Gators' Recruiting 101

Less than three months until signing day and recruiting for the 2014 class is heating up. The Gators look to close strong and there are still a lot of names on the board to do so. recruiting analyst Jason Higdon takes a look at the tough questions from the subscribers at Check it out here as he answers those questions and then join us on our message boards to discuss.

1. What is the feeling in Gainesville after Saturdays effort?

To put it simply… encouragement. The players understand they came up short on the road vs. a top ten program. They also understand with just a little bit of execution they could have won that game.

2. Next two commits?

I will go with Sharpe and Sharpe. That is just an educated guess on my part.

3. Do you think this "moral" victory has improved our chances w\ borderline recruits?

No, I do not think recruits are swayed one way or the other by an apparent moral victory. I think the kids that really want to come to Florida will despite the record. Some kids that are torn or maybe leaning that way will be turned off to a certain degree I think with the way the season has gone downhill and Dalvin Cook is a perfect example in my mind.

4. Do the actions/reactions of the fans that need to get a grip per coach WM adversely affects our recruiting effort for this year?

I think at times that maybe just maybe this could happen BUT not really and here is why. When teams have bad seasons and things seem to come unglued all fans react the same way. Or fan bases is a better term to use. Fan is short for fanatic and I think most people understand the situation for the most part.

5. How much weight does the Nole game carry as far as recruiting is concerned?

Any recruit who would use a "one" game scenario to decide where to play college football is not a recruit you need on your team. I think the game, as will all the other games this season adding up to one final body of work will have a direct impact on recruiting decisions but really one game will not carry more weight than the next.

6. Jason, we need DE's really bad. How do we look?

Depending on who you talk with the Gators have two DE prospect right now with Bryan and Reed. UF is still recruiting a few players at a very high pace right now namely Gerald Willis, Lorenzo Carter and Lorenzo Featherston. They really need to get two of those players in my mind or land a kid like Kevin Bronson down the road. Those are all really good looking players and bring something different to the table. Florida needs DE players as you suggest and those are some good players.

DE recruiting will be very interesting to watch unfold. Both Lorenzo Carter & Featherston could stay in-state as could Willis.

7. Pick 6 that will end up in this class... From most likely to least likely, whether they are committed now, or not?

Adoree Jackson, David Sharpe, Dalvin Cook, Jamal Adams, Jalen Tabor, Lorenzo Featherston Ermon Lane, Travis Rudolph, Jordan Sims, Lorenzo Carter

I always love doing these types of things and here's why. I am going to list these players in most likely to least likely. The thing to remember is very simple and I tell people this all the time when I do these for the first go around, I am not putting percentages on them. Meaning, the No. 1 guy even though No. 1 might only be at a 56%. Clearly it goes down from there. I will say when you include kids that have already gone public I will always place them first by default. The thought process is simple. You should have better odds of hanging onto the ones that have already announced for you. With Cook that might not be the case however and I have serious question marks about him moving forward.

Based on what I have been told and again all I can go by is what coaches, players, coaches, moms and dads tell me looks like this.

*Dalvin Cook
*Ermon Lane
David Sharpe
Jamal Adams
Jordan Sims
Adoree Jackson
Lorenzo Carter
Jalen Tabor
Lorenzo Featherston
Travis Rudolph
Again, my percentages for these players, of the uncommitted one's could look like this, 98-97-96-95-94-93-92 and 91%. Or it could be 98% for Sharpe and Adams could slip all the way down to 34% if that makes sense. All this does, by me listing this order is let you know who I think UF has a better shot at landing when compared to the players on THAT list. I like the question, love it actually.

7a. Pick 1 that nobody really expects UF to get, that you think we have more than an average chance with...

Raekwon McMillan, Thomas Holley, Gerald Willis, Nyles Morgan

I would go with Gerald Willis or McMillan from that list, again comparing vs. those four players. Willis has been to UF multiple times and the Gators felt they had a chance with McMillan even though I think he is headed North.

8. Is Sharpe one of those kind of guys that can help get some mojo going for us with other guys?

It certainly will not hurt but I do not know if he will be out recruiting for UF. If he picks UF on Thursday.

9. Does Bama taking Hand affect Lo Carter, down to a UGA/UF battle now?? Bama thinks he's UGA lean, UGA thinks UF, and now we think Bama(up until Hand)...according to other boards.

When things read as they do with him right now or any other player for that matter it's a safe pick to go with the in-state team. UF is in this one but the timing of his visit vs. the others in my mind will end up being not a good deal for UF, possibly.

10. Is Pease a "good" recruiter? Who is he personally recruiting?

I think he is a very good recruiter. This entire coaching staff is much more involved in recruiting players than people suggest. The offensive coordinator has his hands in everything regarding recruiting, period. Kids really like coach Pease.

11. Are we going to get the FSU bump this year? Meaning, we suck but end up finishing real strong in recruiting... Surely we are due?

They are set up nicely if they hold the ones they currently have. However, we are starting to see some potential red flags for me personally but things must play out.

12. Regarding the comment on Sharpe being a momentum guy...On one of the sites he's a 5 star and something like top 10 overall.

I like Sharpe and what he brings to the table but I hope you are talking about top ten in the state of Florida and not America???

13. Are we Recruiting the former Juco commit Jarran Reed?

The same reasons that kept him from UF previously will be the very same reasons he will be kept out this go around.

14. With our struggles in the kicking game and the possibility that our poor results on the field will lead to less commits in the 14 class can you see us going after a kicker?

I am leaving all kicking questions to Bob. LOL. I honestly do not know right now if they will pursue a kicker or not. It would make sense but again this is going to be a small class compared to last year's 29 unless some drastic measures are taken moving forward.

15. Did cook see the opportunity he could have the way Taylor ran the ball??

I am not sure how he could not see the opportunity. There have been plays for all of the UF running backs that should have resulted in TD's if the backs had that second gear. Cook has that 2nd gear no question about it. He also knows Taylor is getting carries because other backs were injured and I think that is a real problem. What kind of carries will he get behind those four guys next year? Or five guys if you count Valdez Showers. I know other teams have been telling him the only reason that Taylor is playing is due to injuries. Remember that seed of doubt we always talk about? It has been planted and when other teams tell you things and the data proves them to be correct that seed of doubt grows rapidly at times.

16. We need some ends real bad. anybody beside the GA kid carter I think?? I mean we are thin at end.

See No. 6 above.

17. Has Eric Lauderdale set up an official visit? What do you think are his chances to be in this class?

Florida is moving in the right direction with him but again they need him on campus. He has said he is going to take an OV to UF but I am not sure if he is set on the last game of the season or not. He has had some conversations with some UF friendly recruits so we will see what happens during the OV.

18. Anybody under the radar close to getting an offer?

As I have mentioned for a while now the season at times dictates who you offer. It at times makes you increase your board so to speak. Look in places where you normally may not look. The players that I would mention today already believe they have offers when in fact that is conditional at this time. Probably in my best interest to not put those names out there right now. I think a true recruit the way you are asking would be a kid like Jordan Franks. I am not sure he will get the offer from UF, not a straight up offer.

19. Are we possibly switching gears a little and now looking for a FG kicker?

I honestly do not know the answer to this question but it makes sense so I think I would kind of expect it. To answer the question however, the answer is I do not know right now.

20. Which commitments and potential players does Pease have a close relationship? If he does not return, which players do you feel will be impacted?

What I am going to say about this right now is UF does not have an opening for any coach. If or when they do then I think we can talk about these things. Speculation on my part, regarding who may or may not bolt is probably not a good practice for me to get into. That and as of now I do not see any changes coming. I think there is a greater chance you will see no change at this point in time. Something to revisit after the season folks.

21. What up is the status of our OL targets?

Try and secure Sharpe & Simms and call it a day?

22. Also, it looks like we are looking at adding some more speed on offense with some of the new offers that have gone out. Who are we looking at, and who do you think is most likely to make it into the class?

I think the kid right now that UF is hot after is Charles Nelson. He is interesting, small but big time programs are lining up to offer this kid right now. I think he has roughly 14 TD's and has scored those touchdowns by a variety of different ways. I believe UF will get an OV from Nelson.

23. How can an SEC team not have a kicker who can make a 30 yard field goal? Are there any top flight kickers in Florida who we could see land an offer this year?

I am not aware at this time if UF will go in that direction or not. To answer the first part of your question I do not know my friend.

24. Would they take both Carter and Featherston?

Yes sir they would indeed take both of these players. Knowing that it makes it very important to at least show up with one of them on NSD.

25. What is our problem with recruiting quality linemen?

Inconsistency with turnover at the offensive line coaching position and scheme of the OC's? It is very hard to keep having coaching change or turnover and establish any sort of consistency for these players in my mind. Maybe the players are not as good as everyone thought? Maybe the coaching is not as good as everyone thought? Numerous issues at hand that could all be likely contributors to the offensive line play.

26. The FSU game is unusual this yr… we will be heavy underdogs at home… I assume a ton of talent (recruits) will be there… how will the staff handle any kids that are pro fsu while visiting?

The message will be VERY clear, WE NEED YOU AT UF. The bottom line is the kids that get caught up in the excitement of the Seminole season will end up going to FSU and the ones that don't will not.

27. Any chance UF would take both Stephens and Franks at TE/H Back? If so, where does that extra scholly come from, where would we cut back?

After lengthy talks last night I now believe it will be much much harder for UF to pull this off. Remember they are tight on ships. Seven kids might have to leave this team for a variety of reasons just to get to 22. That is a lot of attrition.

28. You think the OL finishes with Sharpe and Sims?

I think it is looking more and more like Sharpe is UF bound and need to wait and see on Sims but I believe if he steps foot on campus UF can close the deal.

29. Any Juco DL you hearing could be lining up OVs to UF?

I think they will wait for that final push from Holley, after his OV to decide if they are going in that direction fully or not. Again, five inside players from last year's class so if you only show with one this year it's not the end of the world.

30. I know the plan is to get Cook and Lane to OV for the FSU game, but do you get the feeling that they are going to watch FSU's offense more-so? Kind of scary the way that is setting up with them rumored to be having interest in FSU. Noles still saying Cook will switch, based on what I dont know?

Based on a lot of things actually. Based off he has already committed to one team, decommited and committed to another. That is important why? Because he had no issue about doing it before and he wouldn't have an issue doing it in the future. Based off the fact that he speaks with current FSU players and based off the fact he took an official visit to Florida State previously. Based off the fact that in his own words stated how close he is with the FSU staff and that they are out recruiting every other team at this time. Based off Cook saying he is announcing at the UA game on ESPN. Based off knowing that ESPN would never allow a kid currently commited to come on TV and re-up to the same school on National Television. Lot of reasons why FSU fans or mods would suggest this is going to happen. Not to mention they "want" it to happen badly because of what went down last year with Fowler.

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