Zach’s Mail Stack 10/8


Coming off an even bigger win last Saturday and another electric atmosphere in The Swamp, the Florida Gators might be the hottest team on the recruiting trail right now.

UF didn’t have the number of visitors it had for Tennesee and some recruits who were scheduled to attend the Ole Miss game didn’t make it, such as Nate Craig-Myers and Antonneous Clayton.

Nevertheless, the south end zone bleachers were packed once again and the recruits there as well as the ones who watched from home witnessed the best performance we’ve seen from a Gators team since the Urban Meyer years.

After the game, UF landed an absolute stud in McAruther Burnett from Pahokee. It will be interesting to see how this class grows moving forward.

Florida is undoubtedly receiving a ton of interest from recruits and maybe some will begin pulling the trigger soon. It should start Friday with Freddie Swain’s announcement.

On to the questions!

With the amount of people that are considering the Gators and even have us high on the list, how are the numbers looking? — Talha Jamal, @josh_powell1, @ryanponczek

Florida currently has 82 players on scholarships. Seven of them are former walk-ons, some of whom will be on the team next year. But scholarships are awarded to them on a yearly basis and won’t be renewed if they’re needed for recruiting.

So excluding former walk-on players, UF has 21 scholarships available for 2016 before attrition. I see the Gators to losing 3-4 juniors to the NFL draft and about 3-4 transfers after this season.

To low-ball it, let’s say 27 will be number of recruits Florida can sign in this cycle. The class currently has 20 members but I anticipate at least two more defections from the commitment list.

That leaves room for nine more prospects, give or take. I think you’ll see UF add three wide receivers, three defensive linemen, one offensive lineman, one linebacker and one more recruit at a position of need.

Where do we stand with WRs Binjimen Victor and Cavin Ridley? Also with a tight end friendly offense, anything developing with Isaac Nauta? — @RnB1185, @TheBigDog16

As I’ve written before, when Ridley and Victor didn’t commit together to Florida back in June, that seemingly decreased their chances of ending up in this class. Since then the Gators have become the team to beat for Craig-Myers and Swain.

Ridley announced a new top 3 this week of Alabama, Auburn and Tennessee, so that ship has sailed. I still think Victor likes the Gators, but he hasn’t visited since the summer and Ohio State is all over him. If more receivers join Florida’s class before Victor makes his decision and/or visits Gainesville again, I doubt he picks UF.

That being said, my predicted WR class of Sam Bruce, Craig-Myers, Josh Hammond, Swain and Rick Wells would be quite a haul.

Isaac Nauta attended the Tennessee game but came with his IMG Academy teammates. I don’t feel Florida is much of a player for him even with its use of tight ends. UF’s chances are much better with Nick Eubanks and Jacob Mathis. Also, remember Gators commit Isaiah Johnson will play tight end in college.

How are we doing with cornerbacks and safeties? Feel like early draft declarations could leave us empty there. — @sjkoepp 

Florida will definitely have some defensive backs forgo their senior seasons. Vernon Hargreaves III is gone for sure, Keanu Neal is a strong candidate and Marcus Maye might even go pro with the way he’s been playing lately.

If they all leave along with senior Brian Poole, that certainly creates some holes to fill in the secondary. Fortunately for the Gators, even with that scenario they’d still return nine defensive backs, all of whom are playing this season.

On top of that, they have four cornerbacks (McArthur Burnett, Chauncey Gardner, Jayvaughn Myers and Aaron Robinson) and two safeties (Quincy Lenton and Jeawon Taylor) committed for 2016. I don’t expect C.J. McWilliams to stick with UF.

So even though Florida could suffer some big losses to the draft, the secondary has enough numbers and talent to withstand it.

Is Woody Barrett a real option at QB and is D’Anfernee McGriff still coming to Florida in January@Mr_EBC, @justiwood, @CoBeingCo  

Barrett was at the Ole Miss game with his teammate, UF offensive line commit Stone Forsythe. The Auburn quarterback commit said afterward that he enjoyed himself, but he doesn’t have a Florida offer and that’s unlikely to change.

Barrett is one of the state’s better signal callers in my opinion, but as a dual-threat QB he’s not exactly what Jim McElwain and Doug Nussmeier want at the position.

With the commitments of Jake Allen and Kyle Trask, it’s clear they’re trying to bring in pro-style quarterbacks for the future. That’s not to say McElwain and Nussmeier won’t take someone who can both run and pass like Feleipe Franks, but the height and throwing ability has to be there as it is with him.

As for McGriff, his status is up in the air. The 2015 signee is in prep school and has to get the amount of credits required to enroll at Florida. Whether he’s able to by January remains to be seen.

McGriff may have to go the junior college route if that doesn’t happen. Regardless of how it plays out, he’ll do whatever it takes to make it to UF. He wants to be a Gator.

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