Fightin' Gators Recruiting 101

With the season over and recruiting around the corner, Jason Higdon answers the tough questions about Florida's landscape in regard to signing prospects, especially with the uncertainty at two coaching positions on offense. There is two months until signing day and we go in depth with answers to our subscribers' questions about recruiting.

1. Assuming the USC guy is the new OC... Doesn't he have a prior relationship with Cook and Lane?
Past relations with Cook and Lane are irrelevant at this point in time. Ermon Lane will end up in the Orange & Blue and as of today even after UF met with Dalvin Cook he will not.

2. Also.. Tony James... Wouldn't he be a little more in play with a spread offense?
Yes he would. I would imagine that the new OC will have a TON on his plate from the moment he touches down in Gainesville. In my opinion that will not be on the top of his priority list. With the former OC in place they were not taking Tony James. A new OC might see things differently he might not, hard to say right now until that hire is public.

3. Lastly, Demarcus Robinson status?
I was told this morning that he should be "ok" moving forward with the team. Again, new OC coming in maybe his style will not be what Demarcus wants but that is hard to imagine right now so I believe he will be ok in the future as I was told this morning.

4. Jason update on:
a. Carter, imo Lorenzo Carter is in the grasp of Mark Richt and he will end up at Georgia (today) b. Adams, imo Jamal Adams will end up with the Gators and Joker Phillips (can't miss on him) c. Scarborough, I am leaning with Ole Miss right now if he bolts from Alabama. d. Adoree Jackson, Sticking with the Gators until the end or told otherwise. e. Sims, this one is not clear cut for me but I think UF can land him if they go in this direction. New OL coaching coming in may have different opinion than the previous staff though so hard to say. f. Also if we take the USC guy would we consider going after Joe Mixon since Cook is all but gone? Coach Helton does recruit Mixon because he is responsible for Northern California and if he is the guy he will most certainly reach out to the kids he has connections with.

5. Also who we looking at for LB for this year? The linebacker board is pretty thin and has been for a while now. The players that UF felt good about six weeks ago were Tre Williams and Raekwon McMillan. At this point I am not sure if they will get official visits from either. I would lean with yes they would get them back on campus but the chance of landing either today feels slim in my mind. Dwight Williams is another possibility but this kid has been underground for a while now. With him we wait and see if he is taking an OV to UF in the future. We also wait and see if they offer players like Willie Harvey or Jaylon Graham or another player that will pop up down the road as the staff is traveling.

6. Also is Pittman 2015 LB still under consideration? Kid can ball and really don't get why our coaches turned him down.
The coaches on the defensive side of the ball have not changed so I do not think the stance on Pittman will either.

7. Saw a tweet last week from Lorenzo Featherston saying and I paraphrase, the defense will get tougher when I get to the Gators. Do we have a good chance with him? At 6'7" he could be another, "mad stork"
Yes, the Gators are considered the front runners for him and look for the staff to visit with him very soon.

8. What is going on at wr? How many are we looking to take?
Right now they are looking at three with a possibility of landing a fourth wide receiver. Lane will stick they believe and I. After Lane keep an eye on Lauderdale, Sousa and Nelson in that order. Four will be tough to take in this class unless we see the attrition I am expecting.

9. Thomas Holley?
Holley had a great trip, I spoke to lots of people this weekend that were around him the entire time and they got the feeling UF has a real chance. I still believe he ends up North at the end of the day but I have not been able to speak with him.

10. Are we going to make a run at Dontavius Russell now that he has owned his recruitment back up? If so, what are our chances here.
They will gauge his interest from what I was told but I think UF is clearly on the outside looking in.

11. Jason, who are the red devils? thanks. Go Gators
Not saying if they were on official visits or unofficial visits. Not saying if they are in the 2014, 2015 or 2016 class but all three were on campus this past weekend.

12. Higgy how is LB and DE and now potentially RB not a concern??
Well I am not saying that I do not share your feelings a little bit but I do not think the situation is grave at this point. Let's start with the RB position: Next year you will have the following RB's on the roster if everyone decides to stay.

Mack Brown
Mark Herndon
Matt Jones
Adam Lane
Kelvin Taylor

I do believe they will bring in a RB this class meaning you have six on the roster next season and that is a ton of RB's in my mind.
The Linebacker Position:
Only Darren Kitchens graduates off this team. Florida brings back the following players if they all return.

Neiron Ball
Michael Taylor
Antonio Morrison
Jeremi Powell
Daniel McMillian
Alex Anzalone
Matt Rolin
Jarrad Davis
Think about it like this. UF will see one LB leave but will add Alex, Matt and Daniel into the mix who did not play this season hardly at ALL. So one leaves you gain three. I do think they will land one LB this class to replace the one leaving. Again, that is if everyone stays.

At Defensive End it looks like this:
Ronald Powell but will he stay one more year? Hard to see him returning
J. Bullard
D. Fowler
B. Cox
A. McCalister
J. Sherit
DE is pretty thin right now no question. Again, the thought process is however many leave the program is how many you bring onto the team. So none of the DE's are set to leave minus maybe Powell. Right now you have one DE on board with Justus Reed. The issue is not will they land DE's in this class its more about will the players that UF has on the roster turn into anything moving forward. That is the real issue right now. Having said that if they only see one DE leave and bring in two with Justus Reed and say a Lorenzo Featherston they are perfectly fine in my opinion.

13. What's your way-too-early prediction for our record next year?
Love this question. First let's take a look at the schedule for next season.

Eastern Michigan
First three games of the season are home games and games the Gators will win to start the season off 3-0.
@ Alabama and with a trip to Tuscaloosa comes the first loss of the season sitting at 3-1 on the year heading into the bye week on Sept 27th.
@Tennessee and the Gators win going away to improve to 4-1 on the year
LSU at home drops the record to 4-2
Missouri at home drops the record to 4-3
REWIND. I will give the Gators a split vs. LSU and Missouri because both games are at home. I think at this point saying they split those two games is about as fair as you could expect. So you are now 5-2 on the season.
Bye Week Oct 25th.
Georgia in Jax is a loss until they prove they can beat the pups and now you are 5-3 on the season
at Vandy. I will give them a win on the road at Vandy bc I believe Franklin will not be the head coach but if he is look out. For now you get the win and run the record to 6-3 on the year.
South Carolina drops you to 6-4. I gave them the win at Vandy and a win vs. either LSU or Missouri so going the other way on this game.
Eastern Kentucky gets you to 7-4.
at Florida State drops you to 8-4 on the year.

14. Which of the commits or targets are EE candidates?
I honestly have not even checked into this very much right now. Will Grier is and he is the most important if that helps. Dalvin Cooks is as well but looks to do so in Tally right now.

15. Jason, it's been evident, in the 3 yrs. of the WM era, that the offensive side of the ball has been the big problem. Yet in the last 3 recruiting classes, The Gators have signed 38 defensive players to just 27 offensive players.
a. That is a huge disparity and one of the reasons that our offense is so bad; not only the lack of play making starters, but also the lack of quality depth. We know we have a very good defense, but the offense has been neglected in the last 3 recruiting cycles.

Don't you think that if this disparity continues for a 4th straight recruiting class that this will have huge repercussions down the road? Do you think that WM, after this year, will finally "get it" and take active steps to solve this disparity before it is too large to fix? If WM is to survive this extreme "hot seat" ,wouldn't it behoove him to go all-out on securing Off. playmakers and linemen with the remaining scholarships available to give himself a decent chance to keep his job?
You bring up valid points and this is a great question by the way. Right now UF has 15 verbal commitments with eight of them from the offensive side of the ball. However, one of them Dalvin Cook who was moved to a soft verbal today looks to bail and end up with the Noles. Leaving the Gators with 7 on the offensive side of the ball out of 14. A 50/50 ratio is where it should be moving forward in most cases. I do agree with you that the 11 less ships on that side of the ball has landed UF and the staff in some hot water I mean let's face it we are about to see our 3rd OC in 4 years. I think he understands the severity of this situation. If you want to go down as one of the best coaches to ever roam the sidelines in the Swamp you understand you must change your core values on the offensive side of the ball. Again, it's easy to say now because the season is so far away. When the game starts will he revert back to how he has been the last three years? Only time will tell my friend.

16. Jason, which 2014 recruits were at the FSU game and who do we have a shot of landing?
Lots of kids. CeCe Jefferson, Jeff Holland, Ryan Sousa, Eric Lauderdale, David Sharpe, lots of kids were at this game that UF has a great shot of landing.

17. Are we looking at recruiting any field goal kickers?
Right now I do not think that will happen. It's hard to see how they have the room for a kicker.
a. What answers does the staff to improve our field goal issues?
It's very strange because Hardin has been lights out in practice and then in the game situation has struggled. He is young and has time this off-season to work his tail off which he will continue to do and I think he will turn things around at UF.

18. Who came up with the Four Horsemen nickname - the players themselves or someone else?
I have always been a pretty big wrestling fan sir. J You know how the kids are today they eat this kind of stuff up. Honestly, none of them were aware of who the Four Horsemen were.

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