Gators will be just fine

UF's Joshua Shaw redshirted the 2010 season after playing in just one game against USF. (Doug Finger/Staff photographer)

While the negative recruiting news seems to keep piling up for the Florida Gators, here’s something positive to ponder concerning the future: On UF’s 2011 roster, there will be a whopping 18 four-star freshmen and one five-star. And that’s if the Gators don’t add any more commitments between now and the close of signing day Wednesday.

Now that’s a boatload of young talent.

Of those 18 four-star prospects, nine will come from last year’s No. 2-ranked recruiting class, and they will be redshirt freshmen after sitting out this past season. The other nine will be true freshmen. That five-star recruit is California transfer Chris Martin, who redshirted this past season and is expected to contend for a starting role at linebacker this spring.

Those nine four-star prospects from a year ago also are going to have a chance to have a huge impact in Will Muschamp’s first season.

Wide receivers Chris Dunkley and Quinton Dunbar could be instant stars in Charlie Weis’ offense. On the line, Chaz Green, Ian Silberman and Leon Orr will have a chance to nail down starting roles this spring. Quarterback Tyler Murphy also could be an immediate factor in terms of providing depth. By all accounts, he has a big-time arm, and he’ll have a chance to show it off in the spring. And tight end Michael McFarland also has a big upside.

Along with Martin, the redshirt freshmen could make a significant immediate impact on defense. The Gators have a need at linebacker, and Gideon Ajajbe and Michael Taylor are considered excellent prospects. Up front, once-undersized defensive end Lynden Trail has gained about 30 pounds and now looks ready to become a major contributor at a position of need.

On the back end, Joshua Shaw is expected to emerge as a major player at cornerback or safety.

So, yes, the recruiting news for Florida has mostly been negative down the stretch. Still, this is going to be a Florida team stacked with dynamic young talent next season.


  1. Thanks for the much needed positive spin.

    I’m curious on how our DE position will develop this year. Clearly, we have had a weakness at this position, and hopefully it will be a focus under the new leadership. Our defensive line has an opportunity to be something special if the players grow into their potential.

  2. Our class last year was robbed of a #1 ranking and is widely considered the #1 class. That big OL from Ohio, Seantral Henderson’s commit, was the reason USC got the recruiting title but he never signed with the Trojans, giving UF the title last year. Folks, that’s a #1 class, and a #2 class with only 17 signees the year before, and then another top 5 class from the year before. This year’s class may struggle to make the top 20, but it’s loaded with 1 5*, Driskell, and the rest ore 4 stars with excpetion of maybe four players. UF just needs a DT to really say all our needs were addressed in this year’s class regradless.

  3. I have been saying all along that we will be fine. I still say we see a couple of surprises on wed. The mighty Gators struggled last year, but that is all behind us. The staff has changed, the plan has changed, and we are on the right path. I for one cant wait for wed. to be over. I am sick of all the negativity. Go Gators!

  4. Our recruiting class last year was the CONSENSUS #1 ranked class. The only service that kept the UF class from being UNANIMOUS was Rivals and that was b/c of the late commitment to USC from Henderson, who never ended there anyhow. Even after those rankings were calculated, UF later added 5* Chris Martin.

    EVERY recruiting service except for Rivals had UF at #1. I’m not sure if Robbie only pays attention to Rivals, or if he is going off some updated poll that we are unware of that adjusted the rankings for our loss of Dorsey, Haden, and Coxson.

    Other than that, I don’t know why Robbie mentions the UF class as #2 when it would be far more accurate to call the UF class the consensus #1.

  5. I’m with you, Dan–but we’ll probably have to get through another few days of crowing from SOW yet. This will all make next year’s game at the Swamp that much more satisfying when we cream them! And Chomp will have a bunch of scholarships still “in his pocket” to offer come NEXT recruiting season, which could very well be a KILLER class.
    “Quality, not quantity, fool!”

  6. thanks for the reminder of whats in storage…..I do believe that there maybe noticeable position changes before O-B spring game…..talent evaluation will be a much more intense process coming up….on both
    sides of the ball…. those that learn will earn(play)….would like to see
    DT Jerrigan added..

  7. LARRY, ESPN just a few days ago had UF at #5, but we were in the top 30 in the Scout and Rivals polls. Not to worry though, because we’ve mostly addressed our needs with excellent quality. And remember too, that our last two classes were considered by many recruiting servivces as some of the best EVER in recruiting service s history. Last year’s class was considered by many one of the best classes ever. We can suffer a mild drop-off this year as long as we’re addressing needs, and we have.

  8. HIMEY, I live up here near Tally and have a number of “accesses” into FSU recruiting that many don’t, and have since the ’90’s.’s owner “” (aka Gene Williams), is absolutely notorious for tampering with recruiting star rankings to make FSU’s classes look better and UF’s look worse. he’s obsessed with this and has done it for years. Remember Nick Waisome de-comitting from UF? He was UF’s first 2011 commit from last summer and was a 4* all the time, and two days after he switched to FSU, he’s suddenly a 5*. yep, that’s’s work. I remember back in the Zook era when a big DL prospect that was committed to FSU was a 4* started wavering and considering Zook and UF and then opened up his recruitment again. He dropped to a 3* the NEXT DAY after wavering and leaning to UF. The next week, he re-affirmed his commitment to FSU and BAM!, he’s a 5* the next day. This has gone on at Rivals for years with having influence over star rankings. It’s really a juvenile way to behave, but it’s all about the PR.

  9. Go Gators. I like us flying under the radar for a change. UF will be in good shape. It is nice to see that Ohio State contiues their scum bag routine by getting Drayton (UF Recruiting Coord) a week before signing day. They can have him as a coach because he did not do much while at UF, but he is a good recruiter. Ohio St. tried to scuttle our recruiting class. Hopefully, Coach WM will get the last laugh at Drayton and OSU.

  10. Gator Fans….Ease up and take a breath…We have had monster recruiting classes tghe last 3 years running….This is a young and loaded team….If we have to end up with a top 12 ranked team this year with 22 predominently 4 star players exactky what is the problem?
    90% of the other schools would love our problem..
    I predict a nice 5-7 player addition to the 17 verbals now and that is going to do us just fine…
    I think we have one heck of a staff and kids are going to love the experience of the coaches…..
    Go Gators.
    Bob in Jupiter…Alum and season ticket holder and Gator Booster.

  11. I’ve been saying this all along about our most previous two classes. Those that think there is going to be some sort of drop off due to the some missed prospects just don’t understand college football. most nof last years class was redshirted as is most incoming freshman. so the cycle will continue there will always be a few bust and some early suprises. This class adressed needs and had some wishful thinking of some good talent. forget about and get over Jernigan. The kid wants to get away from this area. If he signs with us great ,but he’ll redshirt in all likelyhood. watson looks more promising on tape and in physique. Westbrook is going to be a nice addition to some already unproven talent at DE. with the talent coming in and the talent we have, if there are no other suprises we’ll be fine for the next two years.

  12. FSU should have a 10-win season before declaring themselves “back.” They’ve been having top10 recruiting classes all throughout this last decade of mediocrity. Coach jimbob hasn’t shown us anything. Nolies will still lose 4-6 games next year in their pathetically weak conference, just like they do every year.

  13. Corey my man, You’ve been paying attention!!! You’re exactly right. This isn’t the first year State has done well in recruiting. They just don’t know how to turn em into legitimate college players. their coaching staff reminds me of a former Gator and his past staffs. That would be “The Zooker ” baby!!! He can recruit em but he can’t coach em. They’ll lose their annual four games in 2011. Nothing has changed They fold against real talent and in big games. the bowl was an exception they had a month to prepare for the Cocks and they loss their star tailback in the first quarter and some other key players to injury that game. Outcome may have been different otherwise.

  14. COREY, FSU is having a hands-down great recruiting year thgis year, but only about 8 of their recruits actually stand out and truly impress me. Most are “good” to average recruits, but they have some good talent this year coming. One reason is they beat UF and Miami who’s programs were in total turmoil this past season. They managed to beat a Lattimore-less USC team too to give them a lot of MO going into the last or recruiting season. Yet, they’re two more of these #1 classes away from being on Florida’s overall roster talent level. I too, want to see them hit that 10 – 11 win plateau again, but lets face it, FSU joined the ACC because it’s an easy march to the NC game, even Bowden himself said that when they turned down the SEC’s offer (and no, it wasn’t the other way around). The ACC looks to have a few competitive teams next year, but overall, it will be the usual joke it has been since about 1991. OTOH, UF has what is probably the nation’s #1 strength of schedule next season. Oy ve’!

  15. I live in Tallahassee and the general attitude of the nole fans I talk to is they think they’ve turned the corner and are back in the saddle. They think by beating us last year, particularly since they did it in pretty good fashion, that they’re going start beating us regularly. I’ve had the opportunity to talk to Jimbo Fisher on multiple occasions (we have mutual friends in common) and can tell you, he will turn their program around. He’s a strong disciplinarian and won’t put up with the players being egotistical, arrogant, lackadaisical attitude and poor work ethic exhibited during the end of the Bowden era (despite being HCIW, Fisher was hamstrung by his commitment to respect Bowden’s position). That said, I sure hope you guys are correct who say SOW is going to lose 3-4 games again this year. I think they’re better than that.

  16. waaaaay to many IFs in there, Joshua Shaw struggled mightily adjusting to the speed of the game last year, Orr has never played o-line, Ajagbe and Taylor have never played a snap, same with Chris Martin. Dunbar is supposed to be a beast but from what ive seen of Dunkleys film hes more of a make you miss in space guy then a true wide out.

  17. The initial recruiting year for a new coaching staff is always a challenge. However, the Gators are loaded for this season, and Muschamp’s staff will make up ground in 2012. FSU’s class is impressive, but all signing classes have individuals that fail to live up to the hype. Others will drop out due to academics and personal problems. I think gator nation needs to relax and allow our new staff time. We will be fine.

    Florida will sign some player who may not be big name prospects, but will turn into important contributors as they beging their strength and agility training program. Think of such schools as Utah and Boise State that sing no-name athletes and you will understand.

  18. I disagree Major, and I hope I’m not looking through rose colored glasses but I believe we are contenders next year if our coaching staff is all that they are cracked up to be. We are still better than FSU with the redshirts and freshmen on last years team that got very valuable playing time, not discounting the juniors and seniors that will be coming back. Nobody in the country is feeling sorry for us and I wouldn’t blame them, I don’t feel sorry for us. I would have felt sorry for the rest of the college football world if we would have gotten all those recruits that had us as their #1 choice before the resignation and all the coaching changes. Go GATORS!!!

  19. I think the staff did a great job!! Listening to Coach Muschamp explain that the dead zone combined with a new staff is going to hinder relationship building this year…He is clear in what he wants.!..
    In fact during his acceptance speach he mentioned ” you need to know every parameter of every position on your team! He mentioned in the pros you only have 53 players! We have 75 to 80!
    He knows the art of what he wants! He knows how to define each position!I think that these 18 + maybe a couple of late signatures will bring us to 20…Add that to our stockpile and we should be great!!
    I really think this staff knows football! I think we will execute the fundamentals and the pro style offense and defense is going to be fun to watch…..Anyway we will be ahead of the game this year and will not start the season with a QB situation thats bad or a center that cant center the ball or a Field Goal kicker that is injured!!!
    We will hit the ground running this year and while its only feb 3, I have already ordered my season tickets!
    We are Florida! The school with 2 National Championships in the last 5 years and almost a third! We will be dominent within a year again….
    This is the SEC baby…Not the ACC..and we will bring it this year!
    Bob in Jupiter- Season ticket holder- Alum and Gator booster!

  20. Deja vu all over again?!?!? —
    I’m very surprised by the report of Brissett committing to UF (we’ll see if he actually signs)!! I figured he’d go to Washington to have a chance at retribution toward Oregon – one of UW’s rivals – for their (apparently) not giving him an offer after he publicly expressed the hope that they would; not UF, because of our having the #1 QB in the same class (not to mention the prior “insulting” Greyshirt offer from Meyer).
    If he does sign with us, it’ll be an indicator of his self-confidence! Plus, it’ll be similar to when Cam Newton was here with Tebow; “deja vu all over again!”
    Though Brissett is a cut or two above Tyler Murphy, he might want to familiarize himself with any lessons learned from the late recruitment & signing of Tyler last year (whom I’m surprised didn’t transfer back to Temple Univ. with their new HC Addazio – Murphy’s chief UF recruiter who lured him away from his original commitment to TU,… “a better fit”).
    Brissett’s stats from his Senior season last year are quite impressive themselves, especially his astonishing TD:Int. ratio (32:1)! Driskel won’t be able to ignore his rear-view mirror. Jacoby will be good for him, though; neither will be able to get away with simply “dialing it in” (like Brantley).
    Speaking of the “Legacy,” I’d actually like to see him be the starter his final season, but ONLY if he wins it in practice AND maintains it on the live gridiron; a would-be sentimental, story-book ending. A tall order indeed!
    I hope for his sake that he’s been shoring up his scrambling and running skills, because if there’s not a dramatic improvement with them (and obviously the passing, too), then it’s ALREADY over!!!
    Let the sweepstakes begin, and may the best man win (this time around)!

  21. There sure zre a lot of pessemistic non-believers on this blog. Personally, I would rather have a mother in the cat house than a brother a nolie. They(nolies) always lie and belittle everything a great school like UF succeeds at which is winning and recruiting top position players. I say, if you got it, flaunt it. Nolies and their kind are so jealous they can’t stand it. Go Gators!!!!!!

  22. A lot of knowledgeable, realistic-yet-optimistic discussion here. That last comment by q-spirit was particularly insightful and detailed (BTW–I have trouble entering here before getting wiped out by an auto-refresh at this site).
    Anyway, take heart, Gators–we’ll be “good” this year, as we re-establish ourselves on the national stage, and GREAT in 2012!

  23. @Dru2012 —
    The auto-refresh can be frustrating, but clicking the back-button will USUALLY (but not always, for some reason) bring you right back to where you were.
    I’ve found that the few times the auto-refresh does inexplicably erase comments can be further reduced (but not entirely eliminated, unfortunately) by purposely clicking the back button followed immediately by the forward button while you’re still in the midst of composing the comment (the sooner the better, obviously). This helps preserve your “comment in process” when the page refreshes.
    Hope that helps.
    IGTBAG! (It’s Great To Be A Gator!)