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    2016 WR Binjimen Victor is switching up his recruitment. / Gator Country photo by Kassidy Hill

Friday Night Lights
Preview-Florida Gators Podcast

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  • Friday Night Lights Preview-Florida Gators Podcast
Written by Andrew Spivey, July 23, 2015, 0 Comments,
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Last week the week was focused on SEC Media Days and now this week we are all about Florida Gators Recruiting and Friday Night Lights that will be held in Gainesville on Friday Night.

In this edition of the Gator Country.com podcast, Andrew Spivey and Nick de la Torre talk about how the event is changing under Jim McElwain plus which prospects you can expect in town for the event.

Also in this podcast we preview what positions will be the most attended this Friday plus some kids to keep a close eye on during the event.

* * * TRANSCRIPT:

Nick:            Hello, Gator Country members, Gator fans. The off season is wrapping up, and you know what that means for recruiting. The Friday Night Lights. The craziest recruiting event in Gainesville of the summer. To help, myself along with Andrew Spivey is here to break it down for you. Andrew, we have a new format this year, a ton of kids coming in. Is this the first weekend that you’ll start drinking coffee?

Andrew:            Probably not. Nick, you know my favorite beverage. I kind of put this two weeks ago, last week. I was kind of your helper through the week, and then this week it’s you’re with me. It’s back to back craziness. Thursday and Friday will be a lot of work, but we also have a lot of fun with it as well. When Friday Night Lights ends it’s kind of like we have a week left till football season, and it’s time to go. I’m excited. I’m fired up for Friday Night Lights. Might be the first time in about three years that I’m actually fired up about the event.

Nick:            We have just over two weeks until fall camp starts, so really getting into it. Let’s talk about that for a minute. It seems like as the opening has gotten bigger and bigger that no one has really wanted to work out at a camp after the opening, which is usually the first week in July, and that has led to a Friday Night Lights where we’d see more kids that are either committed or that Florida is interested in standing on the sidelines rather than working out. I believe two years ago Will Grier came and threw, and we didn’t anticipate him to, but it seems like, especially the last two years under Muschamp and that staff that Friday Night Lights was less of an elite camp and more of a camp with a bunch of elite kids watching it.

Andrew:            I hate to say it’s Muschamp that did that, but he didn’t ask kids to work out for him on Friday Night Lights. I’m not going to say McElwain’s pushing kids to work out, but he’s definitely like let’s work out. Let’s get better. Chauncey Gardner says he’s not going to work out. He says that every time. He ends up working out. He ends up coming out there and messing around, because he’s Chauncey Gardner. He can’t trash talk from the sidelines, so he wants to get out there and jaw a little bit.

Your boy, Jake Allen, he’s a guy that has a scholarship. He’s earned his scholarship as the quarterback, and he’s on Twitter asking who he gets to drop dimes to at Friday Night Lights. He has Tyrek Tisdale. He has Benjamin Victor. He has Isaiah Johnson. The list goes on and on. He has guys saying they’re going to work out so they can catch balls from Jake Allen. I think that while these kids don’t have to work out it almost is good, because if a Benjamin Victor’s out there working out the chances of a guy like, let’s say Freddie Swain, the chance of a guy like Freddie Swain not working out when a guy like Benjamin Victor’s working out is slim to none. Swain doesn’t want to be outdone by Victor.

So when the big name kids work out the lesser kids start working out, and I don’t mean that as a swat to Freddie Swain, who’s a great receiver. It’s a camp. I want to see kids work out. I want to see Victor work out. I want to see Jake Allen throw. I liked seeing Will Grier throw.

Nick:            I think what you’re really touching on here is the competitive nature that Friday Night Lights first started with. Then it’s easier for a kid, if the best wide receiver in the state says I’m going to go out, and I’m going to camp, then the second or third best doesn’t have as much ground to stand on to say no. That second guy and that third guy in their mind, I’m the best receiver in the state, and I’m not going to let the one everyone else is saying is better than me go out and show me up. I think that competitive atmosphere is something we’ve missed the past couple years.

Andrew:            Exactly. Sam Bruce, your favorite player, he’s a guy, Nick, I haven’t asked Sam Bruce personally if he’s working out, but I’d be shocked if he isn’t. He’s Mister Highlight Reel. He’s going to go out there, and he’s going to jaw around. To hit this last point real quick, probably my favorite moment of the event, Nick, this was a year before you came on board, was Stefon Diggs working out at Florida. He was a guy that everybody in the country wanted to be the receiver in their class. He goes out there in his Under Armour hydroplane whatever underwear/shorts, and he’s out there doing Gator chomps, burning DBs. It was some little 5’5” little guy that probably didn’t even play football at FIU that he was covering, but it was still fun. It was still an atmosphere. I’m really looking forward to that and hoping that the guys that say they’re going to work out are actually working out. It’s going to be some good quarterbacks out there as well.

Nick:            Let’s start out with Florida’s guy, Jake Allen. How impressive is that? How happy do you think that makes McElwain’s staff that Jake Allen’s out there on social media? Basically he’s asking the question who do I get to throw to, but he’s basically challenging kids. Don’t come out there and be a spectator. My spot is already locked up, and I’m not even a senior. He’s going in to a year where he still has another year of high school. He’s a 2017 kid, and he’s going out there saying, I have a scholarship. I committed to a school. I’m competing. Who’s going to come and compete with me?

Andrew:            Yeah. If you’re McElwain you’re sitting there like okay, I like this guy’s attitude. As we heard today, on Tuesday, on his different things at the car wash. He’s like I want to see a guy that makes the guys around them better. Jake Allen just made Tyrek Tisdale and all the guys that work out with him better, because as we all know working out makes you better. I like it. Will Grier did it, like you said, and Will Grier had his spot tied up for close to a year, six months or so, when he worked out. It was like, let’s do this. I like it. I like to see Jake Allen go out there and throw, and Jake Allen’s going to get better just by having Nussmeier and McElwain and the rest of the guys coach him up. I like that a lot.

It’s kind of like Lamical Perine, when he committed. Two weeks later he came to Florida’s camp, and he’s like, do you want me to work out? I’ll work out. I don’t care. I got my scholarship. I committed to this staff. Do you want me to work out? They were like, that’s up to you. He put on his cleats. He did a little workout. Did he do a full workout? No, but my thing is don’t be scared. You got the Division I offer. You committed to a Division I school for a reason. Going out and working out’s not going to hurt your cause any, unless you’re hiding something.

Nick:            Right. Let’s talk real quick about the commits that will be in here Friday night. I’ll run through them to refresh everyone’s memory, your memory a little bit. Aaron Robinson, Rick Wells, Jaquan Bailey, Isaiah Johnson, Chauncey Gardner, Tyrek Tisdale, and he’ll be there Friday and Saturday. Then 2017s, Lavarus Tigner and Jake Allen, of course. Also, CJ McWilliams will be in, and I know there’s something you wanted to touch on McWilliams versus the other guys that I just mentioned.

Andrew:            Yeah. McWilliams kind of committed sight unseen. He’s never been to Florida, has never been on campus, never met McElwain.

Nick:            I don’t know about you, but I am always leery of the kids that commit to a school sight unseen like that. It’s a very big decision, and I wouldn’t tell you right now that I’ll move to Georgia. I’ve never been to Georgia.

Andrew:            You’re telling me that the University of Maine is not looking good to you right now?

Nick:            No. I would not be attending.

Andrew:            Yeah. My thing with McWilliams is this. Is he a good player? Sure. Is he a great player? I don’t know about that. 5’11”, 164 he supposedly ran a low 4-4 at the Georgia camp the other day. You guys know how I feel about 4-4 that are hand timed. They’re bull crap. I just have a very hard time believing CJ McWilliams, who says I’m coming to Friday Night Lights, but I’m not working out, that Jim McElwain, Geoff Collins, Randy Shannon, Kirk Callahan, the staff is going to say, okay we’re happy with that. I have a hard time believing that.

I have a very strong opinion that McElwain and Randy Shannon and those guys are going to say, work out. Earn your scholarship. Let me know why you committed to this staff. Work out. If he doesn’t, who knows what’s going to happen. I can’t see that happening. McElwain has asked every guy to work out. Chauncey Gardner’s worked out. As you go through this commitment list, every guy except Mark Thompson and Brandon Autry, the two JuCo kids, have worked out for the staff in person. Those two guys really worked out for the staff in spring ball when the coaches went out and seen those guys. I just can’t see CJ McWilliams getting away with not competing again. My thing again is what are you scared of, CJ? You went up to Georgia. You worked out for Georgia. You can’t work out for the team you’re committed to? Something’s wrong there.

Nick:            Right. Like you said, the first thing that comes to mind when a kid doesn’t want to work out is in the years past it’s kind of been a prestige thing. I’m too good to work out. I don’t need to work out. I think I fall on your side of the argument here where it’s maybe you’re hiding something. It’s not a prestige thing. There’s a lot of kids working out. Lot of really good kids working out. Maybe you’re trying to hide something. Maybe you think if the coaches see you in action you might not have that scholarship for very long, and you don’t want to get rid of that so quickly. I think the guys really need to work out. Go ahead.

Andrew:            Real quick to just remind everybody. Nick, you were here. I think this was your first year here. Trey Bell, the situation with Trey Bell comes to mind. Muschamp and those guys took his commitment with the promise that he would work out. He came down to Friday Night Lights. He didn’t work out, and he’s in Nashville right now, not Gainesville. It wasn’t Trey Bell’s decision.

Nick:            Yeah. That was a situation where he didn’t work out at Friday Night Lights, said he was not going to work out, not going to play, and then went down to Orlando on Saturday after Friday Night Lights, and competed in a little seven on seven camp there. There was some stuff going on there. Who do you expect of those commits we named to work out? Everybody? Certain guys?

Andrew:            I think you look at it, Aaron Robinson, he loves to compete. He says he’s going to commit. Rick Wells, he competes every time. Jaquan Bailey, he has to work out. He didn’t work out when he came to camp, and he pissed some people off, to be quite frank. He has to work out. Isaiah Johnson, I’m not sure on Isaiah Johnson. He’s a guy that does like to work. I wouldn’t be surprised either way. Chauncey Gardner says he’s not going to work out, that he’s just going to recruit. Again, he brings his cleats. He’s a trash talker. He’s liable to get out there and tell Benjamin Victor he’s going to shut him up. Who knows with him? Jake Allen, he says he’s going to work out. Tisdale says he’s going to work out. I expect most of those guys to work out. Again, I wouldn’t be surprised if Chauncey Gardner didn’t work out once he got up there.

Nick:            Right. We’ll say this. Even if Chauncey doesn’t work out, the coaching staff has seen him work out. He’s been up to camp. He’s camped up here in Florida. So it’s not a situation where he’s trying to hide something from them. They’ve seen him work out. He’s not trying to hide anything. I agree with you. The kind of competitor that he is, I would have a hard time seeing him sit there watching guys play football without him getting the itch to want to put the cleats on and get out there himself.

Andrew:            Yeah.

Nick:            I want to bring up this. The state of Florida, the Gators need wide receivers, and lucky for them they’re backyard is full of wide receivers. Let me run through some uncommitted prospects who should be at Friday Night Lights at the receiver position. Benjamin Victor, Cavin Ridley, Nate Craig Myers, Miami commit Sam Bruce, also Freddie Swain, Freddie Pinder. A ton of receivers going to be out here. How does Florida commit Jake Allen throwing those guys passes help Florida’s chances, and what do you expect to see from those guys, that talented group?

Andrew:            Talent. Somebody on the message board make a good point. I hate to say this, and maybe I shouldn’t even say this, but they said, if those guys were to compete against Florida’s current receivers would they be better than everybody not named Demarcus Robinson? I’m going to ask you that question, Nick. What do you think?

Nick:            Most likely.

Andrew:            Exactly. Let’s just start here. Benjamin Victor. Nick, you know, everybody on the site knows. I think Benjamin Victor is the best receiver in the state of Florida. He’s a beanpole right now. He needs to gain weight. Everybody knows you gain weight once you hit the weight room as a college freshman. I think he’ll be fine. Nate Craig Myers, I like him a lot. I don’t think he’s number one receiver overall, maybe not even number 2 receiver overall. He’s a good player. He’s electric. Cavin Ridley, I really like Ridley, because he’s competitive as heck. He has the bloodlines of a good receiver. He runs very smooth routes. He’s a bigger physical guy, and he’s just a good receiver. Sam Bruce, electric. Skates on the football field. Nick, you call him the best player in the country. That’s fine. I like him.

Nick:            He might be. I will change that up. I will say Sam Bruce pound for pound is the best player in the country.

Andrew:            I can agree with that. I think he’s electric. I love his game. If he was just 6’ tall, I would be having a man crush on him.

Nick:            Sam Bruce put out a video on Twitter on Tuesday repping out 315 on the squat with his team behind him. He is a powerful kid, despite his height. He’s got a very strong build. Sam Bruce is probably six inches shorter than Benjamin Victor and already weighs probably 10-15 pounds more than him.

Andrew:            Yeah. Then Freddie Swain, he’s a guy that I wish I could pinpoint what’s going on with this kid of why schools are not pushing for him as hard as they are. The schools are starting to push for him now, and he went out to the opening, dominated. He was on the All Opening Offense Team, I think is what they call it. Went out there and was probably the best receiver out there.

Nick:            In the last podcast Hunter, from Bleacher Report who was out there, raved out Freddie, raved about speed, route running, his hands, just had a great camp.

Andrew:            Yeah. 6’1”, he’s about 170, 165 in that range. He actually probably is 175 honestly. He looks big. Anyway, Florida’s starting to push for him. He says Florida’s not in his top five. Florida’s not showing him love, but he shows up on campus all the time. As someone once told me, follow the kid’s actions, not their words. Look, here it is.

Then you go back to the receivers in the 2017 class. Guys you didn’t talk about. Trevon Grimes, maybe the best receiver for 2017 from St. Thomas Aquinas. He’s buddies with Jake Allen. He’s going to be on campus. He’s a guy that’s 6’4”, about 200 pounds already, big guy. Then you go to Emmanuel Green, common theme here, buddies with Jake Allen, coming with Jake Allen. He’s there. Donovan Peoples-Jones, an interesting guy. He’s from Michigan. He won the opening Spark challenge. He’s coming down. Florida and USC are kind of the two teams that he likes a lot. James Robinson from Lakeland, 2017 guy, another guy.

As you go down this list here, I haven’t even talked about probably the second best receiver in the state in Jared Judy, who’s teammates with Ridley, Robinson, and Lavarus Tigner, and it goes on and on. I’ve not seen a receiver class so big come on campus before, and it almost is like McElwain knows the receivers on the team right now aren’t very good. So he’s like I’m just going to restock this position, and if I have to do a complete overhaul I’m going to do it. It starts here.

Nick:            Yeah. It is talent. Like you’re saying, it’s not even just up and coming seniors, but you’ve got up and coming juniors. Really McElwain taking the approach where Demarcus Robinson, who we’ve talked about is hands down the best receiver on the team, probably going to be gone after this year. Then you’re looking at the guys behind him in Ahmad Fullwood will be a senior after this coming season. You really need to restock that position.

How much is Jake Allen helping? Obviously we all know my bias for St. Thomas. It is the premier school in Broward County. There’s also some big schools like Booker T down in Miami that are also premier schools, but getting a quarterback from St. Thomas. St. Thomas hasn’t had great quarterbacks in the past. I graduated with a quarterback named Wes Carrol, who went to Mississippi State, was on the Freshman All SEC team before transferring to FIU. There really hasn’t been a quarterback like that. How much does getting a quarterback from one of the bigger schools where kids know the name of the school, how much is that going to play into Florida’s class this year, next year? Jake Allen’s a 2017 kid, and then even after that, 2018, the next three years really?

Andrew:            Let me answer your question real quick, and then I’m going to throw a question back your way. I think it’s not even so much about him being from St. Thomas. Does that help? Absolutely, because as you say he plays with the premier of the premier. We talked about this a couple weeks ago. There’s something like 50 guys on the team already with Division I scholarships through 2016, 17, and 18. He is a machine on social media. Chauncey Gardner’s a machine on social media. He’s getting guys to visit just because of who he is. That’s what Jake Allen was doing.

I believe he’s got something like 10 guys coming up with him this week. That’s premier players coming with him, the Trevon Grimes of the classes, Emmanuel Green, offensive linemen. He’s getting guys to come up with him, and that’s big, because as we all know the quarterback is the leader of the bunch. Everybody wants to play with a good quarterback, and he’s showing Grimes and Emmanuel Green in high school how good he is. They’re going to want to go with him and play if he has any success at St. Thomas, which we know he will.

Now I’m going to throw this question back to you. How important is it that McElwain identified Allen early on, got him in this class from St. Thomas? Because let’s face it, St. Thomas recruits kids to St. Thomas. How big is it for Florida to be back in St. Thomas?

Nick:            Let’s pump the brakes. It would be illegal for St. Thomas to recruit kids. The school, the heritage, and the pedigree of St. Thomas Aquinas athletes such as myself, former St. Thomas Aquinas athlete, recruits itself. I do think that getting somebody, who like you mentioned, isn’t shy. He’s not a timid kid. He’s out there on social media telling kids to come join him, whether it be at St. Thomas, whether it be on a seven on seven team, whether it be at the park just to throw a route, or at Florida. Jake Allen’s really taking a step in the right direction where I might be giving him the Nick Washington of the recruiter award while he’s still in high school. I think that’s big.

I think I’m not ready to say that the St. Thomas affect isn’t there, because everyone down there in south Florida where we’re from knows St. Thomas. Then obviously playing football, quarterback’s the most prestigious position on the field, and now you’ve got one of the most prestigious schools in south Florida. The guy’s playing the most prestigious position at the most prestigious school telling you that I want to play with you. I think there’s some weight that comes along with that.

Andrew:            Yeah. I agree. Let’s switch gears here just a second. Quarterback in 2017 is fine. Jake Allen’s there. They maybe recruit another guy to go with Allen, just because after this year it’s either going to be Will Grier transferring or Treon Harris transferring most likely. Agree or disagree?

Nick:            I think McElwain would have to walk a very high and very tight—

Andrew:            Yeah.

Nick:            I think McElwain would have to walk a very, very thin tightrope to get both of those kids to stay. I think there’s things that you can do in the opening games to get both guys in, to get both guys playing a lot, but quarterback’s a very unique position where only one guy can play. If you’re the fourth wide receiver on the depth chart, you’re going to get playing time. You’re going to get some balls thrown your way. If you’re the second quarterback on the depth chart, you might not play for weeks, a month. I can see maybe both quarterbacks staying if they love the university, they have friends there, they don’t want to leave Gainesville, but both these guys are competitors, and they want to play. It’s going to be really tough to go a full season and go into the next off season and have both quarterbacks thinking I can still be the man here, after whatever happens this year.

Andrew:            Right. One of them’s going to transfer. So you have one quarterback on roster in Will Grier, or Treon Harris, he’s on scholarship. Then a walk on in Luke Del Rio. Florida has to have a quarterback in 2016. Now here comes Tylin Oden. He’s a guy that’s committed to Louisville right now. He’s 6’5”, 175. He’s planning on coming down to Friday Night Lights to throw for Florida this Friday. Committed to Louisville, but Louisville told him they were only going to have one quarterback in a class, then they got another quarterback in Jawon Pass.

So he’s kind of upset, was kind of lied to a little bit. So he’s going to come down and throw for McElwain. He’s a guy, and then they’re still looking at all the other committed guys that are in the class. I do find it very interesting that Florida was able to get him down on such short notice to Friday Night Lights to throw. I’m interested to see how he does, how he throws the ball. Does he get the offer? If he does get the offer, what happens? Then with Jake Allen there as well. Again, the quarterback position may not have a lot of numbers, but two really good quarterbacks coming in this week.

Nick:            Right. Obviously Florida’s still looking for somebody in this class, and then potentially maybe even two in this class or two next class. It’s a situation where you need to recruit a quarterback every year, and they’re already behind on that. Nothing that this staff had done could have helped that, but you’re behind in numbers, especially if you get one of the guys, either red shirt freshman in Grier or sophomore in Treon Harris, transfers. Then you’re really behind. At some point you’re going to need to double up on a quarterback.

Andrew:            One second on the quarterback position. Let me throw this out there. Nick, you and I have done this now what? This is our third year together doing this?

Nick:            Yes.

Andrew:            Every year there is a surprise kid that shows up, every year. Two years it was Alex Anzalone. Last year, who was it last year? Somebody last year showed up that was unexpected. I’m drawing a blank here at the time. There’s always guys that show up unexpected, and so would it surprise me for one of these quarterbacks that is not expected in, that’s committed elsewhere, to show up? I don’t want to make a conspiracy theory out here and everybody on Twitter say who is it, because I don’t know. I’m just saying every year somebody sneaks in. This year it could very well be one of those quarterbacks committed elsewhere.

Nick:            Yeah. You’re not trying to hide anything by saying that. You’re just saying that there is a trend of guys who aren’t thought to be on the visitor list coming in for Friday Night Lights that end up just showing up. Somebody that the staff kind of keeps on the down low that shows up. He’s not hiding anything from you. Just saying that he has spotted a trend, and he would not be surprised if the trend continued this year.

We’ve talked a lot about the skill guys. Florida is doing something different with Friday Night Lights this year. Thursday night you’re going to get some younger guys, 9th, 10th graders. Friday Night Lights still your big night Friday. Then Saturday you’re going to do a little offensive line/defensive line camp. Who are some of those big guys? We’ve talked about it in almost every podcast, Florida’s still building the offensive line.

You look at the defensive line, there’s going to be some rebuilding that you need to do, and hats off to McElwain and staff. If you look at the defensive line right now they’re deep, almost two deep at every position, but you’re looking at guys who are sophomores and juniors, so they’re already thinking what if a sophomore leaves after his junior season? We need to start restocking now. Not worry about it when maybe Joey Ivie has a really good junior year this year, and then he leaves early. What do we do now? They’re already starting to try to build for that.

Andrew:            Yeah. I think the major guy that a lot of people are looking at, including myself, that’s coming in is Georgia commit Chris Barnes, offensive lineman. He’s a guy that seemed pretty solid to Georgia for a while, but then it was like out of nowhere he pops up and says, I’m going to come visit Florida. He says he wants to make sure he made the right decision. As we all know, let me make sure I’ve made the right decision means I’m not committed, I’m still looking around. He’s 6’3”, about 275, 280 in that range. He’s a guard. Probably needs to gain 20 pounds or so to play that guard position. Maybe he slides out to tackle if he doesn’t. To me he’s an interesting guy that says, what’s really going on with him, and has Florida sold him enough to get him to come in?

Then another guy that’s told me he’s most likely coming, which most of the time means I’m coming, but I really don’t want you to put my name on that visitors list. I don’t. Brett Heggie, the center. He’s a guy that if I was putting out my commit watch list today he would be the guy that was probably leading the pack on there. He’s a center for Mount Dora in Florida. Went out to the opening, and someone told me he got his butt whooped a couple times by number 1 player Rashad Gary, but he would bounce back and win a few raps. The thing that stuck out to me the most about him, every time I talk to somebody, and they were like he’s competitive. He’s a guy that’ll rip your head off if you don’t go head to head with him. I like that about him.

Then you kind of go to some of the offensive linemen for 2017 that are coming in. Kai-Leon Herbert, who just picked up the offer yesterday from American Heritage, guess who he’s friends with, Nick?

Nick:            Jake Allen?

Andrew:            Jake Allen. They played ball together growing up. So guess who he’s coming with? Jake Allen. Just picked up the offer, coming back. Then there’s a couple local guys from Newberry, Cory Durden and Jarez Parks. Both of those guys are going to come up from Newberry, which is right around the corner. Both of them were said to be Florida State leans. Parks has already committed to Florida State, but now Florida’s starting to show a lot of love to these guys. Rumph’s got these guys. The Rumph shaker’s got these guys loving Florida a little bit. They’re going to come on campus and visit. Those are the main guys right now that have said I’m going to be there, or in Heggie’s case I might be there. It’ll be interesting to see how big that camp gets on Saturday. It’s new for everybody. It’ll be interesting to see. I think they’re calling it the Offensive Line Limelight camp. Let’s see what goes on.

Nick:            Then, I guess we’ll round this up. What do you think of that new format? The three day format where you’re trying to get everyone in, instead of that one night and maybe it can be a little too hectic, but trying to get them in over 72 hours?

Andrew:            Nick, you and I talked about this a little bit last year. We talked about this a little bit this year. The Friday Night Lights lost its luster. When you and I were, not to show our age, but when we were in college and in high school when Friday Night Lights first started, you always heard about it being the best college football camp on campus anybody had. That was because there were several years where the number 1 player in the country, Ronald Powell, Tim Tebow, Percy Harvin, Brandon Spikes, you can go on and on of the guys that are playing in the NFL from Florida right now, were on campus. Then Muschamp came to board, and it lost its luster. There was a lot of, like you said last year, a lot of guys that had no business being on the thing. It was like you and I were sitting out there watching ourselves playing football, and neither one of us are in football ready shape now.

I think McElwain has done a good job of allowing the young kids to come in on Thursday, allowing the offensive linemen to come in on that, and he’s really focused on coming in, getting Friday Night Lights to be elite again. As I sit there and look at the list, it’s four star, five star, three star, all those guys. I know somebody’s going to say a three star. Three star’s still a really good player. I’ve counted about 80-90 four to five star kids that are going to come in and participate on Friday night. That’s bringing the eliteness back to this camp.

I’d really like the event. You get three days of kids coming on your campus. It shows the campus. They’re on campus. They’re visiting. You’re able to make impressions for the young guys and the older guys. We all know recruiting’s all about recruiting ahead of time. I’m all for it. I’d be interested to hear your opinion as someone who has to go with me that maybe doesn’t like the event all as much. What do you think about the event? I guess, are you going to enjoy seeing the eliteness of the Friday, or are you okay with what it was?

Nick:            No. I like that you’re making it more elite. When Urban Meyer started this camp it was something that people didn’t really know about, right?

Andrew:            Right. Exactly. It was one of those things where it was Friday Night Lights? Let’s go out there. Like you said, Ronald Powell came all the way from California. It was great.

Nick:            And worked out.

Andrew:            And worked out. At tight end and defensive line.

Nick:            So that’s I think what we’ll see then this year. Instead of having 800 kids out there on Friday, you’re kind of splitting it up, and you’ll have less kids out there Friday. More of a competing kind of atmosphere. We talked about it was kind of most of the elite guys that we wanted to see compete were watching like we were. I think if splitting it up into three days can give you that elite feeling back, then I’m all for it. Then I love it. I think that’s really both of us are sharing that opinion that you’re going to get more of that.

Andrew:            Yeah. You and I, we love football. I want to see guys compete. I want to enjoy the camp. I want to be able to tell you how good Victor looked against Chauncey Gardner at Florida’s seven on seven camp. I want to tell you how Jake Allen did. I could care less about Jake Allen throwing to somebody that is barely playing JV football in his high school. I could care less about doing that. I’m sorry. That’s no disrespect to them guys. It’s just not fun. Before we end this, I don’t want people to jump down my case. So I’m going to give you a few guys to watch for. I’m going to give the candy at the end of the tunnel.

Nick:            I wasn’t going to let you get off the hook without asking that question.

Andrew:            There you go. Since you listened to Nick and I ramble for all this time. We’re both boring people. I’m going to give some candy at the end of the tunnel. Here we go. Five guys. Five work for you, Nick?

Nick:            I guess. I’d like to hear 20, but five is fine.

Andrew:            You’d like to hear 20, well get over it. We’re not partying in South Beach. Here we go. Let’s go first the guy that I am looking forward the most, Jermaine Moon, linebacker from Hoover. Florida and Carolina are the guys that are battling it out for him. Florida needs linebackers. He’s coming on second trip in less than a month, from the premier program of Hoover, Alabama. Watch out for this guy.

Quarterback McArthur Burnett from Pahokee, decommitted from Miami after he received his offer from Florida. Very pro Florida, put the dots together. Visiting Friday Night Lights.

Let’s go next. Here’s a guy that I think we could see a little action from, even though he says he doesn’t want his name out there, Brett Heggie. We talked about him, the center, Mount Dora. Let’s watch out for him a little bit.

Go to 2017, Kai-Leon Herbert, buddies with Jake Allen. 2017 offensive lineman, just picked up his offer on Monday. He’s coming on campus. Watch out for him. Really like that one. That could happen there. Then 2017 athlete Devan Barrett. He’s a guy that says I’m going to take my time here. Very pro Florida. Watch out for him.

There’s five guys for Spivey. Let me know how I do on that. I think I’ll see some action on those five guys somewhere or another this weekend.

Nick:            Someone will pop this weekend.

Andrew:            I didn’t say that.

Nick:            Will there be a commitment this weekend?

Andrew:            If I told you, then guys wouldn’t read Gator Country. I will say this, Nick. I expect the trend to continue. What’s the trend, Nick? I told you the trend. You and I sit in your apartment every year on Thursday night, and you’re like here it goes. I have to write another recruiting. I have to edit another commitment article. I expect the trend to continue this year.

Nick:            Hopefully Florida will pick up some momentum, or keep the momentum that they’ve been able to build. It will be a jam packed Thursday, Friday, and then continuing on to Saturday. So make sure you stay tuned to Gator Country. You just had knowledge dropped on you by Andrew Spivey. Is there anything else, Andrew?

Andrew:            No. I think that’s about it. Again, I’m excited for it. It’s always a fun time to give everybody a quick preview on what’s going to happen. I’ve got the crew together. Nick, you helped get the crew together. We’ve got David Bowie, best photographer in the land. He’s going to be out there snapping those photos at about 20 per second. Cassidy’s going to be dropping some video as always. You and I will be dropping the message boards. Should be a fun weekend of jam packed content.

Nick:            Busy. Our busy weekends mean fun weekends for the members. We will definitely be busy this weekend, and we’ll be bringing great content throughout. Looking forward to it.

Andrew:            Starbucks, get ready. Nick’s coming.

Nick:            I will be there. They need to start delivering.

Andrew:            Start delivering. There you go. Nick, let’s wrap this thing up and get everybody ready. We’ll see you guys Thursday. We’ll have some stuff coming first thing Thursday morning. Nick and I plan to be out at the Swamp at about 10:00AM. Things are going to be coming that way live. Nick, say your thing, and we’ll wrap this bad boy up.

Nick:            You stay classy, Gator Nation.

Andrew:            Have fun, Gator Country.

Andrew Spivey

About Andrew Spivey

Andrew always knew he wanted to be involved with sports in some capacity. He began by coaching high school football for six years before deciding to pursue a career in journalism. While coaching, he was a part of two state semifinal teams in the state of Alabama. Given his past coaching experience, he figured covering recruiting would be a perfect fit. He began his career as an intern for Rivals.com, covering University of Florida football recruiting. After interning with Rivals for six months, he joined the Gator Country family as a recruiting analyst. Andrew enjoys spending his free time on the golf course and watching his beloved Atlanta Braves. Follow him on Twitter at @AndrewSpiveyGC.

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Last week the week was focused on SEC Media Days and now this week we are all about Florida Gators Recruiting and Friday Night Lights that will be held in Gainesville on Friday Night.

In this edition of the Gator Country.com podcast, Andrew Spivey and Nick de la Torre talk about how the event is changing under Jim McElwain plus which prospects you can expect in town for the event.

Also in this podcast we preview what positions will be the most attended this Friday plus some kids to keep a close eye on during the event.

* * * TRANSCRIPT:

Nick:            Hello, Gator Country members, Gator fans. The off season is wrapping up, and you know what that means for recruiting. The Friday Night Lights. The craziest recruiting event in Gainesville of the summer. To help, myself along with Andrew Spivey is here to break it down for you. Andrew, we have a new format this year, a ton of kids coming in. Is this the first weekend that you’ll start drinking coffee?

Andrew:            Probably not. Nick, you know my favorite beverage. I kind of put this two weeks ago, last week. I was kind of your helper through the week, and then this week it’s you’re with me. It’s back to back craziness. Thursday and Friday will be a lot of work, but we also have a lot of fun with it as well. When Friday Night Lights ends it’s kind of like we have a week left till football season, and it’s time to go. I’m excited. I’m fired up for Friday Night Lights. Might be the first time in about three years that I’m actually fired up about the event.

Nick:            We have just over two weeks until fall camp starts, so really getting into it. Let’s talk about that for a minute. It seems like as the opening has gotten bigger and bigger that no one has really wanted to work out at a camp after the opening, which is usually the first week in July, and that has led to a Friday Night Lights where we’d see more kids that are either committed or that Florida is interested in standing on the sidelines rather than working out. I believe two years ago Will Grier came and threw, and we didn’t anticipate him to, but it seems like, especially the last two years under Muschamp and that staff that Friday Night Lights was less of an elite camp and more of a camp with a bunch of elite kids watching it.

Andrew:            I hate to say it’s Muschamp that did that, but he didn’t ask kids to work out for him on Friday Night Lights. I’m not going to say McElwain’s pushing kids to work out, but he’s definitely like let’s work out. Let’s get better. Chauncey Gardner says he’s not going to work out. He says that every time. He ends up working out. He ends up coming out there and messing around, because he’s Chauncey Gardner. He can’t trash talk from the sidelines, so he wants to get out there and jaw a little bit.

Your boy, Jake Allen, he’s a guy that has a scholarship. He’s earned his scholarship as the quarterback, and he’s on Twitter asking who he gets to drop dimes to at Friday Night Lights. He has Tyrek Tisdale. He has Benjamin Victor. He has Isaiah Johnson. The list goes on and on. He has guys saying they’re going to work out so they can catch balls from Jake Allen. I think that while these kids don’t have to work out it almost is good, because if a Benjamin Victor’s out there working out the chances of a guy like, let’s say Freddie Swain, the chance of a guy like Freddie Swain not working out when a guy like Benjamin Victor’s working out is slim to none. Swain doesn’t want to be outdone by Victor.

So when the big name kids work out the lesser kids start working out, and I don’t mean that as a swat to Freddie Swain, who’s a great receiver. It’s a camp. I want to see kids work out. I want to see Victor work out. I want to see Jake Allen throw. I liked seeing Will Grier throw.

Nick:            I think what you’re really touching on here is the competitive nature that Friday Night Lights first started with. Then it’s easier for a kid, if the best wide receiver in the state says I’m going to go out, and I’m going to camp, then the second or third best doesn’t have as much ground to stand on to say no. That second guy and that third guy in their mind, I’m the best receiver in the state, and I’m not going to let the one everyone else is saying is better than me go out and show me up. I think that competitive atmosphere is something we’ve missed the past couple years.

Andrew:            Exactly. Sam Bruce, your favorite player, he’s a guy, Nick, I haven’t asked Sam Bruce personally if he’s working out, but I’d be shocked if he isn’t. He’s Mister Highlight Reel. He’s going to go out there, and he’s going to jaw around. To hit this last point real quick, probably my favorite moment of the event, Nick, this was a year before you came on board, was Stefon Diggs working out at Florida. He was a guy that everybody in the country wanted to be the receiver in their class. He goes out there in his Under Armour hydroplane whatever underwear/shorts, and he’s out there doing Gator chomps, burning DBs. It was some little 5’5” little guy that probably didn’t even play football at FIU that he was covering, but it was still fun. It was still an atmosphere. I’m really looking forward to that and hoping that the guys that say they’re going to work out are actually working out. It’s going to be some good quarterbacks out there as well.

Nick:            Let’s start out with Florida’s guy, Jake Allen. How impressive is that? How happy do you think that makes McElwain’s staff that Jake Allen’s out there on social media? Basically he’s asking the question who do I get to throw to, but he’s basically challenging kids. Don’t come out there and be a spectator. My spot is already locked up, and I’m not even a senior. He’s going in to a year where he still has another year of high school. He’s a 2017 kid, and he’s going out there saying, I have a scholarship. I committed to a school. I’m competing. Who’s going to come and compete with me?

Andrew:            Yeah. If you’re McElwain you’re sitting there like okay, I like this guy’s attitude. As we heard today, on Tuesday, on his different things at the car wash. He’s like I want to see a guy that makes the guys around them better. Jake Allen just made Tyrek Tisdale and all the guys that work out with him better, because as we all know working out makes you better. I like it. Will Grier did it, like you said, and Will Grier had his spot tied up for close to a year, six months or so, when he worked out. It was like, let’s do this. I like it. I like to see Jake Allen go out there and throw, and Jake Allen’s going to get better just by having Nussmeier and McElwain and the rest of the guys coach him up. I like that a lot.

It’s kind of like Lamical Perine, when he committed. Two weeks later he came to Florida’s camp, and he’s like, do you want me to work out? I’ll work out. I don’t care. I got my scholarship. I committed to this staff. Do you want me to work out? They were like, that’s up to you. He put on his cleats. He did a little workout. Did he do a full workout? No, but my thing is don’t be scared. You got the Division I offer. You committed to a Division I school for a reason. Going out and working out’s not going to hurt your cause any, unless you’re hiding something.

Nick:            Right. Let’s talk real quick about the commits that will be in here Friday night. I’ll run through them to refresh everyone’s memory, your memory a little bit. Aaron Robinson, Rick Wells, Jaquan Bailey, Isaiah Johnson, Chauncey Gardner, Tyrek Tisdale, and he’ll be there Friday and Saturday. Then 2017s, Lavarus Tigner and Jake Allen, of course. Also, CJ McWilliams will be in, and I know there’s something you wanted to touch on McWilliams versus the other guys that I just mentioned.

Andrew:            Yeah. McWilliams kind of committed sight unseen. He’s never been to Florida, has never been on campus, never met McElwain.

Nick:            I don’t know about you, but I am always leery of the kids that commit to a school sight unseen like that. It’s a very big decision, and I wouldn’t tell you right now that I’ll move to Georgia. I’ve never been to Georgia.

Andrew:            You’re telling me that the University of Maine is not looking good to you right now?

Nick:            No. I would not be attending.

Andrew:            Yeah. My thing with McWilliams is this. Is he a good player? Sure. Is he a great player? I don’t know about that. 5’11”, 164 he supposedly ran a low 4-4 at the Georgia camp the other day. You guys know how I feel about 4-4 that are hand timed. They’re bull crap. I just have a very hard time believing CJ McWilliams, who says I’m coming to Friday Night Lights, but I’m not working out, that Jim McElwain, Geoff Collins, Randy Shannon, Kirk Callahan, the staff is going to say, okay we’re happy with that. I have a hard time believing that.

I have a very strong opinion that McElwain and Randy Shannon and those guys are going to say, work out. Earn your scholarship. Let me know why you committed to this staff. Work out. If he doesn’t, who knows what’s going to happen. I can’t see that happening. McElwain has asked every guy to work out. Chauncey Gardner’s worked out. As you go through this commitment list, every guy except Mark Thompson and Brandon Autry, the two JuCo kids, have worked out for the staff in person. Those two guys really worked out for the staff in spring ball when the coaches went out and seen those guys. I just can’t see CJ McWilliams getting away with not competing again. My thing again is what are you scared of, CJ? You went up to Georgia. You worked out for Georgia. You can’t work out for the team you’re committed to? Something’s wrong there.

Nick:            Right. Like you said, the first thing that comes to mind when a kid doesn’t want to work out is in the years past it’s kind of been a prestige thing. I’m too good to work out. I don’t need to work out. I think I fall on your side of the argument here where it’s maybe you’re hiding something. It’s not a prestige thing. There’s a lot of kids working out. Lot of really good kids working out. Maybe you’re trying to hide something. Maybe you think if the coaches see you in action you might not have that scholarship for very long, and you don’t want to get rid of that so quickly. I think the guys really need to work out. Go ahead.

Andrew:            Real quick to just remind everybody. Nick, you were here. I think this was your first year here. Trey Bell, the situation with Trey Bell comes to mind. Muschamp and those guys took his commitment with the promise that he would work out. He came down to Friday Night Lights. He didn’t work out, and he’s in Nashville right now, not Gainesville. It wasn’t Trey Bell’s decision.

Nick:            Yeah. That was a situation where he didn’t work out at Friday Night Lights, said he was not going to work out, not going to play, and then went down to Orlando on Saturday after Friday Night Lights, and competed in a little seven on seven camp there. There was some stuff going on there. Who do you expect of those commits we named to work out? Everybody? Certain guys?

Andrew:            I think you look at it, Aaron Robinson, he loves to compete. He says he’s going to commit. Rick Wells, he competes every time. Jaquan Bailey, he has to work out. He didn’t work out when he came to camp, and he pissed some people off, to be quite frank. He has to work out. Isaiah Johnson, I’m not sure on Isaiah Johnson. He’s a guy that does like to work. I wouldn’t be surprised either way. Chauncey Gardner says he’s not going to work out, that he’s just going to recruit. Again, he brings his cleats. He’s a trash talker. He’s liable to get out there and tell Benjamin Victor he’s going to shut him up. Who knows with him? Jake Allen, he says he’s going to work out. Tisdale says he’s going to work out. I expect most of those guys to work out. Again, I wouldn’t be surprised if Chauncey Gardner didn’t work out once he got up there.

Nick:            Right. We’ll say this. Even if Chauncey doesn’t work out, the coaching staff has seen him work out. He’s been up to camp. He’s camped up here in Florida. So it’s not a situation where he’s trying to hide something from them. They’ve seen him work out. He’s not trying to hide anything. I agree with you. The kind of competitor that he is, I would have a hard time seeing him sit there watching guys play football without him getting the itch to want to put the cleats on and get out there himself.

Andrew:            Yeah.

Nick:            I want to bring up this. The state of Florida, the Gators need wide receivers, and lucky for them they’re backyard is full of wide receivers. Let me run through some uncommitted prospects who should be at Friday Night Lights at the receiver position. Benjamin Victor, Cavin Ridley, Nate Craig Myers, Miami commit Sam Bruce, also Freddie Swain, Freddie Pinder. A ton of receivers going to be out here. How does Florida commit Jake Allen throwing those guys passes help Florida’s chances, and what do you expect to see from those guys, that talented group?

Andrew:            Talent. Somebody on the message board make a good point. I hate to say this, and maybe I shouldn’t even say this, but they said, if those guys were to compete against Florida’s current receivers would they be better than everybody not named Demarcus Robinson? I’m going to ask you that question, Nick. What do you think?

Nick:            Most likely.

Andrew:            Exactly. Let’s just start here. Benjamin Victor. Nick, you know, everybody on the site knows. I think Benjamin Victor is the best receiver in the state of Florida. He’s a beanpole right now. He needs to gain weight. Everybody knows you gain weight once you hit the weight room as a college freshman. I think he’ll be fine. Nate Craig Myers, I like him a lot. I don’t think he’s number one receiver overall, maybe not even number 2 receiver overall. He’s a good player. He’s electric. Cavin Ridley, I really like Ridley, because he’s competitive as heck. He has the bloodlines of a good receiver. He runs very smooth routes. He’s a bigger physical guy, and he’s just a good receiver. Sam Bruce, electric. Skates on the football field. Nick, you call him the best player in the country. That’s fine. I like him.

Nick:            He might be. I will change that up. I will say Sam Bruce pound for pound is the best player in the country.

Andrew:            I can agree with that. I think he’s electric. I love his game. If he was just 6’ tall, I would be having a man crush on him.

Nick:            Sam Bruce put out a video on Twitter on Tuesday repping out 315 on the squat with his team behind him. He is a powerful kid, despite his height. He’s got a very strong build. Sam Bruce is probably six inches shorter than Benjamin Victor and already weighs probably 10-15 pounds more than him.

Andrew:            Yeah. Then Freddie Swain, he’s a guy that I wish I could pinpoint what’s going on with this kid of why schools are not pushing for him as hard as they are. The schools are starting to push for him now, and he went out to the opening, dominated. He was on the All Opening Offense Team, I think is what they call it. Went out there and was probably the best receiver out there.

Nick:            In the last podcast Hunter, from Bleacher Report who was out there, raved out Freddie, raved about speed, route running, his hands, just had a great camp.

Andrew:            Yeah. 6’1”, he’s about 170, 165 in that range. He actually probably is 175 honestly. He looks big. Anyway, Florida’s starting to push for him. He says Florida’s not in his top five. Florida’s not showing him love, but he shows up on campus all the time. As someone once told me, follow the kid’s actions, not their words. Look, here it is.

Then you go back to the receivers in the 2017 class. Guys you didn’t talk about. Trevon Grimes, maybe the best receiver for 2017 from St. Thomas Aquinas. He’s buddies with Jake Allen. He’s going to be on campus. He’s a guy that’s 6’4”, about 200 pounds already, big guy. Then you go to Emmanuel Green, common theme here, buddies with Jake Allen, coming with Jake Allen. He’s there. Donovan Peoples-Jones, an interesting guy. He’s from Michigan. He won the opening Spark challenge. He’s coming down. Florida and USC are kind of the two teams that he likes a lot. James Robinson from Lakeland, 2017 guy, another guy.

As you go down this list here, I haven’t even talked about probably the second best receiver in the state in Jared Judy, who’s teammates with Ridley, Robinson, and Lavarus Tigner, and it goes on and on. I’ve not seen a receiver class so big come on campus before, and it almost is like McElwain knows the receivers on the team right now aren’t very good. So he’s like I’m just going to restock this position, and if I have to do a complete overhaul I’m going to do it. It starts here.

Nick:            Yeah. It is talent. Like you’re saying, it’s not even just up and coming seniors, but you’ve got up and coming juniors. Really McElwain taking the approach where Demarcus Robinson, who we’ve talked about is hands down the best receiver on the team, probably going to be gone after this year. Then you’re looking at the guys behind him in Ahmad Fullwood will be a senior after this coming season. You really need to restock that position.

How much is Jake Allen helping? Obviously we all know my bias for St. Thomas. It is the premier school in Broward County. There’s also some big schools like Booker T down in Miami that are also premier schools, but getting a quarterback from St. Thomas. St. Thomas hasn’t had great quarterbacks in the past. I graduated with a quarterback named Wes Carrol, who went to Mississippi State, was on the Freshman All SEC team before transferring to FIU. There really hasn’t been a quarterback like that. How much does getting a quarterback from one of the bigger schools where kids know the name of the school, how much is that going to play into Florida’s class this year, next year? Jake Allen’s a 2017 kid, and then even after that, 2018, the next three years really?

Andrew:            Let me answer your question real quick, and then I’m going to throw a question back your way. I think it’s not even so much about him being from St. Thomas. Does that help? Absolutely, because as you say he plays with the premier of the premier. We talked about this a couple weeks ago. There’s something like 50 guys on the team already with Division I scholarships through 2016, 17, and 18. He is a machine on social media. Chauncey Gardner’s a machine on social media. He’s getting guys to visit just because of who he is. That’s what Jake Allen was doing.

I believe he’s got something like 10 guys coming up with him this week. That’s premier players coming with him, the Trevon Grimes of the classes, Emmanuel Green, offensive linemen. He’s getting guys to come up with him, and that’s big, because as we all know the quarterback is the leader of the bunch. Everybody wants to play with a good quarterback, and he’s showing Grimes and Emmanuel Green in high school how good he is. They’re going to want to go with him and play if he has any success at St. Thomas, which we know he will.

Now I’m going to throw this question back to you. How important is it that McElwain identified Allen early on, got him in this class from St. Thomas? Because let’s face it, St. Thomas recruits kids to St. Thomas. How big is it for Florida to be back in St. Thomas?

Nick:            Let’s pump the brakes. It would be illegal for St. Thomas to recruit kids. The school, the heritage, and the pedigree of St. Thomas Aquinas athletes such as myself, former St. Thomas Aquinas athlete, recruits itself. I do think that getting somebody, who like you mentioned, isn’t shy. He’s not a timid kid. He’s out there on social media telling kids to come join him, whether it be at St. Thomas, whether it be on a seven on seven team, whether it be at the park just to throw a route, or at Florida. Jake Allen’s really taking a step in the right direction where I might be giving him the Nick Washington of the recruiter award while he’s still in high school. I think that’s big.

I think I’m not ready to say that the St. Thomas affect isn’t there, because everyone down there in south Florida where we’re from knows St. Thomas. Then obviously playing football, quarterback’s the most prestigious position on the field, and now you’ve got one of the most prestigious schools in south Florida. The guy’s playing the most prestigious position at the most prestigious school telling you that I want to play with you. I think there’s some weight that comes along with that.

Andrew:            Yeah. I agree. Let’s switch gears here just a second. Quarterback in 2017 is fine. Jake Allen’s there. They maybe recruit another guy to go with Allen, just because after this year it’s either going to be Will Grier transferring or Treon Harris transferring most likely. Agree or disagree?

Nick:            I think McElwain would have to walk a very high and very tight—

Andrew:            Yeah.

Nick:            I think McElwain would have to walk a very, very thin tightrope to get both of those kids to stay. I think there’s things that you can do in the opening games to get both guys in, to get both guys playing a lot, but quarterback’s a very unique position where only one guy can play. If you’re the fourth wide receiver on the depth chart, you’re going to get playing time. You’re going to get some balls thrown your way. If you’re the second quarterback on the depth chart, you might not play for weeks, a month. I can see maybe both quarterbacks staying if they love the university, they have friends there, they don’t want to leave Gainesville, but both these guys are competitors, and they want to play. It’s going to be really tough to go a full season and go into the next off season and have both quarterbacks thinking I can still be the man here, after whatever happens this year.

Andrew:            Right. One of them’s going to transfer. So you have one quarterback on roster in Will Grier, or Treon Harris, he’s on scholarship. Then a walk on in Luke Del Rio. Florida has to have a quarterback in 2016. Now here comes Tylin Oden. He’s a guy that’s committed to Louisville right now. He’s 6’5”, 175. He’s planning on coming down to Friday Night Lights to throw for Florida this Friday. Committed to Louisville, but Louisville told him they were only going to have one quarterback in a class, then they got another quarterback in Jawon Pass.

So he’s kind of upset, was kind of lied to a little bit. So he’s going to come down and throw for McElwain. He’s a guy, and then they’re still looking at all the other committed guys that are in the class. I do find it very interesting that Florida was able to get him down on such short notice to Friday Night Lights to throw. I’m interested to see how he does, how he throws the ball. Does he get the offer? If he does get the offer, what happens? Then with Jake Allen there as well. Again, the quarterback position may not have a lot of numbers, but two really good quarterbacks coming in this week.

Nick:            Right. Obviously Florida’s still looking for somebody in this class, and then potentially maybe even two in this class or two next class. It’s a situation where you need to recruit a quarterback every year, and they’re already behind on that. Nothing that this staff had done could have helped that, but you’re behind in numbers, especially if you get one of the guys, either red shirt freshman in Grier or sophomore in Treon Harris, transfers. Then you’re really behind. At some point you’re going to need to double up on a quarterback.

Andrew:            One second on the quarterback position. Let me throw this out there. Nick, you and I have done this now what? This is our third year together doing this?

Nick:            Yes.

Andrew:            Every year there is a surprise kid that shows up, every year. Two years it was Alex Anzalone. Last year, who was it last year? Somebody last year showed up that was unexpected. I’m drawing a blank here at the time. There’s always guys that show up unexpected, and so would it surprise me for one of these quarterbacks that is not expected in, that’s committed elsewhere, to show up? I don’t want to make a conspiracy theory out here and everybody on Twitter say who is it, because I don’t know. I’m just saying every year somebody sneaks in. This year it could very well be one of those quarterbacks committed elsewhere.

Nick:            Yeah. You’re not trying to hide anything by saying that. You’re just saying that there is a trend of guys who aren’t thought to be on the visitor list coming in for Friday Night Lights that end up just showing up. Somebody that the staff kind of keeps on the down low that shows up. He’s not hiding anything from you. Just saying that he has spotted a trend, and he would not be surprised if the trend continued this year.

We’ve talked a lot about the skill guys. Florida is doing something different with Friday Night Lights this year. Thursday night you’re going to get some younger guys, 9th, 10th graders. Friday Night Lights still your big night Friday. Then Saturday you’re going to do a little offensive line/defensive line camp. Who are some of those big guys? We’ve talked about it in almost every podcast, Florida’s still building the offensive line.

You look at the defensive line, there’s going to be some rebuilding that you need to do, and hats off to McElwain and staff. If you look at the defensive line right now they’re deep, almost two deep at every position, but you’re looking at guys who are sophomores and juniors, so they’re already thinking what if a sophomore leaves after his junior season? We need to start restocking now. Not worry about it when maybe Joey Ivie has a really good junior year this year, and then he leaves early. What do we do now? They’re already starting to try to build for that.

Andrew:            Yeah. I think the major guy that a lot of people are looking at, including myself, that’s coming in is Georgia commit Chris Barnes, offensive lineman. He’s a guy that seemed pretty solid to Georgia for a while, but then it was like out of nowhere he pops up and says, I’m going to come visit Florida. He says he wants to make sure he made the right decision. As we all know, let me make sure I’ve made the right decision means I’m not committed, I’m still looking around. He’s 6’3”, about 275, 280 in that range. He’s a guard. Probably needs to gain 20 pounds or so to play that guard position. Maybe he slides out to tackle if he doesn’t. To me he’s an interesting guy that says, what’s really going on with him, and has Florida sold him enough to get him to come in?

Then another guy that’s told me he’s most likely coming, which most of the time means I’m coming, but I really don’t want you to put my name on that visitors list. I don’t. Brett Heggie, the center. He’s a guy that if I was putting out my commit watch list today he would be the guy that was probably leading the pack on there. He’s a center for Mount Dora in Florida. Went out to the opening, and someone told me he got his butt whooped a couple times by number 1 player Rashad Gary, but he would bounce back and win a few raps. The thing that stuck out to me the most about him, every time I talk to somebody, and they were like he’s competitive. He’s a guy that’ll rip your head off if you don’t go head to head with him. I like that about him.

Then you kind of go to some of the offensive linemen for 2017 that are coming in. Kai-Leon Herbert, who just picked up the offer yesterday from American Heritage, guess who he’s friends with, Nick?

Nick:            Jake Allen?

Andrew:            Jake Allen. They played ball together growing up. So guess who he’s coming with? Jake Allen. Just picked up the offer, coming back. Then there’s a couple local guys from Newberry, Cory Durden and Jarez Parks. Both of those guys are going to come up from Newberry, which is right around the corner. Both of them were said to be Florida State leans. Parks has already committed to Florida State, but now Florida’s starting to show a lot of love to these guys. Rumph’s got these guys. The Rumph shaker’s got these guys loving Florida a little bit. They’re going to come on campus and visit. Those are the main guys right now that have said I’m going to be there, or in Heggie’s case I might be there. It’ll be interesting to see how big that camp gets on Saturday. It’s new for everybody. It’ll be interesting to see. I think they’re calling it the Offensive Line Limelight camp. Let’s see what goes on.

Nick:            Then, I guess we’ll round this up. What do you think of that new format? The three day format where you’re trying to get everyone in, instead of that one night and maybe it can be a little too hectic, but trying to get them in over 72 hours?

Andrew:            Nick, you and I talked about this a little bit last year. We talked about this a little bit this year. The Friday Night Lights lost its luster. When you and I were, not to show our age, but when we were in college and in high school when Friday Night Lights first started, you always heard about it being the best college football camp on campus anybody had. That was because there were several years where the number 1 player in the country, Ronald Powell, Tim Tebow, Percy Harvin, Brandon Spikes, you can go on and on of the guys that are playing in the NFL from Florida right now, were on campus. Then Muschamp came to board, and it lost its luster. There was a lot of, like you said last year, a lot of guys that had no business being on the thing. It was like you and I were sitting out there watching ourselves playing football, and neither one of us are in football ready shape now.

I think McElwain has done a good job of allowing the young kids to come in on Thursday, allowing the offensive linemen to come in on that, and he’s really focused on coming in, getting Friday Night Lights to be elite again. As I sit there and look at the list, it’s four star, five star, three star, all those guys. I know somebody’s going to say a three star. Three star’s still a really good player. I’ve counted about 80-90 four to five star kids that are going to come in and participate on Friday night. That’s bringing the eliteness back to this camp.

I’d really like the event. You get three days of kids coming on your campus. It shows the campus. They’re on campus. They’re visiting. You’re able to make impressions for the young guys and the older guys. We all know recruiting’s all about recruiting ahead of time. I’m all for it. I’d be interested to hear your opinion as someone who has to go with me that maybe doesn’t like the event all as much. What do you think about the event? I guess, are you going to enjoy seeing the eliteness of the Friday, or are you okay with what it was?

Nick:            No. I like that you’re making it more elite. When Urban Meyer started this camp it was something that people didn’t really know about, right?

Andrew:            Right. Exactly. It was one of those things where it was Friday Night Lights? Let’s go out there. Like you said, Ronald Powell came all the way from California. It was great.

Nick:            And worked out.

Andrew:            And worked out. At tight end and defensive line.

Nick:            So that’s I think what we’ll see then this year. Instead of having 800 kids out there on Friday, you’re kind of splitting it up, and you’ll have less kids out there Friday. More of a competing kind of atmosphere. We talked about it was kind of most of the elite guys that we wanted to see compete were watching like we were. I think if splitting it up into three days can give you that elite feeling back, then I’m all for it. Then I love it. I think that’s really both of us are sharing that opinion that you’re going to get more of that.

Andrew:            Yeah. You and I, we love football. I want to see guys compete. I want to enjoy the camp. I want to be able to tell you how good Victor looked against Chauncey Gardner at Florida’s seven on seven camp. I want to tell you how Jake Allen did. I could care less about Jake Allen throwing to somebody that is barely playing JV football in his high school. I could care less about doing that. I’m sorry. That’s no disrespect to them guys. It’s just not fun. Before we end this, I don’t want people to jump down my case. So I’m going to give you a few guys to watch for. I’m going to give the candy at the end of the tunnel.

Nick:            I wasn’t going to let you get off the hook without asking that question.

Andrew:            There you go. Since you listened to Nick and I ramble for all this time. We’re both boring people. I’m going to give some candy at the end of the tunnel. Here we go. Five guys. Five work for you, Nick?

Nick:            I guess. I’d like to hear 20, but five is fine.

Andrew:            You’d like to hear 20, well get over it. We’re not partying in South Beach. Here we go. Let’s go first the guy that I am looking forward the most, Jermaine Moon, linebacker from Hoover. Florida and Carolina are the guys that are battling it out for him. Florida needs linebackers. He’s coming on second trip in less than a month, from the premier program of Hoover, Alabama. Watch out for this guy.

Quarterback McArthur Burnett from Pahokee, decommitted from Miami after he received his offer from Florida. Very pro Florida, put the dots together. Visiting Friday Night Lights.

Let’s go next. Here’s a guy that I think we could see a little action from, even though he says he doesn’t want his name out there, Brett Heggie. We talked about him, the center, Mount Dora. Let’s watch out for him a little bit.

Go to 2017, Kai-Leon Herbert, buddies with Jake Allen. 2017 offensive lineman, just picked up his offer on Monday. He’s coming on campus. Watch out for him. Really like that one. That could happen there. Then 2017 athlete Devan Barrett. He’s a guy that says I’m going to take my time here. Very pro Florida. Watch out for him.

There’s five guys for Spivey. Let me know how I do on that. I think I’ll see some action on those five guys somewhere or another this weekend.

Nick:            Someone will pop this weekend.

Andrew:            I didn’t say that.

Nick:            Will there be a commitment this weekend?

Andrew:            If I told you, then guys wouldn’t read Gator Country. I will say this, Nick. I expect the trend to continue. What’s the trend, Nick? I told you the trend. You and I sit in your apartment every year on Thursday night, and you’re like here it goes. I have to write another recruiting. I have to edit another commitment article. I expect the trend to continue this year.

Nick:            Hopefully Florida will pick up some momentum, or keep the momentum that they’ve been able to build. It will be a jam packed Thursday, Friday, and then continuing on to Saturday. So make sure you stay tuned to Gator Country. You just had knowledge dropped on you by Andrew Spivey. Is there anything else, Andrew?

Andrew:            No. I think that’s about it. Again, I’m excited for it. It’s always a fun time to give everybody a quick preview on what’s going to happen. I’ve got the crew together. Nick, you helped get the crew together. We’ve got David Bowie, best photographer in the land. He’s going to be out there snapping those photos at about 20 per second. Cassidy’s going to be dropping some video as always. You and I will be dropping the message boards. Should be a fun weekend of jam packed content.

Nick:            Busy. Our busy weekends mean fun weekends for the members. We will definitely be busy this weekend, and we’ll be bringing great content throughout. Looking forward to it.

Andrew:            Starbucks, get ready. Nick’s coming.

Nick:            I will be there. They need to start delivering.

Andrew:            Start delivering. There you go. Nick, let’s wrap this thing up and get everybody ready. We’ll see you guys Thursday. We’ll have some stuff coming first thing Thursday morning. Nick and I plan to be out at the Swamp at about 10:00AM. Things are going to be coming that way live. Nick, say your thing, and we’ll wrap this bad boy up.

Nick:            You stay classy, Gator Nation.

Andrew:            Have fun, Gator Country.

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