Florida lost out on Marcus Tatum, Feleipe Franks arrived in Gainesville for his first day of classes and the Gators hosted workouts today.
In short, it was anything but a quiet Monday.
Expect the next three weeks to be just as hectic as National Signing Day approaches on its typical first Wednesday in February. It may feel like the season just ended – I mean, the National Championship Game is taking place in a few hours – but recruiting never ends.
There’s a lot to talk about and speculate on, so I’m excited to unveil the (still nameless) first edition of my recruiting mailbag. If you have a clever and relevant suggestion, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll make sure to credit you if I use it.
Without further ado, your questions!
How did UF’s commits play in the Army Bowl? –@flarudds
The Gators had a lone representative in Franks, the quarterback out of Crawfordville who enrolled at UF for the Spring semester. In short, Franks did not impress during the game. He completed just one pass for a meager eight yards and threw a pair of interceptions.
But consider the justifications for the perception Franks played poorly.
With four quarterbacks on the East getting playing time, signal callers don’t have time to get into a consistent rhythm. Two quarterbacks — Georgia early enrollee Jacob Eason and Louisville commit Jawon Pass – had more pass attempts than Franks. While I’m sure his performance in the game wasn’t up to his own expectations, Franks was impressive in the week of preparation leading up to the Army Bowl. If anything, that should be a better gauge for who Florida has waiting in the wings at quarterback.
What’s the deal with Mack Wilson and Jeawon Taylor? –@Dallasb123
This is a complicated situation, and one that involves Mack being pulled in three different directions.
It’s no secret Lyndell ‘Mack’ Wilson, a Montgomery native, has eyes for Alabama. The No. 12 recruit nationally according to Rivals.com has narrowed his decision to the Crimson Tide, Georgia and Florida. I’ve heard it’s down to Alabama and UF, although it’s unclear how Wilson’s relationship with Kirby Smart could change this.
The key for Wilson could be his camaraderie with Jeawon Taylor, a safety from Montgomery, and four-star running back Lamical Perine from nearby Theodore, Ala. Both Taylor and Perine have given the Gators their verbal commitment, and the trio will be among a slew of prospects taking an official visit to university on Jan. 29.
What does all this mean? Wilson will have to determine whether his familiarity with UF’s staff and his closeness with several members of UF’s class are enough to pull him out of his home state and into Gainesville. Plus, the Gators actually have to get Perine and Taylor to sign. If they can, the Gators almost assuredly will have a top-5 2016 recruiting class.
Assuming Tatum picks Tennessee like everyone predicts, how do you see the offensive line playing out? –@CamTheManFrye
With Tatum indeed giving Tennessee his commitment, UF turns its focus to a pair of four-star offensive linemen coming into Gainesville this week. John Simpson and Landon Dickerson are coming to campus this weekend for official visits, and if Florida can snag one or both of the tackles the team will be in a solid place entering Spring practice.
The Gators have already added West Orange product Stone Forsythe as a midyear enrollee, and coach Mike Summers and Florida expects to sign Mount Dora lineman Brett Heggie and three-star tackle Jawaan Taylor out of Cocoa. In short, if the Gators can come away with 3-4 offensive linemen in this class they’ll be in good shape for the future.
What linebacker targets do you think UF will land? –@jwigg
The Gators have verbal commitments from linebackers Vosean Joseph and Jeremiah Moon, while they’ve also added Farmington (Mich.) product David Reese as an early enrollee. While it’s expected that Jarrad Davis is firm on his decision to return to UF, the loss of playmakers such as Antonio Morrison and Jeremi Powell could create opportunities for young linebackers to work into the rotation. That could be enticing for talented players like Mack Wilson.
I expect the Gators to sign Moon, while Joseph is taking another look at Alabama and Maryland before signing. Three-star linebacker Joshua Uche is between Michigan and the Gators, and his relationship with linebackers coach Randy Shannon could get him to Florida. If I had to guess how it all turns out, I think the Gators will sign at least two of those three players and I still feel Wilson ends up in orange and blue.