTER by getting others on board. I hate to see all of our young guys flounder on the bench when other programs allow their young guys to play. you can’t tell me that every last one of the youngsters on the roster isn’t ready to play. Adam Lane has only seen the field for special teams duty yet in camp he was ‘the hardest dude to tackle’. Well dammit put him in the game & see if the other team can tackle him!! GO GATORS!!

  6. Oh, and James, your coach will find a way to fit them all in, since he has got NO clue as to right and wrong. After all, he just said this week on television, and I quote, “Jameis has done nothing wrong.”

  7. This class quite frankly sucks so far anyway. Who cares. Just get to work immediately, fire Muschamp now. It’s going to happen anyway, why wait you idiots. The only problem is there aren’t many coaches available mid-season. The sooner we get to repair and mend what we have and move forward to the uncommitted the better. Why wait?

  8. Think they are just giving him a chance to beat Ga, when that doesn’t happen (with or without Gurley man) he’ll be done.
    This next hire has to be a home run or we’ll go the way of the Vols. At least they have an up and coming coach and are recruiting well, we are a long way from that right now.

  9. Farrell sounds like total rivals BS to me. Recruiting didn’t fall apart when Spurrier left, or when Zook left, or when Meyer left, and it won’t fall apart if Muschamp leaves. It will change some, but then it always does, and that’s just not a big deal, especially for 1 class. That, and those that want to be Gators will come no matter who the HBC is. Those that come because he’s no longer the HBC will balance out those that leave because of it. The rest are just more Gatorbait anyway….

    Florida far and away leads the SEC in receiver DROPS. (not Jeff’s fault) Florida’s INCONSISTENT OL play continues to plague running & passing. IF they suddenly start to block & catch everything, then the inmates are running the asylum and that alone would say Will must go. It will also say that the next HBC will have to be IRON and some player house cleaning is in store. If this has been facilitated by outside the team interference, then that is truly a sad situation with no easy cure….. (been-there–done-that–sucks) :~(
    Money brains does not equate to football brains, as Dan Snyder continues to prove, season after season with the Redskins….

  10. While I’d like to see someone else come in and right the ship, you people aren’t thinking clearly. Like any other business, it’s all about the money….Muschamp has a contract that’s good through 2017. The buyout is 100 percent of salary. So, my question to all of those who say get rid of him now is, “WHICH OF YOU IS GOING TO WRITE THE (about) $10 MILLION DOLLAR CHECK?”

  11. Everyone will pay the check when folks hopefully start filling the stands again. A single recruiting class lost isn’t the end of the world but it isn’t small potatoes either. A small class plus changeover attrition can easily turn into a 70 man squad vs an 85 man squad for two years. That MATTERS.

  12. BSJGator It doesn’t matter how big the check is, and it’s only six million for two more years, UF will lose a lot more if Muschamp is retained. If, as expected, UF loses to Georgis, there will be a less than full stadium for South Carolina and it will look like a ghost town for the scrub before FSU. Very few people will pay to see the two scrubs scheduled for next year and season ticket sales will plummet if Muschamp is the coach next year. UF merchandise is already filling the clearance racks. When is the last time anyone had anything good to say about UF football? It’s not all Muschamp’s fault, but like Harry Truman said about where th buck stops, he’s ultimately responsible.
    UF was had a huge recruiting year served up on a platter and hasn’t got a single top player from it’s own state, and the prospect of that changing is slim to none, and slim has left town. Even a guy like Byron Cowart from a Gator feeding school like Seffner Armwood, that has been practically begging UF to give him a reason to say yes to UF, is now a longshot for UF. No, my friend, it doesn’t matter what the buyout cost is, the alternative is much more costly. Think about it, do you actually believe Muschamp when he says that recruiting is going very well? Maybe guys are being polite to UF’s staff, but they know that they will all be fired.

  13. The new HC must be hired before Xmas so he can hire a staff and get on the recruiting trail; I doubt many of the current coordinators will be retained. How do you sell a kid now on a program with so many question marks? How energized and excited about recruiting can you expect the current coaches to be when they know next season they’ll probably be with another program?

  14. The next coach is likely to retains couple of current assistants for continuity, as with Charlie Strong over many years. Even though at times he worked elsewhere, Charlie kept returning to UF. It’s a great place to be and Jeremy Foley will make a really good hire because somewhere there’s a top level head coach day-dreaming now about what he could accomplish with the resources, recruiting base and support from the athletic director and administration he would get at Florida. My bet is that the key assistants retained will include two of these three: Dirken, TRob and White, all oh whom score high in recruiting and have solid records for improving players they coach. This recruiting class will pick up with a new HC.

  15. And the coach won’t be Spurrier, Mike Shanahan and certainly not Mack Brown or Butch Davis, both of whom are tainted by the North Carolina academic fraud and recent dismissals as coaches. Think hard on Hugh Freeze among others of his generation who are succeeding with teams from less- resourced programs than Florida’s capabilities. Re : Foley’s waiting game with Muschamp, I believe Jeremy knows a great deal more about the situation than any of us do and is a strategic thinker who is already laying groundwork for a next coach. If a closeted search was underway now and a name got attached it might ruin the chance for that coach to come and damage his current team. Be patient.

  16. Those of us who saw Muschamp as a likely failure when he lost the team LAST season(as he WILL this season) are gnashing their teeth at what COULD have been with this year’s class, had Foley done what he should’ve after Ga. Southern.
    One can only hope we will get a big time hire, a great recruiter. We need Ivey, Jefferson, Cowart, and some big time WRs, LBs and DBs if the new coach is to experience the second year success that Meyer and so many other great coaches have.

  17. I would think that in the long run-if any of those recruits had any fire in their belly, any pride about returning UF to glory, and any sense of making it right with the school that they claim they’ve loved since childhood then they would look to come to UF instead of taking the quick out. All you need is one of those big named guys to say yes to UF and the ball will get rolling. That to me would signify that they want to turn this thing around and make it what Florida is SUPPOSED to be-in the NC conversation and not a laughing stock. The natives here in BR still think lsu is legit. We’ll see after they get waxed at home by Ole Miss & then the following week by Bama. GO GATORS!!!

  18. Zach, the chances of this staff being retained are slim and none, slim will leave town if UF loses to Georgia. Does UF accept any more commitments from anyone, unless they are the top guys like Cowart, Ivey, etc.? If Foley knows that this staff is history, even if he doesn’t announce it until the end of the season, does he instruct the outgoing regime to shut down recruiting and let the new sheriff in town pick the posse? Is it a maxim for an incoming coach to honor the commitments made to the old coaches, even if he doesn’t think the player is a fit for what he wants to do? If the staff is definitely history after next week, is it a self imposed “dead” period until the new coach comes in?

  19. Best for the future of UF football program to cut ties asap with Muschamp and move on. The longer it drags out, the worse for recruiting like this analyst says. Like he said, “zero percent chance”, that Muschamp is retained. If that were to happen, they just as well shut the football program down, and fire Foley. Muschamp has inflicted enough damage to last for several years. What else is there left to say other than he has been a disaster of a hire, and that’s on Foley!!

  20. A new coach named right after Thanksgiving weekend or within a week of a conference championship will recover a bunch of recruits who really want to commit. But really, why commit before we’ve resolved who our coach will be? And why worry about verbals elsewhere? Verbals are not anywhere close to binding pledges. I foresee no possibility for Muschamp to survive and I believe Foley is wise to hold his cards until the right time. All ADs keep a short list of coaching candidates and I am confident Jeremy already has a pretty solid idea who that next guy is for Florida.

  21. As many have advised through the long years, choose the school that your heart tells you to go to, because any and every HBC is temporary and can go (or die) at any time. The University of Florida and Gator Nation is WAY BIGGER than who the HBC happens to be.
    ‘No Worries Mates’

  22. We need some good recruits and we will get some, and in the meantime I would take a hard look at this dropped pass, no blocking line. If a miracle happens and good catches, great blocking just for a new qb were to happen, we would need a lot of new recruits. Look at the bench,playing time for more players never hurt a team in prep for future games. Spur dog aint coming here, but champ could go to s.c..Spurrier needs a dc real bad.

  23. To no one’s surprise, UF target, linebacker Tevon Coney chose Notre Dame. UF is in serious trouble at linebacker. UF signed none last year. They have already lost one in Jerome Baker. They will, in all probability, also lose Adonis Thomas. Roquan Smith is not coming to UF. Jeffrey Holland is not a lock to qualify academically even if he does say yes. Florida desperately needs at least three, maybe four linebackers. Linebacker was the biggest need position, it looks more and more like Florida is not going to get any of the top ones. Who are the guys they can get if that proves to be true? With graduation and the possibility of Morrison leaving early, UF is going to be hurting at linebacker next year. The five stars, Rolin and Anzalone, four star McMillian, from a couple of years ago haven’t shown anything on the field yet.

  24. So how does it work to hire and announce a head coach before Christmas? Seems to me there is a very slim chance of getting any bowl-eligible coach announced and on-campus that timeframe. No chance for teams Playoff-eligible like Mullen or Freeze.

  25. Been hearing rumblings that Chip Kelly might be rumored to come to Gainesville. Fat chance seeing how his team will be deep into the playoffs and recruits will probably not wait that long. My beloved Gators seem to be in deep doo-doo this recruiting season. With Coney it was a slam dunk lock & with him choosing the Irish that opens it up for the others to not choose UF as well. Hopefully we can get some quality guys that WANT to come to UF, like George Brown. GO GATORS!!

  26. Any word on Will Grier’s status? Last year this kid was advertised as the next Tim Tebow. He enrolled early, played spring ball, had a minor abdominal injury that kept him out of practice a few weeks, but not much news since. Muschamp has not said he is officially red shirted, so what is going on with this kid? Was he over-rated? Red shirts are normally given to those who are still developing physically, nursing an injury or having trouble learning the play book. If Harris struggles against Georgia and Vandy, do we go back to Driskel?

  27. Let’s hope the Niners and the Eagles don’t make the play-offs. Then back up a Brinks truck to Harbaugh and Kelly to see if one of them will take it.

    It’s going to take a sexy hire to get these guys back…

    That’s my $0.02; take it for what it’s worth…

  28. Jurkin for interim head coach? The guy’s a snake and a ‘1 year wonder’ at DC. Fact is Muschamp designed, game plans and calls most of the critical defensive plays. (The same defense that was toasted by Bama in a record setting performance.)

    The kids do not like Durkin. They see right through him. As for him being a great recruiter, it seems this year’s totals would scream otherwise.

    Roper would be a better interim head coach.

  29. Well, I too have been very disappointed this season over our productivity and lack of play-makers. This does not make me turn tail like most of you who are writing these comments. You criticize the recruits for rebelling but what are all of you doing??? You are no better than Baker so stop being so hypocritical. I am a Gator for life, there is no other team for me so if they go 0-12 I’m still a Gator. If firing Muschamp right now means that much to you, hell don’t watch. We will be back on top with or without Muschamp, so those of you jumping ship, not attending games, bashing our players, there is a number 2 team up the road, Flip like Baker did and root for them.