Zach’s Mail Stack 2/1

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Thanks to my 1-year-old, 70-pound boxer, who apparently thinks anything (including laptop screens) is fair game to pounce on, the Mail Stack comes to you late.

On the bright side, my new computer is a little bit faster and my mock class is a little more accurate. 😉

Florida picked up a pair of offensive linemen this weekend, and they won’t be the only recruits from the official visitors list who will end up with the Gators.

Fans have been happy to see some commitments finally happening, but many aren’t overly excited about the additions themselves. Some of that, understandably, stems from them being three-star prospects, but some recruiting analysts as well as myself feel the four commits UF has gained in the past week are all sleepers who have the potential to be productive players in college.

The Gators still need to land a few big names come signing day, but it’s important to fill out the second half of the class with recruits who — while they may not be highly ranked — look great on film and/or have notable offers. Florida appears to be doing that thus far.

This will be the final Mail Stack until August, but I’ll have loads of signing day coverage next week and a 2016 position breakdown the following week. For those who don’t already, I encourage you to follow me on Twitter for NSD updates.

On to the questions!

Of the Big 3 who do you think we reel in? — @RCraft612

I think offensive tackle Martez Ivey is the only five-star prospect Florida lands. For some recruits who grew up rooting a team, the fan side of them often becomes insignificant once their recruiting process takes place.

For others, nothing can outdo an offer from their dream school.

Ivey has a chance to be close to home and get early playing time at the school he’s a die-hard fan of, and based on his actions and comments throughout his recruitment, I believe it’s an opportunity he can’t pass up. Mike Summers staying on staff only adds to Florida’s advantage.

But for defensive ends Byron Cowart and CeCe Jefferson, their relationship with the old coaches at UF was the No. 1 factor that could make or break the Gators. It appears the departures of Will Muschamp and the entire defensive staff, specifically Brad Lawing, is something Florida may have a hard time overcoming with Cowart and Jefferson.

Cowart’s affinity with Auburn is all about Muschamp and it looks like he’s going to follow his favorite coach. Auburn also made a push for Jefferson, but his relationship with Hugh Freeze and Ole Miss DL Chris Kiffin is just as strong as the one he has with Muschamp and Lawing. That was clear with last weekend’s trip to Oxford on his own dime.

Given the recent signs that suggest Cowart and Jefferson could be headed elsewhere, if Jim McElwain & Co. can find a way to pull one or both of them, it will be one of the best recruiting jobs ever seen at UF considering the circumstances. Of the two prospects, chances seem better with Cowart.

Do you think we get both Jordan’s (at RB)? If so what does that mean for Kelvin Taylor and Adam Lane? — @TyrellBoyd2

I’m fairly confident the Gators will get Jordan Cronkrite, who officially visited last weekend. Cronkrite in my opinion has wanted to come to UF since September.

If you’ll remember he decommitted from Miami on the way to the Florida-Kentucky game, but the previous staff wasn’t ready to accept his potential pledge and didn’t recruit him much after that point.

But McElwain wasted no time reaching out to Cronkrite and running backs coach Tim Skipper has been applying pressure for more than a month. I expect it to pay off for them on signing day.

Jordan Scarlett decommitted from the Hurricanes on Sunday morning, which really came as no surprise. During his UF visit last weekend he told several people he wasn’t going to Miami, according to sources. Now the question is whether it will be Florida or Florida State.

I put in a Crystal Ball prediction for Scarlett to UF in late December and felt it would happen for most of January. But with running back Johnny Frasier leaving FSU’s class and Scarlett visiting the ’Noles this weekend, I have doubts.

The fact that Scarlett announced his decommitment from Miami while in Tallahassee could be a telling sign. Then again, the FSU visit could have served as confirmation that Gainesville is the place for him. We’ll find out Monday when he announces his final decision.

I do know that Cronkrite and Scarlett have no problem playing together in college. The U.S. Army All-Americans were committed to Miami at the same time and hung out with each other all last weekend at Florida.

If the Gators land one or both backs, it shouldn’t affect Taylor or Lane all that much. Taylor is likely the starter next season and Lane will have a much larger role in the offense. What Cronkrite and/or Scarlett will do is give UF more talent to hand the ball off to and provide some valuable depth.

Final percentage predictions for commits and flips. — @ryanponczek, @DerekBrian27

Florida’s board consists of more names than the ones below, but these are the main recruits the Gators appear to have targeted.

QB Deondre Francois — 50% (FSU commit)
QB Lamar Jackson — 60% (Louisville commit)
RB Jordan Cronkrite — 75%
RB Jaason Lewis — 15% (Arizona State commit)
RB Jordan Scarlett — 50%
WR Antonio Callaway — 65%
WR Ryan Davis — 70%
OG Quarvez Boulware — 30% (Maryland commit)
OT Nick Buchanan — 35% (Cal commit)
OT Martez Ivey — 80%
OT Tyree St. Louis — 50% (Miami commit)
TE G.G. Robinson — 40% (Louisville commit)
DE Luke Ancrum — 90%
DE Keivonnis Davis — 65% (Oregon State commit)
DE Byron Cowart — 50%
DE CeCe Jefferson — 40%
LB Jeff Holland — 15%
LB Adonis Thomas — 30% (Alabama commit)
CB Montrell Custis — 40%
CB Rashad Fenton — 25%
CB Chris Williamson — 60%

Mock class@DevinLamarr, @lwilley11, bamagator

The Gators currently have 12 commits as of Saturday night. I think they lose Derrick Dillon to LSU and add the eight recruits in my mock class to reach 19.

UF has 28 scholarships available and the ability to sign 27 recruits (early enrollees Kalif Jackson and Daniel Imatorbhebhe count toward the 2014 numbers and a class size can’t be more than 25 per year).

In addition to the 19 recruits I list below, I expect the Gators to land another linebacker, a surprise or two (maybe the LB) and at least one recruit who is 50-50 between Florida and another school.

When all is said and done, I see UF signing 21-22 recruits Wednesday.

QB Lamar Jackson
RB Jordan Cronkrite
WR Antonio Callaway
WR Ryan Davis
WR Kalif Jackson
TE Camrin Knight
TE Daniel Imatorbhebhe
OL Richerd Desir-Jones
OL Mike Horton
OL Martez Ivey
OL Fred Johnson
OL Tyler Jordan
OL Brandon Sandifer
DT Andrew Ivie
DL Jabari Zuniga
DE Luke Ancrum
DE Keivonnis Davis
LB Rayshad Jackson
CB Chris Williamson

68 COMMENTS

  1. Zach and fans, I think its important to note that there are many schools (mostly outside of the SEC top tier) that make GREAT players out of 3 star and even lower players.

    Bottom line…don’t be fooled by the stars. Trust the coaches evaluation and ability to develop players.

  2. Hopefully, McELwain and company will have a very productive year on both sides of the ball in 2015 and win 9 or 10 games and take the first step in closing the borders for players like Cowart and Jefferson. These type of recruits need to stay home and play for the state of Florida…..and that would be THE University of Florida.

  3. And the Florida coaches accepting the commitment of 2-star DE Luke Ancrum fairly much tells you that neither Cowart or Jefferson are headed to Gainesville. Might as well change that projection to 0%, Zack. By the way, when was the last time Florida accepted a commitment from a 2-star recruit? Tyler Murphy, maybe? Other than him, can’t remember one since the 80s. Oh, how far deep in the hole Muschamp took us. He may become the most hated HC in Florida history, making Doug Dickey look like a saint.

  4. Gatorjam, that doesn’t make a lot of sense. There must be something keeping this kid from getting a scholarship somewhere, especially some of the other quarterbacks he has come up against. I’m sure coach Mac is aware of him, he came from that region of the country.

  5. UGH! Again with “stars”…you guys put too much stock into it. Murphy was 2 stars, as was McCallister, in fact he wasn’t even rated by some. Some quality players are just screwed because they don’t play in a high profile HS program or they’re a victim of poor PR selling from the school. Watch tape on Ancrum. He is raw, but there’s talent there. He’s tossing around lineman like a rag doll. We need depth!…and we can play the same game we have for 4 years of waiting for NSD to fill it with notable 4/5 star recruits, only to be disappointed or we can take on a “project” here and there like we did with McCallister and Murphy, who more than held their own when called upon.

  6. Hi Zach. I noticed that of the 4 prospects you have at 50%, (Francois, St. Louis, Scarlett, and Cowart), you have none in your mock class. Do you think we’re going to have some bad Gator luck with them, or are these guys actually below 50% in your gut?

  7. McCcalister and Murphy are/were both players that have/did not do ch of anything at Florida. McCalister is nothing. That’s why losing out, if it happens, on Cowart and Jefferson is a hard blow to UF. I’ll take the mock class listed and be very happy. It will mean that UF has filled all of it’s needs, except linebacker. It would be nice if someone actually announced he’s coming to UF before signing day. I’m not talking about someone like Luke Ancrum, but someone with some gravitas, like Jackson, Cronkite, etc, that is at least a four star. Right now, except for baton rouge gator, everyone says Diillon is gone to LSU. If that’s true, UF will have zero commits rated above three stars The best players like to flock with the best, UF needs some “best” players for others to flock to.

  8. Sorry. I re-read and see that you expect to land 1 or 2 of those guys. I’m think Scarlett and Francois (but no Lamar Jackson if we get Francois). I also see what you’re saying about Cowart being 50/50. I had him as a lock when he showed up to the US Army Practice with the Chucky Doll, but then the business with him leaving his visit early and his comments about Lawing have me thinking he’s going with Muschamp. If he does, though, he’d better leave that Chucky Doll for a Gator! Then again, Fowler’s ad thanking UF and Cowart cutting out FSU despite Lawing hire, have me thinking he’s a Gator again. Damn, he really is a coin toss at this point. Am I being crazy?

  9. So, how many 3 star high school players are playing in the Super Bowl this evening! A bunch, especially on the lines. 17 and 18 year old boys turn into men with the right coaching, mentoring and training. I’d rather have 6-7 new OL this year than just 1-2 four or five star linemen, who can and likely will get hurt during their career. Our OL depth has been a problem for 4-5 years. This coaching staff seems to be filling needed holes and building a foundation to move forward. Given the limited time they’ve had, they are doing a good job. Hopefully, we’ll get some nice surprises on Wednesday. But you shouldn’t expect to have a top 5 recruiting year when you went 4-8 and 7-5 in the last 2 years and just changed coaching staffs. Go Gators, things are going to get better! Enjoy the Super Bowl.

  10. Jefferson and Holland, to a degree, have played the recruiting game well, keeping a host of fans from a variety of choices guessing as to which way either will go. We’ve seen this before. Can anyone say, “Dante’ Fowler”?
    Holland’s disinterest in Florida has seemed apparent , even with Randy Shannon on board in Gainesville. I’m not so sure about Jefferson or Byron Cowart for that matter. A number of prospects don’t seem to decide until the lights are on, two or three hats are before them and their gut tells them which one to choose. Right now we’re back-filling this class with depth and potential. The highest-rated, most coveted players usually wait until the end.

  11. Has anyone ever heard of twitter? I know recruits’ tweets aren’t hard evidence and recruits sometimes like to play games, but I don’t see the “disinterest” from Holland. In fact if you check out his twitter it seems Florida comes up 2 or 3 times more than any other school. He even retweeted a fan’s tweet about Fred Johnson committing to the Gators (he was not mentioned or talked about at all in the tweet). As I said you’d be a fool to put too much stock into what a kid puts on twitter, but it’s gotta count for something. I will admit I’m getting less suremail about Cece and Byron by the day because of the DEs we keep accepting, but I’m gonna keep my prediction the same: UF hits the signing day jackpot by getting Cece, Byron, Holland, Davis, and Ivey. If I’m wrong I’m wrong. Oh well. Go Gators!

  12. Please quit tearing down these young men that have committed to being Gators just because they are “only” 2 or 3 stars. These guys have decided they want to be a part of the best university in the world. They are now Gators and I can’t wait to cheer for them. So to Richerd Desir-Jones, Jabari Zuniga, Luke Ancrum, Rayshad Jackson, and all the other “only” 2 and 3 stars, welcome to Gator Nation! It is great to have you! Cant wait to see you winning in the Swamp, in Atlanta, and in National Championship games.

  13. James, Ancrum has only recently focused on football whereas before he was playing basketball which is why his star rating is low. This is another athlete who is raw but has a lot of upside. The fact that Wisconsin and Pitt offered this young man among others shows he has potential. Here at Florida we have seen plenty of 4 and 5 star busts. I think Spurrier’s final class was ranked #1 in some services yet was one of Florida’s least productive. I will take a coachable kid with plenty of upside all day long. I am not saying all 2 and 3 stars are like this but there are a few gems out there every year. As far as the lineman being 3 stars, I will take a 3 star lineman out of the state of Florida over most 4 and 5 stars from other states just by way of top level competition. I remember reading an article last year mentioning how Florida in the past many years has recruited more 4 and 5 stars then all of the SEC but mostly from outside of Florida yet haven’t had the most production compared to LSU, BAMA, etc. Stars are definitely for the fans to get excited about.

  14. Made a comment a couple of years ago about Ole Miss cheating like crazy. Kids don”t go there from out of state if they are bigtime unless it involves $$. They are a bunch of crooks.
    Beware of Auburn with Ivey on this cruise. It is Auburn connected. Hope I am wrong on this one. I have heard rumors of a cruiseship owner or bigwig being a major Auburn booster for several years.
    Cowart and being comfortable with Muschamp doesn’t make sense. If you grow up loving the Gators you just don’t go to an enemy school because of a coach. Especially the one that messed up your childhood favorite. Muschamp will not be at Auburn over 2 years.
    Go Gators!

  15. Azalus
    I am with you on the mega jackpot. I feel like we are going to get part of these players and I am glad to see some commits coming thru, some needs positions. Good coaching and leadership from staff and players can work wonders. Lot of the top recruits enjoy playing the spot light game,and maybe some of the talk coming from them is to mislead everyone, so on camera day we can be suprised. GO GATORS//////

  16. Got to keep my mojo up. never surrender, untill the last shot is fired. Can hardly wait for NSD. It is going to be better than a lot of people think. zach has a nice looking mock class, add what is already on the team and we dont look to bad at all. Good job by a new staff,and after a good year, we gonna be GATOR SKRONG////. haha. GO GATORS////

  17. I see FINALLY some of you now realize what a piss poor class this has turned into. McIlwain has a lot of work to do. If he was able to salvage the recruiting class to have something to fall back on. But losing Cowart, Jefferson, Holland and probably Davis It shows how far we have fallen. It really puts this coaching staff even further behind. I mean the WORST recruiting class in the SEC, ouch that hurts.

  18. @james 25 years ago was 1990, ironically SOS return home. This from Wiki,” Spurrier’s 1990 Florida Gators, while ineligible to win the SEC title or receive a bowl bid because of lingering NCAA probation,[2] nevertheless posted a best-in-the-SEC record of 6–1 and an overall record of 9–2,[3] and laid the foundation for the Gators’ run of six SEC championships and a national title during the next decade.[1] They finished twelfth in the last Associated Press Poll.”

    So I will take that analogy…

    GO GATORS

  19. Agreed this class is ridiculous. 2nd recruit this week to pick the gators over FIU. Anyone in the country could recruit these types of players to UF. McElwain is not off to a good start and Foley may have made a terrible hire for the third time

  20. Idiots…already claiming Foley made a bad hire. This class will be better than expected. Mac was dealt a crappy hand to start with. Why don’t you let him coach a few games before running him out of town.

  21. @ntcrze…McCallister led the team in sacks during the regular season and did a great job. We’re not going to have a team with 85 4/5 star players. I don’t care if Calipari was a our recruiting coordinator. Don’t be stupid. Like I said you need depth.

  22. I’m a little surprised no one caught that misstatement by James Fisher, Coward = fsu. I realize no one pays attention to much, if anything, he says, but with that post, he was spot on. He’s right Coward(s) are = to halfassu…lol

  23. ??? Just to make recruits happy? …meh, you’re a tool, who must not much about football or leadership. Obviously, Mac wants to was away the stench of the culture that’s been here the last 4 years and wants to surround himself with a staff that he’s comfortable with and shares the same philosophy. I don’t think he needs to apologize to the idiot section of our fan base who don’t get it.

  24. Ratings are over blown having 2 sons that played college ball and one of those is a HS coach I get a little insight. No matter what the rating you have to be able to coach em up and get the most out of them. This is something the previous staff was unable to do,we’ll just have to see what this staff does.
    Overall if we got everybody on your list that is a good haul

  25. Ntcrze or what the hell ever-until my man Dillon isnt committed to Florida SHUT UP! Go troll fsu sites with that garbage!! He’s been down since he committed & just cause lsu came in the game late means squat!! I think that because they didnt see how good he was in the beginning plays into it. They didnt see what uf saw-a great player. Now that Florida has offered they all of a sudden want in. Sorry but I dont think its gonna happen. I’m with the other posters about Holland. Maybe dude will do the ole bait & switch Wednesday and put on the Gator hat. Wdnesday is almost here and all speculation will be over. GO GATORS!!

  26. That mock class, outside of Martez, Tyler Jordan, and Heavy Chocolate is absolute crap. It’s the University of Florida and outside of DT and DB’s, we are just awful. How difficult is it to get players who will be playing as Freshman to commit to UF. The only thing they would have to do is tackle Nick Chubb to make it to the Atlanta every year.

  27. Just look at these player`s twitter and it is very telling about there personalities…. I would put Jefferson and Cowart at around 10% and put Ivey at 50%…..I Think some percentages were inflated to give our fanbase a glimmer of hope….but in fact it is only a candle burning in pitch black darkness….

  28. For the haters talking cap about the 2 and 3 star recruits, let me ask you a question: have you watched a second of film on these kids you’re bashing? Can you tell me exactly what their strengths and weaknesses are and what exactly makes them so bad? Oh no you can’t? Then SHUT UP! Until you have some actual logic or any similance of proof to back you up then you’re opinion is worthless and meaningless and no one needs to hear it. I’ll take the opinions of the coaching staff that has scouted these kids over the opinion of a bunch of fake fans who only exist to be negative and know nothing beyond star rating

  29. For those of you trying to bash Mac for his recruiting class, let me ask you something: how is Harbaugh doing in recruiting right now? I know many of you wanted him and right now I’m so happy we have Mac over that idiot! What did Muschamp’s first class look like? Meyer’s? Did any of them get left with a worse class coming in then Mac did? Enough said

  30. If you check out all the recruiting sites you pick up a consistent description of Mac: energetic, great guy, fun, enthusiastic. Tyree St. Louis even compared Mike Summers as “calmer” than Mac but still a good guy. I think we close out really well with Ivey, St. Louis, Scarlett and Cronkite, maybe QB Jackson, Ryan Davis and Calloway. On defense Williamson and another corner, Q. Davis, G.G. Robinson. Holland, Cowart and Jefferson have maintained enough mystery as to their destinations that I now believe the Gators land at least one and maybe all three. No matter how it winds up the future is far brighter than what we’ve endured, losing games to teams of inferior talent despite “winning” recruiting classes. The long night’s over, morning’s come.

  31. I’m with you, Gatormac. Too many Negative Nancy’s on this site. I’d rather have guys that want to be Gators than wishy washy guy any day! Again-the glaring omission from my play cousin Zach’s list is Derrick Dillon. Dude has been steadfast in his comittment and I still don’t think that a late push from the kitties here will sway him. He could play alot earlier and would fit into the system better at UF. All he would do there is watch Harris hand off to Fournette. Looking forward to seeing how it all plays out in the next couple of days. GO GATORS!!!

  32. Brain-dead, Clown-U, Criminoles will continue to carp until NSD, when they will all vanish.
    The best HS players (Top 4-5 stars) are pretty easy to see and pick out.
    How they will perform in college overall is a lot more difficult to predict.
    In my experience, about 15-20% of them bomb in college for one reason or another.
    It’s the other end of the scale (WO-2-3 stars) that’s really difficult to rate.
    A high character 3 star is often a better bet than a prima-dona 5 star.
    There are solid 5 stars like Tebow, and flakey 5 stars like a Bobby Sablehause.
    I’m willing to go with this coaching staffs bets on who can succeed as a Gator.
    Walkon WR Chris Doering still owns the SEC Career TD Reception Record (33).
    Walkon SS Louis Oliver was All SEC & 2x AA, then a 1/25 NFL Dolphins draft pick.
    An overlooked 2-3 star often has something to PROVE to the World…..
    BTW, how far did QB Shameous Jameous, RB Cook, and WR Lane take Clown-U
    in the 1st College Playoffs? – LMAO! —> Ore 59 – 20 FSUcks
    Clown-U has an all time LOSER record to UF.
    Clown-U has a LOSER record to UF over the last 10 years.
    Clown-U has always lost to UF more than they win, and that will never change.
    Besides, friends, don’t let friends, go to FSUcks to become LOSERS….

    PS — Use a combination of ESPN Recruit Ranking and the recruits Offer Lists for the best idea of the players quality and potential.

  33. I for one think that we are in for Swamp Size NSD! I think ESPN already know something.. Florida is never part of the Live Coverage for NSD but all of a sudden we are. Just like a few yrs ago out of nowhere they decide to go Live to Ole Miss & boom u see the mega class that lined up that year.. I personally think & feel this is the year of the Gators!

    Also I watch film on that Jabari Zuniga kid! Wow! this dude have been slept on big time! He have that John Randle type of Motor! Love his film! Can’t Wait!! I Love my Gators Through & Through! Go Gators!

  34. Yeah, Farrell says sources indicate Jefferson is most likely bound for UF. ESPN doesn’t waste time , personnel and money to report on disappointing outcomes. No one outside the Florida coaching staff, and maybe staffs at competitors for these recruits, has a truly firm opinion on where each will land, but it appears Florida is closing strong and trending upward.

  35. Right on Gatormac! We have been trending up over last 5 days and all the Primo’s, aux’s, Meh’s and Brad’s of the world who read Zach’s mail stack once a week and claim they follow recruiting, will be on here Wednesday trying to poke holes in our top 15 signing class. The fact is most don’t realize how much the last staff set the program back…but they want to bitch and complain about Mac not keeping any of them. The further we can remove ourselves from the last regime the better.

  36. “The Mehs of the world” I happen to be a life long gator fan with gator tattoos…things were looking bad….never have we targeted so many two star athletes….Scarlett is the first legitimate proof that there is hope to be had….yes I watched all the tape I could find….I don`t drink the koolaid…I need results…not hope….

  37. ZACk……Great…..I agree and with Scarlett in the fold already we will end up getting tons of attention on NSD…What a nice comeback in a few months after Muschamp!!!!!!
    This staff is incredible and its nice there is all positive News out of Gville and the fact Billy D is winning on TV is nice too!!! It would be a nice thing if We beat Vandy on ESPN tonight the night before NSD!!!!
    Great Job…Gator Bob in Jupiter Fla…Alum and Booster and ticket holder!!!!!! Go gators…
    Gosh its going to be fun in the Swamp again!!!!

  38. Meh/one come up….you’re probably right with 2 star comment, but when your the damaged bag of goods that Mac inherited and come late to the party, then trying to build depth is the best option. Filling our roster with 4/5 star talent doesn’t mean much if you can’t coach them. The last 4 years were evidence of that. That’s why Mac went with the staffing decisions he made. And many of the posters on here are “drive by” followers of recruiting…read a mail stack here, check out a rivals class ranking there. They know very little. The next 36 hours will surprise a lot of people. There is a lot going on behind the scenes and this staff has done a masterful job.