UF assistants deserve credit for recruiting efforts

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Florida now has a new head football coach, and on signing day in two months, he’ll receive a ton of praise for the recruits UF brings in.

And deservedly so.

With just seven verbal commitments at this time, it’s going to take some serious work by Jim McElwain to salvage what’s been a disappointing 2015 class for the Gators thus far.

Fortunately for him, the recruiting efforts of Florida’s 10 assistants over the last three weeks will make his job easier.

Since Will Muschamp was let go and stopped recruiting on Nov. 16, those staff members have been the only line of communication between high school players and the UF football program.

They spent the first two weeks following Muschamp’s firing taking phone calls from recruits and messaging them through Facebook and Twitter, on a daily basis in some cases. And although they’re under contract into January, getting paid doesn’t diminish how difficult it is for them to carry out their job duties when they don’t know where or even if they’ll be employed after the new year.

What they’re going through is one of the few negatives about the coaching profession. But from a recruiting standpoint, and presumably all other areas of the job, they’ve handled themselves professionally and with class.

While Gator Nation was glued to Twitter this week watching Florida’s coaching search play out, all 10 assistants were visiting high schools and the homes of recruits every day. More than 60 prospects (see list) were seen by director of player personnel Drew Hughes and coaches D.J. Durkin, Coleman Hutzler, Brad Lawing, Chris Leak, Derek Lewis, Travaris Robinson, Kurt Roper, Mike Summers and Brian White.

Those guys haven’t just been collecting a pay check. They went all out in the contact period despite not being able to tell recruits whether or not they’ll be at UF next season.

Had they not worked the phones and hit the road, those kids would have went three weeks without hearing positive things about Florida or having the Gator logo in their face.

Some of those coaches will stay on staff with McElwain, some won’t. But all of them deserve credit for keeping the school and football program alive in the minds of recruits.

Otherwise, UF would have been dead to them by now.

30 COMMENTS

  1. Douggator you are so right, we need a loyal an base to cheer on our team. I am from s. c. and they have fans that are there even when they only get close to a 500 season. They beleive in the cocks, that I dont like. Com on gator fans. GO GATORS.

  2. Douggator….
    A lot, a very lot of very loyal Gator fans out there. Muschamp just dampened the enthusiasm the last four years with multiple poor, losing performances in The Swamp. Think it is going to get better soon.

  3. I know it’s tough to see the Gators lose, but I agree…if you’re gonna be a fan which is short for “fanatic”, then be a fanatic when’s times are tough! Stop the brutal bashing of the players, coaches, & AD! I feel that the Gator Nation has enough haters out there hatin…we don’t need our own fan base hatin & bashing. If you don’t have anything good to say….just shut up!!! I will be a Gator & root for the Gators til they put me in the ground.

  4. Doug, you are correct. I’m embarrassed with half the stuff I see on the internet from our so called fans. Though most fans I know personally are loyal and not so fickle. I believe the pessimists and chicken littles are just more vociferous and quicker to take to the internet, making them seem more numerous than they are. At least that’s what I tell myself.

  5. Pay the fans 5-600 grand a year and you will see all kinds of loyalty…..actually gator fans are extremely loyal. When they see their beloved program in decline, they get upset. Its all good though, today is a new and sunny day!!

  6. With only eight verbal commitments right now Coach Mac has his opportunity to put his personal signature on this class. It’s paper thin in numbers and perceived overall quality. Nothing he can do about the past with Florida recruiting. However, UF just became a whole lot more attractive with a forward-looking head coach whose style and results are easily discovered. We were headed for a disastrous recruiting outcome. Now our class should at least be productive and maybe even better. A big welcome to our new HBC and much appreciation to our hard working assistant coaches for their perseverance and excellence in laying the groundwork for everything unfolding now!

  7. I’ love my Fla Gators and have since 1966 and I never felt I could or should try to get or influence getting a coach or coaches fired. That job belonged to the President of the Univ or the AD. I’m convinced there are idiot Gator fans that will still spew their negative venom towards the new coach next year if Fla doesn’t go undefeated and win every game 56 to 0.

  8. We’ll see what happens. The recruiting class can only get better, it can’t get any worse. Both Brown and Jones are history,and it wouldn’t surprise anyone if Dillon left also. McElwain has a week before a month long no contact period. We’ll see if any good news comes in. It’s going to rough if UF has onl the current number of seven after this week. That would mean a lot of scrambling in he next contact period from thee middle of January until the end. But to expect instant success is unrealistic, It is a setback when you have to fire a coach.

  9. kaput you’re exactly the problem with our fanbase and people like you are why we lost Spurrier. Muschamp did everything he could including walking into a seriously bare roster with huge legal issues over the part 3 years prior and his second year he went 11-2 and none of you were running your mouths. Last year was awful but anybody can see that it wa a combination of ridiculous injuries and poor upper class men leadership which most of them came from Meyer. This year UF could’ve easily been 10-2 with a few plays going different and the Idaho game not getting cancelled. Should Muschamp been fired IMO? Yes. But to he sucked the life out of the program shows that either you’re a young gator fan who doesn’t know anything about what it was like pre – spurrier or you’re and old Gator fan who’s memory is gone. Either way, you are the problem with our fanbase

  10. Here’s where it’s crucial that recuits who know they want to be Gators step up and commit immediately. I know some guys, like Cece and Byron, want to wait until the big stage to commit, but if you’re coming to Florida, then it’s time to put your team first. The Gators are in desperate need of some recruiting momentum. The likes of Jefferson, Cowart, and Ivey committing would do a LOT. I hope Coach McElwain tells them that and they realize how much it’s needed. Hoping for some good news really soon.

  11. Our present reality…. Locker room full of high caliber kids.
    Coaching staff right now showing they are all a class act.
    We now have a coach with a clear vision of all THREE sides of the football.
    Defense…you apply pressure… Special teams…you apply pressure… Offense…You apply pressure… You play offense to send a message to the other team as well as your own. By default… You take pressure off of your offense by scoring. Allowing your strong defense to be even stronger. FIXED!

  12. Been a die hard gator for my entire life and nothing angers me more than spoiled gator fans. Example…my first ever bowl game that I went to was the sugar bowl against Louisville and let me tell you…I was embarrassed for the entire gator nation. Not only were we outnumbered 50 to 1 with card fans but most gator fans lacked the enthusiasm and pure excitement that is college football and especially what it means to be a gator. We need that passion back and be willing to support.whatever coach as its the kids are what really matter and they deserve support no matter what. Go gators…great hire.

  13. The ESPN Top 300 List still has 75 players uncommitted. That’s 25% of those available.
    Seven of the Top 10 have not committed yet.
    1. DT Terry Beckner Jr 6-4 298
    2. DE Byron Cowart 6-4 258
    3. OT Martez Ivey 6-6 271
    5. DE Josh Sweat 6-5 240
    7. CB Iman Marshall 6-1 195
    8. CB Kendall Sheffield 6-0 181
    9. DE CeCe Jefferson 6-3 248
    Plus recruits that have committed elsewhere can still be flipped to UF. No worries mates. Let’s save the sniveling until after NSD,,, after all it might not even be needed. ;~)

  14. even 3 or 4 of these top guys won’t makeup for an entire class. Foley mismanaged the timing of the hiring- should have been earlier in year- actually should have made the move after last year, and bringing in a guy who nobody never heard of doesn’t help.

  15. Oh here we go with anything to blame Foley again… SMDH. I mean let’s just forget the fact that other teams had the regular season to go through and don’t much like being interrupted for coaching searches. Let’s forget that Foley used that time to vette out prospects to make the search go as quickly as possible once the regular season ended. Let’s forget that Foley made a darn good hire in much quicker timing than is usual for coaching searches. Let’s just forget all that and try to dig up anything we can to attack and bash one of our own! Seriously if you can’t find anything positive to say, but you can find anyway to spin something to look like a negative about supposedly your own team, I gotta question if you’re actually a Gator or not.

  16. he used the season to vette out prospects and ended up with the colorado state coach? sounds like the republican party picking romney. didn’t pick their candidates very wisely. Let’s face it foley is getting up there in age and has developed this huge ego- he wants to go out a hero by saying he picked this guy. If he fails for the 3rd time, he will retire and UF will have someone else vette the prospects if you think that’s what he spent his time doing

  17. So if McElwain isn’t a good coach because he was the Colorado State Coach, I guess you’re saying Steve Spurrier, Hugh Freeze, Chip Kelly, Nick Saban, Gary Patterson, Bob Stoops, and Jim Harbaugh are all bad coaches not worthy of coaching at UF or any big university. Seriously where do you think those guys were before UF, Ole Miss, Oregon, Michigan State, TCU, Oklahoma, or Stanford respectively??? Geesh. Some people need to do a little research before they think about touching a keyboard again.

  18. Um Nick Saban was the coach of LSU , the Miami Dolphins, Michigan State- think your research is a tad off. So using your argument everyone should just go after a small school coach- that is called reationalization my friend. The hire may be a good one, but it is clearly more risky than getting Stoops, Harbaugh etc- someone who has proven themselves as a head coach at a high level of competition. Go gators ra ra ra.

  19. Um… I think you’re reading is a bit off. Where does any of that say before Bama. I said before Michigan State. Where was Nick Saban before Michigan State. Oh and you also cherry picked one coach (and cherry picked that coach falsely I might add) out of 7. Wow. That’s a great argument! You sure showed me! smh. The POINT, if I have to spell it out as it seems, is coming from a small school doesn’t mean the coach is not good. It does not mean the coach isn’t the best choice or won’t succeed at a Florida, Michigan State, Stanford, Oregon or so on. I haven’t heard one argument against McElwain other than “Why did we get Colorado State’s coach? WHINE WHINE WHINE” Know why? Because nobody who is against McElwain can think of any facts that would indicate he’s not a good coach (probably because the people against him haven’t done enough research to have facts. Because if you do your research you can clearly see how good he is). As I said when talking about Jeremy Foley, I gotta question whether you’re an actual fan when you spend all your time purposely trying to find bad instead of taking the good that’s in front of you. And again I say, if you’re not excited to have McElwain, ThERE’s THE DOOR! We don’t need the toxic “fans” who have to bash the Gators every chance they get. Bye bye

  20. I don’t understand all the negativity toward Gator fans generally (spoiled, disloyal, etc.). At least put your complaining into the context of college football fans of major programs generally. Richt faces heat regularly from UGA fans for “only” winning 10 games a year, Pelini was fired because he could only win 9 times in an average year and Hoke just was sent packing for results similar to Muschamp’s. Look back at Ohio State fans jumping on Meyer earlier this season for finishing 2013 with two losses and then dropping an early game to VA Tech this year. Singling out Gator fans is nonsense.

  21. Gee now doing your job is somehow above and beyond. Now I do know previous coaches quit and if you quit you should be fired immediately. Now if they want to continue or perhaps get another job doing your job is essential. If you act unethically I don’t want you on my team.

  22. Brett, let me remind you the “seriously bare roster” Wilbur inherited contacned Floyd, Easley, Gillislie, Sturgis, Reed, Harrison, & Elam. All in the NFL now. He was also left the number 1 ranked dual threat qb in the land. Stop blaming Meyer; he did his job here.

  23. Let’s. Stop. The. Nit picking. We got offensive head coach. let him pick. his. assistant coaches hopefully.thayrecruit well. we’ll. See in the next few years if were on top great if not fire his but hire another one. till we do get right