The immediate reaction was understandable, that the Urban Meyer change of mind would be a major blow to Florida’s recruiting because of the uncertainty surrounding the program. But the more I read comments from recruits and talk to Florida coaches, the more I am starting to believe Florida is headed for another excellent class.
You hear UF commit Lynden Trail from Miami’s Booker T. Washington.
“For anybody to jump ship and decommit that’s foolish,” he said. “In the first place, you shouldn’t have committed to a coach. You should commit because that’s your favorite school and that’s where you wanna be for four years.
“That’s why I decided to commit to the Gators — I love the program and I love the atmosphere and I love the city of Gainesville. That’s where I want to be for the next four or five years.”
“When you go 22 wins in a row, in this lifetime or the next, we know what we’re doing,” he said this week. “We’ve got a good plan. We’ve got good coaches that have executed. We’ve got real good players. Come be a part that.”
And you start to think that it still makes a lot of sense for big-time recruits to want to be Gators.
So I came up with the 10 reasons (you know I love my lists) why recruits will want to go to Florida.
1. It’s still Florida. It’s still one of the best public universities in the country. If you want to get a great education, it’s still Florida.
2. The stadium is still one of the best places to play football in the country. It’s still The Swamp.
3. The facilities are still some of the best in college football.
4. The staff is still one of the best around.
5. Playing time, with all of the losses in personnel expected, is there for the taking. I still believe one of the biggest factors for a recruit trying to make a decision is how fast he’ll get on the field. There is a real chance Florida will be trying to replace a dozen starters next season.
6. Have you seen the co-eds on a sunny day?
7. There are other options out there but there is uncertainty at many of them as well.
8. It’s still the SEC, the best conference in college football.
9. Another major factor in a recruit’s decision is getting to the NFL. No matter who the coach has been at UF, Florida is among the leaders in players going to the next level.
10. There is a real chance that Meyer — who I believe to be the best coach in college football — will be Florida’s coach next year and beyond.
There is no question that a lot of schools around the country have a lot to offer as well. For recruits, Florida still has what they are looking for in every tangible way. So I think UF will do fine in recruiting. The Gators will lose some big-name players because of the situation, but after giving it a lot of thought I still believe this class will be a really good one.