The Florida Gators recruiting efforts took a back seat when Jim McElwain left as head coach of the Gators.
Prospects are now in a wait and see mode as the Gators look for their next head coach before the early signing period.
Gator Country’s members have a lot of questions about how the 2018 class will shake out and who are the top prospects that the Gators are still after.
We answer your questions in this week’s Florida Gators recruiting mailbag.
Well let’s dive right in to this week’s recruiting mailbag:
Gator_nica: Is there a plan B at quarterback if Matt Corral decides to decommit?
AS: Right now no but that will be up to the head coach to look at all options if something happens with Corral. His priority will be to meet with Corral and try and keep him in this class for Florida. I still believe that Corral signs with Florida if the new coach is able to meet with him and he likes them.
Mrgator: Just how involved can/will Scott Stricklin and Steve Spurrier be in recruiting and what message is being given to the recruits?
AS: When prospects come on campus both guys are able to speak with them and tell them about Florida. The message is probably along the lines of Florida is a good fit no matter who the head coach is because that’s what the assistants are telling the commits and targest.
Ncargat1: With no head coach or coaching staff in place beyond the current season, do recruits who were truly undecided even pay attention to UF recruiting visits or coaches conversations at this point? It seems like the kids who want to be Gators will stick, and you can continue to re-recruit your wavering commitments, but for all intents and purposes isn’t recruiting basically dead until the new coach and staff is in place?
AS: Recruiting is basically on stand by until a new coach is hired because uncommitted players aren’t going to sign with someone who they don’t know if he will be around or not. Also uncommitted guys want to know the system that is going to be ran at Florida before they commit. Now those guys may still visit and see things but that’s about all.
LEMONHOPE: Do you believe the recruits will wait for a new coach to be announced before jumping ship or deciding to stay?
AS: Yes, I believe those guys will wait and see who the coach is unless they don’t have one announced in early December then the early enrollee guys may have to look around. I don’t think that will be an issue though.
LEMONHOPE: Would Scott Stricklin try to structure a deal with a current assistant now in an effort to keep the class together/provide continuity before the new coach is decided and just structure that into the new HC contract later? Or would he be handcuffed with that until the new HC decides his own assistants/decides if he’d want to keep one or two of the current regime?
AS: No, that’s a mistake on Stricklin’s part if he forces an assistant coach on the new head coach. The head coach should have the chance to hire whoever he wants. I do believe keeping one or two assistants would be a good idea but that should be the new coaches decision.
Trader5jl: How can our strength and conditioning be so bad? As a HC you have to see your guys are not physically strong enough. Just curious how this could happen
AS: The head coach not taking the responsibility to replace the staff is the only reasonable explanation I can give you. Things should never get this bad at a school like Florida but it did and has been that way for six years now.
UFGATOR402: Do you believe Miami a thread to steal Matt Corral?
AS: Not until he visits them again. Right now he has no visits set up besides to Florida so at this time I say they aren’t a threat. Again that could all change with a new head coach and could change if he takes visits.
Peezy10: AS how soon do you believe a head coach will be named? Also, with the early signing period is there still a dead period in December?
AS: Shortly after the FSU game or after championship weekend. Yes, there’s a dead period in December still but bowl practices actually start before the dead period starts so a new coach is going to have a juggling act to do or he will have to leave his current school before the bowl game.
RVG: Based on some of the things you mentioned in your post about the communication department still being Foley holdovers, is there a chance Jeremy Foley is undermining Scott Strickland’s authority? I know Mac wasn’t bothered by Steve Spurrier being in the office, but will that potentially hinder a coach from coming to UF; knowing not only is one of the most successful, and beloved coaches of all time is down the hall, but the former athletic director is still in the building, possibly creating power struggles?
AS: I think some power struggles happen with some of Foley’s people still being in there but I don’t see it as a huge power struggle. Spurrier gives tips but I don’t think he was ever overly pushy about them using those tips. I don’t see it as a bad thing to have Spurrier in the building at all.
Ufgator84: Do you think the new head coach signs 2 quarterbacks no matter who they are?
AS: I don’t think so unless it’s situation where you sign a guy like Corral and then a guy that needs to develop some or you sign an athlete type of quarterback who can play multiple places. It all will come down to the head coach though.
Ufgator84: In your opinion, is there enough time between the end of the F$U game and the early signing period (12/20-12/22) for the right head coach to keep most of the current class?
AS: Yes, that gives you two weekends to host visitors on official visits and two weeks to travel and have in-home visits. These commits don’t need to be sold on the school but just need to be sold on the coaches and the system they want to run.
Dhainer24: Are there good linebackers out there who are not committed and a new head coach or new linebacker coach or new defensive coordinator would be able to sway our way? I know the board won’t change in the next 3 weeks because Randy Shannon is stubborn, but there are also linebackers who at one point showed some interest in Florida. Could that interest return and is there time? Thinking about names like JJ Peterson (#70 ESPN300, at one point mentioned Gators a lot, still uncommitted), 4* Zacoby McClain from GA still uncommitted and the Dawgs have pretty good LBs already, 4* Dax Hollifield have seen him linked to VTech lately but still uncommitted, 4* uncommitted Nick Bonitto I know he’s undersized, but maybe a different staff would know how to use him. I’m sure there are other names too, but these are just some that have been linked to us in the past that aren’t “Randy’s type of guy”.
AS: Several linebackers have had interest in Florida in the past but as you say the Gators didn’t return that interest. A new defensive coordinator could help fill those needs and Tim Skipper already has a good relationship with a lot of those guys and he could probably get a commit or two. The Gators can’t miss at that position this year.
Juggernautz: Can you give breakdown of how many we are taking for each position for 2018?
AS: This could all change with a new coach once he evaluates the roster but this was the breakdown heading into the season.
QB-1, RB-2, WR-4, TE-2, OL 3-4, DL 2-3, LB-3, DB 5. With two spots to play with at certain positions.
DylanGator: I know it’s dependent on the new coach but do you see this class remaining top 10 or somewhere very close?
AS: It all depends on the quarterback position and whether or not Matt Corral sticks but I think it should still be a top 10 class. A lot of guys are still interested in the Gators that are big time targets to go with the commits.
RVG: AS, Do you have any insight into Corral’s father posting to the Gator Football official account, “Gator Football needs to find a great coach ASAP, just saying”!
AS: The Corral family knows that time is ticking for them to get to know the coach so that’s a concern for them. Corral signs in December and early enrolls so he’s eagerly waiting.