In 2010, the Florida Gators signed the consensus #1 recruiting class in the country. Of the 27 players signed by then head coach Urban Meyer, 18 have found their way to the NFL including three #1 picks (Matt Elam, Baltimore; Dominique Easley, New England; Sharrif Floyd, Minnesota).
It sounds good but was this an effective recruiting class?
Let’s crunch the numbers. Of the 18 who made it to the NFL, only 11 played their entire career at UF. Seven of the 18 who made it to the NFL transferred out. Additionally, five others transferred out, so the class of 27 wound up as a class of 15 – 10 who went on to play for pay and five whose football careers ended in Gainesville.
If you judge effective recruiting simply by getting players to the NFL, then 2010 was a great year, but if you take into account transfers, championships (or lack of), etc., then it’s hard to make the case that this class got the job done. But enough about each year’s complete signing class. Instead, let’s spend the next few days going position by position and grade each year’s class since 2010 and come to a better understanding of why Florida is only 47-30 since 2010 and why the roster is in its current shape.
We start today with quarterback recruiting since 2010.
Trey Burton: He was recruited as a quarterback for an option system. He could run the option with one teensy little problem – he was a terrible passer – which is why he changed positions and became a receiver. He finished with 720 rushing yards for 16 touchdowns, caught 107 passes for 976 yards and 4 TDs and was 11-17 as a passer for 103 yards with 1 interception. Spent the last two years as a tight end and special teams demon for the Philadelphia Eagles.
Tyler Murphy: A last minute addition to the class, everyone thought he was signed as a favor to Steve Addazio. He redshirted in 2010, then Addazio left and it was like he didn’t exist. It wasn’t until Jeff Driskel got hurt in game three in 2013 that Murphy showed he had talent. He got six starts in 2013 before missing the final three games because of an injury. Murphy completed 112-185 passes for 1,216 yards with 6 TDs and 5 INTs and ran for 3 TDs. He graduated after the 2013 season, transferred to Boston College where Addazio was the head coach, and led the nation’s quarterbacks in rushing. At BC he was 131-230 passing for 1,623 yards, 13 TDs and 10 INTs; ran for 1,179 yards and 11 TDs while leading BC to a bowl game. Made the Pittsburgh Steelers as a wide receiver in 2015.
Assessment: Burton was a 4-year contributor but only rarely at QB after year one. Murphy waited three years, gave the Gators six starts, then left. Even though both made contributions, you would have to consider this ineffective recruiting since Burton was incapable of playing QB in a non-option offense and Murphy was only used when it was necessary, then wasn’t given sufficient reason to stay. Ineffective. Give it a C- grade since they were contributors.
Jeff Driskel: He was the nation’s top high school quarterback when he arrived. At Florida, he played in 29 games with 21 starts. His best year at Florida was 2012 when he started 12 games, completing 156-245 passes for 1,646 yards, 12 TDs and 5 INTs with 413 rushing yards for 4 more TDs for a team that went 11-2. In the third game of 2013 he broke his ankle and that more or less doomed the Gators to a losing season. Ineffective in 2014, he started six games, completing 114-212 passes for 1,140 yards with 9 TDs and 10 INTs to go with 180 rushing yards and 4 TDs. For his Florida career, he was 328-552 for 3,411 yards, 23 TDs and 20 INTs with 644 rushing yards. Graduated from UF and transferred to Louisiana Tech for the 2015 season where he was 279-448 for 4,026 yards, 27 TDs and 8 INTs with 323 rushing yards for 5 TDs for a 9-4 team. Taken in the sixth round of the 2016 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers.
Jacoby Brissett: He started four games in two years at UF, completing 41-74 passes for 455 yards, 4 TDs, 3 INTs with 3 rushing TDs. Transferred to North Carolina State where he led the Wolfpack to two bowl games while completing 458-765 passes for 5,268 yards, 43 TDs and 11 INTs; ran for 899 yards and 9 TDs. Taken in the third round of the recent NFL Draft by the New England Patriots.
Assessment: From a talent standpoint, both guys were good enough to get drafted by the NFL so that means the initial evaluations were on the money. Obviously, something lacked in the developmental process but the fact that both left Gainesville unhappy says the environment was toxic. Grade this a C and that might be a stretch.
Skyler Mornhinweg: He redshirted in 2012, then started the first game he ever played in at UF in 2013 after Tyler Murphy went down with an injury. In his three games as a starting QB – all losses – Mornhinweg completed 44-63 passes for 3 TDs with 1 INT. He played in one game in mop-up duty in 2014. Transferred to Columbia (Ivy League) where he started 10 games, completing 148-252 passes for 1,321 yards with 6 TDs and 11 INTs. He ran for 266 yards and 3 TDs for a 2-8 team.
Assessment: Mornhinweg was actually a 4-star recruit. His numbers at Columbia indicate he wouldn’t have developed into an SEC caliber QB had he stayed. Grade this a D- since Mornhinweg contributed even though the only reason he got a shot was because the #1 and #2 went down with injuries.
Max Staver: Redshirted in 2013, then transferred to Tyler Junior College at the end of the season. In 2015, he transferred to Houston Baptist where he started nine games, completing 80-187 passes for 5 TDs and 9 INTs for a 2-9 team.
Assessment: Staver was in over his head from day one. This is an F.
Treon Harris: Started 15 games in the last two years, taking over the final six games of the 2014 season then starting nine games in 2015 including the SEC Championship Game. He has completed 174-346 passes for 2,695 yards with 18 TDs and 10 INTs while running for 570 yards and 3 TDs. He has also caught a TDP. Status with the team is up in the air after a spring suspension that has yet to be resolved.
Will Grier: Redshirted in 2014, then was 5-0 as a starter in 2015 before he was suspended for testing positive for PEDs. In the six games he played in 2015, Grief was 106-161 passing for 1,204 yards, 10 TDs, 3 INTs; 116 rushing yards for 3 TDs. Transferred to West Virginia after the 2015 season.
Assessment: It’s easy to dump all over Treon for being too short and ineffective in big games, but it’s not like there was a ton of talent ahead of him. He probably would have been happy to start his UF career at wide receiver, but played QB two years out of necessity. Grier had it all and blew it. Give this class a C+ grade.
Josh Grady: Graduate transfer from Vanderbilt. Played in five games completing 2-3 passes for 10 yards and running for 18 yards.
Luke Del Rio: Transferred in from Oregon State; redshirt in 2015.
Assessment: Grady was simply an extra body, who actually came in handy because he was the backup after Grier was suspended. Del Rio sat because of transfer rules. Give this class a B simply because Grady gave the Gators a second QB after Grier was jettisoned.
Feleipe Franks: Rated a 4-star recruit by Scout.com; ranked #5 QB in the nation.
Kyle Trask: Rated a 2-star recruit by Scout.com.
Austin Appleby: Graduate transfer from Purdue who completed 268-485 passes for 2,777 yards with 19 TDs, 19 INTs and 290 rushing yards with 9 TDs in three years.
Assessment: The grades are incomplete since none of them have ever played a game at UF.
FINAL ASSESSMENT OF QUARTERBACKS: Driskel and Brissett should have solidified the QB position but that whole situation was mismanaged and the QB recruiting flat out stunk in 2012-13. Grier, like Driskel, was the national player of the year and it seemed as if he had solved the QB problem for at least three years when he started playing in 2015, but now he’s gone, too. You can’t have the kind of attrition UF had from 2010-15 and expect to be a consistent championship contender. A D- grade is merited for the 2010-15 period but with four QBs on the roster now, the position looks better than it has at any time since 2008 when the roster included Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow, future Heisman winner Cam Newton and Johnny Brantley, who was the 2007 national high school player of the year.
Tomorrow: Running backs/fullbacks
GATORS LOOK TO HOLD AT LEAST 5 SATELLITE CAMPS
Fightin’ Gators’ Jacquie Franciulli is reporting that Jim McElwain will hold at least five satellite camps, partnering with Charlie Strong and Texas for two camps in Texas and two in Florida. UF is also expected to hold a camp at Old Dominion University in Norfolk with Maryland expected to participate.
GATORS TAKE OUT BETHUNE-COOKMAN, 7-1
Nelson Maldonado hit a 3-run homer in the bottom of the second inning and J.J. Schwarz added a run-scoring single and a solo homer as the #1-ranked Gators (38-7, 14-6 SEC) beat Bethune-Cookman of the MEAC, 7-1, at McKethan Stadium Tuesday night.
Schwarz singled up the middle in the first to drive in Buddy Reed with the game’s first run in the bottom of the first. Reed bunted his way on, stole second and moved to third after a balk.
In the second, Maldonado hit his sixth homer of the season over the left field wall to score Jeremy Vasquez and Mike Rivera. Later in the inning, Peter Alonso doubled home Schwarz and Reed. Schwarz capped the scoring in the bottom of the sixth with his sixth homer.
Scott Moss (2-0) got the start and pitched three hitless innings to pick up the win for the Gators, who are now 24-1 against non-conference opponents this season.
Next up for the Gators is a 3-game weekend road trip to Knoxville to face Tennessee (24-21, 5-16 SEC).
Softball: Even with the loss to Texas A&M Saturday, the Gators (47-4, 17-4 SEC) remained #1 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll. The Gators got 11 first place votes while #2 Michigan (41-4) got 6 and #3 Oregon (38-6) 1. Alabama (43-10, 14-7 SEC) remained in fourth place while Florida State (42-5) got the other two first place votes and is fifth. Also from the SEC: #6 Auburn (45-7, 15-5 SEC), #9 Tennessee (38-12, 14-6 SEC), #12 Kentucky (40-11, 14-7 SEC), #14 (tie) Missouri (37-12, 12-9 SEC), #14 (tie) LSU (40-13, 13-11 SEC), #16 Georgia (39-14, 11-10 SEC) and #23 Texas A&M (35-16, 7-14 SEC).
Tonight, the Gators will complete a suspended game against FSU in Tallahassee before playing the regularly scheduled game.
Women’s Golf: Maria Torres was named SEC Player of the Year while Karolina Vickova and Taylor Tomlinson were selected second team. Sam Wagner was named All-SEC Freshman. The Gators will be competing in the Baton Rouge Regional this weekend.
Kudos to former UF quarterback Eric Kresser, is credited with saving a man’s life in Huntington, West Virginia after administering CPR in a Starbucks to a man who had no pulse and wasn’t breathing.
With Big 12 expansion starting to look like a probability, Memphis looks like a mortal lock to get one of the two slots. UCF and Houston seem to be the top candidates for the second slot although BYU, Cincinnati and Boise State are lobbying hard.
Did you see the end of Monday night’s Oklahoma City win over the San Antonio Spurs? Not exactly a great night for the zebras. The NBA listed five blown calls by the zebras in the last 13.5 seconds of the game, won by Oklahoma City, 98-97.
ESPN rates the toughest college football schedules for 2016 like this: (1) Southern Cal, (2) Ole Miss, (3) Florida State, (4) California, (5) Alabama, (6) LSU, (7) UCLA, (8) Syracuse, (9) Texas A&M and (10) Arkansas.
Wichita State, which hasn’t played football since 1986, is contemplating adding football and joining the Mountain West Conference.
QUESTION OF THE DAY
If you’ve got a vote to expand in the Big 12 Conference, which makes more sense to you – adding UCF or Houston to join Memphis and bring the league to 12 teams?
MUSIC FOR TODAY
If you were in Gainesville in the mid-to-late 1960s and spent any time at frat parties, then you might have caught the band from Daytona Beach with the catchy name – the Allman Joys. In 1969 they evolved into the legendary Allman Brothers band. I was fortunate enough to hear the Allman Joys back in 1968 then the Allman Brothers in Macon while both Duane Allman and Berry Oakley were still alive. I’ve seen them a couple of times in the years since and they are still a testament of great southern rock and roll, particularly on those performances when they have both Derek Trucks and Warren Haynes playing with them. Today’s music is the 40th Anniversary Show from 2009.