Early on, things didn't look all that good. The day Ron Zook was publicly named the new Head Coach at Florida, ,Ryan Moore committed to the Miami Hurricanes. Moore, from Orlando, Florida, is widely regarded as one of the nation top offensive prospects and wide receivers. The following day, quarterback Brandon Cox and fullback Brandon Schweitzer committed to Auburn and South Carolina respectively. All three prospects could have gone to the Gators had Steve Spurrier stayed at Florida. Were things falling apart quickly in Gainesville in regards to recruiting?
Maybe so, but just for a short time. Last weekend, fourteen recruits officially visited Florida. One of them was LSU commitment Reggie Lewis. Lewis, from Jacksonville, committed to Florida the following Monday. On Tuesday, Coach Zook made an in-home visit with quarterback Gavin Dickey, the top rated QB in the South from Tallahassee, Florida. The following day, Dickey committed to the Gators. Today, DeShaun Wynn, who many feel is the nation's top running back, committed to Florida. A week later, are things looking better for the Gators in recruiting?
Yes they are. Many prospects have said some very encouraging words about the new coach and his staff. "I really like Coach (Ron) Zook," said linebacker Sam McGrew. "Man he has some energy. We had a great talk."
"I had a super visit to Florida," said Leon Washington. "Right now, I would say it is 50-50 between Florida and Florida State. I really like Coach (Ron) Zook. The guy has some energy. Overall, it was just a great visit and I feel good about Florida again."
"I just got off the phone with Coach (Ron) Zook," said Mike Williams. "He is coming to the house on Wednesday and I am planning to visit Florida next weekend. Coach Zook kind of confirmed things that I already knew about Florida and he said the scholarship offer still stands. I liked what I heard."
Some encouraging words from recruits as things are really heating, especially in Gainesville.
There are still 19 days until National Signing Day and there is a long way to go. Florida is sitting on nine commitments and they will likely sign 23 prospects or so. Coach Zook is off to a fine start. Will it be this easy?
No it will not. Florida will win their share and lose their share of the recruiting battles. After all, they are recruiting against Miami, FSU, Tennessee, Georgia and some other national powers.
And lets face it, anytime there is a coaching transition, it is always tougher to recruit. Coach Zook spent the past few years in the NFL, he only retained two assistants that were with Coach Spurrier, and a lot of lost ground has to be made up. In addition, his staff is not complete and he is still looking for a Defensive Coordinator. Having said that, the Gator Nation has to be very happy with what has transpired this past week.
Nine days into his dream job, Zook is tackling recruiting head on. One thing we know for certain, Zook's energy, passion and enthusiasm in recruiting, will certainly account for something. It already has because the recruits are taking notice.
Dare we say, "Here come the Gators?" Only time will tell.