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Florida Gators recruiting
mailbag for February 11th

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Written by Andrew Spivey, February 11, 2016, 4 Comments,
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Florida Gators recruiting finished of the class of 2016 last Wednesday and GatorCountry has been recapping the class for you ever since.

Here’s GatorCountry’s final recruiting mailbag for the class of 2016 as we take your questions on the class now that everything is over with.

Make sure to stay tuned to GC for all of the news on the class of 2017 and beyond.

Here’s the Florida Gators recruiting mailbag for this week:

OaktownGator: Trying to figure out how a guy with the kind of stats and measurable of Joseph Putu went “under the radar”.
What typically happens with recruiting of JUCO AA’s? How many went unrecruited this year by major colleges or lightly recruited until the end of the year as appeared to have happened with Putu?
Was getting in earlier on Dre Massey and Mark Thompson due to high school recruiting relationships or something else?

AS: He’s from Rhode Island and then played JUCO ball at North Dakota State, so he didn’t get much coverage or publicly. Heck, even Florida didn’t find him until late.
A lot of those JUCO players are known from high school so they’re recruited heavily, but a few of them develop in JUCO and make a name for themselves there. Several players go unnoticed like Putu though.
Florida actually got in kind of late with Massey and it wasn’t until Randy Shannon noticed him that Florida started recruiting him. Jim McElwain and Tim Skipper knew of Mark Thompson when he was a freshman in JUCO while they were at Colorado State.

Lurkingator: Who are the offensive line guys we are looking at to transfer in or add to this class anyone else beside Tyler Catalina? How are we looking for Catalina?

AS: Catalina is the only that Florida has been in contact with as of now that I know about. I’m sure they are working on some guys behind the scenes that are either grad transfer guys or maybe even a JUCO guy that didn’t sign.

Fubar1: Will Jake Allen be invited to the Elite-11 camp this year?
Given the guys on the board early, what are the chances we sign an offensive line class like FSU did this year? That group is just sick.

AS: Allen will have to win his regional Elite 11 camp event or do well enough to get invited to the Elite 11. I think he will make it though.
Florida has a great shot to have an incredible offensive line class next year, as the state of Florida has a lot of really good prospects in the state at the position.

Dopplegangerg8r: Which players do you expect to see the field next year?

AS: I’m guessing this means out of the class of 2016 and I would say a lot of them play in some role. I’ll say that Chauncey Gardner, Mark Thompson, Josh Hammond and Eddy Pineiro play the most from what I know right now.

Juggernautz: Can you break down our needs for 2017?
Do you think Jake Allen will be our 2017 recruiter of the year?

AS: This is just a rough estimate as of right but I’ll go with QB-1, RB-1, WR-3, TE-2, OL-4, DL-4-5, LB-3, DB-4. Florida also needs a punter in the class that gives a total of 24, but they could sign more at certain positions like running back and receiver.
Right now, I would say Jake Allen is the leader for recruiter of the year for 2017 and the quarterback should always be that guy.

Ufgators32: When is the next Junior Day?
Any 2017 commits expected before spring practice/game?

AS: I haven’t heard an official day for the next junior day but I want to say it’s the last Saturday of the month. I’ll find out for sure soon.
I think Florida sees some prospects commit during junior days or maybe spring practices.

IAmBornAGator: Is Jim McElwain and crew working any other prospects for this class….by that JUCOs that will graduate in spring, graduate transfers, regular transfers, if by chance any unsigned prospects out of high school still trying to qualify and preferred walk ons?

AS: Yes, Florida is still trying to get more offensive linemen in this class by way of JUCO or transfers. Florida will always get guys that want to walk-on but those are guys that you can’t really count on from day one.

Gator_nica: Who would you ranks as the top 5 recruiters on staff and why?

AS: I’m going to say that Tim Skipper, Kerry Dixon, Randy Shannon, Chris Rumph and Torrian Gray are the best recruiters on staff. Doug Nussmeier and Geoff Collins are the coordinators, so they aren’t able to call prospects as much as the position coaches are so that’s why they aren’t listed here. The reason why those guys are ranked so high is because they’re able to relate to these players and that’s what gets kids on campus.

Hickorygatorfan: We use to be very good at recruiting here in North Carolina. Any kids here on the coach’s radar? We lost out on Dickerson who is from my area this year, hopefully we start doing better here. Any names to keep an eye out for?

AS: Florida had a ton of luck up there when D.J. Durkin was on staff, but that has happened a lot as of late. Florida still recruits the area and they’re going after Justin Foster, the linebacker from Crest High School, up there for 2017. There are a few other prospects that they are watching as well.

Khc_dad: Who are some of the top targets in 2017 that you’d consider Florida leading for right now?
Who are some of the top targets Florida is going to push to make up ground on?
Assuming Jalen Tabor and maybe Quincy Wilson leaves for the draft after next season, how many corners and receivers do you think we take in next year’s class?

AS: That’s a tough question because a lot of these are just now getting to visits campuses but early on defensive end Zach Carter, tight end Tre McKitty, athlete Bruce Judson and linebacker/defensive end Jarez Parks all like Florida a lot.
Florida has some ground to make up on receiver James Robinson and receiver Trevon Grimes, right now and they’re working those guys hard. Torrian Gray will be responsible for working on Robinson as well since he’s from Lakeland.
As I mentioned above, I think Florida goes after three receivers, maybe four and then they take four to five defensive backs. That number could change depending on performances from guys on campus.

Ufgatordad: With having a guy like Jake Allen on board, are the coaches done with quarterback recruiting for 2017 kind of like they were early on in 2016 with RBs?
What is your early assessment of Jake, and where do you see him ending up after his senior year amongst the elite quarterback’s in the country?

AS: I think Florida is pretty much done recruiting for 2017 at quarterback but they will continue to monitor the board. A lot of the quarterback recruiting has to depend on how Feleipe Franks and Kyle Trask develop and how well Luke Del Rio does this year. Del Rio could have a great year and leave and then you would need two quarterbacks in this class. It’s something they have to continue to watch.
My assessment on Allen is that he has a really good arm, is very smart and has good footwork. Allen is continuing to learn the game more and learn how to read defenses, as he’s still very young. Allen has the mental game to be very good.

BNCGator99: Does Florida have a shot with Sanford Samuel III even though his father played at UFS?

AS: From everything I’ve heard, Samuel is heading to Florida State.

G8rmann: Who are the top 5 defensive tackle targets at this time?
Who are the top 5 defensive back targets at this time?

AS: DT is a position that Florida is still evaluating but early on here are five names to watch. Aubrey Solomon (Leesburg, GA), Ja’len Parks (Newberry, FL), MJ Webb (Madison, GA), Cory Durden (Newberry, FL) and Markaviest Bryant (Cordle, GA).
At DB here are five names to watch, William Poole (Atlanta, GA), Shaun Wade (Jacksonville, FL), Marco Wilson (Plantation, FL), Cyrus Fagan (Daytona Beach, FL) and Deangelo Gibbs (Loganville, GA).

Khc_dad: Do you think we’re going to be trying to land Calvin Ashley or Alex Leatherwood next year, or do you think we’re going to go for both? I’d love to have an OL class next year like FSU had this year?

AS: Florida will absolutely try to land both of those prospects this come year but I think it’s highly unlikely they sign both of those prospects. I think they have a better shot with Ashley right now due to McElwain’s relationships he has at Dr. Phillips. Florida won’t give up on either one.

Dhainer24: I recently posted a very premature 2017 mock. Just for fun, really. But it got me thinking. When I got to DT and LB, I considered them positions of need, but they were also the hardest 2 positions to find kids that we “lead” on. It’s hard to find DT and LB who are from our hotbed areas, are highly rated and trending up or tweeting about Florida. Who are our top targets that we have a legit shot at for these 2 positions?

AS: At defensive tackle, I think Florida has a great shot with Aubrey Solomon and M.J. Webb early on and both are from Georgia. Instate guys are still being evaluated and I suspect more names show up this spring. At linebacker I think Florida has a great shot with De’Andre Wilder who plays for Aubrey Hill and for Walter Grant of Georgia. Will Ignont is someone that likes Florida a lot and just moved to IMG from Alabama.

MrBGator: Are we looking at any Juco DL or OL?

AS: Florida will look at all JUCO’s but they usually don’t offer them until the spring or early summer.

HawthorneGator: After Trevon Grimes and James Robinson, how does the receiver board look? (Next 3)?
Has Robinson been on campus this past year? If not, when do we get Robinson on campus and will Dixon, Mac or Gray be his primary recruiter?

AS: The receiver position for next year is good again and when you look at the next three it’s tough to single out just three. I’ll go with Donovan People-Jones, Daquon Green and C.J. Cotman.
James Robinson has been on campus several times this year and I expect that Mac, Gray and Kerry Dixon will all be working on him this spring. Mac will put the full course pressure on him.

RVG: Thanks for doing all these Q&As.
From what I read on GC message boards, twitter and the like, it seems we were negatively recruited against more this year than previously. Is that because of the proximity of people with axes to grind with UF (Brad Lawing, Will, TRob), or was it more specifically about Florida/this staff, etc.? Can you elaborate on some of the tactics used?
Or, contrarily, is “negative recruiting” just the excuse people are using because we didn’t have a top 5 class?

AS: People use Will Muschamp against Florida because they were so bad and then Muschamp used the motion that he created the defense in Gainesville. Right now Florida is just starting to turn the corner so people are trying to keep them down. Negative recruiting happens with everyone though.

Hogtown: Have you heard anything about the rumor that Byron Cowart might transfer this off season?

AS: I’ve heard the rumor but I don’t believe it. Cowart would have to sit out and I just don’t think he does that.

Bherny22: How heavily are the Gators recruiting CJ Cotman in Clearwater? I live close to his high school and have been to a few of his games and he’s the real deal and has incredible speed and is a true playmaker.

AS: Florida is very heavily involved with Cotman and they’re trying to land him. He’s a very gifted player and someone that can be a big receiver for Florida.

JerseyGator: AS,
Still confused with A. Robinson. No test score, so UF could not visit or send paperwork. Was Alabama under the same rules? If so, did he only verbal to Bama? Can UF speak to him? Any interest from UF to flip him back?

AS: Florida could sign and could visit Robinson and Alabama could do the same. Florida was upset at him for not signing but they let him visit and Kerry Dixon visited him several times as well.

Macbgator: Who are we recruiting as a punter??

AS: Yes, Florida is going to recruit a punter for 2017 but they will most likely wait and let kids camp before they offer anyone.

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. vadergatorFebruary 11, 2016, 1:38 pm

    I agree.. do not waste time, money, and free food on guys that are just playing you ( Mack Wilson, Shavar Manuel, Eli Stove, Benjamin Victor etc. ) for attention. if they want to play for UF, they will commit on their own. quit wasting time on mama boys as well. that’s guys that are afraid to be away from mama ( Kristian Fulton, John Simpson, etc ). LSU area guys DO NOT leave for UF. just look back over the last decade at all them recruits that stayed in Louisiana. Learn this and move on. Also, why did Antonio Nelson decommit? cause of Wilson? bad grades? I have not seen him listed on any other teams roster. any info?

    • gator_n_scFebruary 11, 2016, 5:47 pm

      While I agree it’s hard to land players from states like Bama, Texas or Louisiana it’s certainly not impossible. This year we landed 3 of Bama’s best and took Texas best WR in Cleveland. LSU area? We signed 5 * Gerald Willis right out of Edna Carr HS in new Orleans 2 classes ago. Had it not been for his penchant for punching people he would be a beast for us this year. Don’t stop trying to recruit these kids just because it’s tough. Our coaches cover multiple cities and states in matter of a few days, they have plenty of time and resources to risk it on a top athlete.

      We did not spend a ton of time on Janarius Robinson unless you count a couple visits while they were visiting others on the trail. We ended up with a better DE anyways in 5* Top 10 player (espn) Antonneus Clayton while also getting 6’6 240lbs 4* DE Jordan Smith.

      As for nelson, it had been rumored for a long time he would have the grades to makes it through UF admissions.

    • thedudeabide524February 13, 2016, 1:46 am

      If you listened to Andrew Spivey, you would know, Kristian Fulton’s father was the one making the decisions. It was his father that needed the convincing,not his mother. He wasn’t a mama’s boy.

  2. thedudeabide524February 13, 2016, 12:07 am

    On 247sports they have Calvin Ashley listed as going to First Academy now instead of Dr. Phillips HS. I think he transferred.

http://www.gatorcountry.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/James-Robinson-150x150.jpg Andrew Spivey FeatureRecruiting ,,,,,,,,,,,
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Florida Gators recruiting finished of the class of 2016 last Wednesday and GatorCountry has been recapping the class for you ever since.

Here’s GatorCountry’s final recruiting mailbag for the class of 2016 as we take your questions on the class now that everything is over with.

Make sure to stay tuned to GC for all of the news on the class of 2017 and beyond.

Here’s the Florida Gators recruiting mailbag for this week:

OaktownGator: Trying to figure out how a guy with the kind of stats and measurable of Joseph Putu went “under the radar”.
What typically happens with recruiting of JUCO AA’s? How many went unrecruited this year by major colleges or lightly recruited until the end of the year as appeared to have happened with Putu?
Was getting in earlier on Dre Massey and Mark Thompson due to high school recruiting relationships or something else?

AS: He’s from Rhode Island and then played JUCO ball at North Dakota State, so he didn’t get much coverage or publicly. Heck, even Florida didn’t find him until late.
A lot of those JUCO players are known from high school so they’re recruited heavily, but a few of them develop in JUCO and make a name for themselves there. Several players go unnoticed like Putu though.
Florida actually got in kind of late with Massey and it wasn’t until Randy Shannon noticed him that Florida started recruiting him. Jim McElwain and Tim Skipper knew of Mark Thompson when he was a freshman in JUCO while they were at Colorado State.

Lurkingator: Who are the offensive line guys we are looking at to transfer in or add to this class anyone else beside Tyler Catalina? How are we looking for Catalina?

AS: Catalina is the only that Florida has been in contact with as of now that I know about. I’m sure they are working on some guys behind the scenes that are either grad transfer guys or maybe even a JUCO guy that didn’t sign.

Fubar1: Will Jake Allen be invited to the Elite-11 camp this year?
Given the guys on the board early, what are the chances we sign an offensive line class like FSU did this year? That group is just sick.

AS: Allen will have to win his regional Elite 11 camp event or do well enough to get invited to the Elite 11. I think he will make it though.
Florida has a great shot to have an incredible offensive line class next year, as the state of Florida has a lot of really good prospects in the state at the position.

Dopplegangerg8r: Which players do you expect to see the field next year?

AS: I’m guessing this means out of the class of 2016 and I would say a lot of them play in some role. I’ll say that Chauncey Gardner, Mark Thompson, Josh Hammond and Eddy Pineiro play the most from what I know right now.

Juggernautz: Can you break down our needs for 2017?
Do you think Jake Allen will be our 2017 recruiter of the year?

AS: This is just a rough estimate as of right but I’ll go with QB-1, RB-1, WR-3, TE-2, OL-4, DL-4-5, LB-3, DB-4. Florida also needs a punter in the class that gives a total of 24, but they could sign more at certain positions like running back and receiver.
Right now, I would say Jake Allen is the leader for recruiter of the year for 2017 and the quarterback should always be that guy.

Ufgators32: When is the next Junior Day?
Any 2017 commits expected before spring practice/game?

AS: I haven’t heard an official day for the next junior day but I want to say it’s the last Saturday of the month. I’ll find out for sure soon.
I think Florida sees some prospects commit during junior days or maybe spring practices.

IAmBornAGator: Is Jim McElwain and crew working any other prospects for this class….by that JUCOs that will graduate in spring, graduate transfers, regular transfers, if by chance any unsigned prospects out of high school still trying to qualify and preferred walk ons?

AS: Yes, Florida is still trying to get more offensive linemen in this class by way of JUCO or transfers. Florida will always get guys that want to walk-on but those are guys that you can’t really count on from day one.

Gator_nica: Who would you ranks as the top 5 recruiters on staff and why?

AS: I’m going to say that Tim Skipper, Kerry Dixon, Randy Shannon, Chris Rumph and Torrian Gray are the best recruiters on staff. Doug Nussmeier and Geoff Collins are the coordinators, so they aren’t able to call prospects as much as the position coaches are so that’s why they aren’t listed here. The reason why those guys are ranked so high is because they’re able to relate to these players and that’s what gets kids on campus.

Hickorygatorfan: We use to be very good at recruiting here in North Carolina. Any kids here on the coach’s radar? We lost out on Dickerson who is from my area this year, hopefully we start doing better here. Any names to keep an eye out for?

AS: Florida had a ton of luck up there when D.J. Durkin was on staff, but that has happened a lot as of late. Florida still recruits the area and they’re going after Justin Foster, the linebacker from Crest High School, up there for 2017. There are a few other prospects that they are watching as well.

Khc_dad: Who are some of the top targets in 2017 that you’d consider Florida leading for right now?
Who are some of the top targets Florida is going to push to make up ground on?
Assuming Jalen Tabor and maybe Quincy Wilson leaves for the draft after next season, how many corners and receivers do you think we take in next year’s class?

AS: That’s a tough question because a lot of these are just now getting to visits campuses but early on defensive end Zach Carter, tight end Tre McKitty, athlete Bruce Judson and linebacker/defensive end Jarez Parks all like Florida a lot.
Florida has some ground to make up on receiver James Robinson and receiver Trevon Grimes, right now and they’re working those guys hard. Torrian Gray will be responsible for working on Robinson as well since he’s from Lakeland.
As I mentioned above, I think Florida goes after three receivers, maybe four and then they take four to five defensive backs. That number could change depending on performances from guys on campus.

Ufgatordad: With having a guy like Jake Allen on board, are the coaches done with quarterback recruiting for 2017 kind of like they were early on in 2016 with RBs?
What is your early assessment of Jake, and where do you see him ending up after his senior year amongst the elite quarterback’s in the country?

AS: I think Florida is pretty much done recruiting for 2017 at quarterback but they will continue to monitor the board. A lot of the quarterback recruiting has to depend on how Feleipe Franks and Kyle Trask develop and how well Luke Del Rio does this year. Del Rio could have a great year and leave and then you would need two quarterbacks in this class. It’s something they have to continue to watch.
My assessment on Allen is that he has a really good arm, is very smart and has good footwork. Allen is continuing to learn the game more and learn how to read defenses, as he’s still very young. Allen has the mental game to be very good.

BNCGator99: Does Florida have a shot with Sanford Samuel III even though his father played at UFS?

AS: From everything I’ve heard, Samuel is heading to Florida State.

G8rmann: Who are the top 5 defensive tackle targets at this time?
Who are the top 5 defensive back targets at this time?

AS: DT is a position that Florida is still evaluating but early on here are five names to watch. Aubrey Solomon (Leesburg, GA), Ja’len Parks (Newberry, FL), MJ Webb (Madison, GA), Cory Durden (Newberry, FL) and Markaviest Bryant (Cordle, GA).
At DB here are five names to watch, William Poole (Atlanta, GA), Shaun Wade (Jacksonville, FL), Marco Wilson (Plantation, FL), Cyrus Fagan (Daytona Beach, FL) and Deangelo Gibbs (Loganville, GA).

Khc_dad: Do you think we’re going to be trying to land Calvin Ashley or Alex Leatherwood next year, or do you think we’re going to go for both? I’d love to have an OL class next year like FSU had this year?

AS: Florida will absolutely try to land both of those prospects this come year but I think it’s highly unlikely they sign both of those prospects. I think they have a better shot with Ashley right now due to McElwain’s relationships he has at Dr. Phillips. Florida won’t give up on either one.

Dhainer24: I recently posted a very premature 2017 mock. Just for fun, really. But it got me thinking. When I got to DT and LB, I considered them positions of need, but they were also the hardest 2 positions to find kids that we “lead” on. It’s hard to find DT and LB who are from our hotbed areas, are highly rated and trending up or tweeting about Florida. Who are our top targets that we have a legit shot at for these 2 positions?

AS: At defensive tackle, I think Florida has a great shot with Aubrey Solomon and M.J. Webb early on and both are from Georgia. Instate guys are still being evaluated and I suspect more names show up this spring. At linebacker I think Florida has a great shot with De’Andre Wilder who plays for Aubrey Hill and for Walter Grant of Georgia. Will Ignont is someone that likes Florida a lot and just moved to IMG from Alabama.

MrBGator: Are we looking at any Juco DL or OL?

AS: Florida will look at all JUCO’s but they usually don’t offer them until the spring or early summer.

HawthorneGator: After Trevon Grimes and James Robinson, how does the receiver board look? (Next 3)?
Has Robinson been on campus this past year? If not, when do we get Robinson on campus and will Dixon, Mac or Gray be his primary recruiter?

AS: The receiver position for next year is good again and when you look at the next three it’s tough to single out just three. I’ll go with Donovan People-Jones, Daquon Green and C.J. Cotman.
James Robinson has been on campus several times this year and I expect that Mac, Gray and Kerry Dixon will all be working on him this spring. Mac will put the full course pressure on him.

RVG: Thanks for doing all these Q&As.
From what I read on GC message boards, twitter and the like, it seems we were negatively recruited against more this year than previously. Is that because of the proximity of people with axes to grind with UF (Brad Lawing, Will, TRob), or was it more specifically about Florida/this staff, etc.? Can you elaborate on some of the tactics used?
Or, contrarily, is “negative recruiting” just the excuse people are using because we didn’t have a top 5 class?

AS: People use Will Muschamp against Florida because they were so bad and then Muschamp used the motion that he created the defense in Gainesville. Right now Florida is just starting to turn the corner so people are trying to keep them down. Negative recruiting happens with everyone though.

Hogtown: Have you heard anything about the rumor that Byron Cowart might transfer this off season?

AS: I’ve heard the rumor but I don’t believe it. Cowart would have to sit out and I just don’t think he does that.

Bherny22: How heavily are the Gators recruiting CJ Cotman in Clearwater? I live close to his high school and have been to a few of his games and he’s the real deal and has incredible speed and is a true playmaker.

AS: Florida is very heavily involved with Cotman and they’re trying to land him. He’s a very gifted player and someone that can be a big receiver for Florida.

JerseyGator: AS,
Still confused with A. Robinson. No test score, so UF could not visit or send paperwork. Was Alabama under the same rules? If so, did he only verbal to Bama? Can UF speak to him? Any interest from UF to flip him back?

AS: Florida could sign and could visit Robinson and Alabama could do the same. Florida was upset at him for not signing but they let him visit and Kerry Dixon visited him several times as well.

Macbgator: Who are we recruiting as a punter??

AS: Yes, Florida is going to recruit a punter for 2017 but they will most likely wait and let kids camp before they offer anyone.

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