After going a few weeks with hardly any questions, you guys came through this week.
I guess that’s what happens when there’s something to talk about recruiting wise. Unforunatley, it’s not the discussion most hoped we would be having.
Following Florida’s embarrassing loss to Missouri last Saturday, Will Muschamp’s seat is scorching hot and some prospects are starting to cool on the Gators.
The majority of you asked about the future of Florida’s heading coaching position and how it relates to recruiting.
On to the questions!
Zach, the implication from Jalen Merrick and several other top recruits is that they would commit if they knew this staff was safe. In other words, they want to play for Muschamp. It seems to suggest that regardless of the win-loss record, these big recruits believe in the staff and program, right? — BC
To a degree, that is true.
In my story yesterday with Mike Farrell, I included tweets from three five-star recruits who still support Muschamp and don’t want to see him fired. Now, that doesn’t mean they would come to UF if he stays, but it shows how much they want to play for him.
Merrick told me last week that he and a few five-star recruits won’t consider committing to Florida until they know the fate of this staff for 2015. So, yes, some top-tier prospects hope the coaches return next year, but they won’t discount the win-loss record.
Let’s say, hypothetically, the Gators lose to Georgia and Florida State in the coming month but Jeremy Foley decides to keep the staff. The elite recruits who are in Muschamp’s corner now may change their tune if Florida finishes 6-5. At the end of day, especially in this recruiting cycle, prospects want to see wins after last year’s 4-8 season.
How is Muschamp able to recruit after the homecoming loss? Don’t players want to be recruited by someone they KNOW will be there? — @Sebastienlg
Muschamp is one of the best recruiters in the country. I’m sure he still has talking points with prospects and reasons for why they should come to UF. However, his sales pitch is probably falling on deaf ears.
This is something Farrell touched on with me. He thinks the Gators should pull the plug as soon as possible and send their best assistants out on the road who have a chance to stay on with the next staff.
“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,” Farrell said.
He makes a good point, although Florida would have to watch who it had representing the school if that scenario happened. You don’t want to rely on assistants who might be putting more time and energy into finding their next job than doing their current one.
Assuming Muschamp is gone, what kind of coach needs to be hired to salvage class and maintain chances with top players? — @DustinUselton, @MichaelMichuda, @Bigro94
Well, his reputation must precede him.
If a change is made, the new coach has to meet these five criteria in my opinion.
1. Head coaching experience
2. Offensive coach
3. Previous success against elite teams, particularly from the SEC
4. Has shown the ability to recruit and develop players from Florida’s recruiting base
5. Ties to UF
Outside of an NFL guy, the big names from the SEC and ACC meet most of those qualifications.
Who are some in-state, lower-ranked guys who tend to fill a transitional class that we’ll begin to see on UF’s radar? — @dctownsend15
Even though there’s a strong possibility this will be a transitional class for the Gators, they could fare better this year than in the past when a coaching change occurred.
Most of the top targets on Florida’s board don’t plan on deciding until signing day, so a high-profile coach (and it’s safe to assume it would be) is going to have time to make an impression on recruits.
Muschamp would almost certainly be replaced by an offensive coach, and that should help UF close strong on that side of the ball.
As for defense, where the Gators still have needs at defensive end, linebacker and safety, they may have to expand their board at those positions.
Here are some names to keep tabs on moving forward: Houshun Gaines, linebackers Victor Alexander (UCLA commit), Derrick Graham, Darrien McNair (Mississippi State commit), Sherrod Pittman (South Carolina commit), Zedrick Woods (Ole Miss commit) and safeties Ben Edwards and Hunter Dale.