You can feel it with each day that passes.
As signing day nears, many Florida recruiting fans are starting to worry about how this 2015 class will pan out. It’s been over a month since the Gators landed a verbal commitment, and before that it had been more than four months.
In addition, the buzz surrounding Will Muschamp and Auburn’s recruiting efforts with some of UF’s top targets only adds insult to injury.
When Jim McElwain was hired and got a positive reaction from recruits, I thought he had a chance to have a better class than most head coaches do during their transitional year because there were — and still are — so many uncommitted prospects with interest high in Florida.
However, with Muschamp and Travaris Robinson going to Auburn, it’s created a scenario where several in-state recruits who would have probably went to Florida may now sign with the Tigers. If Robinson had stayed and Muschamp ended up in Texas (at A&M or Houston) or the NFL, the state of UF recruiting for 2015 is totally different right now.
But that’s the hand McElwain and his assistants were dealt, and those guys are doing all they can to try and salvage this class. Some big-time recruits visit this weekend, and there will be more than a dozen official visitors next weekend.
Regardless of what the results are on signing day, it’s important for everyone to realize the tough predicament these new coaches are in. It’s not that you shouldn’t feel disappointed or frustrated if Florida doesn’t land the recruits you wanted.
I’m just saying don’t hold it against the staff. Not this year.
Save your judgments for the 2016 recruiting cycle. Our football beat writer Robbie Andreu had a great blog about that today.
Does it hurt or better our chances with Byron Cowart, CeCe Jefferson and Jeff Holland if they are in fact a package deal? How serious are they? — @jmercer0036, @rdasilva16, @timdjohnson35, @odessagator, @jozzroman9220
If they’re serious about it, I’d say it helps the Gators’ chances because they’re one of only two teams who are finalists for Cowart, Jefferson and Holland.
The other team is the Auburn Tigers, who’ve put themselves in great position with all three recruits. However, I don’t know if all of them are leaning toward the same school.
Jefferson recently named Ole Miss his leader and returns to Oxford this weekend with Holland, while Cowart takes his official visit to UF this weekend and named Auburn and Florida his finalists on Thursday.
Cowart and Jefferson might also reconsider the Seminoles with former Gators defensive line coach Brad Lawing now at FSU, but that’s a school Holland doesn’t have in the mix.
So if it’s not Auburn or Florida, those three won’t pick the same school. Cowart and Jefferson both said they will visit UF before signing day, but Holland seems up in the air about it. I don’t see him committing to the Gators if he doesn’t take that trip to Gainesville.
There’s still some uncertainty and moving parts in their recruitments, so the best thing to do is grab your popcorn and watch it play out.
Top 5 in order of importance on both sides of the ball with percentage we can land them? — @DevinLamarr
If the Gators can land half of these 10 prospects, that will be huge for them. Alabama linebacker Adonis Thomas commit is definitely a top target, but he appears very solid to the Tide coming off his visit to Tuscaloosa.
1. OT Martez Ivey — 80%
2. WR Ryan Davis — 65%
3. QB Deondre Francois — 40% (FSU commit)
4. RB Jordan Scarlett — 55% (Miami commit)
5. OT Tyree St. Louis — 50% (Miami commit)
1. DE Byron Cowart — 55%
2. DE CeCe Jefferson — 45%
3. LB Jeff Holland — 45%
4. LB Richard McBryde — 50% (Auburn commit)
5. DE Shareef Miller — 60%
What is the status of WR Derrick Dillon? I haven’t heard much recently and was wondering if he is still solid to UF. — Todd Harrell, @iragator
McElwain and director of player personnel Drew Hughes have put the full court press on him ever since LSU got involved in his recruitment.
He officially visited the in-state Tigers last weekend but didn’t flip like some expected.
Dillon is scheduled to take an unofficial visit to Florida next weekend, and if he makes that trip from Louisiana on his own dime, it’s likely he sticks with the Gators.
They’re trying to sign four receivers in this class, but Dillon in my opinion would be their best signee at the position and could make an immediate impact next season.
Do we have a legitimate shot at getting Jaason Lewis to flip from ASU or just another case of getting a free visit? Also do you see us taking one RB or do we get two? — bamagator
It’s hard to get a read on Lewis because he won’t do interviews, and I don’t know anybody from his neck of the woods (Virginia). I was told he had a great time in Gainesville from people who were with him, but heard nothing that suggests he will flip to Florida.
With the scholarship room they have, the Gators would definitely take two backs and may end up with the ones who are visiting together this weekend (Jordan Cronkrite and Scarlett). They should land at least one of those guys.
Do you think we will get any commitments before NSD? If so, who? — @ChrisSavery, @dwgtennis, @kerrdog
Linebacker Rayshad Jackson plans to commit Sunday after (or possibly during) his trip to Florida, and N.C. State defensive lineman commit Jabari Zuniga will make a final decision Monday following visits to Arkansas and UF.
I think the Gators will get both prospects and gain some much needed recruiting momentum heading into the final week before signing day.
That’s all for this week! Be sure to leave your questions for the next mailbag in the comment section below.