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    University of Florida head coach Jim McElwain leads the Florida Gators out for their final practice before the SEC Championship / Gator Country photo by David Bowie

Florida Gators recruiting
and football talk: Podcast

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Written by Andrew Spivey, December 9, 2016, 0 Comments,
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GatorCountry brings you a new podcast as discuss the latest Florida Gators recruiting news, plus the transfer of Jordan Cronkrite.

Andrew Spivey and Nick de la Torre break down how the Gators can regain momentum in recruiting, plus who’s planning on taking official visits to Florida.

Andrew and Nick also discuss the Gators facilities and what can be done to improve that, plus the basketball team.

TRANSCRIPT:

Andrew:                 What’s up, Gator Country? Your man, Andrew Spivey, here with Nicholas de la Torre. Nicholas, what’s going on? First off week in a long time.

Nick:                         An off week quickly met with breaking news, because there is never an off week when you cover Florida football.

Andrew:                 Yeah. There’s not an off week because of recruiting, but still it was an off week for games. As you say, breaking news is Jordan Cronkrite is leaving the University of Florida, and there was no surprise.

Nick:                         No. There’s no surprise. We said before the year that both Jordans weren’t going to last. Not that they weren’t going to last the entire season, but that both of them would not be juniors at Florida. We both were very high on Lamical Perine coming in. We both said, you don’t redshirt running backs, and thought he was very good, and just didn’t see that there would be enough carries to go around. Jim McElwain kind of sighted having four guys at Alabama. I think that was 2010 maybe, when they had Eddie Lacy, Richardson and Ingram, but there was never going to be enough carries. Cronkrite won the starting job going into fall camp. Gets hurt in the scrimmage, and you kind of saw Jordan Scarlett take over that roll. Mark Thompson fumbled away his chances, and then Lamical Perine took advantage of every opportunity he was given. After fumbling his first snap. Fumble your first career snap, and then after that everything was good for him.

Andrew:                 Let’s take it back to the situation, was it pre Georgia where he left the team?

Nick:                         Yeah. He left the team, and Florida tried to be politically correct. They tried to protect him by saying it was an injury, but he was unhappy with his role, voiced those concerns, and he left the team. He quit.

Andrew:                 We’ll call it like it is. He quit.

Nick:                         Call it like it is. He quit.

Andrew:                 It’s not all, I mean, and this is going to be trying, this is not me trying to put the blame on someone else when I say this, but this was not all Jordan Cronkrite. This was his stepfather, who believed that he wasn’t being treated fairly, and he comes up to the University of Florida demanding that Jordan play more, wanting to know this and wanting to know that. He caused friction there. Jordan quit the team, just like it is. He quit the team, then came back and asked to be back on the team. To be honest, I think about the only reason that he was allowed back on the team was simply for depth purposes, because fumble machine wasn’t going to play, so it was kind of a lesser of two evils. I personally think it was a bad move allowing him back on the team. I think you set a bad precedent for doing that. That doesn’t happen in very many programs.

Nick:                         Yeah. We talked about that, if you recall.

Andrew:                 Yeah. It’s one of those situations where we’re told he’s going to FAU, hasn’t been confirmed yet, but probably has been confirmed by Cronkrite and FAU, just hasn’t been put out in the public yet. So it’s a good fit for him. I’ll stick to my belief that we talked about in the off season. Jordan Cronkrite should have invested himself in playing safety. If he is, he’s probably playing the League next year, or in two years, at playing safety. Not sure why he ever decided he wanted to be a running back, but best of luck to him in the future.

Nick:                         That’s something that you recruiting folk kind of talked about when he was still a recruit, right?

Andrew:                 Yeah. I mean, he played DB. He played running back in high school, and he was always a, and he’s not a bad running back. He’s just not an SEC running back. He’s not physical enough. He does everything okay and nothing great. Most running backs do things great, do a few things great, and then some things okay. He was just okay all around. It’s tough. He’s being recruited over. Scarlett got better than him. Perine got better than him. Next season Malik Davis is probably better than him, and he was just going to be continued to be recruited over. I just was always wondering, and I kind of held out hope that maybe he would decide to play DB and would be able to stick, because at the end of the day Jordan is a good guy, just sometimes family just doesn’t see the things, and that was a case.

Nick:                         There’s always people around, whether it’s a coach, a parent, brother, somebody that is in your ear. Listen, I can’t blame him for not wanting to stick around. The writing’s on the wall. Jordan Scarlett’s going to be your starting running back, and Lamical Perine’s younger than you and already stealing your carries, or they’re not your carries. In your mind they’re your carries, stealing carries that could be going to you. If you look at it, Cronkrite did have 20 catches, but his 31 rushes are less than the 44 he had last year. You look at it as a sophomore saying, “Well, I’m getting less touches my second year than I did my first year. That’s not good.”

Andrew:                 To be fair…

Nick:                         Then Perine had 53 more carries than him. So, to me, if you want to play football, and you want to play running back, the writing’s on the wall. It’s not going to happen at Florida.

Andrew:                 To be fair, his 30 catches, it seems like half of those came in the Florida State and Arkansas game, when the game was not, I mean, I know that’s not accurate, but it is. It’s a situation where he wasn’t getting very many. I’ll say this, Nick, and I’m hesitant to say this, because we’re speculating, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he wasn’t the only running back to check himself out.

Nick:                         That would be, it certainly wouldn’t be Lamical Perine or Jordan Scarlett, so by process of elimination, I’m guessing you’re not talking about Mark Herndon, who will graduate this year, either.

Andrew:                 No, I’m talking about fumbler.

Nick:                         Okay.

Andrew:                 Maybe he’ll fumble his way out of school.

Nick:                         So then my question, if Mark Thompson is not back for whatever reason, now you really only have Jordan Scarlett and Lamical Perine. What do the Gators do in recruiting? I have a couple questions. I’ll ask my follow up later, but you have two on campus. You’ve got, I think is a good running back, some people question about who he’s playing. I don’t think you can really ever question who people are playing when they play in the state of Florida, but Malik Davis. I think he’s a good running back, and there’s still a lemonade situation that’s out there in the open. What does Florida need to do in recruiting to kind of replace that depth if you only have two guys going forward, and Jordan Scarlett will be a junior next year? I don’t see a lot of guys of his caliber, not saying he’s a first round pick, I don’t see a lot of guys of Jordan Scarlett’s caliber staying around for four years to play running back.

Andrew:                 Yeah. I mean, you got to go two next year, and you got to follow that up with two the following year.

Nick:                         You mean this year, this 2016 cycle.

Andrew:                 Yeah.

Nick:                         2017.

Andrew:                 Yeah. You got to go two, and then you have to follow that up in 2018 with two more, because then you look at it in 2018, you got Perine likely leaving. So, it’s just a three year stay wherever you go, and you want four on your roster. So, you get two this year, that’s four on your roster. Then you lose Mark, and you could get away with one next season if it’s a guy like Lorenzo Lingard, or you could go two. Malik Davis is your one, and you can question his ability against good teams, or good competition, he played American Heritage, our good friend Chad Wilson’s team, and many consider them to have the best defense in the state, and he put up 168 yards rushing against those guys. Now, it was on 20 carries, but that’s still a cool 8 yards per carry. The man’s went over 7,000 yards in high school ball. I don’t care how bad the competition is. You put up 7,000 yards in high school competition is pretty damn good, so give the man credit there. He has that burst that’s really good. He’s a mix of physical speed kind of guy, and he’s a little bit different than what they have on the roster now.

Then, like you said, Adarius Lemons is a guy that if he gets a good ACT score he’s probably in the class, and there’s your two. If not, you probably look at a guy like Bentavious Thompson out of South Ridge, but you look at things, and is it totally bad, the running back situation? I don’t think so. You want two, what I call dogs, that are going to run the ball. That’s going to be Scarlett, and that’s going to be Perine next year. You let Malik and whoever the other freshman is work themselves in the game a little bit, but you’re not expecting those two guys to play a ton. This year was different, because you had four guys that you had three guys that were older guys, and then one freshman who was needed to play. Does that make sense?

Nick:                         Yeah. Is that dog or dawg?

Andrew:                 I mean, I would say it’s dawg. I mean, you want that guy that’s just, you hear some people say that thoroughbred. That’s exactly what it is. You want that dude that teams fear. You look at, and I’m not comparing these two guys, but you look at what LSU had this year, Fournette and Guice. That’s what you want. You want two guys that teams have to fear, and that’s what you’re going to get next season with those two guys, 25 and 22. So you’re okay with having two young guys. Of course, you’re an injury away from having to play a freshman, but you should be okay with one of your freshmen having to carry the rock. I mean, look at a lot of schools around the country. They’re playing those freshmen.

Nick:                         So my follow up question would be this. We just saw how taking two running backs in the same class can work out, or can play out negatively. I agree that Florida, for depth reasons, needs to get two. Do you see it being an issue again though?

Andrew:                 I think it’s always a situation where it’ll work itself out, and I know that’s kind of the easy way out, but I do. I think it’s one of those situations where it’ll work itself out, like this situation. You look at it a year ago, and we’d have probably been talking about Scarlett transferring. Hell, we talked about it at the beginning of the year if Scarlett didn’t get a lot of carries he’s probably leaving. So I always say it will work itself out, and I do.

You are looking at a situation where you have two guys that are going to come in and possibly their junior year they’re going to be the two dawgs, but there’s no way around it. You have to sign two. You look at what Bama did this past season, and I’m just referencing that because of what we were able to see in the SEC Championship game, they redshirted BJ Edmonds, but they played Jacobs, Josh Jacobs. So if you can redshirt one of your guys, you’re okay. You don’t like to redshirt running backs, as we said. Maybe, and maybe Florida goes to three and tries to redshirt one of their guys next year.

Nick:                         You don’t really like to redshirt running backs, just because of, like I said with Scarlett, the lifespan of a running back in college really isn’t four years.

Andrew:                 It’s a battle to get to that second contract.

Nick:                         It’s a position that just takes so much pounding, and it’s one of the few positions where when you’re talking to scouts, or when you’re talking to guys in the NFL, it’s one of the only positions that you worry about how much tread does he have on those tires? How many miles has he put, have coaches put on those legs? Something that people talked about Kelvin Taylor. Kelvin Taylor carried the ball damn near 1,000 times in high school, and then gets to Florida and gets pounded his junior year. Kelvin Taylor carried the ball 259 times his junior year, so you start to look at a position that’s getting hit every time they touch the ball.

Andrew:                 Right.

Nick:                         What’s the health? It’s like you said, all about, with the new CBA in the NFL, all about getting to that second contract, and if you’re staying, just guys aren’t staying for four years. If you’re good enough to play and start at a school like Florida, Alabama, LSU, you’re gone. Leonard Fournette, gone. Dalvin Cook hasn’t said anything yet. I got a kick out of it. Florida State, they did the college football awards at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta, and Florida State tweeted out a picture with Dalvin kind of making a shrug next to the Heisman. They said, “Maybe next year.” Got a little kick out of that. Dalvin Cook won’t be in Tallahassee next year, unless he’s visiting for a game during his bye week.

Andrew:                 Exactly. That’s not happening. It’s like you said. It’s a battle to that second contract, and it is. We’ll touch on that more as we get going into the off season. There’s always guys that transfer, and there’s always guys that are going to leave early for the League. That’s all likely going to happen post bowl game, so that’s post January 2nd, and we’ll hit on it more when it happens. You and I are both in agreement we don’t like to, to be fair, and we can’t prove this, but Jordan Cronkite had told people three weeks ago he was transferring, but it’s all about the timing of the situation, and you and I respect the timing. I mean, did we want to break the news? Sure, but not going to steal a guy’s moment.

Nick:                         Yeah. I don’t see this as, definitely not a surprise. It wasn’t a surprise to anyone on our message board. Other than depth, I really don’t see it as an issue. I mean, you’re going to go into the bowl game with only three running backs, but you and I and fans have been clamoring for just two running backs to be getting the carries. So, as long as nobody gets hurt in the bowl game early, I don’t even see it being an issue on the field.

Andrew:                 I don’t either. Should be fine, but let’s move forward and talk about some of the guys that are visiting this week. They’re visiting everybody and the brother than you can think of. They’re out all parts of the state. Mac’s one day is in south Florida. He’s in Texas one day. You name it, and he’s been that way. He’s visited Jake Allen. He’s visiting Navaughn Donaldson, Kai-Leon Herbert, Alex Leatherwood. You name it, he’s visited. This weekend they’re going to host Kadeem Telfort, and they’re going to host Alex Leatherwood, two big offensive linemen that are early enrollees. It’s a big weekend.

It was supposed to be bigger. Jake Allen was supposed to come in for a visit, and the South Ridge guys was coming to visit. They’re playing in state championship game, so Florida’s going to go to them and have their, basically, official visit while watching them in their game. They’re going to have a few of the coaches go watch them Friday night, and then Saturday night, at their games.

So that makes this official visit weekend smaller, but still very important. Kadeem Telfort’s mom, as you read on Gator Country on Thursday, said they’re solid to Florida early enrolling. That means turn the pressure up on Leatherwood. Biggest recruit Florida’s had in three years.

Nick:                         Alex Leatherwood you’re saying is the biggest recruit?

Andrew:                 Yeah. No doubt. Alex Leatherwood’s a guy that he steps on campus, and he makes you a better football team.

Nick:                         What are the, I don’t want to put you on the spot, but what are the realistic chances? Is this just kind of like Florida getting strung along? To me, and this might just be my perception, and I told you about this. Who was the offensive lineman that just committed to Tennessee?

Andrew:                 Trey Smith.

Nick:                         When I see an Alabama hat, and I see #1 ranked, I think, “Probably going to go there.” When I see a player of Alex Leatherwood’s caliber committed to Alabama, to me it’s like, “That guy’s not flipping. He’s going around to take some trips and entertain himself. Go see some things.” To me, it’s like, what are the realistic chances that you can get him?

Andrew:                 Here’s the thing with Leatherwood. He’s totally different, and I think we said this on, after his visit to Florida for the South Carolina game. He doesn’t care about anything that isn’t involved around football. He’s a kid that is trying to get, he’s a first round draft pick. He knows he’s a first round draft pick. He’s trying to get to that contract. All he’s looking for is the best chance to play. Does he love Alabama? 1,000%. I’ve been told several times that his quote is, “I love Alabama. That’s where my heart is, but I know I don’t play there early.” To me, that’s looking. Here’s another thing. You don’t spend three days, rent a car, drive down to Gainesville. You’re not talking to their running backs. You’re not talking to their head coach all the time, if you’re not interested.

Now, could he be trolling? Sure. Sure. Maybe. There is a lot, lot more interest between the two parties than most people will believe. I’m not saying he flips. Don’t know. We’ll see how this weekend goes. There is legit interest. He knows he plays Day 1 at Florida, and a kid like him, who is all business, that’s all he cares about. That’s all he cares about. My thing is this. If he was literally not, if he was literally all in, you don’t take a midweek visit like he did to Auburn this weekend, follow that up with Florida. You just don’t do the things he did. You don’t take that three day visit to Florida for the South Carolina game. Obviously, I’m a lot closer to the situation, and some things I won’t divulge, but he likes Florida. He really does, and that’s a situation that I’ll stick by. I don’t know if he flips, but I’ll stick by it until the end that there’s legit interest.

Nick:                         Alabama started two freshmen on the offensive line this year?

Andrew:                 Yes.

Nick:                         The right side, right guard, right tackle, but you’ll lose Cam Robinson.

Andrew:                 But they’re just going to stick in the guy from LSU, Matt Womack, that is a redshirt freshman that was sitting right behind him.

Nick:                         Yeah. Alex Leatherwood, from talking to you and from talking to people that were there for his visit, this isn’t a kid that, if a coach is recruiting me, they’re probably putting me with CJ Worton, because they know that he’s going to find the best frat party to take me to. He’s going to find the bar and the girls. Alex Leatherwood, you’re not taking him there. This is a kid that, like you said, his mind is set. Three years, first round, get to the League. All that other stuff right now, not even a factor to him. If that plan involves playing early, which is important to him, wide open at Florida. You’re losing David Sharpe at left tackle, with really no one other than Martez Ivey, maybe sliding him out there, no one to replace him.

Andrew:                 He’s good friends, became very good friends with Lamical Perine. He’s become very good friends with Jawaan Taylor the offensive lineman as well. They hung out a ton during the visit. I mean, this is what happens after the game when he visits, he goes to the mall. He went to the mall. Most of those kids on college visits don’t care about going to the mall. He went to the mall with Jawaan Taylor. It’s a different story. Florida has stayed there. They’ve kept their interest there, and also this, Leatherwood has completely went off the map. Usually when a recruit goes off the map, he doesn’t want to say something.

Nick:                         Nick Saban’s a scary dude.

Andrew:                 Maybe he’ll get tips from Eddy Pineiro.

Nick:                         Maybe going Zero Dark Thirty is the way to get away from having to tell Nick Saban, “I’m flipping.” Is he an early kid, or no?

Andrew:                 Yeah, he’s an early kid. So that’s another good thing, but maybe he goes an talks to Eddy Pineiro, and Eddy tells him how he told Nick Saban.

Nick:                         I remember Zach Alboverdi and I asked Eddy, after LSU, “So, this means you’re going to see Nick Saban. How do you feel about that?” He goes, “He’s scary.” Yeah. Leatherwood’s a kid that you, talk about perception. Landing an Alex Leatherwood completely, because right now the perception among frustrated fans is Mac can’t recruit. That he’s lost, somebody responded to my Jordan Cronkrite transferring story on Twitter with, “He can’t recruit, and he can’t keep players on campus. What a joke.” Talk about changing perception getting somebody like Alex Leatherwood would have for Jim McElwain with the fan base and recruiting.

Andrew:                 Recruiting’s all about momentum. You always hear about if you can get one kid to pop on a Junior Day you probably get five to pop on a Junior Day, because everybody gets caught up in the moment. That’s what things are. You really need that one big chip to fall your way. Let’s just talk about that, Nick. We talked about that in my mailbag. People were asking me, “What’s wrong with recruiting at Florida?” You can’t put, you can’t pin one area. You can’t pin one area. There’s several things. Florida has been a dumpster fire until Mac got there. Muschamp pissed off tons of coaches. That was a rebuilding situation there.

Nick:                         Can you explain that real quick, before we move on?

Andrew:                 Sure. For instance, let’s go to Trinity Christian, for instance, the home of Shaun Wade. The Isaiah Ford situation, they don’t offer him until two hours before he’s supposed to sing on Signing Day, and then come to him and say, “Well, we really wanted to take you a week ago, but this.” That doesn’t work like that at an in state school. Out of state schools, sure. It’s small things like that that he pissed off coaches around there. Mac’s done a good job of rebuilding that, but it just doesn’t get rebuilt overnight. At the end of the day, they still hold it against your school. Mac has to overcome that.

Secondly, offense looks terrible. Football offense is something that has to look pretty. It’s hard to recruit the offense when the offense looks bad, just is what it is. Third, facilities suck. You can’t recruit when the facilities suck. When you can’t use the bathroom at Florida, because you’re scared of the water not working, but you can go to Alabama and get in the waterfall, totally different. Got to get that.

Nick:                         Discouraged to go to the bathroom in Alabama’s waterfall.

Andrew:                 No, but what I’m saying is…

Nick:                         Don’t go to the bathroom in the waterfall. I get what you’re saying.

Andrew:                 You were here with this conversation. Last year at the Senior Bowl Antonio Morrison told a bull Gator, he goes, “How about you get our water fixed in our locker room? We can’t use the bathroom in there, and we can’t shower in there.” That’s ridiculous. That’s embarrassing.

You get several things like that together, and you create a big problem. You create a big problem in that, let’s face it, had Florida ended the season with the LSU win they probably are looking good on the recruiting trail. Unfortunately, they didn’t. They lost to Florida State, and then they kind of got punished for going to the SEC Championship game, because they got beat up by Alabama, and it’s a perception. They need one momentum swing, and it’s a big one.

Now, let’s hit on the coaches. Is there some coaches on the thing that are dead weight? Absolutely. I think everybody in the world knows who I’m talking about. I’m not going to call him out. Nick, I know you won’t call him out as well. There’s guys that are dead weight. They’ve got to be replaced. Everyone knows that. I think that happens, and I think Mac looks at things, but it’s a situation of just getting one person to commit to get the ball rolling to get some momentum, to get the negative talk out of the way and get the positive talk out of the way. Whether it be a guy like Leatherwood, whether it be a guy like Shaun Wade, whether it be a guy like Navaughn, anybody that pops for Florida right now would be great, even if it’s a 2019 kid. It would almost be something where you’ve got some positivity instead of all negativity, and that’s a big thing in recruiting, because message boards, social media, it is what it is. It takes a toll on people.

Nick:                         When, I don’t know if a 2019 kid would get me excited. It might get somebody excited, but I don’t know if it would be me, but, yeah, there is a perception. I think so. I think, it’s hard to say that you get punished for going to the SEC Championship, and I thought, that was such a loser mentality that Tennessee fans had, and it was like, have fun going to Atlanta and getting pounded by Alabama. It’s like, what? You would love to be in Atlanta. So I don’t think getting to Atlanta is ever a bad thing.

Andrew:                 No. Never.

Nick:                         But almost you kind of get punished, where it’s a week where you’re not recruiting and everyone else is. You can say that you’re recruiting by, come watch us, but you almost don’t want to tell people to watch us with the way you performed, so almost kind of like getting punished by going to that game. If you can even say that.

Andrew:                 I don’t think you can. It’s just it’s a momentum thing, and, I mean, to be honest, it’s a momentum thing that has been with Florida for the last several year, and it’s something that they’re waiting to overcome. Everyone says, “Well, they got some five stars last year,” and I’m not a star guy. Can’t stand the stars. Hate the stars. I think it’s a bunch of dumbasses that don’t know what they’re doing that rank these kids, and you can tell me what you want to, but it’s the truth. It is though needing a kid, a big name guy, a guy like a Shaun Wade, a guy like a Leatherwood, anyone that is a big name guy that just really catches the attention of everybody. Then it makes things look better. It makes everything easier for recruiting, and it just calms the fan base down.

Nick:                         It’s like a, you mad, bro? That’s what’s going on with the fans right now.

Andrew:                 Yeah. They’re firing everybody. It doesn’t matter who you are. It doesn’t matter what you did yesterday. You’re not good enough for them yet right now.

Nick:                         Did we get fired yet?

Andrew:                 Hopefully not.

Nick:                         Gator Twitter, don’t fire me. I didn’t do it.

Andrew:                 I didn’t do it either. But that’s what I’m saying, it’s a thing. It’s a perception standpoint, and I get it. I get it. Is recruiting great right now? No, and nobody is trying to make it out to be. Someone told me the other day, “You act like the recruiting is fine.” No. Nick, you’re my witness. I tell you all the time, “Damn, man, I just need someone to pop so I can have something to write about.” It’s not, but it’s not solely on Mac, and I think that’s what a lot of people don’t understand. There’s a lot of factors that go into being great recruiting, a lot of factors. Some factors we can’t even discuss on here that go into it. You just have to overcome it, and the only way to overcome it is to get one person to pop. For instance, I’ll say this. One of the things that helped Will Muschamp a ton was getting Vernon Hargreaves to pop, because it set off an avalanche, and that’s almost what Mac needs.

Nick:                         You talk about, going back a little bit, Brandon Spikes said after he met Tim Tebow, said, “I’m going to go wherever this guy goes.”

Andrew:                 Yup.

Nick:                         There can be those kind of polarizing people or kids in a recruiting class that I want to go and play with him. He’s a good player. He’s going to make me better. Whatever team he’s on he’s going to make them better. I’m a good player. I join him, now we’re cooking with oil.

Andrew:                 Right. Exactly. I don’t know if there’s that guy in this year’s class, and I don’t know if there’s that many guys like that too much. I mean, Jacob Eason was a guy like that last year that there was a lot of people that said, “Wherever he goes, I’m going to go.” I get that. I get that when you see that guy like that, but that’s not every year. Again, I think things will be fixed. I think things are going to change. I am optimistic, and I do know from talking to people, I mean, they know that the perception isn’t there. These guys aren’t stupid. They read the message boards. They read Twitter. They understand what’s going on. I do think it’s a situation that will be fixed. I do think that Mac will make some changes to get things fixed. I do. I really think that.

Nick:                         Okay. We’ll move on to the next one. You were saying facilities. What?

Andrew:                 You can’t break ground in 18 months.

Nick:                         Yeah. I was saying, we got off on a tangent about perception, but recruiting. Recruiting and facilities, what’s going on?

Andrew:                 You can’t wait 18 months, and that’s the word that it is, that it’s going to be 18 months before they break ground on the new football facility. That’s too long. That’s too long. I mean, Nick, you and I were talking about this the other day. How do you recruit a guy like Marco Wilson or Alex Leatherwood and say, “Well, we’re building this.” He’s going to say, “Okay. I may see that my junior year. I may.” That’s not a recruiting tool.

Nick:                         We were told, I remember back in high school, we were told we’re going to get this new locker room that’s attached to the dugout, and it’s going to be really nice, and they did build it. They built it one year after I left St. Thomas. So not a recruiting pitch when you tell somebody and show somebody a picture of, look at this, we’re going to have this shiny new building. When are you going to start? You’ll be in the middle of your sophomore season when we start building it, and it’s going to take a year. So, never mind.

Andrew:                 Exactly. That’s just a little bit. I mean, we could go on and on and on on this stuff. It’s just, it’s like I say, it’s several things that go into play here. It’s not just one thing. It’s several things, and they got to change. They got to change soon for them.

Nick, before we get out of here, basketball. They had a really good showing against Duke. Outside of that one little spurt, man, they were in that game. I think it really got some people’s attention that this is not a bad basketball team that Mike White has on the court this year.

Nick:                         Yeah. I think, it surprised me. I won’t speak for you. You can agree with me if that’s how you feel too, but I think they’re surprising me. I think what Florida fell into is Florida doesn’t get those one and one guys, so the theme with Florida always seems to be, if their shots are falling they have a chance. You can say, it’s basketball, so of course if you’re making shots you have a chance. They just got into a point where they had only two assists, I think, in the first half, and they were just settling for bad shots, and against a team like Duke you can’t. That’s when Duke goes on that run to end the first half, and credit Florida for not going into the dumps at halftime. Came back out and made it a game, but I’m surprised. Surprised with the showing. I did not expect Florida to look competitive against Duke, and really you look at it, they’re only two losses of the season are against top 10 ranked teams, or top 15, top 11.

Andrew:                 Yeah. I mean, that’s exactly. I will say I expected Florida to hold it close for a little bit in the game and then get blown out, but it is. It kind of showed that there is, it’s the depth probably, the quality of depth is there for Duke. You look at the lefty kid, what was it? Luke Kennard, I think is what it was. He was just lights out. They had three players score 78% of their points in the game, and it was just that. It’s the depth there. Florida’s a team that’s going to make a run. I think they’ll be in the tourney. I think they’ll probably finished second in the SEC, behind Kentucky, and I think Mike White is really doing things. It’s kind of the same thing we say about football and Mac, and that is he needed one big guy, and I think may have got that in Isaiah Stokes committed to him. So maybe things get to go well.

You read the thing, I think it was Wednesday, on ESPN, and they were asking some coaches around the country about Mike White, and they all were like, “He’s a really good coach. If he can just get a few big recruits, because he doesn’t play dirty, to come in, they’re a good team.” I think that. You look at the freshman, Keith Stone, doing really well. Kevaughn Allen doing well. They got some guys that are playing. Kevarris Hayes doing well. They got some guys that are playing good ball.

Nick:                         Kevaughn Allen, I liked even when he’s missing being aggressive, that’s something we talk about with him, talk about with him a little bit.

Andrew:                 Yeah. Exactly. Alright, Nick, tell everyone where they can find us. We’ll get out of here. We’ll see everyone on Monday. We’re just going to go back to Monday and Wednesday for the next couple weeks. Bowl week, Under Armour week, we’ll probably go back to three, but right now we’ll go into our off season mode where it’s just Monday, Friday. Here and there we’ll have three. Right now, Monday, Friday. This is a little bit of a chance for Nick and I to unwind a little bit for a couple days. So Monday, Friday right now. Tell everyone where they can find us, and we’ll get out of here.

Nick:                         www.GatorCountry.com for all your Florida Gator news. Podcast on iTunes. Search @GatorCountry. Subscribe, never miss an episode. It’s also on the website, and you can find that transcript form and audio form there. On social media, Facebook, Twitter, @GatorCountry. Instagram, @TheGatorCountry. You can find Andrew and myself, @AndrewSpiveyGC, and @NickdelaTorreGC. That’s all I got.

Andrew:                 That’s it. As always, guys, chomp, chomp. Go Braves. Mark, Butch, you still suck.

Nick:                         You stay classy, 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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GatorCountry brings you a new podcast as discuss the latest Florida Gators recruiting news, plus the transfer of Jordan Cronkrite.

Andrew Spivey and Nick de la Torre break down how the Gators can regain momentum in recruiting, plus who’s planning on taking official visits to Florida.

Andrew and Nick also discuss the Gators facilities and what can be done to improve that, plus the basketball team.

TRANSCRIPT:

Andrew:                 What’s up, Gator Country? Your man, Andrew Spivey, here with Nicholas de la Torre. Nicholas, what’s going on? First off week in a long time.

Nick:                         An off week quickly met with breaking news, because there is never an off week when you cover Florida football.

Andrew:                 Yeah. There’s not an off week because of recruiting, but still it was an off week for games. As you say, breaking news is Jordan Cronkrite is leaving the University of Florida, and there was no surprise.

Nick:                         No. There’s no surprise. We said before the year that both Jordans weren’t going to last. Not that they weren’t going to last the entire season, but that both of them would not be juniors at Florida. We both were very high on Lamical Perine coming in. We both said, you don’t redshirt running backs, and thought he was very good, and just didn’t see that there would be enough carries to go around. Jim McElwain kind of sighted having four guys at Alabama. I think that was 2010 maybe, when they had Eddie Lacy, Richardson and Ingram, but there was never going to be enough carries. Cronkrite won the starting job going into fall camp. Gets hurt in the scrimmage, and you kind of saw Jordan Scarlett take over that roll. Mark Thompson fumbled away his chances, and then Lamical Perine took advantage of every opportunity he was given. After fumbling his first snap. Fumble your first career snap, and then after that everything was good for him.

Andrew:                 Let’s take it back to the situation, was it pre Georgia where he left the team?

Nick:                         Yeah. He left the team, and Florida tried to be politically correct. They tried to protect him by saying it was an injury, but he was unhappy with his role, voiced those concerns, and he left the team. He quit.

Andrew:                 We’ll call it like it is. He quit.

Nick:                         Call it like it is. He quit.

Andrew:                 It’s not all, I mean, and this is going to be trying, this is not me trying to put the blame on someone else when I say this, but this was not all Jordan Cronkrite. This was his stepfather, who believed that he wasn’t being treated fairly, and he comes up to the University of Florida demanding that Jordan play more, wanting to know this and wanting to know that. He caused friction there. Jordan quit the team, just like it is. He quit the team, then came back and asked to be back on the team. To be honest, I think about the only reason that he was allowed back on the team was simply for depth purposes, because fumble machine wasn’t going to play, so it was kind of a lesser of two evils. I personally think it was a bad move allowing him back on the team. I think you set a bad precedent for doing that. That doesn’t happen in very many programs.

Nick:                         Yeah. We talked about that, if you recall.

Andrew:                 Yeah. It’s one of those situations where we’re told he’s going to FAU, hasn’t been confirmed yet, but probably has been confirmed by Cronkrite and FAU, just hasn’t been put out in the public yet. So it’s a good fit for him. I’ll stick to my belief that we talked about in the off season. Jordan Cronkrite should have invested himself in playing safety. If he is, he’s probably playing the League next year, or in two years, at playing safety. Not sure why he ever decided he wanted to be a running back, but best of luck to him in the future.

Nick:                         That’s something that you recruiting folk kind of talked about when he was still a recruit, right?

Andrew:                 Yeah. I mean, he played DB. He played running back in high school, and he was always a, and he’s not a bad running back. He’s just not an SEC running back. He’s not physical enough. He does everything okay and nothing great. Most running backs do things great, do a few things great, and then some things okay. He was just okay all around. It’s tough. He’s being recruited over. Scarlett got better than him. Perine got better than him. Next season Malik Davis is probably better than him, and he was just going to be continued to be recruited over. I just was always wondering, and I kind of held out hope that maybe he would decide to play DB and would be able to stick, because at the end of the day Jordan is a good guy, just sometimes family just doesn’t see the things, and that was a case.

Nick:                         There’s always people around, whether it’s a coach, a parent, brother, somebody that is in your ear. Listen, I can’t blame him for not wanting to stick around. The writing’s on the wall. Jordan Scarlett’s going to be your starting running back, and Lamical Perine’s younger than you and already stealing your carries, or they’re not your carries. In your mind they’re your carries, stealing carries that could be going to you. If you look at it, Cronkrite did have 20 catches, but his 31 rushes are less than the 44 he had last year. You look at it as a sophomore saying, “Well, I’m getting less touches my second year than I did my first year. That’s not good.”

Andrew:                 To be fair…

Nick:                         Then Perine had 53 more carries than him. So, to me, if you want to play football, and you want to play running back, the writing’s on the wall. It’s not going to happen at Florida.

Andrew:                 To be fair, his 30 catches, it seems like half of those came in the Florida State and Arkansas game, when the game was not, I mean, I know that’s not accurate, but it is. It’s a situation where he wasn’t getting very many. I’ll say this, Nick, and I’m hesitant to say this, because we’re speculating, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he wasn’t the only running back to check himself out.

Nick:                         That would be, it certainly wouldn’t be Lamical Perine or Jordan Scarlett, so by process of elimination, I’m guessing you’re not talking about Mark Herndon, who will graduate this year, either.

Andrew:                 No, I’m talking about fumbler.

Nick:                         Okay.

Andrew:                 Maybe he’ll fumble his way out of school.

Nick:                         So then my question, if Mark Thompson is not back for whatever reason, now you really only have Jordan Scarlett and Lamical Perine. What do the Gators do in recruiting? I have a couple questions. I’ll ask my follow up later, but you have two on campus. You’ve got, I think is a good running back, some people question about who he’s playing. I don’t think you can really ever question who people are playing when they play in the state of Florida, but Malik Davis. I think he’s a good running back, and there’s still a lemonade situation that’s out there in the open. What does Florida need to do in recruiting to kind of replace that depth if you only have two guys going forward, and Jordan Scarlett will be a junior next year? I don’t see a lot of guys of his caliber, not saying he’s a first round pick, I don’t see a lot of guys of Jordan Scarlett’s caliber staying around for four years to play running back.

Andrew:                 Yeah. I mean, you got to go two next year, and you got to follow that up with two the following year.

Nick:                         You mean this year, this 2016 cycle.

Andrew:                 Yeah.

Nick:                         2017.

Andrew:                 Yeah. You got to go two, and then you have to follow that up in 2018 with two more, because then you look at it in 2018, you got Perine likely leaving. So, it’s just a three year stay wherever you go, and you want four on your roster. So, you get two this year, that’s four on your roster. Then you lose Mark, and you could get away with one next season if it’s a guy like Lorenzo Lingard, or you could go two. Malik Davis is your one, and you can question his ability against good teams, or good competition, he played American Heritage, our good friend Chad Wilson’s team, and many consider them to have the best defense in the state, and he put up 168 yards rushing against those guys. Now, it was on 20 carries, but that’s still a cool 8 yards per carry. The man’s went over 7,000 yards in high school ball. I don’t care how bad the competition is. You put up 7,000 yards in high school competition is pretty damn good, so give the man credit there. He has that burst that’s really good. He’s a mix of physical speed kind of guy, and he’s a little bit different than what they have on the roster now.

Then, like you said, Adarius Lemons is a guy that if he gets a good ACT score he’s probably in the class, and there’s your two. If not, you probably look at a guy like Bentavious Thompson out of South Ridge, but you look at things, and is it totally bad, the running back situation? I don’t think so. You want two, what I call dogs, that are going to run the ball. That’s going to be Scarlett, and that’s going to be Perine next year. You let Malik and whoever the other freshman is work themselves in the game a little bit, but you’re not expecting those two guys to play a ton. This year was different, because you had four guys that you had three guys that were older guys, and then one freshman who was needed to play. Does that make sense?

Nick:                         Yeah. Is that dog or dawg?

Andrew:                 I mean, I would say it’s dawg. I mean, you want that guy that’s just, you hear some people say that thoroughbred. That’s exactly what it is. You want that dude that teams fear. You look at, and I’m not comparing these two guys, but you look at what LSU had this year, Fournette and Guice. That’s what you want. You want two guys that teams have to fear, and that’s what you’re going to get next season with those two guys, 25 and 22. So you’re okay with having two young guys. Of course, you’re an injury away from having to play a freshman, but you should be okay with one of your freshmen having to carry the rock. I mean, look at a lot of schools around the country. They’re playing those freshmen.

Nick:                         So my follow up question would be this. We just saw how taking two running backs in the same class can work out, or can play out negatively. I agree that Florida, for depth reasons, needs to get two. Do you see it being an issue again though?

Andrew:                 I think it’s always a situation where it’ll work itself out, and I know that’s kind of the easy way out, but I do. I think it’s one of those situations where it’ll work itself out, like this situation. You look at it a year ago, and we’d have probably been talking about Scarlett transferring. Hell, we talked about it at the beginning of the year if Scarlett didn’t get a lot of carries he’s probably leaving. So I always say it will work itself out, and I do.

You are looking at a situation where you have two guys that are going to come in and possibly their junior year they’re going to be the two dawgs, but there’s no way around it. You have to sign two. You look at what Bama did this past season, and I’m just referencing that because of what we were able to see in the SEC Championship game, they redshirted BJ Edmonds, but they played Jacobs, Josh Jacobs. So if you can redshirt one of your guys, you’re okay. You don’t like to redshirt running backs, as we said. Maybe, and maybe Florida goes to three and tries to redshirt one of their guys next year.

Nick:                         You don’t really like to redshirt running backs, just because of, like I said with Scarlett, the lifespan of a running back in college really isn’t four years.

Andrew:                 It’s a battle to get to that second contract.

Nick:                         It’s a position that just takes so much pounding, and it’s one of the few positions where when you’re talking to scouts, or when you’re talking to guys in the NFL, it’s one of the only positions that you worry about how much tread does he have on those tires? How many miles has he put, have coaches put on those legs? Something that people talked about Kelvin Taylor. Kelvin Taylor carried the ball damn near 1,000 times in high school, and then gets to Florida and gets pounded his junior year. Kelvin Taylor carried the ball 259 times his junior year, so you start to look at a position that’s getting hit every time they touch the ball.

Andrew:                 Right.

Nick:                         What’s the health? It’s like you said, all about, with the new CBA in the NFL, all about getting to that second contract, and if you’re staying, just guys aren’t staying for four years. If you’re good enough to play and start at a school like Florida, Alabama, LSU, you’re gone. Leonard Fournette, gone. Dalvin Cook hasn’t said anything yet. I got a kick out of it. Florida State, they did the college football awards at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta, and Florida State tweeted out a picture with Dalvin kind of making a shrug next to the Heisman. They said, “Maybe next year.” Got a little kick out of that. Dalvin Cook won’t be in Tallahassee next year, unless he’s visiting for a game during his bye week.

Andrew:                 Exactly. That’s not happening. It’s like you said. It’s a battle to that second contract, and it is. We’ll touch on that more as we get going into the off season. There’s always guys that transfer, and there’s always guys that are going to leave early for the League. That’s all likely going to happen post bowl game, so that’s post January 2nd, and we’ll hit on it more when it happens. You and I are both in agreement we don’t like to, to be fair, and we can’t prove this, but Jordan Cronkite had told people three weeks ago he was transferring, but it’s all about the timing of the situation, and you and I respect the timing. I mean, did we want to break the news? Sure, but not going to steal a guy’s moment.

Nick:                         Yeah. I don’t see this as, definitely not a surprise. It wasn’t a surprise to anyone on our message board. Other than depth, I really don’t see it as an issue. I mean, you’re going to go into the bowl game with only three running backs, but you and I and fans have been clamoring for just two running backs to be getting the carries. So, as long as nobody gets hurt in the bowl game early, I don’t even see it being an issue on the field.

Andrew:                 I don’t either. Should be fine, but let’s move forward and talk about some of the guys that are visiting this week. They’re visiting everybody and the brother than you can think of. They’re out all parts of the state. Mac’s one day is in south Florida. He’s in Texas one day. You name it, and he’s been that way. He’s visited Jake Allen. He’s visiting Navaughn Donaldson, Kai-Leon Herbert, Alex Leatherwood. You name it, he’s visited. This weekend they’re going to host Kadeem Telfort, and they’re going to host Alex Leatherwood, two big offensive linemen that are early enrollees. It’s a big weekend.

It was supposed to be bigger. Jake Allen was supposed to come in for a visit, and the South Ridge guys was coming to visit. They’re playing in state championship game, so Florida’s going to go to them and have their, basically, official visit while watching them in their game. They’re going to have a few of the coaches go watch them Friday night, and then Saturday night, at their games.

So that makes this official visit weekend smaller, but still very important. Kadeem Telfort’s mom, as you read on Gator Country on Thursday, said they’re solid to Florida early enrolling. That means turn the pressure up on Leatherwood. Biggest recruit Florida’s had in three years.

Nick:                         Alex Leatherwood you’re saying is the biggest recruit?

Andrew:                 Yeah. No doubt. Alex Leatherwood’s a guy that he steps on campus, and he makes you a better football team.

Nick:                         What are the, I don’t want to put you on the spot, but what are the realistic chances? Is this just kind of like Florida getting strung along? To me, and this might just be my perception, and I told you about this. Who was the offensive lineman that just committed to Tennessee?

Andrew:                 Trey Smith.

Nick:                         When I see an Alabama hat, and I see #1 ranked, I think, “Probably going to go there.” When I see a player of Alex Leatherwood’s caliber committed to Alabama, to me it’s like, “That guy’s not flipping. He’s going around to take some trips and entertain himself. Go see some things.” To me, it’s like, what are the realistic chances that you can get him?

Andrew:                 Here’s the thing with Leatherwood. He’s totally different, and I think we said this on, after his visit to Florida for the South Carolina game. He doesn’t care about anything that isn’t involved around football. He’s a kid that is trying to get, he’s a first round draft pick. He knows he’s a first round draft pick. He’s trying to get to that contract. All he’s looking for is the best chance to play. Does he love Alabama? 1,000%. I’ve been told several times that his quote is, “I love Alabama. That’s where my heart is, but I know I don’t play there early.” To me, that’s looking. Here’s another thing. You don’t spend three days, rent a car, drive down to Gainesville. You’re not talking to their running backs. You’re not talking to their head coach all the time, if you’re not interested.

Now, could he be trolling? Sure. Sure. Maybe. There is a lot, lot more interest between the two parties than most people will believe. I’m not saying he flips. Don’t know. We’ll see how this weekend goes. There is legit interest. He knows he plays Day 1 at Florida, and a kid like him, who is all business, that’s all he cares about. That’s all he cares about. My thing is this. If he was literally not, if he was literally all in, you don’t take a midweek visit like he did to Auburn this weekend, follow that up with Florida. You just don’t do the things he did. You don’t take that three day visit to Florida for the South Carolina game. Obviously, I’m a lot closer to the situation, and some things I won’t divulge, but he likes Florida. He really does, and that’s a situation that I’ll stick by. I don’t know if he flips, but I’ll stick by it until the end that there’s legit interest.

Nick:                         Alabama started two freshmen on the offensive line this year?

Andrew:                 Yes.

Nick:                         The right side, right guard, right tackle, but you’ll lose Cam Robinson.

Andrew:                 But they’re just going to stick in the guy from LSU, Matt Womack, that is a redshirt freshman that was sitting right behind him.

Nick:                         Yeah. Alex Leatherwood, from talking to you and from talking to people that were there for his visit, this isn’t a kid that, if a coach is recruiting me, they’re probably putting me with CJ Worton, because they know that he’s going to find the best frat party to take me to. He’s going to find the bar and the girls. Alex Leatherwood, you’re not taking him there. This is a kid that, like you said, his mind is set. Three years, first round, get to the League. All that other stuff right now, not even a factor to him. If that plan involves playing early, which is important to him, wide open at Florida. You’re losing David Sharpe at left tackle, with really no one other than Martez Ivey, maybe sliding him out there, no one to replace him.

Andrew:                 He’s good friends, became very good friends with Lamical Perine. He’s become very good friends with Jawaan Taylor the offensive lineman as well. They hung out a ton during the visit. I mean, this is what happens after the game when he visits, he goes to the mall. He went to the mall. Most of those kids on college visits don’t care about going to the mall. He went to the mall with Jawaan Taylor. It’s a different story. Florida has stayed there. They’ve kept their interest there, and also this, Leatherwood has completely went off the map. Usually when a recruit goes off the map, he doesn’t want to say something.

Nick:                         Nick Saban’s a scary dude.

Andrew:                 Maybe he’ll get tips from Eddy Pineiro.

Nick:                         Maybe going Zero Dark Thirty is the way to get away from having to tell Nick Saban, “I’m flipping.” Is he an early kid, or no?

Andrew:                 Yeah, he’s an early kid. So that’s another good thing, but maybe he goes an talks to Eddy Pineiro, and Eddy tells him how he told Nick Saban.

Nick:                         I remember Zach Alboverdi and I asked Eddy, after LSU, “So, this means you’re going to see Nick Saban. How do you feel about that?” He goes, “He’s scary.” Yeah. Leatherwood’s a kid that you, talk about perception. Landing an Alex Leatherwood completely, because right now the perception among frustrated fans is Mac can’t recruit. That he’s lost, somebody responded to my Jordan Cronkrite transferring story on Twitter with, “He can’t recruit, and he can’t keep players on campus. What a joke.” Talk about changing perception getting somebody like Alex Leatherwood would have for Jim McElwain with the fan base and recruiting.

Andrew:                 Recruiting’s all about momentum. You always hear about if you can get one kid to pop on a Junior Day you probably get five to pop on a Junior Day, because everybody gets caught up in the moment. That’s what things are. You really need that one big chip to fall your way. Let’s just talk about that, Nick. We talked about that in my mailbag. People were asking me, “What’s wrong with recruiting at Florida?” You can’t put, you can’t pin one area. You can’t pin one area. There’s several things. Florida has been a dumpster fire until Mac got there. Muschamp pissed off tons of coaches. That was a rebuilding situation there.

Nick:                         Can you explain that real quick, before we move on?

Andrew:                 Sure. For instance, let’s go to Trinity Christian, for instance, the home of Shaun Wade. The Isaiah Ford situation, they don’t offer him until two hours before he’s supposed to sing on Signing Day, and then come to him and say, “Well, we really wanted to take you a week ago, but this.” That doesn’t work like that at an in state school. Out of state schools, sure. It’s small things like that that he pissed off coaches around there. Mac’s done a good job of rebuilding that, but it just doesn’t get rebuilt overnight. At the end of the day, they still hold it against your school. Mac has to overcome that.

Secondly, offense looks terrible. Football offense is something that has to look pretty. It’s hard to recruit the offense when the offense looks bad, just is what it is. Third, facilities suck. You can’t recruit when the facilities suck. When you can’t use the bathroom at Florida, because you’re scared of the water not working, but you can go to Alabama and get in the waterfall, totally different. Got to get that.

Nick:                         Discouraged to go to the bathroom in Alabama’s waterfall.

Andrew:                 No, but what I’m saying is…

Nick:                         Don’t go to the bathroom in the waterfall. I get what you’re saying.

Andrew:                 You were here with this conversation. Last year at the Senior Bowl Antonio Morrison told a bull Gator, he goes, “How about you get our water fixed in our locker room? We can’t use the bathroom in there, and we can’t shower in there.” That’s ridiculous. That’s embarrassing.

You get several things like that together, and you create a big problem. You create a big problem in that, let’s face it, had Florida ended the season with the LSU win they probably are looking good on the recruiting trail. Unfortunately, they didn’t. They lost to Florida State, and then they kind of got punished for going to the SEC Championship game, because they got beat up by Alabama, and it’s a perception. They need one momentum swing, and it’s a big one.

Now, let’s hit on the coaches. Is there some coaches on the thing that are dead weight? Absolutely. I think everybody in the world knows who I’m talking about. I’m not going to call him out. Nick, I know you won’t call him out as well. There’s guys that are dead weight. They’ve got to be replaced. Everyone knows that. I think that happens, and I think Mac looks at things, but it’s a situation of just getting one person to commit to get the ball rolling to get some momentum, to get the negative talk out of the way and get the positive talk out of the way. Whether it be a guy like Leatherwood, whether it be a guy like Shaun Wade, whether it be a guy like Navaughn, anybody that pops for Florida right now would be great, even if it’s a 2019 kid. It would almost be something where you’ve got some positivity instead of all negativity, and that’s a big thing in recruiting, because message boards, social media, it is what it is. It takes a toll on people.

Nick:                         When, I don’t know if a 2019 kid would get me excited. It might get somebody excited, but I don’t know if it would be me, but, yeah, there is a perception. I think so. I think, it’s hard to say that you get punished for going to the SEC Championship, and I thought, that was such a loser mentality that Tennessee fans had, and it was like, have fun going to Atlanta and getting pounded by Alabama. It’s like, what? You would love to be in Atlanta. So I don’t think getting to Atlanta is ever a bad thing.

Andrew:                 No. Never.

Nick:                         But almost you kind of get punished, where it’s a week where you’re not recruiting and everyone else is. You can say that you’re recruiting by, come watch us, but you almost don’t want to tell people to watch us with the way you performed, so almost kind of like getting punished by going to that game. If you can even say that.

Andrew:                 I don’t think you can. It’s just it’s a momentum thing, and, I mean, to be honest, it’s a momentum thing that has been with Florida for the last several year, and it’s something that they’re waiting to overcome. Everyone says, “Well, they got some five stars last year,” and I’m not a star guy. Can’t stand the stars. Hate the stars. I think it’s a bunch of dumbasses that don’t know what they’re doing that rank these kids, and you can tell me what you want to, but it’s the truth. It is though needing a kid, a big name guy, a guy like a Shaun Wade, a guy like a Leatherwood, anyone that is a big name guy that just really catches the attention of everybody. Then it makes things look better. It makes everything easier for recruiting, and it just calms the fan base down.

Nick:                         It’s like a, you mad, bro? That’s what’s going on with the fans right now.

Andrew:                 Yeah. They’re firing everybody. It doesn’t matter who you are. It doesn’t matter what you did yesterday. You’re not good enough for them yet right now.

Nick:                         Did we get fired yet?

Andrew:                 Hopefully not.

Nick:                         Gator Twitter, don’t fire me. I didn’t do it.

Andrew:                 I didn’t do it either. But that’s what I’m saying, it’s a thing. It’s a perception standpoint, and I get it. I get it. Is recruiting great right now? No, and nobody is trying to make it out to be. Someone told me the other day, “You act like the recruiting is fine.” No. Nick, you’re my witness. I tell you all the time, “Damn, man, I just need someone to pop so I can have something to write about.” It’s not, but it’s not solely on Mac, and I think that’s what a lot of people don’t understand. There’s a lot of factors that go into being great recruiting, a lot of factors. Some factors we can’t even discuss on here that go into it. You just have to overcome it, and the only way to overcome it is to get one person to pop. For instance, I’ll say this. One of the things that helped Will Muschamp a ton was getting Vernon Hargreaves to pop, because it set off an avalanche, and that’s almost what Mac needs.

Nick:                         You talk about, going back a little bit, Brandon Spikes said after he met Tim Tebow, said, “I’m going to go wherever this guy goes.”

Andrew:                 Yup.

Nick:                         There can be those kind of polarizing people or kids in a recruiting class that I want to go and play with him. He’s a good player. He’s going to make me better. Whatever team he’s on he’s going to make them better. I’m a good player. I join him, now we’re cooking with oil.

Andrew:                 Right. Exactly. I don’t know if there’s that guy in this year’s class, and I don’t know if there’s that many guys like that too much. I mean, Jacob Eason was a guy like that last year that there was a lot of people that said, “Wherever he goes, I’m going to go.” I get that. I get that when you see that guy like that, but that’s not every year. Again, I think things will be fixed. I think things are going to change. I am optimistic, and I do know from talking to people, I mean, they know that the perception isn’t there. These guys aren’t stupid. They read the message boards. They read Twitter. They understand what’s going on. I do think it’s a situation that will be fixed. I do think that Mac will make some changes to get things fixed. I do. I really think that.

Nick:                         Okay. We’ll move on to the next one. You were saying facilities. What?

Andrew:                 You can’t break ground in 18 months.

Nick:                         Yeah. I was saying, we got off on a tangent about perception, but recruiting. Recruiting and facilities, what’s going on?

Andrew:                 You can’t wait 18 months, and that’s the word that it is, that it’s going to be 18 months before they break ground on the new football facility. That’s too long. That’s too long. I mean, Nick, you and I were talking about this the other day. How do you recruit a guy like Marco Wilson or Alex Leatherwood and say, “Well, we’re building this.” He’s going to say, “Okay. I may see that my junior year. I may.” That’s not a recruiting tool.

Nick:                         We were told, I remember back in high school, we were told we’re going to get this new locker room that’s attached to the dugout, and it’s going to be really nice, and they did build it. They built it one year after I left St. Thomas. So not a recruiting pitch when you tell somebody and show somebody a picture of, look at this, we’re going to have this shiny new building. When are you going to start? You’ll be in the middle of your sophomore season when we start building it, and it’s going to take a year. So, never mind.

Andrew:                 Exactly. That’s just a little bit. I mean, we could go on and on and on on this stuff. It’s just, it’s like I say, it’s several things that go into play here. It’s not just one thing. It’s several things, and they got to change. They got to change soon for them.

Nick, before we get out of here, basketball. They had a really good showing against Duke. Outside of that one little spurt, man, they were in that game. I think it really got some people’s attention that this is not a bad basketball team that Mike White has on the court this year.

Nick:                         Yeah. I think, it surprised me. I won’t speak for you. You can agree with me if that’s how you feel too, but I think they’re surprising me. I think what Florida fell into is Florida doesn’t get those one and one guys, so the theme with Florida always seems to be, if their shots are falling they have a chance. You can say, it’s basketball, so of course if you’re making shots you have a chance. They just got into a point where they had only two assists, I think, in the first half, and they were just settling for bad shots, and against a team like Duke you can’t. That’s when Duke goes on that run to end the first half, and credit Florida for not going into the dumps at halftime. Came back out and made it a game, but I’m surprised. Surprised with the showing. I did not expect Florida to look competitive against Duke, and really you look at it, they’re only two losses of the season are against top 10 ranked teams, or top 15, top 11.

Andrew:                 Yeah. I mean, that’s exactly. I will say I expected Florida to hold it close for a little bit in the game and then get blown out, but it is. It kind of showed that there is, it’s the depth probably, the quality of depth is there for Duke. You look at the lefty kid, what was it? Luke Kennard, I think is what it was. He was just lights out. They had three players score 78% of their points in the game, and it was just that. It’s the depth there. Florida’s a team that’s going to make a run. I think they’ll be in the tourney. I think they’ll probably finished second in the SEC, behind Kentucky, and I think Mike White is really doing things. It’s kind of the same thing we say about football and Mac, and that is he needed one big guy, and I think may have got that in Isaiah Stokes committed to him. So maybe things get to go well.

You read the thing, I think it was Wednesday, on ESPN, and they were asking some coaches around the country about Mike White, and they all were like, “He’s a really good coach. If he can just get a few big recruits, because he doesn’t play dirty, to come in, they’re a good team.” I think that. You look at the freshman, Keith Stone, doing really well. Kevaughn Allen doing well. They got some guys that are playing. Kevarris Hayes doing well. They got some guys that are playing good ball.

Nick:                         Kevaughn Allen, I liked even when he’s missing being aggressive, that’s something we talk about with him, talk about with him a little bit.

Andrew:                 Yeah. Exactly. Alright, Nick, tell everyone where they can find us. We’ll get out of here. We’ll see everyone on Monday. We’re just going to go back to Monday and Wednesday for the next couple weeks. Bowl week, Under Armour week, we’ll probably go back to three, but right now we’ll go into our off season mode where it’s just Monday, Friday. Here and there we’ll have three. Right now, Monday, Friday. This is a little bit of a chance for Nick and I to unwind a little bit for a couple days. So Monday, Friday right now. Tell everyone where they can find us, and we’ll get out of here.

Nick:                         www.GatorCountry.com for all your Florida Gator news. Podcast on iTunes. Search @GatorCountry. Subscribe, never miss an episode. It’s also on the website, and you can find that transcript form and audio form there. On social media, Facebook, Twitter, @GatorCountry. Instagram, @TheGatorCountry. You can find Andrew and myself, @AndrewSpiveyGC, and @NickdelaTorreGC. That’s all I got.

Andrew:                 That’s it. As always, guys, chomp, chomp. Go Braves. Mark, Butch, you still suck.

Nick:                         You stay classy, Gator Country.

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University of Florida running back Jordan Cronkrite during Florida’s open practice before the SEC Championship game- Florida Gators football- 1280x852
Jordan Cronkrite transferring from Florida Gators

RB Jordan Cronkrite is transferring away from the Florida Gators football team.

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