It’s amazing what two weeks can do.
Last month everyone was asking who the new coach would be, now I’m getting questions about the recruits Muschamp might flip.
The Treon effect has certainly had a positive impact not only on the football team but in recruiting. I don’t think you guys should start expecting commitments left and right just yet, but if the Gators keep this up they could cap off their 2015 class in a very successful manner.
On to the questions!
Any hope we can salvage this class now that Treon Harris is the QB and there seems to be some momentum? — @GoGatas, @NorthKnoxGator
Winning cures all. The Gators rank nowhere near the top 25 in team recruiting rankings, but that could change soon with their recent success on the field and the emergence of Harris.
The narrative has been the same throughout this recruiting cycle — if Florida can win games, it will have a stellar recruiting class because there’s so many elite in-state prospects.
Some of those kids have committed elsewhere, so the Gators won’t be in contention for the No. 1 recruiting ranking on signing day. But there’s still enough uncommitted targets left that they could finish a great class if Harris and the team continues to play well.
What are the chances of landing Martez Ivey, Byron Cowart and CeCe Jefferson? — @MikeyDepasquale, @montanagator
They have been and still are very good. The two losses by the Gators last month likely set them back a little with these five-stars, but the way the team is playing now has helped.
Cowart, Jefferson and Ivey grew up Florida fans and see an opportunity to play right away in Gainesville. If Will Muschamp wasn’t on the hot seat entering and during this season, they might already be committed to UF.
But it’s also important to note that all three have previously said they would come consider coming to Florida regardless of the coaching situation. For the Gators to lock them up, I just think they have to close out the season strong with two more wins and a good showing against Florida State.
UF’s biggest competition for these three at this time are Alabama (Cowart), Ole Miss (Jefferson) and Auburn (Ivey).
If we hold onto our offensive line commits an add Jalen Merrick and Martez Ivey, do we finally have the depth/rotation we need? — @ryan_grimaldi
Definitely. The numbers would be up at the position with some talented players.
The Gators currently have 15 offensive linemen on the roster — which is about what you want — and they lose three starting seniors.
Adding Merrick and Ivey would put UF at six linemen for 2015 and double the amount of players leaving. That would be huge for the offensive line and eliminate some of the depth-chart shortcomings seen in recent years.
Will we sign a player at the LB position in this class? What are the chances of getting Adonis Thomas back and landing Jeff Holland? — Nate
You can count on Florida signing not one but a few linebackers for 2015.
The Gators didn’t sign any in their 2014 class and lose two (possibly three with Morrison) starters after this season, so they need to load up at the position.
UF still has a great shot at Thomas, although Alabama is believed to be his leader. Jerome Baker isn’t flipping back from Ohio State, so don’t hold out hope for his return.
Outside of Florida’s decommitments, Holland is without question the top target remaining on the board. Despite his interest in other schoools, anything other than a UF commitment from him would be surprising.
The Gators might also make a run at a few recruits committed elsewhere, including Te’Von Coney (Notre Dame), Victor Alexander (UCLA) and Derrick Graham (Arkansas).
Any indication that we can flip Ray-Ray McCloud with Treon and improvements on offense? — @WilbertVancol
I know from a source close to McCloud that he thinks highly of Harris and is happy about him becoming the starting quarterback for Florida.
But that alone, it appears, won’t be enough to change his mind.
He’s very solid to Clemson. In my opinion, it would take something like UF upsetting FSU and/or making it to the SEC championship game for McCloud to even entertain the thought of flipping.
What do you think our chances are of flipping Lamar Jackson and Deon Cain? — @justiwood
In my eyes, Florida’s chances with them aren’t great right now. Neither has visited UF so far this fall.
Cain told me after the Tennessee game that he wanted Harris to be the guy. But as is the case with his friend and fellow Clemson commit McCloud, I doubt Florida’s newfound quarterback can solely flip the script on Cain’s recruitment.
Remember, the Tigers have a talented true freshman QB of their own in Deshaun Watson. I think it will take the Gators doing something special this season for Cain and McCloud to truly reconsider.
As for Jackson, while the emergence of Harris may help UF with some recruits, he might scare off a quarterback recruit. The position will likely be occupied by Harris for at least the next two years, and Florida has Mr. Football USA 2013 as well.
If Kurt Roper can somehow flip Jackson with an Elite 11 finalist already on board for 2015 and two studs on the roster, Muschamp better buy his offensive coordinator a steak dinner.
Is it possible we have 3 quarterbacks transfer (Driskel, Grier, Mornhinweg) with Harris emerging and are back to no depth at position? — @DustinUselton
Anything is possible, I suppose.
While I see Driskel and Mornhinweg leaving after this year, I can’t imagine Grier bolting until he gives Harris a run for his money next spring and fall. He’s a very competitive player, and I’d be shocked if he walked away from Florida without trying to win the starting job.
And who knows, maybe Harris will continue to progress, become a great quarterback as a junior and leave for the NFL. That would give Grier two years to quarterback the Gators, which is a scenario I could see him being OK with.
But as I wrote before, having a QB depth chart next season of Harris, Grier and Sheriron Jones would be pretty good.
Zach, a lot of recruits seem to really analyze the coaching staff these days. What effect on recruiting WRs does having a recently promoted (by default) grad assistant who wasn’t a wide receiver coaching that position? Love Leak and all he’s done for UF, but if Muschamp stays, does he have to consider replacing Leak? — DC Gator
Some recruits may have reservations about Leak, although not all receivers are being recruited by him. Derrick Dillon is primarily recruited by Derek Lewis, while Travaris Robinson recruits Antonio Callaway.
I don’t think Leak necessarily hurt the Gators in their pursuit of someone like George Campbell, but he didn’t help their cause, either. He just doesn’t have the notoriety as a coach or recruiter, nor should he at this stage of his coaching career.
Florida was in a bind when it hired Leak, and he’s done an admirable job considering the circumstances. Being a former QB, he does know enough the receiver position to coach it.
But I do expect Muschamp, if he remains at UF, to go out and hire an assistant with more experience and a widely-respected reputation.
That’s all for this week! Be sure to leave your questions for the next mailbag in the comment section below.