National Signing Day is Wednesday, Jim McElwain’s second full recruiting class after a 2015 transition class when he first took over after Will Muschamp was dismissed. Although it might seem unfair because a transition class is involved, the three class rule applies here – you measure effective recruiting by doing a two-deep chart of three recruiting classes.
This is the three recruiting class theory, offered to me years ago by Urban Meyer, a rather good recruiter: (1) How many players on the two-deep did you recruit? (2) How many holes are there in your two-deep; i.e., Is there quality at all positions? (3) When the talent from the previous coach runs out can you match the departed talent with the talent you’ve recruited?
Since we won’t know what the 2017 class will look like until Wednesday, here is a look at what Meyer put together from 2005-07 and how that panned out. What Meyer did was recruiting at its most efficient level.
Meyer’s transition class was 2005 when he signed 18 players. Of that group, only juco transfer Reggie Nelson (2006 All-America safety), linebacker Ryan Stamper, wide receiver David Nelson, wide receiver Louis Murphy and running back Kestahn Moore actually panned out. Of the other 13, one didn’t qualify, three took medical hardships and eight either transferred out or were dismissed at some point in their UF careers. Nelson left for the NFL after the 2006 national championship, while Stamper, David Nelson and Louis Murphy were all starters on Florida’s 2008 national championship team.
2005 recruiting class: S Reggie Nelson; LB Ryan Stamper; WR Louis Murphy; WR David Nelson; RB Kestahn Moore; S Dorian Munroe; QB Josh Portis; TE Brian Ellis; CB Avery Atkins; LB Kalvin Baker; LB Daryl Gresham Jr.; LB Eric Sledge; OG Ronnie Wilson; LB Jon Demps; WR Nyan Boateng; C Eddie Haupt; OT Simon Codrington; DT Michael Brown
Meyer’s first full class (2006) was a blockbuster that produced four All-Americans including 2007 Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow. Linebacker Brandon Spikes, kick returner Brandon James and wide receiver/running back Percy Harvin also made All-America. Of that class of 26, 10 became starters on Florida’s 2008 national championship team. Tebow, Spikes, James and Harvin were all significant contributors on Florida’s 2006 national championship team as well. The 2006 class had two of its members take medical redshirts while seven others were either dismissed or transferred out
2006 recruiting class: QB Tim Tebow; WR Percy Harvin; KR/PR/RB Brandon James; LB Brandon Spikes; CB Wondy Pierre-Louis; S Jamar Hornsby; WR Jarred Fayson; LB A.J. Jones; CB Jacques Rickerson; RB Mon Williams; RB Chevon Walker; S Bryan Thomas; LB Dustin Doe; CB Markihe Anderson; DT Brandon Antwine; DL Corey Hobbs; DE Jermaine Cunningham; OL Carl Johnson; OL Jim Barrie; OL Mo Hurt; OL Marcus Gilbert; TE Trent Pupello; WR Riley Cooper; WR Justin Williams; DT Terron Sanders; DT Lawrence Marsh
Florida’s 2007 class goes down as a second straight blockbuster, producing six future UF All-Americans (C Maurkice Pouncey; C/G Mike Pouncey; S Ahmad Black; P Chas Henry; CB Joe Haden; TE Aaron Hernandez). It also produced a Heisman Trophy QB in Cameron Newton although he transferred out of Florida after the 2008 season, went juco in 2009 and then won the big trophy while leading Auburn to an undefeated season and national title in 2010. Of the 27 players the Gators signed, nine started on Florida’s 2008 national championship team. From the 27-man signing class, two took medical redshirts and seven were either dismissed or transferred out.
2007 recruiting class: OL Maurkice Pouncey; OL Mike Pouncey; RB Chris Rainey; S Ahmad Black; S Steven Wilks; WR Paul Wilson; DT John Brown; WR Joe Haden; DE Jaye Howard; DE Carlos Dunlap; QB John Brantley; QB Cameron Newton; WR Deonte Thompson; P Chas Henry; S Jerimy Finch; S Major Wright; LB Lorenzo Edwards; LB John Jones; RB Bo Williams; DE Duke Lemmens; TE Aaron Hernandez; DE Justin Trattou; DT Torrey Davis; CB Moses Jenkins; LB Brandon Hicks; OL James Wilson; QB Bryan Waggener
So now let’s look at the starters on that 2008 national championship team. Of the starting 25 (11 offense, 11 defense, 3 special teams), only offensive tackles Phil Trautwein and Jason Watkins (both from 2004) were on the roster prior to Meyer’s arrival and corner Janoris Jenkins (2008) was the only other player not from the 2005-07 recruiting classes. The two-deep for that 2008 team breaks down like this:
QB Tim Tebow (2006); John Brantley (2007)
RB Chris Rainey (2007) or Jeff Demps (2008); Kestahn Moore (2005); Brandon James (2006)
WR Louis Murphy (2005); Deonte Thompson (2006)
WR Percy Harvin (2006); Riley Cooper (2006)
WR David Nelson (2005); Carl Moore (2008)
TE Aaron Hernandez (2007); Tate Casey (2004)
OT Phil Trautwein (2004); Marcus Gilbert (2006)
OT Jason Watkins (2004); James Wilson (2007)
OG Carl Johnson (2006); Maurice Hurt (2006)
OG Mike Pouncey (2007); Jim Tartt (2004)
C Maurkice Pouncey (2007); Mike Pouncey (2007)
DE Jermaine Cunningham (2006); Justin Trattou (2007)
DE Carlos Dunlap (2007); Duke Lemmons (2007)
DT Lawrence Marsh (2006); Jaye Howard (2007)
DT Terron Sanders (2006); Torrey Davis (2007)
LB Brandon Spikes (2006); Lorenzo Edwards (2007)
LB Brandon Hicks (2007); Dustin Doe (2006)
LB Ryan Stamper (2005); A.J. Jones (2006)
CB Joe Haden (2007); Wondy Pierre-Louis (2006)
CB Janoris Jenkins (2008); Markihe Anderson (2006)
S Ahmad Black (2007); Will Hill (2008)
S Major Wright (2007); Justin Williams (2006)
P Chas Henry (2007)
PK Jonathan Phillips (2006); Caleb Sturgis (2008)
PR/KR Brandon James (2006)
GATORS MOVE UP TO #23 IN COACHES POLL
The Gators (16-5, 6-2 SEC) are probably right where they need to be in the basketball polls. They are 23rd in the USA Today Coaches Poll and 24 in the AP. They need to be the hungry team this week with Missouri coming to town on Thursday and sixth-ranked Kentucky coming to town Saturday night. As well as the Gators played last week, they have to prove they can handle prosperity. Florida should blow the doors off Missouri and they’ve got a decent chance to spring the upset against Kentucky if they can stay humble, stay focused and play defense like they did against Oklahoma. Kentucky can be had as those losses to UCLA, Tennessee and Kansas prove. The Tennessee loss has to be troubling for John Calipari because UK was completely outhustled and had no answers for serious in your face defense.
It night not hurt if the Gators had a 3-point shooting night like the one they had against LSU (19-33) and not like they did in the loss to South Carolina (0-17).
1. Gonzaga 22-0
2. Kansas 19-2
3. Baylor 20-1
4. Villanova 20-2
5. Arizona 20-2
6. Kentucky 17-4
7. Louisville 18-4
8. UCLA 19-3
9. Wisconsin 18-3
10. North Carolina 19-4
11. Virginia 16-4
12. West Virginia 17-4
13. Oregon 19-3
14. Cincinnati 19-2
15. Butler 18-4
16. Florida State 18-4
17. Maryland 19-2
18. Notre Dame 17-5
19. Saint Mary’s 19-2
20. South Carolina 1704
21. Duke 16-5
22. Creighton 19-3
23. FLORIDA 16-5
24. Purdue 17-5
25. Xavier 15-6
MY HEART SAYS ATLANTA; MY HEAD SAYS NEW ENGLAND
Okay, I’m starting to actually think about the Super Bowl and it is a dilemma. I’d like to see Atlanta win because former UF defensive coordinator Dan Quinn is the HBC, the Falcons start Gators Keanu Neal at safety and Brian Poole at nickel, and the Falcons have never won a Super Bowl. Throw in the fact Atlanta has the most exciting offense in all of the NFL and there are reasons plenty to believe this is the Falcons’ year to win it all.
My heart says Atlanta will win because Matt Ryan and Julio Jones will carve up the New England secondary like a Thanksgiving turkey. My heart says even if you take Julio away, Atlanta has more weapons than anyone and Matt Ryan will use them all. My heart says Dan Quinn deserves this. He was always great with the media when he was Will Muschamp’s DC.
Then my head takes over and asks, “Are you absolutely nuts thinking Tom Brady and the New England Patriots are going to lose this opportunity to tell Roger Goodell to stick it where the sun doesn’t shine?”
That right there is the cause for pause. Bob Kraft, the New England owner, despises Goodell. So does Brady but neither one is stupid enough to say it in public. You have to figure that if Bill Belichick actually thinks of something other than devising some scheme to win a game that he probably doesn’t send Goodell Christmas cards, either. New England has serious incentive to win this Super Bowl, as much or more than Atlanta.
My head is winning this battle at the moment, believing the thought of making Goodell squirm and sweat on the podium when he hands New England the Lombardi Trophy will give the Patriots the edge. And there is that teensy matter that Brady has been there and done that four times in the past, so the Super Bowl is his stage and he will have laser focus on Sunday, not to mention the fact that nobody game plans better than Belichick.
So, right now I’m going with the Patriots.
That’s now. I could change my mind, however.
Just a week ago, the pundits were saying Florida State could make the Final Four this year. Two games later, the Seminoles are looking quite ordinary after blowout road losses to Georgia Tech and Syracuse. After all these years of following college basketball closely, I can’t escape the probability that Leonard Hamilton is one of these coaches who will annually win a couple of games he shouldn’t and lose at least that many that there is no way he should. This is not anti-Seminole bias, just the facts. History says Lenny can have all the talent in the world and he’ll still figure out a way to screw things up at the most critical moment. I hate to think what the Seminoles record would be all these years if Stan Jones hadn’t been assisting Lenny.
Former Tampa Bay Bucs All-Pro safety John Lynch is the new general manager of the San Francisco 49ers. If you wish to know why the 49ers are bottom feeders in the NFL this is the perfect example. Lynch has never held a front office position and spent his entire NFL retirement working in the Fox Sports broadcast booth.
Kentucky promoted inside linebackers coach Matt House to defensive coordinator. House was the DC at Pitt (2012-14) and FIU (2015) in previous gigs.
Brent Musberger rides off into the sunset tonight when he calls the Georgia-Kentucky game at Rupp Arena, site of Musberger’s famous call of Villanova’s upset win over mighty Georgetown in the NCAA championship game in 1985.
Everyone is saying Duke’s dysfunction has everything to do with Coach K out and recovering from back surgery. Maybe. I think it has more to do with the fact there is only one basketball and too many players who feel entitled to shoot it. Freshman Jayson Tatum never met a shot he didn’t like and wouldn’t take. Tatum and some of these other guys with egos large enough to apply for statehood need to understand that Luke Kennard (46.8% on 3-pointers) gets the first look every time down the floor. Kennard shoots the ball so well the net rarely moves when the ball goes through.
QUESTION OF THE DAY
True confession time. What does your heart say about Sunday’s Super Bowl and what is your head telling you?
MUSIC FOR TODAY
Alas, Burrito Brothers is closing down on Saturday. Couple that with the closing of Leonardo’s once the spring semester ends and life as we know it in Gainesville is not the same anymore. In honor of many, many burritos through the years, today’s music is “Burrito Deluxe,” the 1970 release by The Flying Burrito Brothers, which featured Gainesville’s own Bernie Leadon, previously with the Dillard and Clarke Expedition, who would go on to become one of the founding members of The Eagles.