First we need to talk about how.
When looking at this scenario compared to last year, they are quite different. Will Muschamp and his staff had all of two months or less to ry and build bonds with high school coaches and underclassmen last year while they were trying to put together some semblance of a first recruiting class as a new staff.
The class finished #26 in the nation a year ago which was admirable given all the turmoil of the changeover and the limited amount of time the staff had to seal up the leaks in a class that lost a few and round up a few others to sign on the dotted line.
Their work then helped pave the way to a #5 class this year. Finishing with star prospects at every position and having enough holes depth wise to leave us wondering ‘what if?'
But, one thing that happened as they were paving the way from last year's class, was that they were working on this year. Stopping by high schools and being seen, especially in the state of Florida has been big for this staff and it showed in last year's class when they signed over half of the class (12 of 23) from the state of Florida. That compares to Florida State who will have just four prospects from the state show up to their campus on scholarship in the fall.
All those visits to high school campuses in these towns meant they could stop over to other campuses in the same town. Recruiting Chris Black, that eventually signed with Alabama, allowed an easy look at Daniel McMillan at First Coast, the third commitment in this 2013 class. And while in Jacksonville, they could waltz over to Trinity Christian and see their kids getting a little bit in the ear of Nick Washington, one of the six to commit to Florida Saturday.
Will Muschamp has made Florida a priority in recruiting. All ten of the commitments so far in this class come from the state of Florida. The goal is to own the state and they are trying to do just that and seem to be succeeding.
The next thing to answer is why get things started so early?
Some want to think that signing day played a big part in the way the staff is handling this process this time around. In a sense that thought process is correct, and in another it is wrong.
The fact is, if Muschamp and crew had the time to build the relationships with kids that they have had so far with the younger troops and then extend that time all the way to signing day, they would have never been in that situation.
Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley said last week that at the end of the process you usually get about one of every four prospects you wanted to get, that is about the average. Florida went two for eight on signing day.
The trick to getting there and getting solid players that will help your program is building relationships with the prospects. It only helps when you have more time to do so.
The last commitment of the night on Saturday was Dillan Lawson. Lawson knew before he ever showed up on campus at Florida for Junior Day that he was going to commit to Florida. That was because Muschamp and the assistant coach assigned to his area, Bryant Young, built a strong bond with the young man.
Kelvin Taylor, Rodney Adams, Quinton Powell, Nick Washington, Keanu Neal, and Dillan Lawson all made for a historic day in Gator recruiting annals. Adam Lane, Daniel McMillan, Caleb Brantley, and James Hearns got it started a few weeks ago. These ten guys are also going to start pouring some Gator love all over the state of Florida. The process will perpetuate itself.
Will there be a signing day prospect or two hanging out there? Most likely. But expect close to the entire class done by the time the All-American games roll around.
And for the diehard recruitniks out there, that will be more fun.