The Florida Gators have had dozens and dozens of prospects visiting campus the last few weeks for spring practice and with that comes the Gators rising up lists and on the minds of many prospects.
In this edition of the Gator Country podcast Andrew Spivey and Nick de la Torre answered the members recruiting questions and there were a lot of good questions about how the class of 2016 is coming along.
Make sure to stay tuned to Gator Country.com as the football mailbag portion of the podcast is up next and, as always, stay tuned as we will have much on the class of 2016.
* * * TRANSCRIPT:
Nick: Gator Country, we asked of you to send us your questions, and you came through. I appreciate all of your football questions, but, as they say, recruiting is the life’s blood of every college football team, and to answer your burning recruiting questions, we have the one and only Mr. Andrew Spivey. Andrew, say hello to the people.
Andrew: I’m flexing right now, but since it’s a podcast you can’t see me, so I’m doing the Hulk Hogan flexing thing. I’m back, and I’m ready to go. Recruiting is fun again. Coach McElwain, Drew Hughes, that staff, they’ve made recruiting fun again. I’m excited. I’m ready.
Nick: All right. Let’s not keep the people waiting.
Andrew: Oh Lord, here we go. Put me on the hot seat with a gun to my head.
Nick: Spotlight on you. 74Gators, thank you for your question, wants to know what is the latest on these five guys? We got defensive back Craig Watts, defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence, defensive end Janarius Robinson, offensive lineman Clark Yarbrough, and offensive lineman Parker Braun. Andrew, give me your worst. What do you got?
Andrew: Craig Watts, he’s a safety, but really Florida hasn’t really played game with him, haven’t really been recruiting him as hard as other schools. I’ll say this. It’s surprising. He’s a four star guy, but I just don’t see it. Florida’s not really contacted him, not really talking to him a lot right now. So I just don’t see it happening.
You talked about Dexter Lawrence. He really liked Florida growing up, and he still does. He’s supposedly going to visit in the summer, but it’s one of those kids that you hear about every year where I love Florida. I want to visit Florida. Florida this, Florida that, and they never show up on campus. Dexter Lawrence is that kid. He’s a five star talent and a very good player. Let’s just see if he gets on campus this summer. If he does, maybe he does like Florida a lot, we’ll see. As you just said, defensive tackle is a big position for Florida right now. That’s a big one.
Nick: Quick question on that, before you keep moving on. He’s from Wake Forest, North Carolina. That used to be DJ Durkin’s hunting ground, brought guys like Alex McAllister, DJ Humphries, John Bullard. Who is in that area now for Florida, and can they have the same successes that DJ did?
Andrew: I think it’s going to be different with Florida this year as it was in past years. I don’t think they’re really going to put a guy in each territory. I think they’re going to let Chris Rumph recruit his position and so forth and so on. Dexter Lawrence was really close to Brad Lawing. So we’ll see how much FSU really gets into play with Lawrence because of that. Again, I see Florida letting their position recruit. I think you put in your in state guys like we talked about before. I think you maybe put a guy in Georgia, because that’s so close, in that 500 mile radius, but outside the state I think you let your guys recruit their position.
Nick: I digress. I’ll lead you back on track. We’ve got Janarius Robinson, Clark Yarbrough and Parker Braun left.
Andrew: Janarius Robinson, he’s a Nole commit, FSU commit. Funny you brought this up 74Gator, he’ll be on campus on Monday. Watch out for that one. We’ll hopefully have an update on him. He’s been talking to Chris Rumph a lot. He’s been talking to big sexy, Chris Rumph. I think Florida’s got a shot here. I really do. He’s from Panama City, Bay High School. He is an electric player. He’s a freak athlete. He is a, I don’t want to call him Dante Fowler, because Dante Fowler was such a good ball player, but he has that freak nature like Dante Fowler. I really think if Florida can get him on campus on Monday and do a good job that they get him.
Clark Yarbrough, he’s a little different guy in that his uncle, or grandfather, was a Gator. Uncle was a Gator. He’s from Virginia now. He liked Virginia a lot. He’s going to be committing soon. Florida just hasn’t really recruited him as hard as they’ve recruited other offensive linemen. I don’t see that one happening.
With Parker Braun, he came and visited on Friday about three weeks ago, didn’t hear much out of it. His dad does all of his interviews, so it’s really tough to get a read on him. I think Ohio State will have the edge, because his offensive line coach at Ohio State was his dad’s offensive line coach back in the day. So look out for Ohio State, but if Florida can get him back on campus again, maybe they got a shot. The good thing is he’s teammates in Kissimmee with Carlos Becker and some of Keiwan Ratliff’s guys.
Nick: Okay. 74Gator gave you a big left hook with that question. He’s following it up with a jab. What offensive linemen is Florida in good shape with right now, as I ask you this question?
Andrew: You, maybe.
Nick: They need everyone.
Andrew: There you go. It’s crazy to say, but it’s so hard to recruit offensive linemen in the state of Florida, because there’s just not very man good ones in the state of Florida. This year’s a little different. Brock Lester is what I call him. His name’s Parker Boudreaux. Nick, you and I joked about him. He looks just like Brock Lesner, 6’5”, 291 pounds from Orlando. A lot of people think Clemson leads for him. I really think the Gators have got a good shot here. Been on campus twice already. Says he’s coming back for the spring game. If he comes back for that spring game, I really like Florida’s chances. He’s taking this like half world tour of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, just some other schools that have fun with it. At the end of the day it’s Florida Clemson, and I really think Florida’s going to land this kid. At 6’5”, 291 pounds he’s a big need for Florida.
Let’s move a little upstate and Marcus Tatum out of Daytona Beach mainland. 6’6”, 262 I think is what he weighed in the other day at. Florida and Miami are battling for him. I really like Florida’s chances here as well. I think Florida can end up landing this guy. He’s a guy that maybe needs to put on 20 or 30 pounds to play tackle, but he’s a guy that I think Florida has a really good shot with.
After those two guys it’s kind of crazy to say, but it’s tough. It’s really tough after those two guys to say who Florida really has a great shot with. There is a Juco offensive lineman in Brandon Autry. He’s actually from Mobile, representing the 251. He’s 6’4”, 320 pounds. Florida’s one of his first big offers. I think Florida’s got a chance there to go and get him, and he’ll be coming in as a three year guy. He’s got three years left to play, three for three. He’s already used his red shirt. So he’s a guy to look out for as well.
I think you start to really look now at who they can get into camp. Do they get some of these Maryland kids in? Can they get EJ Price in from Lawrenceville, Georgia, central Gwinnet? He played ball with Adonis Thomas. Can they get him down on campus this spring, this summer? If they can maybe they got a shot there.
There’s a few other guys that are out of state that really Florida needs to get in this summer, but if I was naming a couple guys right off the hand there’s Parker Boudreaux, Marcus Tatum, and I’ll throw another wildcard at you, Christian Gainer is Janarius Robinson’s teammate right there that’s coming on campus on Monday. So they’re going to come together. He’s a little bit bigger, 6’5”, 280, 275, guy that can play guard or tackle in college. Just not sure if he fits that Florida mold yet. I really want to see what he weighs in and comes in height wise at Florida. Right now Boudreaux and Tatum, I like those two guys for the Gators.
Nick: All right. Our buddy, LurkingGator, wants to know, I also appreciate you being in my baseball threads. Thank you. LurkingGator wants to know, what is the probability of signing a top tier quarterback in this class? Who are some of the elite guys that Florida is in on, that is looking at, that they’re interested in? If they swing and miss on 1A, that top top tier, who are some fall back guys that they want to keep in their back pocket?
And we’re talking about back pocket, but we’re in April now. We’re inching closer and closer to summer when all these quarterbacks commit. So some names. We need a quarterback.
Andrew: It’s getting crunch time, nuts and bolts time. It is time to get a quarterback. Dwayne Haskins, he visited a week from Friday. He came on campus, stayed for the whole day, but wasn’t able to spend as much time at Florida as he wanted to. He says he’s going to come back for the spring game next Saturday on the 11th. If he does, the gators have a good shot. He is a Maryland guy who loves Maryland, talks up Maryland, and as everybody knows, it’s very tough to pull a kid from Maryland that Maryland wants. It is what it is. The cha-ching sign really goes there. So we’ll see. If Haskins visits next weekend, then I like the Gator’s chances to get in the mix there. Still not going to say it’s a Gator slam dunk. He’s going to commit in June. That is probably the Gator’s top target right now.
After that it takes a big fall. It’s crazy to say that, but they really haven’t offered too many people after that. You start to look at a guy like Logan Bird. He came on campus from Georgia. You start to look at a guy like Messiah Deweaver from Ohio that likes Florida a lot. Hasn’t came on campus yet, doesn’t have an offer yet. He’s a guy you could look at. Woody Barrett is a guy that’s from Orlando. He’s came on campus twice with Keiwan Ratliff. He doesn’t have an offer.
I’ll say this. Jim McElwain has always worked under Nick Sabin’s approach that he has to see a guy either throw in camp or throw in person before he’s going to take him. So I think they’re either going to wait until summertime during camp to take a guy, that in my opinion’s a bad idea. I think maybe Nussmeyer goes out this spring, looks at a quarterback, comes back and tells McElwain, these are the four guys we want, or we should offer. They offer, and go from there.
Obviously Dwayne Haskins wants to be the quarterback, they get him. I’m going to throw a wildcard. I’m going to say this, and then I’m going to be quiet for a second, let you ask the next question, and let it sink in. Don’t forget Malik Henry, the number one quarterback in the country that’s committed to Florida State at ING. I can’t say much, but just don’t forget about him. Remember his name in connection with the Gators.
Nick: Andrew’s dropping the mike on you, and we’ll move on Mr. TheGator wants to know, what do the Gators have for defensive line and linebacker? Is any prospect leaning towards the orange and blue?
Andrew: We’re all leaning towards the orange and blue. Come on, people. We got to be leaning towards the orange and blue. Mr. Gator, I appreciate your question, as always. It’s a situation at the defensive line position where Florida’s at a good area where they have a lot of good players right now on the team that are still young. Taven Bryan, Joey Ivie, those guys that Florida’s not in desperate need to go sign a big class. They got Jaquan Bailey already at 6’3”, 230. They got Eric Mitchell. It’s tough for me to say he’s a defensive end. He’s only 6’1”, 230. He probably ends up as a linebacker, but right now Florida took him as a defensive end. So you got two of those guys in.
Let’s turn back to the defensive end position real quick. You got a guy like Janarius Robinson we talked about. Florida’s going to try to get him a lot, we’ll see how that one goes. Bryan Burns is another kid that Florida’s going to try to get on campus. So those are probably the two guys outside of the guys Florida has committed that Florida has the best chance with, Jarnarius Robinson, Bryan Burns. Both in state guys, so after that it’s tough at the defensive end position.
At defensive tackle, again, it’s a little shaky in state. The number one player in state is Keyshawn Camp, who just came on campus to Florida. He’s from Lakeland, Lake Gibson. My opinion Florida is by far the leader there. I think it’s more of just he wants to wait till summertime to commit. He was committed to Miami, and as soon as he got a Florida offer he decommitted. That should tell you enough.
We talked about Dexter Lawrence. We’ll see if he comes on campus. Then really after that it’s kind of dry for guys leaning to Florida. Another 251, Mobile, guy is Darius Whitfield. He came on campus, said he wanted to take a photo with the Chucky doll. The thing about him is his stepbrother plays for Alabama, Chris Casher. It’s tough to say that he’ll go to Florida because Alabama is in state for him. That defensive line is a little bit shaky.
What was the next part? Linebacker? Was linebackers our next one?
Nick: Linebackers next, yes, sir.
Andrew: Okay. Linebacker. We need linebackers in this class big time. Let’s go Trey Lamar probably is the top guy on the board that Florida has the best shot with. Visited two, two and a half weeks ago on a Saturday. Big 6’3”, 240 pound guy. I know you’re drooling over there, Nick, at 6’3”, 240 linebacker, out of Georgia. In my opinion Florida and Alabama are the top two schools, and I know people are starting to hate Alabama for stealing the linebackers. Again, they’re doing a good job at linebackers.
To move in state, Shaquille Quarterman is committed to Miami, but he’s only from Orange Park, so he’s close. He loves Miami a lot. I think it’s going to take Miami falling apart for them to get him, but I think we all know Miami’s falling apart this year. They had what? 75 people at their spring game. Maybe him.
Then the next guy is Jonathon Jones. He has a connection to Florida, because Tyrek Tisdale is his teammate, who just committed to Florida. He’s probably the number one linebacker in the state of Florida, as far as inside guys. 6’1”, 210 pound guy. [Qaiwan Sutliff] loves Jonathon Jones, so that would be my three guys to watch as inside linebacker.
Outside linebacker, Florida’s already got Vosean Joseph, who in my opinion’s a really good player at 6’, 215 pounds. Good player. Probably the most likely guy for Florida to land there is Florida State commit, Tyree Horton. He is a Juco kid, but he played high school ball with CJ Warton, miss kiss my baby on Twitter. I think it’s just a matter of time. He can’t visit until the summer time. So I think once he visits I really like Florida’s chances with Tyree Horton.
One other name to throw out there is Ja’Quain Blakely or J Blakely is what he goes by. 6’2”, 220 pound, 215 pound, guy from Moultrie, Georgia. Plays for Rush Probst, famous for Hoover High School. That would be my other guy at the linebacker position that Florida has a good shot with. I really think Florida signs four linebackers this class. They need them, and I think they get them.
Nick: All right. Definitely need linebacker. We’ve talked about this before. You’re in a situation where two years ago you didn’t take any, because you could afford to be picky after signing four. Then you only take one last year. Now you’re in a pickle. So a big linebacker class is definitely needed for Florida. Andrew, we’re going to wrap it up in rapid fire style. GatorJasonB has three questions for you. You ready?
Andrew: I am ready.
Nick: We all, it’s well documented that Sam Bruce is my favorite receiver. Go Raiders again, St. Thomas Aquinas. Sam Bruce, number 1 receiver. I think your favorite receiver is Benjamin Victor? GatorJasonB wants to know Benjamin Victor or Dredrick Snelson? Neither of them have made it up to campus. Is this a cause for concern for Jim McElwain and Doug Nussmeyer?
Andrew: Benjamin Victor has been on campus. He was on campus, I believe, the first Junior Day, March 11, 14th, something like that. One of the Saturdays, the first Junior Day. He was on campus. He loved Florida. He knows he can play. He knows his can play at Florida, and he knows he can play early at Florida. He won’t say a leader. He’s going to enjoy the process, like all south Florida kids do. No disrespect. I think Florida is the leader here, whether he wants to admit it or not.
Dredrick Snelson, he had some off the field trouble, stealing some stuff at Georgia. I’m just not sure where Florida goes with him. So we’ll just kind of leave that one there, but I like Florida with Benjamin Victor right now. If I had to say right now I’m going to the Gators.
Nick: There’s that. Question 2, moving on. Eli Stove already visited Florida twice. Are the Gators his current leader, in your opinion?
Andrew: I would say it’s Florida Auburn. That’s who’s battling at the top.
Nick: Will Muschamp just never goes away.
Andrew: There you go. He’s just ready to drop a boom. No, Auburn’s offense is a nice offense to play in. He is a guy that, someone told me, I was talking to a college scout the other day who told me he had Demarcus Robinson playmaking ability. That says a lot. He’s a guy that a lot of people think is a slot guy, but he can be an either/or guy. The one thing I have concern about is if Nate Craig does flip from Auburn to Florida State, like we all kind of believe, then that means Eli Stove becomes Auburn’s number 1 target. He’s Auburn’s number 1 target, obviously Florida has three or four number 1 targets. So does Auburn start giving him more love, and he goes to Auburn? I don’t know. Right now, Auburn and Florida are the leaders.
Nick: Then the last one, until I take you off the hot seat. With the wide receiver depth in the state of Florida this year, and the fact that Florida already has two committed receivers, is there a possibility of taking more than four receivers in this recruiting cycle?
Andrew: I mean, yeah. You can. I think four or five is the number they want. It gets tricky. You take five this year, then you can’t sign any next year. Kids aren’t going to want to come. You start to get yourself in a pickle if you start taking more than four. It’s tough to say, because the receiver class in state is so loaded this year. Nick, you know how it is. Receivers are the most prima donna kids in the world. If you start to sign a ton of those kids it’s going to be tough to recruit that position for a couple years.
I say four is the number they want. Could I see five? Yes. Could I see more than five? No. No way at all. I mean, Nick, let me just throw these names out to you. If Florida signs a wide receiver class of Benjamin Victor, Eli Stove, Isaiah Johnson, and Rick Welsh, are you happy?
Nick: No, because where’s Sam Bruce?
Andrew: Okay. What I’m saying is that’s four elite receivers that you just signed. Yes, Sam Bruce is nice. Sam Bruce is five. Then there’s still somebody left out. So no matter how many you sign, unless you sign 15 of them this year, you’re still leaving somebody out. There is going to be a good player to go somewhere else. It just is what it is. It’s the nature of the beast. If Florida signs Benjamin Victor I don’t think they sign Nate Craig. If Florida signs Nate Craig, I don’t think they sign Benjamin Victor, just because it’s very tough to get two Number 1s to play on the same team in the same recruiting cycle.
Nick: Maybe Jim McElwain should call Pat Riley, because Pat had no problem getting the big three together in Miami. Maybe we can get a big three wide receiver tandem to show up in Gainesville next fall.
Andrew: As long as it’s Sam Bruce involved, correct?
Nick: Absolutely. Well that is all the questions we have for you. I know you’re probably sweating over there. Threw some fast balls at you. Any parting words for the people?
Andrew: No. I like changeups through. It’s so easy to hit a changeup. Fast ball I got to gear up. No. I did enjoy it. I like this. Recruiting’s fun again. Next week, spring game, going to be packed. Then we get about a week off. Then the coaches go on spring evaluation period. Then summertime is here. Camps, all over. That’s all I got today, Nicholas.
Nick: You’ll get a week to work on your golf game before everything goes crazy again.
Andrew: It is getting pretty good. It is getting pretty good. I told you, Nick. I shot a 42 on the back 9 the other day. I’m proud of it.
Nick: What happened on the front?
Andrew: We don’t talk.
Nick: We don’t need to talk about the front. We only played 9 that day.
Andrew: We only played 9 that day, and it was the back 9.
Nick: All right. For Andrew Spivey, I am Nick de la Torre. That is your recruiting mail bag podcast. Hit us up on the message board. We need a better name for that, something catchier. Until next time, you stay classy, Gator Nation.
Andrew: Peace, boys.