As he showed again Wednesday, Will Muschamp is a great recruiter when it comes to landing elite prospects. But recruiting isn’t just about landing stars, it’s also about filling needs. In that regard, Muschamp fell short in some areas in his four years at Florida. As a result, new coach Jim McElwain has some serious holes to fill, which he started doing on National Signing Day.
In what amounted to his exit news conference a day after he was fired, Muschamp boasted that he was leaving the new coach with a bunch of talented players. Well he is in some spots, but not in others.
This spring, McElwain will have only eight scholarship offensive linemen to work with and only six scholarship linebackers. That’s not enough at either spot. Not even close.
The Gators are in this predicament at those positions because Muschamp failed to meet recruiting needs at both. In his first two years at UF (2011-12), he signed only two offensive linemen each year and a total of only 15 over four years. Ideally, coaches like to sign five offensive linemen in every recruiting cycle. Muschamp fell well short of that and now McElwain and his staff will have to cope with a lack of offensive linemen.
The Gators face a similar situation at linebacker thanks to Muschamp’s failure to fill recruiting needs. Over four years, Muschamp signed only seven linebackers — none a year ago. He signed only one in 2011 and just two in 2012. With Antonio Morrison still recovering from a serious knee injury sustained in the bowl game, the Gators will have only five scholarship linebackers in the spring — Matt Rolin, Daniel McMillian, Jeremi Powell, Alex Anzalone and Jarrad Davis. Davis is the only one with significant playing experience on defense.
One area where Muschamp met or exceeded needs was in the secondary, where he coached the safeties (and took care of himself). During his four years at UF, Muschamp signed 18 defensive backs, compared to only 11 wide receivers and just six running backs.
On Wednesday, Muschamp, the new defensive coordinator at Auburn, drew national attention and praise for his ability to sign some elite players out of Florida that he’d developed relationships with while he was at UF. There’s no doubt he hurt the Gators with his recruiting ability. It also can be said he did the same when he was still here. The evidence is on the current roster.