As Florida athletics director Jeremy Foley begins his search for the next football coach, worrying about recruiting is not high on his priority list.
But given how poorly UF has recruited for 2015, Foley knows that it’s imperative to turn things around as soon as possible.
Recruiting classes usually aren’t good during a transitional year, and it doesn’t help that the Gators were already struggling before Will Muschamp was fired.
“There is no question anytime there is a coaching change, it’s difficult in recruiting,” Foley said. “Signing day is not until February. You can’t rush this. At the end of the day, it’s still the University of Florida. We got a lot to offer up here. I think we have an opportunity here and a new coach will get in here, but recruiting is about relationships. You’ve heard Will talk about it and Urban (Meyer) talk about it. That’s the way it is.
“A new coach coming in here obviously will be a little behind the eight ball, but you’re not going to rush it because of recruiting. Recruiting is important. But we’ll get a coach in here with plenty of time to go visit (recruits) and convince some folks that this is a good place to be, because it is a good place to be. We’ve got a lot to offer, and that has not changed. But right now, there’s an unknown. How do you answer the question, ‘Who’s my new coach?’ You can’t answer that right now.”
Muschamp said he won’t be involved in Florida’s recruiting efforts for the rest of this month and beyond, but he’ll still promote UF to prospects whenever they speak to him.
“The assistant coaches will continue the recruiting process,” Muschamp said. “Certainly, anyone that asks me about Florida, I’m going to tell them that it’s a great place to be. It’s a great situation academically, something that can certainly help you for the rest of your life. My message won’t change as far as those things are concerned.”
Muschamp joked Monday that the next coach can’t come in and say he didn’t inherit good players. Muschamp likes the roster he has put together.
“I think we’ve got a deep, talented team,” he said. “Key positions where we have struggled, hopefully in the future they’ll be able to make those situations better.
“I feel like we’re headed the right direction at quarterback. As far as depth and quality of the guys in the room, we have that on both lines of scrimmage. As talented a secondary as I’ve been around as far as those guys coming back. Linebackers, you got some good players.”
Muschamp also said he’s leaving a locker room full of high-character players who do the right things off the field.
“I think that goes back to recruiting,” he said. “You make decisions in the recruiting process on the type of young men you want in your locker room and the type of person you want on your football team and the type of individuals you want to represent the University of Florida.
“That’s an inexact science from the standpoint of the limited amount of contacts we have off campus, but you do your due diligence as a coach to make sure you have outlined for your assistants the type of young men you want in the program. If a guy has issues as a 10th and 11th grader, he’s probably going to have them as a freshman in college. We have tried to steer clear of that and move forward with the right kind of guy. I think this locker room has got that.”