I have to admit I was a little surprised over the weekend when word started leaking out that Southern Cal tailback Emmanuel Moody was about to enroll in classes at Florida.
After talking with Moody during his visit to Florida last week, I thought it was a longshot at best that he’d end up here. He just didn’t seem all that enthralled with the Gators and the opportunity to be the featured back in Urban Meyer’s offense.
Obviously, Meyer and offensive coordinator Dan Mullen did an excellent job selling him on UF and how he’d fit into the offense.
But this transfer brings up two key questions:
1. What exactly does being the featured back in this offense entail?
2. How is Moody’s presence going to impact recruiting and the young tailbacks that are already on campus competing for playing time?
First, on the featured back thing. We’ll see how it works out for Kestahn Moore this season.
He’s clearly established himself as the No. 1 tailback and he’ll probably get the bulk of the carries. But how many will that be? With Mullen and Meyer looking to spread the ball around to all the playmakers on this offense, it seems doubtful that the featured back will get more than 10 touches or so a game. You have to believe when Moody says he wants to be the featured back, he’s looking for more carries than that. We’ll have to see how that works out with Moore this season and Moody possibly in 2008.
As for the impact on recruiting, I think Florida is now done recruiting tailbacks for the class of 2008. Franklin Green is already committed and likely will stick, leaving he and Moody as the two tailbacks in this recruiting class.
The addition of Moody could mean some subtraction at the position next spring. Moody’s presence could clear the way for the coaching staff to maybe try Chevon Walker at cornerback and maybe true freshman Bo Williams at safety or linebacker. As for true freshman Chris Rainey, he probably will not be a every-down back in this offense because of his lack of size. He’ll probably end up lining up in the slot more often than in the backfield.
Moody’s arrival certainly is going to have an impact. He’s a big-time prospect who could give the Gators another playmaker on offense next season. And he could have an impact on the defense if the coaches choose to move some of the current tailbacks to the other side of the ball.
As for being the featured back, we really don’t have a definition for that yet in Meyer’s offense. Moore might come up with it this season.