Zach’s Mail Stack 9/10


I bring you this Mail Stack after watching Jeff Driskel have his first loss at Louisiana Tech.

The game actually wasn’t too bad and got interesting at the end. Driskel had his moments, both good and bad.

It’s safe to say Will Grier and Treon Harris are upgrades at the quarterback position. I know it was just a season opener, but they looked sharp and comfortable in Jim McElwain’s system.

To the liking of Saturday’s visitors, the offense put up a lot of points and production. It was yet another positive step for McElwain as Florida continues to become more appealing to recruits.

On to the questions!

When talking with recruits, what are the main things that they like more about Florida now vs. when Will Muschamp was here? — @drichdman 

Great question. The overall impression I’ve gotten from recruits is that now they feel positive and excited about UF football.

So much negativity engulfed the program from the end of the 4-8 season until Muschamp’s firing the following year. The Gators got a few big commits in the last month of 2014 cycle, but for the most part they were unable to land elite prospects during that 12-month stretch.

Florida wasn’t winning games, the coaching staff was on the hot seat and recruits couldn’t see light at the end of the tunnel. You can bet other schools negatively recruited against UF as well. That all changed — well, everything except wins —  when Jim McElwain came aboard.

He inherited a 2015 class that was ranked 92nd nationally and finished in the top 25. McElwain and his staff landed a pair of five-stars and five four-star prospects the last three days of the recruiting cycle. That’s an impressive finish for any coach, especially one who had only been on the job for two months.

Those recruits were sold on McElwain’s vision for the Gators, something they couldn’t buy with Muschamp given the state of his program. Since signing day, the class of 2016 has been able to see McElwain’s plan take effect. Florida now has an indoor practice facility, luxury apartments for players and already a noticeably better offense.

If McElwain can win games this season, recruits will be even more attracted to UF.

Chances on Nate Craig-Myers and Sam Bruce? Why are we falling Binjimen Victor? — @rdasilva16, @KiddPOET12

The Gators are in prime position to land Craig-Myers and Bruce, who I listed last week as two of Florida’s top five overall targets. If today were signing day, I think they would pick UF and I’ve made those predictions on my 247Sports Crystal Ball. I spoke with both Craig-Myers and Bruce after Saturday’s game.

Craig-Myers warmed up to the Gators in the summer and loves the direction of the offense. Jayvaughn Myers’ commitment, although he claims doesn’t impact him, really put Florida over the top in my opinion. If UF keeps improving offensively, I can’t see Craig-Myers passing up the opportunity to go to college with his brother.

Bruce might maintain his Miami “commitment” for a few more months, but his flip to Florida is coming. I believe he’s already made that decision in his mind. His situation reminds me of the relationship between Dalvin Cook and Da’Vante Phillips. Like them, I think it’s a foregone conclusion Bruce will reunite with Jordan Scarlett in Gainesville.

As for Victor, UF hasn’t done anything to drop down his list and remains one of his top schools, if not his favorite. I still have him to Florida on the Crystal Ball, for now. But when he decided to push back his June announcement, which would have been for the Gators, that wasn’t a positive sign for them.

Now Victor wants to let his recruitment play all the way out, and Ohio State has put the full-court press on him. By the time he’s ready to make his commitment, Florida could already have Bruce, Craig-Myers and Freddie Swain in the fold. I’m sure UF would still take Victor at that point, but he may not want to join a crowded WR class.

Aside from LSU commit Felipe Franks, what other top rated QB’s are we interested in flipping? — @twondiddy0828, @mburke048, @Ivo_Solis

Maryland commit Dwayne Haskins and Franks are likely the top quarterbacks on the board. They’ve stayed in contact with Florida’s staff, but appear solid in their pledges at this time.

UF recently picked up its recruitment of Tennessee commit Jarrett Guarantano, who may give the Gators a second look with the Vols loading up on quarterbacks.

Tylin Oden, a soft verbal to Louisville, visits this weekend. If Florida wants him, he won’t be too difficult to flip. UF could also make a run at Hurricanes commit Jack Allison if a coaching change happens this season at Miami.

What are Florida’s chances of landing linebackers Lyndell Wilson and Jeffrey McCulloch? — @justiwood

Both of them have already visited UF, so there’s a chance. But as of now they’re expected to stay in-state.

Texas and Texas A&M are the schools to beat for McCulloch, but Florida is one of the biggest threats to them. A return visit to Gainesville is key for UF to be able to lure him away from the Lone Star State.

Wilson is an Alabama-Auburn battle and the Gators have even less of a shot with him. He and Florida safety commit Jeawon Taylor are friends, so that could potentially help. Getting him back on campus has to happen.

That’s all for this week! Be sure to leave your questions for the next mailbag in the comment section below.