Zach’s Mail Stack 11/19


Sadly, we are approaching the final weekends of the regular season.

It’s amazing how fast the fall flies by with college football. Every year we wait too long for it to come, and it always leave us too soon.

This season has been a fun one to cover. Watching Jim McElwain and his staff transform Florida has been nothing short astounding, especially as a media member.

The success of the team and recruiting obviously makes my job easier and more enjoyable. Who wants to report on a losing program?

My first year covering both the team and recruiting was 2012, and I thought it was the start of something special for UF. We all know how that turned out.

No matter what happens these next few games, what we’ve seen the season is not an aberration or lighting in a bottle. I believe McElwain is laid the foundation for long-term success and stability.

I won’t have a Mail Stack next week due to the holiday. Hope you all have a happy Thanksgiving and stuff your faces.

On to the questions!

What are Florida’s chances of landing Mack Wilson’s teammate, Tony Nelson? — @justiwood, @mmajosh, @DevinLamarr

The chances are very, very good with the Alabama cornerback. UF offered Nelson on Tuesday and immediately became his leader.

The 6-foot-2, 185-pound doesn’t have many offers, but Florida’s staff has evaluated him extensively and believes he could play safety as well.

Obviously, if he chooses the Gators along with safety commit Jeawon Taylor, Wilson’s close friend, you have to think that’ll further help their cause with the five-star linebacker.

Nelson would also keep UF with five corners in the class if one of the current pledges decides to decommit.

Here is Nelson (right) and Wilson together Wednesday.

2016 safety starters & backups: Who steps up depth wise (Harris/Dawson)? Is Chauncey Gardner a possible starter? Any other targets? — @G8RPaul 

As I mentioned last week, I expect Florida to lose junior Keanu Neal and maybe Marcus Maye, who ESPN analyst listed as the No. 6 safety in his latest NFL Draft rankings Thursday.

If both leave early, UF would return Marcell Harris, Nick Washington and Kylan Johnson at safety for 2016. Duke Dawson will be the starting nickelback but can play safety and even some corner as well.

Harris and Washington would presumably be the starters, with Johnson and safety commits Quincy Lenton and Taylor as the backups.

Garnder is being recruited as a cornerback, but he, Jayvaughn Myers and potential pledge Nelson (above) could see time at safety if need be.

Top-100 overall recruit Kristian Fulton is really the only defensive back Florida could still land outside of Nelson, but Fulton is a corner all the way.

Your thought about tight ends in this 2016 class? — Rob Stockton, @StubbsRadio

First of all, it’s not a huge need because UF returns four players at the position next year. Gators commit Isaiah Johnson will also play primarily tight end.

But Florida is still trying land one more TE prospect for 2016. It won’t be five-star Isaac Nauta. He just doesn’t have real interest, perhaps because of the depth.

The most viable target is four-star Nick Eubanks. Alabama is his favorite, but the Gators are a close second and will host him on an official visit.

The other option to watch is Jacob Mathis, who attended the Ole Miss game and was evaluated by offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier on Oct. 23.

Tight end Darel Middleton named UF his top school last week and plans to make a decision Saturday. However, he has work to do academically and tweeted that junior college is a possibility for him.

Are you concerned about all the three-star recruits? — Shane Morris, @TrueDreamer_21

It’s not an issue, in my opinion, and I can tell you UF isn’t concerned and couldn’t care less about stars.

This was always going to be a large class in the 28-member range. With that many spots, you can afford to take some lesser recruits early on in the cycle. The big fish always fall late.

Moroever, I think several of Florida’s three-star commits are underrated. McArthur Burnett, Josh Hammond, Lamical Perine and Jeawon Taylor should all have four-star ratings on every site.

That being said, UF is No. 11 in Rivals’ team rankings and has a top-10 class on Scout and 247Sports. With all of the top-100 targets still remaining for the Gators, they’ll easily finish with a top-five class.

Top 3 prospects on each side of the ball the Gators have a shot with?  @DevinLamarr

The No. 1 overall priority for Florida, regardless of position, is five-star wide receiver Nate Craig-Myers. The top two offensive targets after him are quarterback Feleipe Franks (LSU commit) and offensive tackle Marcus Tatum.

Defensively, I’d say the order of importance is Wilson, five-star defensive tackle Shavar Manuel and defensive Janarius Robinson (Florida State commit). It’s too early to make a mock class, but if I did one today, Craig-Myers, Franks, Tatum and Wilson would be in it.

UF is more likely to land Manuel than five-star DT Dexter Lawrence, and it’s probably a coin flip between Robinson and Brian Burns as to which DE might join the class. Both will officially visit Florida, but Robinson is the higher-ranked recruit of the two.

Keep seeing a ton of WR’s considering Gators. Which ones are realistic? — @nereptiles

There’s more than a half dozen potential options, but there’s a group of five in-state receivers who are the most realistic.

Craig-Myers tops that list, in my eyes, because of his relationship with and respect for McElwain, and as long as his brother is committed to the Gators, they’re the team to beat.

Sam Bruce had been next in line, but the fact that he’s yet to decommit from Miami while others jump ship is not a good sign. At this time, Auburn commit Eli Stove and Tre Nixon both appear to be more likely additions than Bruce.

The Gators are still recruiting Binjimen Victor and have a shot, but they’ll need to knockout his official visit to regain the lead they had in the summer.

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