Ah, recruiting is alive and well again!
The contact period resumed Thursday and Florida hit the road about as hard as you would expect a school that only had eight verbal commitments in mid-January.
You can always tell who coaches really want by the visits they make on the first day of the contact period.
On to the questions!
Out of the big 3 (Byron Cowart, CeCe Jefferson and Martez Ivey), who do we land? — @rdasilva16, @GaGator02, @alexsdrummond
Let me start off by addressing Jefferson since a few of you freaked out when I didn’t mention him in last week’s Mail Stack.
That was (and still is) because he’s not a recruit I’m comfortable saying UF would land if today were signing day, and he’s not the top defensive line target (it’s Cowart, although Jefferson is basically target No. 1B).
The Gators absolutely have a chance with Jefferson still, but it’s not as high as it seemed a month ago. If you’ll remember, I wrote on Dec. 13 that if had to bet on which five-star recruit Florida would most likely get out of Jefferson, Cowart and Ivey, I’d go with Jefferson.
Well, folks, that’s why you don’t bet on recruiting.
So much has changed with Jefferson in a month’s time. Will Muschamp and Travaris Robinson went to Auburn, D.J. Durkin and Brad Lawing were not retained, he named Ole Miss his leader and he decided not to take an official visit to UF this month. I understand that he’s been to Gainesville dozens of times, but passing up an opportunity to spend a whole weekend with Florida’s new staff isn’t exactly a good sign.
All that being said, there’s still a few weeks to go and things could change again in Jefferson’s recruitment. Despite Ole Miss currently being his top school and Auburn trending, it might still come down to his longtime front-runners Florida and Alabama, a school I’m told to watch out for. His dad really likes Nick Saban.
Cowart sent UF fans into panic mode Thursday with his comments in this GatorCountry article, where he expressed how hard it will be for new defensive coach Terrell Williams to win him over and said he may not officially visit Florida. While it definitely wasn’t great news for the Gators, Cowart has made wishy-washy statements throughout his recruitment about his leader, visit plans and decision date(s).
His feelings have gone back and forth about various things, and he’s even contradicted himself at times. Cowart could sing a different tune about Williams and a potential UF trip as soon as next week. For the Gators’ sake, they better hope he does because they need to get him back on campus and Williams has to grow on him in a hurry.
Ivey is currently the one I feel most confident about Florida landing out of the three five-stars. He was set to commit to the Gators at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl but held off so he could take some more visits to be sure of his decision. But right now, that would be UF.
At this time, I think Ivey and at least one of the defensive ends sign with Florida.
Percentage chances on the top 5 most important recruits to land? And who do we have a decent shot of flipping? — @ryanponczek, @GatorKen81
Keep in mind that these percentages can and will fluctuate between now and signing day, but here’s where they stand now in my opinion.
1. OT Martez Ivey — 80%
2. DE Byron Cowart — 50%
3. LB Jeff Holland — 55%
4. DE CeCe Jefferson — 45%
5. WR Ryan Davis — 70%
As for flips, I like Florida’s chances with quarterbacks Deondre Francois (FSU) and Lamar Jackson (Louisville), running back Jordan Scarlett (Miami), tight end G.G. Robinson (Louisville), offensive tackle Christian Pellage (South Carolina) and cornerback Jeremiah Dinson (Kentucky). All are officially visiting UF this month.
What’s your feeling on LB Adonis Thomas now with the shake up at Bama? — @DevinLamarr
During the Under Armour All-America media luncheon, Thomas seemed very solid to Alabama and it didn’t sound like he would visit Florida.
But with the Tide losing both of their linebackers coaches, that has opened the door for UF and other schools to try and sway him.
He’s taking his official to Tuscaloosa this weekend and that trip will probably determine what he does moving forward. If he does decide to take visits, I imagine Auburn and Florida are the leading candidates to receive those.
However, in speaking to Thomas, it’s clear that Saban and Kirby Smart are the two Alabama coaches who had the most influence on his recruitment. So while he may take a couple trips, the Tide have the upper hand at this time.
Home Sweet Home
— Adonis Thomas (@_SimplyThatGuy5) January 16, 2015
Eating dinner with Coach Saban #RollTide
— Adonis Thomas (@_SimplyThatGuy5) January 17, 2015
Which DE does Florida have a better shot with, Arden Key or Shareef Miller? — @justiwood
Definitely Miller. The Gators offered the Philly pass rusher on Jan. 8 and immediately became his top team, according to 247Sports ($).
He’s scheduled to visit Arizona State, Penn State and Miami before his Feb. 2 decision date, but plans to make it to UF during his trip to the Sunshine State.
There was talk that Florida was trying to get a visit from Key, but nothing has been set up yet and his visit schedule is pretty busy this month (LSU 1/16, Miami 1/19, Louisville 1/23, Auburn 1/30).
Even if Key does squeeze in a trip to UF, it doesn’t appear that the Gators are much of a player for him.
That’s all for this week! Be sure to leave your questions for the next mailbag in the comment section below.