Zach’s Mail Stack 10/1


I’ve spoken on a few radio shows this week and listened to others, and the excitement I’ve felt from fans has been awesome.

Gator Nation was numb for days after the win over Tennessee, and some of you might still be.

That was an incredible game and atmosphere we witnessed last Saturday in The Swamp. And I can tell you the recruits who were there enjoyed it just as much as you all.

I talked to a handful of them afterward and they couldn’t hide their emotions. This victory was huge for recruiting and will pay dividends down the road, as I explain below.

This weekend should obviously draw another impressive round of visitors. The game itself is really a win-win for the Gators.

If they lose, no one should hold it against them and most will see opportunity for playing time. If they somehow upset No. 3 Ole Miss, the stadium will go nuts once again and Jim McElwain can show recruits he already has the team ahead of schedule.

On to the questions!

What do we gotta do to land Mack Wilson? Do we gotta real shot? — @CoBeingCo

He’s definitely the surprise of the week.

The five-star linebacker named Florida his No. 1 school Wednesday, an announcement nobody saw coming. He visited UF over the summer and has shown the Gators some Twitter love, but nothing suggested they had become his top team.

He was scheduled to attend the Tennessee game and couldn’t make it, but Florida’s win apparently had a big impact on him. I’d go as far as saying he was the recruit most influenced by the outcome, even though he wasn’t there.

His close friend, UF safety commit Jeawon Taylor, did make the trip to Gainesville and probably gave Wilson an earful when he got back to Montgomery, Alabama. Their relationship could help Florida’s chances more than initially thought.

Alabama was believed to be his leader but is listed fourth on his leaderboard. Auburn, his other presumed favorite, didn’t even make the cut.

I still wouldn’t count out the Tide, but I do believe the Gators are a real player and his interest in them is legitimate. Geoff Collins is his primary recruiter and has been successful recruiting the state of Alabama.

UF just needs to keep making strides and playing physical defensively. Wilson likes what he sees from Florida on that side of the ball, but also recognizes the need at his position.

The Gators have signed just one linebacker, three-star prospect Rayshad Jackson, in the last two recruiting cycles.

With last weekend’s huge comeback win, where do the Gators stand with DE Terrell Hall, DT Dexter Lawrence, DT Shavar Manuel and DE Janarius Robinson — @WaffleWolf90, @DustinUselton

Let’s begin with the official visitors, Hall and Lawrence. I didn’t think UF had much of a shot with them beforehand, and my feelings haven’t really changed. They didn’t pick up for me this week, but I did gather some tidbits on their weekend.

Hall’s family didn’t make the trip with him, which is usually a bad sign. If he ends up returning with his parents on their own dime, that’ll certainly change my feeling on his interest level with the Gators.

Lawrence did come with his mother, and I feel Florida’s is in better position with him. For what it’s worth, he told some people at UF he wants to come now that he’s visited, but also needs to see other places.

Manuel made his second trip to Gainesville and, in his words, had a blast the entire night. He’ll likely be back for another game and plans to officially visit after the season. I’m told it’s a UF-LSU battle for him, and the Gators have the upper hand right now.

I wasn’t able speak to Robinson, but I saw that he brought his mom as well. I don’t expect his Florida State commitment to last, but Florida will have fight off several schools for his pledge. The Gators are in better shape with four-star defensive ends Antonneous Clayton — who now has them on top — and Jordan Woods.

With our win against Tennessee and the recruits that were impressed, where do you see us finishing in the recruiting rankings? —  @TheLadyGator

We didn’t see the Gators land any commitments over the weekend, but that wasn’t a surprise. None of the prospects in attendance were looking to make decisions.

The recruiting impact from this game will play out over the coming months and be evident by the time signing day arrives. What the win over Tennessee did for the Gators was grab the attention of recruits, whether it be improving their chances with Clayton and Lawrence or strengthening their standing with Manuel and five-star wide receiver Nate Craig-Myers.

Florida should sign around 25 and I anticipate a couple defections from the current commitment list of 20. If the Gators close with the likes of Clayton, Craig-Myers, Manuel and Wilson, they’ll easily crack the top 10 in team rankings and may even finish with a top-five class.

Sam Bruce or Freddie Swain: Who is more likely to be a Gator? @WILLYTheGoat66, @DustinUselton, @KiddPOET12

I’ll start by saying I think UF, at this time, lands Bruce and Swain along with Craig-Myers.

Out of the two you asked about, I’d have to go with Swain. He’s an uncommitted local product who’s visited several times in the past few months. There’s no way he goes elsewhere in my mind, especially with the Gators putting the full-court press on him.

Bruce is still pledged to Miami, but he’s the definition of a “soft verbal.” He’s been trending Florida’s way since the summer and, as I’ve said before, his flip appears inevitable at this point.

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