After a busy few days last week and the Muschamp story last night, the Mail Stack returns.
Sorry I’ve keep you all anxiously waiting, but when news breaks about coaching hires, that takes precedence.
It’s been an eventful 10 days with Jim McElwain taking over at Florida, and that’s great for UF recruiting after three weeks of being in a holding pattern.
On to the questions!
Given the amount of time that offensive line coach Mike Summers and recruiting ace T-Rob have spent with Coach McElwain on the road, is it safe to say both are probably going to be retained? Have any candidates surfaced for the OC and DC jobs? — Ken Eats Gainesville, @JacobHunter86
I don’t anticipate anything changing with Summers, but Robinson is a different story. With Will Muschamp taking the defensive coordinator position at Auburn, it could throw a wrench in the works with Robinson and UF.
As I mentioned in my post about Robinson, Auburn is his alma mater and where he started coaching. 247 reports that he’s expected to join Muschamp there.
The Tigers will have to pay if they want Robinson, who currently makes $510,000 at Florida, but he’s well worth it. I think UF should try to give him another raise, but sometimes loyalty is greater than money.
There’s a chance that D.J. Durkin could stay on as defensive coordinator, and former Alabama offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier is one of the leading candidates for the Florida position.
What does or can Coach Mac do to counter the negativity when talking to recruits? — Woody
Good question, because obviously there has been a lot of negativity — uncertainty more than anything — surrounding the football program.
One pitch he has used is telling recruits that the main reasons they’ve had for liking Florida are still there.
The campus life, education, SEC competition, national exposure and NFL opportunity hasn’t changed. He’ll eventually announce the current assistants who will be retained, and he’ll proclaim that the new coaches coming in are “top of the line,” so to speak.
The only thing essentially changing with McElwain, he says, is the offense. He maintains it will be fixed, the defense will continue to dominate and all the factors that make UF a great school remain in tact.
To McElwain’s credit, the latter part of his message is true. He’ll have to sell the rest of it based on his offensive track record and the defensive players (and possible coaches) he inherits.
Mac has been putting in the work. What recruits do you think will commit or flip soon? — @KruzanJr_
The JUCO lineman who revealed the news about Summers is Brandon Pertile. He’s committed to Oklahoma State but officially visiting Florida this weekend.
The 6-foot-6, 300-pounder attends Mesa C.C. in Arizona but played for Clearwater Countryside in high school. If Pertile enjoys his trip to UF, he could flip to the in-state Gators and sign with them Wednesday.
Tight end Daniel Imatorbhebhe will probably be the first prep prospect who pops for McElwain. He had a great visit Tuesday night with him and his brother, and now Imatorbhebhe is down to Cal and Florida.
He’s an early enrollee and wants to decide soon.
Which highly rated uncommitted prospect do we have the best chance at signing? — @McFly_22, @vhcombs, @scharf15, @NickStow15
It’s too early in the coaching transition for me to confidently predict something like this, but I feel good about Florida’s chances with five-star defensive end CeCe Jefferson.
He spoke highly of McElwain when he was hired, his father is a die-hard Gator fan and his family lives a half hour from Gainesville. Jefferson also previously stated he could end up coming to UF regardless of what the coaching situation is.
That being said, he’s very close to Durkin, Robinson and defensive line coach Brad Lawing. If any or all of those coaches leave, it will undoubtedly make things harder for McElwain to land Jefferson.
But if I had to bet on which five-star recruit Florida will most likely get out of Jefferson, Byron Cowart and Martez Ivey, I’d go with Jefferson.
Can you list recruits that Coach Mac is re-engaging/visiting even though they have committed elsewhere? — @Commando074, @DevinLamarr, @tedsmall, Bob, @Splash_Boi_Jike, @justiwood, @gatorskin77, @UFgatorsforlife , @Peoples_Champ03
McElwain visited at least 10 recruits committed elsewhere this week. For the list of his visits, click here.
He appears to have made the most progress with Florida State quarterback commit Deondre Francois and Miami running back commit Jordan Scarlett.
Both have decided to officially visit UF in January after the dead period ends (Jan. 14). Florida is now a legitimate option for Francois, according to sources close to him.
UF was the third offer for Francois and he grew up a Gator fan. However, he wants to play for an offensive-minded head coach and Muschamp didn’t fit the bill. With McElwain now on the job, that changes things.
He also prefers to go to somewhere that’s not crowded at quarterback. When Francois went through his recruitment in the spring and summer, he wasn’t looking at schools that already had a QB commit. It wasn’t until an Elite 11 regional competition against De’Andre Johnson that Francois started considering Florida State because he outperformed the FSU pledge.
But with the Seminoles having two other quarterbacks in their class (Kai Locksley) and UF expected to return just Treon Harris and Will Grier next year, the Gators’ depth chart might look more appealing to Francois. However, a potential flip will likely hinge on how well his visit goes next month and what kind of relationship he builds with McElwain.
Many of you asked what Florida’s chances are with Tampa recruits Ray-Ray McCloud III and Auden Tate.
With McCloud deciding not enroll early at Clemson, that gives the Gators more time to recruit him. I don’t think he delayed his enrollment solely because of Tuesday’s visit from McElwain, but it could’ve had an influence. Still, UF has a better shot of flipping of Scarlett at this point than McCloud.
Tate plans to take an official visit to Florida in January, but he and fellow Tampa area receiver George Campbell seem solid to FSU.
Has or is Coach Mac making an effort to reel back in the commits we just lost? — Bob
Not to my knowledge.
Neither of them of called a UF coach before they decommitted, nor did they wait to talk to McElwain, which I’m sure rubbed him the wrong way.
Offensive lineman George Brown, despite his comment after Muschamp got fired, didn’t act like a strong commit with trips taken to Mississippi State and LSU, the school he flipped to last weekend. Summers staying helps the Gators with Brown, but they may not be willing to hear him out if he starts reconsidering them.
Jones backed off his pledge less than a hour after McElwain’s introductory press conference ended. It felt like he watched it, decided he didn’t like the guy and immediately decommitted. Jones said he had to do what’s best for him, and I think he didn’t see himself as a fit in McElwain’s offense.
Florida could continue recruiting them, but it’s hard to pursue kids — especially from Cali and Ohio — who don’t want to be at your school.
What’s the LB board look like? Is Jeff Holland, Adonis Thomas and Te’Von Coney still possible? — @DevinLamarr, @mevansfl
UF is still after Thomas and visited him Wednesday, but he’s locked in to Alabama and has favored the school for a while. Another linebacker from Georgia, Roquan Smith, is heavily leaning toward the in-state Bulldogs right now and visits them this weekend.
Florida’s best shot at an elite linebacker remains Holland, though Muschamp going to Auburn makes the Tigers an even bigger threat. In addition to Coney, a Notre Dame commit, McElwain is also trying to flip Derrick Graham (Arkansas) and Charles Perry (Miami).
How many signees do we need to make this a respectable first class for coach McElwain? — @tdirby12, @SFosser
I don’t anticipate him filling all the scholarships he has available, which is currently 24 and growing. Signing a full class of 25 would be ideal for McElwain, but he won’t reach on some kids just get the numbers up.
I’d say 21 signees would be a respectable class. That’s the triple the number of commits UF has now, and adding 14 more members at positions of need with a few top-100 recruits included would be a job well done.
The staff hires coming up and the last two weeks of the contact period in January will be key to McElwain closing out strong.
That’s all for this week! Be sure to leave your questions for the next mailbag in the comment section below.