Ack's Insights

In this week's version of Ack's Insights, Xavier Carter, Zook getting linemen, what's up with the receivers, and my recruiting predictions.

The final week of recruiting is heating up with UF having the chance to land as many as 11 recruits by signing day. A lot was made of the loss of Xavier Carter to LSU and his comments about UF not getting the ball down the field enough for him. Carter, who will also run track, is an outstanding receiver who certainly was a top guy on UF's board. With receiver not being as big of a need this year it should be noted that one other recruting tactic used by LSU was the names of Chad Jackson, Andre Caldwell and Dallas Baker. These names appeared with underclassman next to their names when Carter looked at UF. Michael Clayton left early for the NFL is another of the factors that helped LSU nudge out UF. I realize that much was made of his family and so forth but I also think other players are more important than Carter. Pee Wee may be an All-American and great for the ranking of the this year's recruiting class, but for this season names like Brandon Siler, Mike Mangold and Josh Johnson are better fits for UF's needs. As for UF's offense Florida scored 19 points against LSU and (the refs blew another td on Wynn's run). They also had 229 yards on 18 completions against the vaunted Tiger defense. LSU had 231 yards passing on 19 completions and 0 points against the Gator defense. I guess Carter forgot to watch the game tape on this one when making his decision.

Snippetts and Tidbits
Five of the top six receivers will be in their second year of college experience. Four will be Sophomores (Jackson, Reggie Lewis, Jemalle Cornelius and Caldwell) and Baker will play his second year as a junior.

Of the 41 players who declared for the NFL Draft seven played wide receiver which was the third most of any position. Larry Fitzgerald would make eight underclassman, leaving the receiver spot only one short of the unit lead (9 defensive back). The point is good receivers come and go quick so you must play them as freshman even if it is not significant time.

Ron Zook signed twelve linemen that made it to campus last season. His first year included four prominent offensive and defensive lineman. With this year's class staring at 10 or more it is obvious that the Gators are focusing there future success on the trenches. When 40% of your class is offensive and defensive line recruits that means you are trying to develop a toughness and depth at your school.

The 2004 Gators will definitely be "Zook's" team. Based on the depth chart at the Outback Bowl, UF will go to spring with five potential starters recruited by Steve Spurrier and the former staff. Lance Butler and OJ Small on offense, with Jarvis Herring. Cory Bailey and either Travis Harris or Todd McCollough on defense .Of these six, I think as many as three could lose their starting job by opening Day.

The Gators will begin Spring Practice the week of March 15 and the Spring Game is scheduled for Saturday April 10. News on a possible replacement for defensive back coach Mike Woodford should come after signing day. Several names have surfaced with guys who have worked with both Charlie Strong and Bill Miller in the past. Expect someone to be in place within the next few weeks. It would not surprise me if Miller worked with the defensive backs if Zook can find the right fit for his staff.

Jeff Mitchell will play in the Super Bowl for the Carolina Panthers. He left the Baltimore Ravens after winning the Super Bowl a couple of years ago he went to Carolina and gets another trip to the big show. He has to be one of the best interior lineman of the Spurrier Era along with Cal Dixon who played in 1990 and 1991.

Speaking of Steve Spurrier, he was in Gainesville recently looking into getting his son back to PK Yonge for his senior year of high school. Word is the decision will be left totally up to Scotty but Spurrier was told by former Gator John Clifford he could come out and help coach.

The recent accusations of recruiting violations by Florida State is well within their rights and rules. The only problem is FSU knows the rules and by challenging something of this nature they open themselves up to a rebuttle by the Gators. Word has it that UF may be in the process of returning the favor.

The Gator Baseball team opens up it's season Saturday Feb 7th vs Gardner Webb. The Gators and Coach Pat McMahon are ranked in the top 20 in three major polls.

The Gator basketball team plays at Tennessee on Saturday after defeating the Vols at home by 38. Lee Humphry has been a big key off the bench for UF and he seems to be finding his role withing the rotation. Humphry, who is from Tennessee and was not recruited as hard as many would have thought he should be by the Volunteer. The Gators return home Tuesday night to face rival Kentucky.

Finally, the final week of recruiting will bring these names to UF. Ack's Predictions: Josh Johnson, Derrick Harvey, Mike Brown, David Holbert, Javier Estopinan, Marcus Baker, DJ Hall, Cornelius Ingram and Robert Ayers. This would give UF 25 recruits counting Mangold which is a top 15 class. But they may swing a couple of surprises like McPhearson, Joseph and Dunlap. Should be fun let's sit back and see. If UF lands Joseph, Harvey, Brown and Ayers you ought to send a thank you note to Lance Leggett's Dad and Xavier Carter's Uncle for getting those guys to go elsewhere because Zook's class would be at near capacity. It's all good just having some fun. It's only seven weeks till spring football practice.

Stat of the Week: 7
Number of 20 point games by Gator Hoops Star Anthony Roberson.

Fightin Gators Top Stories