Gator Recruiting 101

With less than three months until signing day, Gator recruiting is taking on a whole new importance and with the current climate around the program, Jason Higdon of takes on the hard questions from our subscribers about the different prospects and the process itself. Here are the questions and answers from this week's "Recruiting 101".

1. If you bring an offensive minded coach don't you think guys like Grier, Lane, and Cook would be happy?

Why would they not be happy about that scenario? I am sure they would be happy and I would imagine it would be a person they are aware of or have a little bit of familiarity with. If a change is made with an offensive minded coach coming in those three kids should be the first to know about it maybe even before the actual team.

2. If Muschamp stays shouldn't he send Grier a present? that kid has been rock solid to UF.

I agree with your statement regarding Will Grier. He has been rock solid in the media no question about that fact. Behind the scenes maybe a bit of cause for concern but he is not going anywhere other than Florida in my mind. Now if the entire coaching staff were to hit the road and I am talking about everyone (which would never happen) maybe he ends up somewhere else. That is playing the "IF" game and there is really no reason to play that game with Grier at this point in time.

3. If Muschamp stays and a new OC and OL coach brought in would that hurt our chances with Lane and Cook?

Well if that were to happen you will see Muschamp & crew show how it is a positive move. The recruits would have to see this as a positive move as well but most of the times relationships are a deal killer with recruits. I have no clue if moves are going to be made or not but you guys are smart to see what's happening. I mean what if those two positions were replaced with coaches that for whatever reason Cook and Lane did not like? What if they got a strange vibe from the new coaches? Hard to tell with these things. On the flip side they may already know the new coaches and love them? Again, when changes are made we can talk about them but to try and forecast that now is kind of tough for me personally.

4. It appears Grier is set to become a Gator no matter. Is this true, and does he believe if coaching changes are made that the changes will showcase Grier's strengths?

So many things go into a great quarterback. Everything from athletic ability, arm strength, speed, quickness, accuracy and football IQ. The "IT" factor might be the most important aspect of being a great quarterback. I am not even sure you measure the "IT" factor but Danny had it as well as Tim.

I believe that Will Grier has everything you look for in a signal caller in particular the "IT" factor and football IQ. Football IQ in a quarterback might be the single most important factor the quarterback must have. Does he play vs. inferior talent? Sure he does but it does not change his arm strength or his football smarts. There is no way Grier could say if changes were made it will showcase his talents. Without knowing what if any changes are made you simply cannot answer that question.

5. Some smoke that Cook and Lane are seriously considering FSU but they keep on saying the right things as far as being committed to UF. What are you hearing behind the scenes. Some rumors that Lammons and a Duke are also questioning their commitment. With loses to SC and FSU can you see a mass exodus of commits.

When kids take trips in my mind it tells you one simply fact. Despite what they tell you they are actually open to a certain degree. How could anyone think a kid is 100% IF he is still taking trips to another school? I have heard numerous things about Cook, he is fine he is not going anywhere all the way to he is gone. The truth I would imagine lies somewhere in the middle right now. To me the losses are not as big a deal as the direction of the program. That is what other teams are selling against UF, the direction of the program.

I have said for a long time that UF has the upper hand because all of them are committed to Florida BUT at the same time that will work against them if ONE and only ONE kid decides to bolt ship. If that takes place in my opinion it will make it much easier for the others to follow so to speak. These kids have talked about this kind of stuff behind the scenes for more than a few weeks. Cook has said repeatedly things like I am committed now or for the time being etc. The signs have been there for more than a while that troubles could lay waiting.

I mean Duke Dawson just went on a visit to Alabama. Why is he making that trip? Hard to tell but I do get the sense some players are more than a bit worried right now.

6. Mass exodus coming and can you blame them Jason? Bringing champ back shouldn't make any recruit feel all warm and fuzzy...He'll be gone mid season next year. A new coach is at least going to get 3 years and the right hire would keep the majority of what we have. Where am I wrong here?

You are speaking in fact right now and I do not think you can do that. I mean you can but it does not make it right. I understand it does not make it wrong either. The point is no one knows those answers right now. I would simply ask you who would the right hire be? When could he be in place and how do you know he would keep the recruiting class together? How do you know for sure that Will isn't going to keep the class together? Some signs some things are not well I know but so many unanswered questions right now it's hard to say one way or the other.

7. If Cook bolts to FSU do we have a chance with Bo or has that ship sailed at this point. Are there any realistic options for us at RB that are not plan B type of guys?

I do not believe that UF has a chance with Bo at this point. Some other things that were possibly going in UF's favor that "may" help land him seem to be heading south in a hurry. I think this ship has sailed more than a while ago.

8. My experiences tell me that recruits/athletes aren't nearly as fickle as fans are in regards to winning-losing, or a bad season. What does your experience tell you on this matter?

My experience tells me the same thing for the most part. Having said that, this seems to possibly be more than that. They are not just losing they are losing by three scores vs. teams like Vanderbilt at home or by 20 on the road at Missouri. People at this point seem to be questioning the direction of the program and the staff not just wins and losses which could be more serious.

9. Seems like cook might use an official to fsu have u heard anything about this?

I thought he already took his official to Florida State. I could be wrong and it may have been just an unofficial but sometimes that could be worse. Either way some serious smoke surrounding Cook for more than a few weeks now.

10. JH, do YOU think we have any chance in beating USC-e & FSU?

I would say absolutely not. I just do not see how this offense can score enough points to stay in the game Saturday on the road and clearly not enough to stay in the Florida State game. Jimbo Fisher WILL try and strike while the iron is hot in my mind. A definitive win on the road in the Swamp will make a CLEAR statement to every single recruit in the state of Florida and around the Southeast. Now this is exactly why you go play the game because anything can happen but I just do not see this offense scoring points or enough of them to win either game. Remember one thing and its very important most people don't think about. The mental state of the team. Did the mental state of the team in your opinion seem to be at a high level vs. Vandy or did you feel they were going through the motions? I am not telling you one way or the other but simply asking what you think?

11. What % of our current recruits do you think will end up signing w\ us?

I really have no idea how to put a percentage on that question. So many things are up in the air such as will the staff remain intact? That appears it will not happen but I do not make those decisions. If I am to assume some new coaches might come in I have no clue if the recruits will have the relationship needed to stay with Florida or they might not even like them, who knows. They might absolutely LOVE them. The point is we just simply do not know how they might or might not react to change.

12. Your opinion only: Would Vandy's HBC be a good fit for us if we were to go after another HBC?

Lot of people have mentioned Coach Franklin as a guy they feel would be a good head coach at some point in the future at Florida. Two issues with that however, No. 1 Florida has a head coach and No. 2 is this Driskel/Murphy all over again?

So many people were convinced that Tyler Murphy was the 2nd coming because of how bad they felt Jeff Driskel had played. We now can all see how well that turned out. Is this Muschamp/Franklin debate the same scenario? Are people so upset with Will they are jaded into believing that Franklin would make things better? Some interesting numbers. Franklin, from what I understand is in his third year as the head coach at Vandy. They wanted to hire Gus Malazahn and he passed on the job. Other candidates were Golden if I remember correctly and Franklin.

If I calculated this correctly he is 20-15 with his third season coming to a close. Everyone keeps telling me he has an above .500 record at a school like Vandy.

These are the wins Franklin has since his time as head coach at Vandy:

Elon, Umass, Presbyterian, Army, Umass, Ole Miss, Kentucky, Wake Forest, Missouri, Auburn, Kentucky, Ole Miss, Tenn, Wake Forest, NCST, UAB, UGA, Florida, Austin Peay, Umass

I do not have a clue what will happen in the future. I truly believe Muschamp is not going anywhere but if something crazy were to happen I am not sure how hiring a guy who has more than half his wins against Umass (3), Austin Peay, UAB, NCST, Wake Forest (2), Elon, Presbyterian, Army, Kentucky (2) and throw in a few against Tennessee. I just dont see how that is good enough at the University of Florida. My point is I can in my mind say 16 of the 20 wins are not what I consider "good" wins. Now, yes I understand any win is considered a good win but the quality of the opponents they have beat in the last three year's does not tell me that is THE guy. Again, without UF in need of a new coach this is all a moot point. Vandy has more talent in my mind vs. a TON of those teams they have beat. Others keep saying its Vandy, he has a winning record and that is great but I am more concerned with who the wins are against. I am not sure what others will report but one thing I am aware of is a meeting that took place after the game yesterday between Foley and Muschamp. It makes no sense to speculate on what they discussed but something is in motion I would think that is safe to assume. I also am aware that some of the players have been told that Muschamp is not going anywhere he is going to be the HC next season.

13. With all of our injured players coming back, our Redshirt Freshman contributing, and possibly some contributions from this year's recruits, what do you think our record will be next year?

Well you will start off with three wins next season with three home games in a row vs. Idaho, Eastern Michigan and Kentucky. Nice little 3-0 start then a trip to Alabama so after four games you are sitting at 3-1 in my mind. Bye week before you go back on the road and play Tennessee. I think they are getting better but toughest schedule in America bar none but that will be a win so now you are 4-1. I am not sure you split with LSU and Missouri but I will say they split so now you are 5-2 after seven. Loss to Georgia (Cant say UF wins until Muschamp shows he can beat them) has you sitting at 5-3. Beat Vandy on the road(?) runs the record to 6-3 followed by a lost to South Carolina now at 6-4. Beat Eastern Kentucky and drop another game to the Noles and you end up at 7-5. I would say 7-5 or 8-4 without injuries.

14. Who do you think the most important offensive and defensive recruits are?

Simple on offense for me, Will Grier.

On defense a bit more difficult but right now I am going with K. Clark.

15. Each week there has been talk of WM coaching for his job. Now if given another year, he would be coaching for his job. In this era of championships or nothing, do you believe only coach (except Saban for obvious reasons) is not coaching for his job almost every game?

I think tons of coaches are not coaching for their jobs week in and week out. Yes, you need to win or be somewhat competitive depending on where you coach but lots of coaches are safe in my mind. Miles, Stoops, Strong, Meyer, Richt and a guy like Stoops will get a few years to base his body of work on moving forward.

16. If a blind man and a def man where talking on the phone, and the def man says I see, will the blind man hear him? Seriously, are you and Bob hoping for a staff change? If so how far out and which ones leaving?

Well first of all I am not sure how the deaf man could hear the blind man? The blind man could most certainly hear the deaf man say, "I see." I am not hoping for anything other than holding onto the recruiting class and adding some new guys. Everything else imo will work itself out in due time.

17. With all the talk of a new OC who in your opinion would be a realistic option?

That is a hard thing to speculate for me honestly. To tell you the truth it's kind of hard to do that until Florida has an opening and currently all jobs are filled.

18. Please give me the "facts" of what Kerwin Bell's offense is all about...that is: shotgun all the time? 4/5 wideout? I formation/ split backfield? fullback/H back? motion? run/pass ratio? I keep reading how good it is, how exciting it is....what is his "philosophy"? I do not know much about the league he is competing against, except there are some high schools (Miami Central, Mainland, Plant and St. Thomas) that could give Weber/Stetson (some of his opponents) all they want on any "Friday night"! Yes, I said Friday night, (not exactly SEC caliber). Do you feel some (or all) of KB's "success" is due to the completion he is facing and the lack of skilled coaches across the field? I try to look at the "big picture"...not let emotion over rule me here....

I agree with you. If you are a great coach and you coach in a watered down league, yes you are going to look much better than you are. Kind of like me dunking on a bunch of twelve year olds. lol and yes I am talking about a 8 foot rim folks. The question is what would he do in a big boy league and unfortunately no one knows that answer. The surprising detail in all of this is not what he has accomplished in the league he coaches in but why has no one else hired him away?

19. In Amy's interview with Cook, Cook states fsu is recruiting him the hardest right now. Cook is probably the second most important recruit in this class. What are your thoughts on Cook's remark? How does UF let anyone recruit Cook harder than they do?

One thing you must understand is this, do not believe everything a kid says to be true. At times I have watched kids say this as a means to an end. More or less an excuse they would use in the future to justify why they would make the change to another school. If you tell yourself the same thing long enough you will start to believe it to be true.

Dalvin can say whatever he wants right now he is supposed to be an EE and if he is not enrolled at UF when that date comes then you know UF has a problem.

I know that he does not like the attention which is why some of his comments are a bit surprising to me such as the one you mentioned. Or the time he said something along the lines of I am committed right now and we will see what happens in the future or something like that. This one imo will go down to the wire and he needs to be told the EXACT things he is being told from the UF coaches and they are, trust me on that.

Fightin Gators Top Stories