Post-Transition Classes Excel

Last week, we took a look at the difficult Gator coaches have had through the years in terms of trying to sign a quality recruiting class shortly after they took over the job. Charlie Pell, Steve Spurrier, Ron Zook and Urban Meyer all ended up signing a collection of players that failed to produce enough top level talent to develop a championship caliber program.

That's the bad news.

The good news is that each of those coaches turned it around the very next year and put together a tremendous class in his first full year on the job. Will Muschamp faces a similar challenge in the year ahead as he tries to replenish the roster. The new Gator head man is off to a good start, solidifying the commitments of safety Latroy Pittman and lineman Omari Phillips while adding the pledge of a long coveted big running back in Matt Jones.

Here's a look at the success other Gator coaches had in this situation.

1980 Charlie Pell --- Despite an 0-10-1 season in his first season Pell was able to bring in some outstanding talent in '80 led by arguably the greatest defensive player in school history, Wilber Marshall. Wayne Peace was Florida's primary QB for most of his four seasons; Tony Lilly and Roger Sibbald were standouts in the secondary. Dwayne Dixon, Fred McCallister, Lorenzo Hampton and John Hunt added depth to this class.

1991 Steve Spurrier --- No one ever gives Spurrier much credit for his recruiting classes, but he signed good enough players to win a boatload of games, didn't he? The 1991 class might be the best defensive line class in school history (jury's out on the 2009 group). Kevin Carter, Ellis Johnson, Mark Campbell and Henry McMillan is a tremendous group. The defense also got stalwarts in Ben Hanks, Lawrence Hatch and Larry Kennedy. The class also included WR J.C. Jackson and punter Shayne Edge.

2003 Ron Zook --- This class had a ton of misses, but the hits really hit big. Chris Leak broke a slew of records throwing the ball while Andre Caldwell and Chad Jackson set records at the receiving end. Steve Rissler and Carlton Medder were effective blockers. The defense got a ton of production out of this group. Jarvis Moss would provide the biggest blocked kick in school history and was a terror in 2006. Marcus Thomas and Joe Cohen and Clint McMillan contributed up front while Earl Everett, Dee Webb and Reggie Nelson added to the back seven and Eric Wilbur was an outstanding punter.

2006 Urban Meyer --- Tim Tebow and Percy Harvin alone make this a great recruiting class. They are two of the most productive, dynamic and exciting players in college football history. But they were far from alone in this class. Riley Cooper and Brandon James added to the offense and special teams while Marcus Gilbert, Mo Hurt and Carl Johnson blocked a whole bunch of people. The defense added Jermaine Cunningham and Brandon Spikes along with Dustin Doe, A.J. Jones, Markihe Anderson and Wondy Pierre Louis…. Plus you had the transfer of Utah CB Ryan Smith.


There's always a lot of buzz and excitement about a new coaching staff and once it has a chance to hit the road and build relationships the results have traditionally been outstanding. All indication are that Muschamp and his staff are off to a great start in making the class of 2012 as memorable as some of the first full classes signed by his predecessors.

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