Recruits hit hard by Muschamp firing

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Will Muschamp was loved by recruits, but his 2015 class has left a lot to be desired. (Photo by Brad McClenny/The Gainesville Sun)

Recruits were hit hard Sunday by the news of Will Muschamp’s firing at Florida.

The move will eventually lead to better 2015 recruiting results for the Gators, but prospects were not happy about seeing the embattled coach lose his job.

Byron Cowart, a five-star defensive end from Seffner Armwood, attended UF’s overtime loss against South Carolina on Saturday.

“I want to say it’s shocking to see him go, but then again it’s not,” Cowart said of Muschamp. “I’m flabbergasted. Things like this happen. I’m still interested in Florida, but I’m sad for him.”

Cowart, the top-ranked overall prospect on Rivals.com, has been personally recruited by Muschamp since his sophomore year of high school.

“This is not just a coach that I talk to every now and then,” Cowart said. “I’ve actually met this guy and built a relationship with him. It’s a business, though. I just feel for him. I know he’ll start over and find another job.”

Cowart said he doesn’t have a preference on what kind of coach UF hires, but he’s confident that it will be a good one.

“I’m not worried about that,” said Cowart, who plans to decide on signing day. “This just let’s me know that Florida is serious about their football. Whoever Florida hires is going to be there because they know he can make things happen. I know Jeremy Foley is not going to get just anybody.”

Cowart is one of many recruits who will now be in wait-and-see mode with Florida’s coaching search.

“I don’t really know what to say right now,” said Jeff Holland, a four-star linebacker from Jacksonville Trinity Christian. “Me and coach Muschamp had a really good relationship. It’s tough.

“It really doesn’t affect my interest in Florida. I really just have to see what the new coaching staff looks like, but I still love Florida to death.”

Under Armour All-Americans Cowart and Holland have favored UF for more than a year, but the uncertainty surrounding Muschamp has kept them and other recruits of their caliber from pulling the trigger.

The Gators have nine verbal commitments for 2015 at this time, and their class is ranked 32nd by ESPN, 54th by Scout, 62nd by 247Sports and 72nd by Rivals.

The only Florida commits who appear to be wavering are U.S. Army All-American wide receiver Derrick Dillon of Franklinton (La.) Pine and consensus four-star quarterback Sheriron Jones of Moreno Valley (Calif.) Rancho Verde.

Another U.S. Army All-American, tight end Devonaire Clarington, said his interest in the Gators is on hold for now. The four-star prospect from Miami Booker T. Washington attended the LSU game last month and plans to officially visit in December.

“It’s depressing,” said Clarington, ESPN’s top-ranked tight end. “Now Florida has to get a new coaching staff. It’s hard for me to be interested in Florida when I don’t know who the coaches are going to be.

“The good thing is my official isn’t till next month, so I’ll have a chance to meet the new staff. If I like them, then Florida is still an option. I want the next coach to keep T-Rob.”

Defensive backs coach Travaris Robinson, Florida’s ace recruiter, is the primary contact for UF with Clarington and several other 2015 targets. Of all the current assistants, Robinson may have the best chance of staying on with the new staff because of his recruiting ability.

Gators offensive line commit George Brown hopes Mike Summers remains in Gainesville, but he’s solid to Florida no matter what.

“I want coach Summers to stay, I really liked him,” Brown said. “But regardless of what happens, I’m still a Gator. I just love the university and I love Gator Nation.”

46 COMMENTS

  1. Well, I must say, its sad but necessary. I know the AD wants an offensive minded coach with HC experience. But I think we need to look at a man that I think would be perfect for our nation…. Chad Morris OC for Clemson.

  2. An offensive coach prob keeps TRob (not under contract tho) and Lawing and eats the salary of roper. I bet that pisses foley off the most is that roper is owed 2mil and muschamp never let him run the show…

  3. All of the coaches have to go. They are all a part of a losing culture. Screw recruiting. Where have all these highly ranked classes got Florida? TRob, Lawing, and anyone else these recruits like have to go, they are all losers at UF. The new coach has to do the same thing that Charlie Strong did at Texas. That means there is going to be a lot of transfers and guys being told to hit the road. It means that recruits that are whining about their favorite coach staying are going to be disappointed. There’s a reason Muschamp was fired, and it’s not because him or any of the coaches were doing a good job.As seen with the astonishingly improvement in Texas’s fortunes this year, the right coach can right the ship very quickly, but you can’t expect him to do it loaded down with the detritus that was the reason for foundering. Some top guys will come because they love UF or like the new coaching staff. You don’t halfway get a divorce, it doesn’t work. Keeping holdovers from a losing regime is dumb.

  4. Now it’s time to go out and get a proven coach with head coaching experience! No more experiments. We go out and break out the check book to reel in one of the nation’so best and our class will fill right up. Right now I’m hoping for Hugh Freeze, Bob Stoops, or Dan Mullen. Anything is possible!

  5. If precedent counts, we’ll see one or two current assistants offered the opportunity to stay, in part to smooth the transition to a new head coach and staff. TRob, Lawing and Summers would figure to be the most likely holdovers. Roper and Durkin will be popular additions to other schools ‘ staffs. We’ll see a lot of both of them as their careers unfold. Recruits are reacting thoughtfully and a good new head coach can put together a strong finish. Obviously Will a Muschamp is the kind of guy we want, just not a head coach for the University of Florida where we should own the SEC East most years and the game in Atlanta a goodly number of years, too . Thankfully, with our talent base, we’ll rise quickly.

  6. Aux, that’s gotta be about the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. Just because their on staff doesn’t mean they’re losers. How can you blame everything on Muschamp and then try to say they’re all losers as well?? Our losing was purely Muschamp making the wrong decisions. Heck I can’t think of very many of our assistanto who I didn’t think did a good job! T Rob did a GREAT job coaching our secondaries over the years and is our best recruiter. Not keeping him would be stupid! Brad Lawing did a phenomenal job at SC and did a tremendous job coaching our D line. Getting rid of him just because he was on this coaching staff would be idiotic! Mike Summers has about as good a resume as any O line coach could! He’s done AMAZING with our line in just one year. To call him a loser bexcuse he’s only been on this staff one year is just plain dumb. Here’s what I wounderstand do if I was the next coach (and what I seriously hope the next coach will do): I would guarantee T Rob, Lawing, and Summers their jobs with serious consideration for promotions in the future. I would keep Brian White as running backs coach, and I would keep Leak, probably not as receivers coach but as a grad assistant again. He’s going to be far too great a coach someday just to cut him lose now and this university owes that young man. Then I’d keep both Roper and Durkin in the running for the coordinator positions. If I found people I thought were better then sorry guys, if not then welcome back. If Durkin didn’t get the DC job then I’d definitely give him ST and Backers if he’d take them. He’s done extraordinary there in the past.

  7. I love the approach that Byron Cowart, Cece Jefferson, & Jeffery Holland are taking. They all seem to be making the right move by not having a knee jerk reaction like most recruits would’ve already done. I think that if the new coach keeps T-Rob, DJ Durkin, Lawing, & Summers they all come on board at UF. Durkins defense is solid and the other coaches are great at what they do as well. I think the main/key guy is T-Rob. All of the recruits seem to like him and would be the bridge to the new coach. GO GATORS!!!!

  8. Aux2, new Coach was requested and now you are going to get one; don’t start telling someone who is not even here how to do things, that’s part of the problem in the HBC position at Florida. If coaches read or hear some of the trash put out there by our illustrious fans they will never come here; you saw Dan Mullen’s’ comments. Keep it classy & GO GATORS.

  9. I totally agree. These coaches are terrific and would only make the transition of a new coach that much easier. I hope Jeremy will consider this when he begins the interview process. Mushchamp could help with this transition smooth by providing good insight and consideration of what these coaches mean to the student athletes and the prospective student athletes.
    -GG

  10. I appreciate the efforts of this staff however, new coach = new staff. The culture has to be gutted. New slate for everyone, all positions up for grabs. W. Grier very well could be the starter next season…new coach could bring his own QB/recruits. Some prospects will drop out and new ones will enthusiastically jump in – UF alone is eye candy! Lots of names being tossed around for HBC; here’s a quick read on the guy that gets my vote: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/540439-bobby-petrino-still-at-the-top-of-floridas-wishlist

  11. New coach doesn’t necessarily mean a whole new staff. Strong was on Zook’s staff and Meyer decided to keep him. You saw how good of an idea that was. It doesn’t matter who was on who’s staff or what the former head coach did! What matters is the assistant in question. T Rob, Lawing, and Summers are all some of the best in the country at what they do. And while Durkin was the ST Coordinator and backers coach, both were extremely good. To fire guys like that because they were on Muschamp’s staff is the highest degree of stupid and I don’t want our next coach to be a dumb one. I think most all of this coaching staff are excellent coaches. I think the only guy who really needed to go was Muschamp. Now is the next guy gonna keep Muschamp’s whole staff? No. New coaches have guys they’ve been with for many many years and they’re going to bring them along. They also should bring in new guys if they think they’re better. But if you can find a better secondary coach, D line coach, and O line coach than T Rob, lawing, and Summers, and who are fine taking the same job at a different place, then I’d like to see them! Also getting rid of those guys just for the sake of getting a new staff would be devastating to recruiting. T Rob is our best recruiter and the main recruiter for a LOT of our commits and top targets. Both Cowart and Jefferson love Lawing and Jefferson even said “as long as Lawing is still at UF, I’m still considering”, and our O line commits and Martez Ivey are all very interested in playing for Summers. What do you think getting rid of those guys “just because” would do for recruiting?

  12. Now that we got what we wanted and Muschamp is gone, Gator fans BETTER show Muschamp love these last couple weeks. He deserves nothing less. It’s true he wasn’t ready to be the head coach at UF. Yes he failed. It was abslutely the right decision to let him go. That doesn’t change everything he DID do for our program. After Urban Liar led this program into FSU like criminality and lack of discipline, Muschamp turned this into a respectable program again. He did everything he could for his players and taught them how to be men. He brought discipline back to UF. Coaching skill aside, he loved UF and gave us every bit he had. You won’t find many better guys than Will Muschamp. And let’s not forget the great job recruiting he’s done. He may not have been able to do anything with it, but his recruiting will make things a lot easier for the next guy. After a season full of negativity and hate, he deserves to be shown respect his last few weeks. He deserves some appreciation for what he WAS able to do here. We got what we want, now let’s give him whathe deserves. let’s show all the support and love for Muschamp Gator nation can offer.

  13. Zach wrote, “The move will eventually lead to better 2015 recruiting results for the Gators… ” Nonsense. Transition classes rarely wind up very good. There’s uncertainty, a short window to build relationships, guys recruited by the old coach may not fit the new system, etc. There may, hopefully, be some key players who stick, but it isn’t likely to be a better class now that Muschamp is gone. Too many var

    • Theologator,
      When you only have NINE commits in November and it doesn’t look like there’s more coming any time soon, then yes, a coaching change will lead to better recruiting results. It’s definitely not going to make things worse.

  14. I agree that it had to be done now and should have been done after the Ga Southern game last year; but now is the time for the Gator Nation to come together. Any jackass who immediately starts a Fire (insert name of next coach) without giving him time to prove it is NOT a Gator. Get on board now with Foley and give a 110% support to the next National Championship winning Gator HBC!

  15. I don’t understand all of those who want to keep some of the coaches. Maybe the new coach will want to retain one or two, but it’s not like they have done a good job. The defense again faltered when it mattered against South Carolina, a recurring theme the last couple of years. I don’t think it’s to much to ask to expect a defense to stop a team from going 34 yards with 39 seconds to go. How about showing something resembling resistance in overtime? Both times USC sliced through UF’s defense like it was hot butter. Worried about the recruiting prowess of Robinson? I think he has South Florida, who has he got from there lately? I did see one he didn’t get, Dalvin Cook, look better than any of UF’s backs Saturday night. If Summers has done such a great job, why was UF unable to run the ball against South Carolina, a team that has been run over all year? Winning games, not compiling stats, is the only thing that matters, and this staff has failed at that task.

  16. aux2..you are so wrong..the reason why we lost this game is because of poor st play which does fall on the shoulders of the head coach..you would think after the first block muschamp wouldve told the st coach to make sure he tighten things up but im assuming if never happened because we had another st meltdown..defense hasnt been a problem since charlie strong was there..if not for the defense muschamp would have been fired in the middle of last year..as far as the coaching staff, i say we keep t-rob the o and d line coaches and durkin..leak im on the fence about only because he’s a gator and such a great guy..coaching wise i say we go with either hugh freeze or gary patterson..both play in tough conferences and have shown the ability to win with far less talent than uf..all in all i really admire and respect what muschamp has been over the past few years with the player character issues and all but we have become nice guys and we all know nice finish 2nd when it counts..playing in the sec we need to become more like bullies…GO GATORS!!!!

  17. aux I get your point, but its not always that cut and dry. Keeping T-Rob would be smart not only he is a Miami guy & recruits the state well he also has a very talented but young secondary. And it think it will only help with the development of our young guys back there. Remember Meyer kept a hold over from the Zooker’s staff named Charlie Strong how’d that work out just ask Spikes and Co. how they liked Strong. Keeping T-Rob would be great and throw in D-line coach as well as his units are proven.

  18. Why all the love for Durkin? Ever since Durkin took over, this defense starts off slow game in and game out. We are always playing from behind. It is coaching and game planning. This defense never started off slow under Dan Quinn!!! This team went downhill when Quinn left, period!

  19. Foley says he is looking for someone with “high integrity and high character,”…this will probably eliminate my choice – BOBBY PETRINO – although I don’t think it should. How many men have had affairs and are still considered “high character?” I believe Paterno and Sandusky would have passed that portion of the evaluation process with flying colors before the lights came on… In my opinion no one has the superior insight and awareness a person gains from falling publicly and is determined to redeem himself/herself – they sees life very differently. Regarding the new staff vs old staff, generally you would replace all, however in this case I would evaluate each individual and see if they make me SIGNIFIGANTLY better – if so, I see how they fit. I am going to look over some of the other names being tossed out there…I do like the offense, recruiting and excitement Ole Miss has going.

  20. Mushmouth,
    1. It takes a great deal of courage to disappear for weeks when things start looking good for Muschamp and suddenly reappear when thing go south… smh
    2. And if you paid any attention at all, I haven’t been on the Muschamp bandwagon in quite some time! I was pissed after Bama, wanted him gone after LSU, shouted from the rooftops he should be gone immediately after Mizzou, then even after Georgia I didn’t have a knee jerk reaction like most. I said he deserved our support (because true fans do something called root for their team) and I said we should wait and see if Georgia was a true turnaround. I also made it abundantly clear I did not believe it was, that while I supported him, I did not believe in him and thought he would deserve to be fired in the end. And to that point I was right.
    So your comment about finding a new desk to get under, well maybe you should’ve stayed disappeared…

  21. aux, I REALLY hope our new coach isn’t so foolish. Our defense has been superb. You know how hard it is to stop an offense from scoring when they just made a game changing block and grabbed all the momentum at the end of a game? Do you know how tough it is to keep holding an offense, when your defense is doing nothing? Furthermore do you know how difficult it is to win games when your coach is coaching you not to lose?? Losses not on T Rob, Lawing, Durkin, or Summers at all. T Rob, Lawing, and Summers especially have all done an outstanding job. To get rid of them because they were on a certain staff despite their abilities is beyond foolish. Smart coaches don’t make knee jerk reactions. If the new coach replaces them because he feels he’s found better assistants then good. I’d love to see what even better assistants can do. But the fact they were on Muschamp’s staff doesn’t change the job they did. I would most certainly keep someone who could do their job that well!You should go ask about any coach in the nation if they’d like to have T Rob, lawing, and Summers join their staff…

  22. Tigercatzero..Bobby Petrino?? Really??? C’mon man you gotta be kidding me!!! I’ve loved dam near all of your postsecept that one. I wouldn’t even look that dudes way! Yea he can coach offense but his character sucks!! I threw out Brian Schottenheimer’s name to a buddy & also on twitter. Former Gator. Played & learned under Spurrier. NFL ties. AND is still young enough to relate to the collegiate athlete. I still say keep T-Rob, Sommers, Lawing, & Durkin. GO GATORS!!!

  23. by That_UAT_Guy I don’t accept excuse for failure. Sure it’s hard to stop someone, but that’s what a great defense does. The defense has to be able to overcome adversity. South Carolina’s defense did that. Their offense didn’t put a lot of points on the board, but that didn’t stop the defense from trying hard. The defense has constantly failed the past two years when it mattered. From not stopping Georgia Southern to letting Georgia hold the ball for the majority of the fourth quarter, the defense failed much more than succeeded. The defense should rise up occasionally to win a game. It’s silly to look at stats, if that was the case, you’d think UF’s defense was better than FSU’s. But FSU’s defense makes play to win, UF’s defense fails to make plays and loses. The game isn’t played to compile stats, it’s played to win.
    As for the coaches, Muschamp didn’t create this mess by himself. The assistant coaches have ownership in the sorry state of the program. They are as responsible as Muschamp. It’s a silly debate anyway. The new coach will not want holdovers from the old regime. He’ll have his own ideas about who he wants, it may include many of his present staff. No, the present coaches need to send their resumes out, they aren’t gong to be at UF much longer. as Martha Stewart says: “That’s a good thing.”

  24. @ Maurice, I live in South Carolina and the die hard Clemson fans want to get rid of Chad Morris as bad as you might want to get him. I just say just be careful of what you ask for, I don’t think Chad Morris is HBC material anyway. there are plenty names being tossed around, and I’m hopeful the committe will chose a good one. THE GATOR NATION deserves the BEST after the last SIX years, that includes Myers last two and I’m a myers supporter for what he did for the UF., Not at OSU. GO GATORS!!!!

  25. TCZZ, you know I got nothing but love for you brother but I disagree with you on “new coach, new staff” If you break all ties you loose too much of your continuity and many recruits, commits and current players. You may have too start too far in the hole to make an impact. I believe there are some good coaches in this group and they are committed to do a great job at this institution. I say if you (the new coach) see the potential in some of the coaches already on board use them. GO GATORS!!!!

  26. That Guy,

    Just because one does not post dos not mean they have disappeared. I stated repeatedly he was a turd of a head coach and a bad hire. I guess I was right. Indirectly I supported him as well (with $), though I disagreed.

    The fact remains you and others in fact WERE on the muschamp bandwagon, and you were in fact WRONG.

  27. aux,
    Wow. yes defense is just a big failure I’m sure. That’s why everyone wants a defensive minded coach to fix the defense. That’s why everyone is talking about how hard it’s going to be for Muschamp to find a job, because our defense was just terrible. Yup you’re right it’s all on the defense. The offense has just been superb the whole time,but the defense allowing 19 ppg these last 3 years has just been horrible. I mean that’s just a real losing formula! Scoring more than 20 points in a game? man that’s so impossible! Yup our offense did all they could, our D just sucked! Should I go on or do you understand how dumb that sounds now? smh… That’s also why you can’t come up with one good reason to get rid of T Rob, Lawing, or Summers other than “they were on Muschamp’s staff,” quite possibly the most illogical argument I have ever heard. Strong was on Zook’s staff! But I guess he was a loser and Meyer never should have kept him. yeah that was a real mistake. Sure we all regret that… smh… Come on man!

  28. Aux- you call muschamps staff losers. Yet praise Strong. The same Strong who, under your formula, was a loser as he was on Zooks staff. But was still retained by Meyer and won national titles. Can’t have it both ways.

    And the players being told to hit the road at Texas are guys with off field issues or discipline problems. By all accounts there is very little of that left at UF. Muschamp took care of that for Meyer like Strong is doing in Texas.

  29. Muschamp in the classroom = A+ (the highest average team GPA ever)
    Muschamp off the field = A+ (best team discipline in many years, if not ever)
    Muschamp Recruiting = A+ (41 ESPN Top 300’s, 21 Flips – 3 Elite 11 QB’s)
    Muschamp behind the scenes = C- (‘they’ were out to get him, and ‘they’ finally did)
    Any Gator HBC can get a Top 25 class, it takes ‘special’ to get a Top 5 recruiting class.
    *An IMOHO, they did Will a 6 Million favor by getting him outta here. Were I him,
    I’d take an extended family vacation before going on to my next job. (easily hired)
    Take some time, to get the bs system, OUTTA your system!

    As my favorite ‘Big-Little Girl’ used to say,,,
    “No matter how cynical I get,,, I just can’t keep up!”
    The ‘real reasons’ (for the coaching change) will never be known or talked about publicly.
    “And that’s the truth, ppllbbb.”

    Can’t say that I much G-a-S who ‘they’ replace him with at this point.
    (But Dan and Rich are evidently a lot smarter than they look)

    On my own ‘NO FREAKIN’ WAY’ list: Lame Kitten – Jelly-Belly-Kelly – Chucky
    I’d burn my Alumni card over that kind of total horschit!
    Generally speakin’ – yawl have a nice day and GoooooGators!

  30. Aux you must be new around here and just started watching Gator football recently. It’s funny that you mentioned Charlie Strong in your rant, because Charlie Strong was the DC with Ron Zook! Then Zook was canned and Charlie was the interim HC and Urban kept him on as the DC. We won TWO National Titles with Strong at DC so your “losing culture” argument doesn’t apply at all. Keep T-Rob and Lawing (look at all of the Gators’ DL that are playing in the NFL now from the Muschamp era, it’s impressive). Everyone else maybe get rid of or take a wait and see approach (is Durkin a good DC or was Muschamp really the DC and Durkin was just DC in name only?). If we were to get an offensive minded coach like Art Briles, I can’t imagine Roper being kept on. Either way, we were losing recruits with Muschamp at the helm (due to our on field failures) so while the recruits say that UF isn’t on their list anymore, we probably wouldn’t have gotten them anyways.

  31. BRGF, thanks for holding us down out there on the Bayou! I can respect your objection to Bobby Petrino but can you educate me on what character issues you have with him. I am aware of his public fall at Arkansas; I am wondering if there is more. I don’t agree with the behavior at all however I would be willing to AT LEAST examine his moral character and all else involved in being a successful coach (BEFORE and AFTER the transgression) vs blindly accepting the notion that because another guy has no documented issues, he is automatically the better option or morally superior. Guess I am too liberal in comparison to the majority of society. I don’t know Coach Petrino personally but I’ve always come away impressed by his coaching abilities and play calling. I once emailed him but never heard back from him. 🙂 Foley keeps dropping hints as if he has his guy(s) on a very short list – ‘high character, championship background’… Phil Fulmer someone mentioned?? Creek Gator, thanks for the objection Brother. I reviewed my thoughts on the coaching situation vs the business model shortly after my original post and changed my position (reposted the change shortly thereafter). My evaluation was swift and my change of heart/mind was decisive… If you make me SIGNIFIGANTLY better, I need you! LUV UF!