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  • Dec 6, 2014; Gainesville, FL, USA; Florida Gators head coach Jim McElwain is introduced as head coach during a press conference at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Florida Gators: Recruiting
Mailbag December 11th

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Written by Andrew Spivey, December 11, 2014, 8 Comments,
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New Florida Gators head coach Jim McElwain has hit the recruiting road running and hasn’t stopped since he was introduced on Saturday morning in Gainesville.

Recruiting is certainly picking up with McElwain making visits now and Gator Country’s members have a lot of questions about how this class will turn out with him at the helm.

In this week’s recruiting mailbag I’ll answer everyone’s questions and get everyone caught up on recruiting for the Florida Gators.

 

123: What wide receivers can you see in this class and who do we have the best shot with?

AS: I like Florida’s chances with Antonio Callaway and Ryan Davis right now and I think Florida can get in the mix with Van Jefferson. Moving Kalif Jackson to receiver means Florida only needs 2-3 more this year.

 

G8torb8it1408: With the slow start / defection’s, and new coaching staff in your opinion what’s the number you see the gators signing in this class in total

AS: 22-25 is still the number they want but I think 22 is closer to the number.

 

TheGator: Which recruits do we have the best chance of flipping, since we are on verge of becoming an offensive powerhouse again?

AS: I like Florida’s chances with Auden Tate that is committed to Florida State and I think Florida can get in with Van Jefferson and Ray-Ray McCloud.

 

Colin: Do you think any of our offensive line recruits, assuming we sign them, can play as freshmen?

AS: Martez Ivey is the guy that I can play next year but Florida is also trying to sign two JUCO offensive linemen.

 

FlowMotion11: Needing 3-4 LBs in this class, who else, after Roquan Smith and Jeffrey Holland, do we go after?

AS: Florida only needs 2-3 in this year’s class but after that Florida is still after Tevon Coney and Charles Perry. Derrick Graham is also an option moving forward.

 

74gator: What RB are interested in the Gators? What JUCO’s are we recruiting? What recruits are interested in enrolling early? Have you met coach Mac? Have you noticed any positive changes from recruits who play offense since the coaching change?

AS: Ray-Ray McCloud, Jordan Scarlett, Mark Walton and Dexter Williams are the most likely options to visit Florida. Florida is after Martinas Rankin who is a JUCO offensive lineman.

I have met Coach McElwain when he was at Alabama and he was a great guy and was very knowledgeable about the game.

 

Kennystyle: So we know anything could happen recruiting wise top 10 class or top 30 class. My question is after to talking to some of these guys how do they feel about Mac? Are recruits glad a change was made?

AS: They also seem to really like him a lot and say they know his track record of developing good players. The overwhelming thing is that recruits are interested in Florida again so I guess you could say yes a change was needed.

 

Itogator: I know it’s very early in the process, but what are your thoughts so far on how coach is handling recruiting?

AS: He’s doing the best he can possibly do and I mean that because he’s work from sun up until the time he goes to bed. For example on Wednesday he’s in South Florida all day and he flies up to Atlanta and meets with a prospect and then is back in St. Petersburg on Thursday.

 

Stuckupnorthgator: AS, What is the general attitude amongst the recruits? Are they still in a wait and see mode or are they getting fired up like we are?

AS: Most of the offensive guys are fired up about the hire because Florida finally has an offense.

 

Pan: Here comes Coach Mac. In your opinion has the hand off between Drew Hughes and Coach Mac been clean and are the recruits quickly or slowly opening up to UF and Coach Mac to the point where they are willing to give us an equal opportunity as the other Colleges.

AS: Drew Hughes has done a great job and he’s a big help to Coach Mac right now and recruits are giving him a chance. Once a prospect looks at his track record they have no choice but to look if they want to succeed.

 

BahamaG8r: Besides the EEs, who would be our top 3 prospects that could commit to us before Jan?

AS: Daniel Imatorbhebhe, Tim Irvin and a quarterback.

 

BigOlGator: Coach offered Mark Walton and talked to Shi’kim Coward and McCloud – all seemingly smaller, faster guys. You have to believe Coach would take Walton. Do you think he’d take McCloud if he wanted in? If so, would we maybe still want a “big” back – meaning 3 RBs in all?

AS: Walton is a more physical back then McCloud but McCloud can play a lot of different positions. Florida will only take 2 at most in this class.

 

Sinner: – Who is the most dynamic playmaker left out there on the offensive side of the ball that you think Florida has a shot with?

AS: Van Jefferson in my opinion is a force to be reckon with on offense and someone that would play from day one at receiver.

 

Nicklegator: Your best guess as to who coach Mac chooses for his staff. Anyone on staff staying and who is being added ?

AS: I think D.J. Durkin and T-Rob are going to be kept but I think Mike Summers could be back on staff as well. I’m honestly not sure on who he brings in to be honest.

 

Swampie: Andrew! Hope things are heating up for you. I want you to make a guess that no one will hold you too, do you think Coach Mac will turn someone and if so, who’s the most likely turnee or turnees in your book?

AS: I think Coach Mac will turn someone and I really like Florida’s chances with Auden Tate right now.

 

Lurkingator1: what day does the dead period start? when does it end ? what does it mean in terms of coaches being able to contact and communicate with recruits? and do you expect any commitment before the dead period? Thanks AS you do a great job

AS: December 15th- January 14th. Recruits have to call Florida first and the coaches are not allowed to see a prospect in person during this time.

 

Churst33: AS, great job thus far! Outside of keeping Lawing, T-Rob, and Durkin what coaching hire or hires could instantly impact and better this recruiting class? What recruits could that coach or coaches sway into this heating up gators class and solidify some wavering or pending commits?

AS: If Florida keeps these coaches then things will be fine but I’m honestly not sure who Coach McElwain will get right now.

 

Gators81: Who is Bama’s primary recruiter for the 5 star WR Calvin Ridley? If we get Napier for OC is there any chance Ridley would want to play WR for Napier at UF? Haven’t seen his name mentioned at all as interested in us, but with the potential coaching changes is there any chance?

AS: Florida is not able to recruit Calvin Ridley due to the NCAA situation with Joker Phillips.

 

MrB-Gator: Who will be visiting this weekend?

AS: Kalif Jackson is the only official visitor as of right now but that could very well change.

 

Wilbur11: What coach at Florida or at another program, do the recruits mention the most in a positive way (and negative, too if you want)?

AS: I hear a lot of positive things about Nick Saban and Dabo Swinney. I hear a lot of negative about Mark Richt honestly.

 

15gator05: Has Coach called or visited Van Jefferson? Any idea when a visit may take place?

AS: They’ve spoken but I’m not sure when he will visit him.

 

Gatorchamps0607: Do you see any surprises from now until signing day that have a wow factor?

AS: I can see a few but right now I think it’s too early too tell if it will happen or not.

 

15gator05: anything to the rumors that Deondre Francios is wavering in his commitment?

AS: Yes he is and Florida will visit him on Thursday so I’ll have an update after that visit occurs.

 

Gatorstein: Andrew, apologize if I missed it in another thread… Not directly a recruiting question, but anything new on Willis after the FSU game? Thanks!

AS: Not that I’m aware of, he’s still working out with the team.

 

Genesis: Seems that Mac is still recruiting spread style QBs. Do you think we will actually run a spread or eventually move into more of a pro/spread hybrid as some have suggested.

AS: I think they will run more spread honestly but I think it will depend on the players on the team.

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.

  1. snowprintDecember 11, 2014, 10:26 am

    It never ceases to amaze me how conclusions are drawn without any evidence to back them up. Things like “we are on the verge of becoming an offensive powerhouse” and “Florida finally has an offense.” What are these statements based on? The same type of optimism was also said last year after Roper was hired. The point I’m making is that there is no evidence that either statement is true. All we have are words, and words don’t mean anything. It’s easy to get excited, but it takes more than words, remember how how there were people proclaiming that UF was an offensive juggernaut after the opening game with Eastern whatever? Kids aren’t stupid, they heard this same spiel last year from Roper, and not a word of it turned out to be true. I’m just saying that it will take more than words to have the best offensive players wanting to come to UF. It’s going to take results on the field against teams better than Eastern whatever.
    UF still doesn’t have great players on offense, Roper didn’t become stupid when he arrived in Gainesville. It all starts at quarterback, is there a good one on campus? No one knows the answer to that question, but unless it’s a positive response, UF is going to continue to struggle on offense. McElwain doesn’t have a magic potion to, for example, turn a bad player like Jeff Driskel into a good one. It takes more than words to become an “offensive powerhouse” or a “good offense.” If anyone should be more prudent about making grand pronouncements about a great offense it should be a UF supporter, the coaches may change, but since Tebow’s departure the constant is that UF’s offense has been very poor. It might be the problem is not the coaches, the problem might be the players. Usually the simplest answer is the correct one, and UF hasn’t had an adequate quarterback since Tebow left. Let’s wait until someone steps up against a good team, otherwise it’s going to another case of being disappointed due to unrealistic expectations. I’ll remind you that the line on UF before this past season started was 7.5 wins. If UF had played Idaho, UF would have had seven wins. UF was about what it was expected to be, with the bonus of beating Georgia. Visions of Atlanta were not realistic in the first place, so why be upset? I’m just being realistic. Recruits, at least this year, are not going to flock to UF. Next year is when we can expect them to, especially if there are more than words to present to recruits.

    • wpelfrey5December 11, 2014, 11:56 am

      If you don’t think muschamp told roper which plays he could or couldn’t run then you truly are more delusional than everyone you try to call out. Look at the offenses florida has had since champ was here….there is no major difference…they are basically the same year in and year out…so a new offensive coach that has produced nationally top tier offenses everywhere he’s been…even Colorado state has a top 10 offense…so your saying CA has more play makers than florida? Yeah ok….that’s why ALL of us are OPTIMISTIC about Mac…something you should try some day snowflake

    • gatormadeDecember 11, 2014, 2:38 pm

      Snowprint- how many times do I have to tell you- playing the “glass is half-empty-filled with cyanide” card doesn’t make you seem smart. Just cause you have major issues doesn’t mean you have to spit your venom across every freaking message board of all time. Seriously… find a better way to use your time and try engaging in activities that make you happy cause you clearly hate yourself.

  2. malscottDecember 11, 2014, 12:18 pm

    Thanks, Andrew. Very comprehensive Q&A. Lot of questions answered. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think the whole reason we are getting a new coach is because we want an offense. And Champ didn’t know what that looked like. I’m not expecting a top ten offense immediately, but substancial improvement is expected or why even change. We made the change early enough we could certainly swing a few players. There is hope based on his track record and previous player development to expect a better offense and a more unified ‘players all in’ effort. Even if our offense had the same kids and they were developed better, and utilized better it would already be a plus. I’m hoping they get better and become for of a unit like our defense. There IS reason for hope. Mac appears to be a guy that could be here for a long time if he is as adverstized. Who knows? We are not seers or fortune tellers, we can only hope that change is good and this current change is the right move. Time will tell. I’m excited though. Go Mac. Go Players, Go Gators. please bring us back to relevance.

    • Andrew Spivey
      Andrew SpiveyDecember 11, 2014, 12:47 pm

      That’s correct McElwain is going to coach offense.

  3. ravishingDecember 11, 2014, 12:26 pm

    OMFG Snowflake! I don’t know why our mods let you even post on this website – you should be banned immediately! I can guarantee you’re a Seminole posing as a Gator, always attempting to hurt recruiting and bring down the Gator program. We need an influx of difference makers on the offensive side of the ball, but our offensive issues over the past 4 years haven’t been talent related – most were play calling (being super conservative and predictable). There’s not a QB in this country that could’ve succeeded in this offense. You and your passive aggressive comments are so transparent! You are an FSU fan hoping that difference makers won’t buy the “Kool-Aid that is Coach Mac and our future offense” and show up in Gainesville in 2015. These kids and their parents have enough proof that coach Mac is the real deal and has produced offense everywhere he’s been! And if you truly are a Gator – please STFU and keep your “realistic comments” to yourself. Feel free and believe whatever you want, but please don’t bring those comments to the most popular Florida recruiting website for recruits and parents to read.
    It only takes one recruit or parent to read one of your “genius” comments to put doubt in their mind and they’ll end up somewhere else and we will keep missing out on the one difference maker we desperately need!

    • snowprintDecember 11, 2014, 12:46 pm

      The offense has been bad for five years, not four. It started after the departure of Tebow. Unless you think that Urban Meyer is an awful coach that doesn’t know how to produce a good offense, it diminishes your argument that Muschamp is the reason that UF has had poor offenses for the pat five years, not four. I’m from Missouri, figuratively, it takes more than words to convince me and I believe the biggest problem is not coaching, the biggest problem is the lack of talent, especially at the most important postilion. To bash someone who has a different opinion, especially when it’s based on real data, is not very sporting of you.

    • Andrew Spivey
      Andrew SpiveyDecember 11, 2014, 12:47 pm

      Everyone needs a good laugh from him. haha

http://www.gatorcountry.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/USATSI_8253387_166229722_lowres-150x150.jpg Andrew Spivey FeatureRecruiting ,,,,,,,,,,,
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New Florida Gators head coach Jim McElwain has hit the recruiting road running and hasn’t stopped since he was introduced on Saturday morning in Gainesville.

Recruiting is certainly picking up with McElwain making visits now and Gator Country’s members have a lot of questions about how this class will turn out with him at the helm.

In this week’s recruiting mailbag I’ll answer everyone’s questions and get everyone caught up on recruiting for the Florida Gators.

 

123: What wide receivers can you see in this class and who do we have the best shot with?

AS: I like Florida’s chances with Antonio Callaway and Ryan Davis right now and I think Florida can get in the mix with Van Jefferson. Moving Kalif Jackson to receiver means Florida only needs 2-3 more this year.

 

G8torb8it1408: With the slow start / defection’s, and new coaching staff in your opinion what’s the number you see the gators signing in this class in total

AS: 22-25 is still the number they want but I think 22 is closer to the number.

 

TheGator: Which recruits do we have the best chance of flipping, since we are on verge of becoming an offensive powerhouse again?

AS: I like Florida’s chances with Auden Tate that is committed to Florida State and I think Florida can get in with Van Jefferson and Ray-Ray McCloud.

 

Colin: Do you think any of our offensive line recruits, assuming we sign them, can play as freshmen?

AS: Martez Ivey is the guy that I can play next year but Florida is also trying to sign two JUCO offensive linemen.

 

FlowMotion11: Needing 3-4 LBs in this class, who else, after Roquan Smith and Jeffrey Holland, do we go after?

AS: Florida only needs 2-3 in this year’s class but after that Florida is still after Tevon Coney and Charles Perry. Derrick Graham is also an option moving forward.

 

74gator: What RB are interested in the Gators? What JUCO’s are we recruiting? What recruits are interested in enrolling early? Have you met coach Mac? Have you noticed any positive changes from recruits who play offense since the coaching change?

AS: Ray-Ray McCloud, Jordan Scarlett, Mark Walton and Dexter Williams are the most likely options to visit Florida. Florida is after Martinas Rankin who is a JUCO offensive lineman.

I have met Coach McElwain when he was at Alabama and he was a great guy and was very knowledgeable about the game.

 

Kennystyle: So we know anything could happen recruiting wise top 10 class or top 30 class. My question is after to talking to some of these guys how do they feel about Mac? Are recruits glad a change was made?

AS: They also seem to really like him a lot and say they know his track record of developing good players. The overwhelming thing is that recruits are interested in Florida again so I guess you could say yes a change was needed.

 

Itogator: I know it’s very early in the process, but what are your thoughts so far on how coach is handling recruiting?

AS: He’s doing the best he can possibly do and I mean that because he’s work from sun up until the time he goes to bed. For example on Wednesday he’s in South Florida all day and he flies up to Atlanta and meets with a prospect and then is back in St. Petersburg on Thursday.

 

Stuckupnorthgator: AS, What is the general attitude amongst the recruits? Are they still in a wait and see mode or are they getting fired up like we are?

AS: Most of the offensive guys are fired up about the hire because Florida finally has an offense.

 

Pan: Here comes Coach Mac. In your opinion has the hand off between Drew Hughes and Coach Mac been clean and are the recruits quickly or slowly opening up to UF and Coach Mac to the point where they are willing to give us an equal opportunity as the other Colleges.

AS: Drew Hughes has done a great job and he’s a big help to Coach Mac right now and recruits are giving him a chance. Once a prospect looks at his track record they have no choice but to look if they want to succeed.

 

BahamaG8r: Besides the EEs, who would be our top 3 prospects that could commit to us before Jan?

AS: Daniel Imatorbhebhe, Tim Irvin and a quarterback.

 

BigOlGator: Coach offered Mark Walton and talked to Shi’kim Coward and McCloud – all seemingly smaller, faster guys. You have to believe Coach would take Walton. Do you think he’d take McCloud if he wanted in? If so, would we maybe still want a “big” back – meaning 3 RBs in all?

AS: Walton is a more physical back then McCloud but McCloud can play a lot of different positions. Florida will only take 2 at most in this class.

 

Sinner: – Who is the most dynamic playmaker left out there on the offensive side of the ball that you think Florida has a shot with?

AS: Van Jefferson in my opinion is a force to be reckon with on offense and someone that would play from day one at receiver.

 

Nicklegator: Your best guess as to who coach Mac chooses for his staff. Anyone on staff staying and who is being added ?

AS: I think D.J. Durkin and T-Rob are going to be kept but I think Mike Summers could be back on staff as well. I’m honestly not sure on who he brings in to be honest.

 

Swampie: Andrew! Hope things are heating up for you. I want you to make a guess that no one will hold you too, do you think Coach Mac will turn someone and if so, who’s the most likely turnee or turnees in your book?

AS: I think Coach Mac will turn someone and I really like Florida’s chances with Auden Tate right now.

 

Lurkingator1: what day does the dead period start? when does it end ? what does it mean in terms of coaches being able to contact and communicate with recruits? and do you expect any commitment before the dead period? Thanks AS you do a great job

AS: December 15th- January 14th. Recruits have to call Florida first and the coaches are not allowed to see a prospect in person during this time.

 

Churst33: AS, great job thus far! Outside of keeping Lawing, T-Rob, and Durkin what coaching hire or hires could instantly impact and better this recruiting class? What recruits could that coach or coaches sway into this heating up gators class and solidify some wavering or pending commits?

AS: If Florida keeps these coaches then things will be fine but I’m honestly not sure who Coach McElwain will get right now.

 

Gators81: Who is Bama’s primary recruiter for the 5 star WR Calvin Ridley? If we get Napier for OC is there any chance Ridley would want to play WR for Napier at UF? Haven’t seen his name mentioned at all as interested in us, but with the potential coaching changes is there any chance?

AS: Florida is not able to recruit Calvin Ridley due to the NCAA situation with Joker Phillips.

 

MrB-Gator: Who will be visiting this weekend?

AS: Kalif Jackson is the only official visitor as of right now but that could very well change.

 

Wilbur11: What coach at Florida or at another program, do the recruits mention the most in a positive way (and negative, too if you want)?

AS: I hear a lot of positive things about Nick Saban and Dabo Swinney. I hear a lot of negative about Mark Richt honestly.

 

15gator05: Has Coach called or visited Van Jefferson? Any idea when a visit may take place?

AS: They’ve spoken but I’m not sure when he will visit him.

 

Gatorchamps0607: Do you see any surprises from now until signing day that have a wow factor?

AS: I can see a few but right now I think it’s too early too tell if it will happen or not.

 

15gator05: anything to the rumors that Deondre Francios is wavering in his commitment?

AS: Yes he is and Florida will visit him on Thursday so I’ll have an update after that visit occurs.

 

Gatorstein: Andrew, apologize if I missed it in another thread… Not directly a recruiting question, but anything new on Willis after the FSU game? Thanks!

AS: Not that I’m aware of, he’s still working out with the team.

 

Genesis: Seems that Mac is still recruiting spread style QBs. Do you think we will actually run a spread or eventually move into more of a pro/spread hybrid as some have suggested.

AS: I think they will run more spread honestly but I think it will depend on the players on the team.

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