The Spivey Senses podcast is back and we are changing up the format some as we will now be bringing on Florida Gators recruiting targets and commits to talk Florida and more.
This week Andrew Spivey and Nick de la Torre were joined by Florida Gators recruiting commits Lamical Perine and Mark Thompson as they both talk about the Gators season and much more.
Andrew and Nick asked Perine and Thompson questions about their recruitment, plus what they’re looking forward to seeing from the Gators in the coming years.
Andrew: What’s up, Gator Country? This is your man, Andrew Spivey, bringing Spivey Senses to the air. A new look to the show now that high school football season is coming to an end. I’m bringing unfortunately my buddy, Nick de la Torre. Nicholas, say hello to the people, since you’ve ruined my show.
Nick: I am bringing a south Florida swag to the show that has been lacking in Spivey Senses for months. You’re welcome, Gator Country podcast listeners and fans.
Andrew: If my ratings go down, and I get my award taken away for having the best show on the net, then it’s your fault. We’re going to have a special guest, two special guests. Good dude, Lamical Perine from Theodore, Alabama, way over 1,500 yards rushing this year. Had a sad ending to the season on Friday, lost to Auburn, but big things are ahead for Lamical. Then we have Juco running back, Florida commit as well, Mark Thompson, well over 1,000 yards as well. He ended his Juco career yesterday, on Saturday, with a Kansas Juco championship, the first time Dodge City’s won one since ’83. Big things for Mark Thompson. He’s getting ready to enroll in January. Nick, we’ll be joined by those two guys in just a moment.
Nick: Really impressive the kind of years they’ve both had. Mark Thompson’s a big dude, and if you watch his highlights he’s jumping over people. Maybe being a taller running back, getting tired of guys diving at his legs. We’ll ask him about that. Lamical, another guy who’s having a great year. He’s got some bloodlines, Andrew.
Andrew: Yeah. He’s got a cousin at Oklahoma. I won’t even try to pronounce his first name. I think it’s Samaje Perine. Is that how you pronounce it?
Nick: Sounds right. Which is surprising that you said it almost correctly.
Andrew: The only reason is because he’s told me several times. Then he has another cousin out at UCLA playing ball, and his grandfather is actually the winningest high school coach in Alabama high school football history. Football is in his blood lines. He’s also very close to CJ Mosely, former Bama linebacker star now with the Baltimore Ravens. It’s good football there. Let’s talk a couple things real quick. This past weekend, Florida Vanderbilt. First time in over a month that Florida was able to host prospects. Maybe not the best game from a on field production for those guys, but, man, when you hear the names that came in for that game big weekend.
Nick: Yeah. Jim McElwain joked about it before the game. He said, it feels like it’s our first home game in about a year. It was 35 days Florida went without a home game where they could host recruits. Unfortunately there were two other big games with Alabama and LSU and then Florida State and Clemson. Those two games kind of took some people away, but you did have a big visitor in LSU Tigers quarterback commit, Feleipe Franks, someone who’s been on Florida’s radar for several years now. Florida’s trying to flip him, wanting to add a second quarterback in the class. There were some big names on campus, including that one. Not the best game. Not the kind of game you want them to see. It wasn’t the Ole Miss drubbing or the spectacular come from behind win against Tennessee where the stadium almost fell down because it got so loud. It was a win, and it was nice to be able to have guys back on campus after such a long time without being able to host anybody.
Andrew: They did celebrate a championship, winning the East. That’s always good. Real quick, I know you see this, Nick. Auburn doesn’t have a road game until next October. Are they going to remember how to load a bus when Auburn having to go for all that time with a home game? It must be nice. Feleipe Franks was the surprise visitor on campus. I guess it was a surprise. I told you, Nick, about that on Wednesday. Him and Keith Gavin came into town. I think Florida’s done a good job with Feleipe Franks. Max made him a top target from the very beginning. On the bye week the first stop he made was to Feleipe’s school. Check out Feleipe and Keith Gavin. It doesn’t go unnoticed. Those guys love to be a priority. That’s what they are. I think Florida’s got a good chance there. Keith Gavin, the receiver from the same school as Franks, came in. Florida probably trailing Auburn, I mean Alabama and Florida State there.
Probably the biggest name outside of Franks was Auburn commit Eli Stove. That was the big one that came on. Florida is obviously trending very well there. The problems at Auburn, surprisingly they have a worse quarterback situation than Florida does right now. That’s going well for Florida. Florida is in good shape for Eli Stove as well. Nick, I think we all know outside of Callaway the Gators need playmakers on offense.
Nick: Yeah. I think we mentioned it before. Probably like six receivers in this class maybe, and outside of Callaway I fully expect Demarcus Robinson to leave after this season, after his junior season. After that who do you have? There’s plenty of playing time available at the receiver position. To me, if I play receiver I’ve seen enough from Jim McElwain where I think I have a chance there. Then I look at the depth chart, and I think, I have a chance there early. In the past we’d said, if you’re a receiver you can come to Florida and play pretty quickly. Then the response to that was, why would you want to come to Florida? Have you seen their offense? Jim McElwain, what he’s been able to do is he’s been able to take care of that. There’s no second thing to that. Right there is still playing time available early, and if I’m a good playmaker, and the state of Florida is loaded with them, I’m seriously considering Florida for not only playing time, but also for that system that you’d be able to play in under Jim McElwain and Doug Nussmeyer.
Andrew: You look at the guys they have. You got a guy like Josh Hammond, who is a deep threat, but also a good speed guy who catches everything. At camp in Florida he caught everything across the middle. I usually don’t say everything, but I think Cassidy and I literally could not have counted more than three balls that he dropped probably out of 40 that night. Then you got a guy like Freddie Swain who I think is just an underrated prospect who is an instant athlete on the field, can play inside and outside. Then you got a guy like Rick Wells who’s just a good possession receiver. You got a guy like Isaiah Johnson who’s a tall, big threat receiver as well. Then you got guys like Eli Stove and Nate Craig, both elite playmakers, and we’re not even talking about probably the fastest of the bunch, and that’s Tre Nixon, a speedster down in Viera. Where do these guys go?
Nick: I don’t know.
Andrew: You and I used to argue about could Florida get one receiver. One. That’s the one finger up in the air, and now we’re talking about Florida having to turn away receivers.
Nick: Maybe they won’t have to turn them away, but you are going to have to, you can’t have a 30 man receiver class.
Andrew: They would like that.
Nick: You have to fill in some spots on defense. There’s going to be some guys leaving early on defense. You got to find another quarterback. You got to find some offensive linemen. You’re going to have to find other players. You might have to trim that receiver list down a bit.
Andrew: Yeah, definitely. Nick, let’s go ahead, and let’s bring Lamical on.
Nick: They’re tired of us talking. They want to hear the future Florida Gators talk.
Andrew: They’re both running backs. How did that happen? I think I may have been up to something. These two guys are rock solid prospects. Both incredible guys on and off the field. Nick, you’re going to have a lot of fun covering these guys in the future. Let’s go to Lamical Perine right now.
Nick: What’s going on, Gator Country? That’s right. It is Spivey Senses, but Nick de la Torre is here. Andrew Spivey is here, and we are joined by a special guest, 2016 Florida Gators recruiting running back commit, Lamical Perine. Lamical, Andrew, how are you guys?
Andrew: Lamical, how’s it feel to be, I guess, a talked about name now? Go through the season kind of under the radar, now you’re a talked about name. How’s it feel, buddy?
Lamical: It feels good. Just let me know all my hard work is getting noticed. It just feels good.
Andrew: You’ve had the opportunity to watch Florida a couple times. What’s your thoughts on Coach McElwain this year? He’s having a good season. Running backs are doing well. What are your thoughts on Coach Mac?
Lamical: He came from Alabama, so he knows how to win. He’s a good man. I just love him.
Nick: Before Coach McElwain came to Florida where were they on the radar for you? Two difficult years, was the other coaching staff talking to you? Was Florida on your radar before Coach Mac got here?
Lamical: Yeah. I came down to the camp two years ago, going into my junior year. I think it was Coach White, the running back coach, was there. They always kept in touch with me. Ever since them I’ve just been trying to keep in touch.
Andrew: You kind of got the same story I do, Lamical. Everybody knows on these airways that I grew up in Bama and pulled for the orange and blue. Tell us your back story. How did you become a Gator fan? Tell us how difficult it was for you to grow up a Gator fan in the state of Alabama.
Lamical: Everybody saw Auburn and Alabama. I always like Florida just coming back to Tebow. Ever since then I’ve just been on them always, looking at the school, checking out the games. Ever since then I’ve just been a Florida fan.
Andrew: Everybody loves you. You’re a folk hero in Florida fans minds because of the way you took the Greyhound last year to go down to Florida to a game and all that stuff. I was with you the day you got your offer, but really what was it like that day you finally got that Florida offer? I know you told me you went and screamed to your mom, everything else. What was that moment like for you?
Lamical: I still remember it like it was yesterday. I was just happy, full of joy. Felt like everything was awesome, and I just knew at that moment I wanted to go and commit to Florida, because we had built a good relationship.
Andrew: Let’s move back to football. You’ve been able to see Coach Mac. You’ve been able to see Coach Nussmeyer, Coach Skipper, those guys. What do you think about their running game? I guess, how do you feel like next year you’re going to be able to fit into that picture?
Lamical: They run a lot of physical formations. They like to run the ball right at you. I feel like I’m that type of back. I’m balanced. I can catch out of the back field, all those type of attributes I got and can do.
Andrew: You’ve told me before that you kind of keep up with Scarlett, Cronkrite, those kind of guys. What kind of advice have they given you? Also, you’re close to CJ Mosley who’s been through this. What’s the biggest advice you’ve gotten from high school to college next year? What do you think you need to do?
Lamical: Just try and learn fast. It’s a fast transition. Trying to get there. It’s a little faster than high school, so you got to pick up.
Andrew: Nick, you’re going to get to cover him next year when he’s there. I guess for you Nick what is something that you think is the biggest difference for a high school to college guy, and what is advice that you would give someone?
Nick: I think the biggest thing is really not even about football. Obviously, Lamical, you already know that the game is going to be faster. The guys are bigger. The biggest thing is kind of handling being on your own. I know when I went away to school that was the toughest thing for me was laundry and homework and your social life and practice and meetings, all that stuff. To me it’s the biggest thing and the toughest thing. I don’t know if anyone’s given you this advice yet, kind of managing your time and finding a set schedule. You’re going to be busier than you have ever been in your life next year when it comes to just handling class and stuff like that. They’re not joking around when they say student athlete. You’re going to find out next year. Those classes are no joke.
Andrew: Lamical, going forward. You got the Alabama Mississippi All-Star game here coming up in a couple weeks. You’re playing basketball as well. I guess, what are you looking forward to in these next couple months?
Lamical: Honestly I’m trying to stay conditioned, trying to get faster, stronger, and just really trying to get ready to head down to UF in May.
Andrew: Now last little thing for you. Coach Mac’s making big splashes in Alabama. You told me before you’re recruiting a couple guys. What is the message between guys like you, Jawan Taylor, Mack Wilson, even Jeremiah Moon, what are you guys talking about as far as bringing the Alabama power down to Gainesville?
Lamical: We’re trying to change it up and just be different. Trying to bring some of the Alabama talent down there. It’d a different kind of talent.
Andrew: Definitely. Any final message to Gator fans before we get you out of here, Lamical?
Lamical: Chomp chomp.
Andrew: Definitely. Gator fans, you heard it right there from Lamical Perine. He’s going to be ready to go. Speaking for myself, I’ve been able to watch him several times, you’re getting a heck of an athlete Gator fans.
Nick: We are continuing Spivey Senses. Nick de la Torre still here with Andrew Spivey. Thank you to Lamical for joining us. We have two running backs in this recruiting class though, and right now we’re bringing on the second, Mark Thompson. Mark, how are you doing tonight?
Mark: I’m doing real good. Glad to be on here.
Andrew: I don’t know if we should call him the second. He’s technically a little older than Lamical. They’re both though way over 1,000 yards rushing this year, pretty good accomplishment. Mark, I got to ask you, where did the leaping skills come from? You’re leaping over defenders. Where did that come from?
Mark: It started in high school where I jumped over a guy about Week 6 in our season. They threw a flag on me actually, so I was never able to do that again. Since back to Dodge City for the sophomore season every team we’ve played just seems to be leg chopping, and I one said I’m going to just take flight and see what happens. After that it was a thing.
Andrew: There you go.
Nick: You’re a bigger running back. Have you always kind of had to deal with that, being 6’2”, 220? Have you always had guys trying to go for your legs?
Mark: Yes. Definitely. Since I started playing varsity in my junior year of high school. People try a little bit when they tackle me, catch me, if that makes sense. I’ve had to deal with that, but usually it’s only secondary. I wouldn’t say it’s mainly linebackers, because they have a chance of getting a hit on me in the hole, or trying to. They’re less likely to try to low bridge me. In open field, most of the time yes. It’s a problem I have to deal with.
Andrew: Mark, you’ve been able to see this Gators team this year. You’re like Lamical in that you’re very proactive Gator on Twitter. What have you seen so far from this season, and what have you been most excited about after watching this season?
Mark: What I’m excited about this season is definitely that nitty gritty, they get the job done. The defense is amazing. Everyone in the country knows that. I’m happy to be a part of that team. Coach Mac, the coaching staff, Coach Skip, the fans, from head to toe everything about Florida, University of Florida and the Gators, is top notch.
Nick: How quickly did Coach McElwain and Coach Tim Skipper, how quickly did they contact you once they got on campus? What was their message to kind of sway you? As a junior college kid you don’t have four years once you get to Florida. What was their message to you that really kind of helped you make Florida your choice?
Mark: I’ve always had a love for Florida since I was a child. The choice wasn’t that hard, and they helped at persuading me by telling me I’ll be the oldest back coming in, provided that KT does go the NFL, take that next step. I’ll be the oldest back. I’ll be the older guy. If I come in ready to play, and I learn the playbook, then I’ll get the playing time that I deserve, that I work for, that I earn.
Andrew: You just said kind of where I wanted to ask your next question. You’re going to go from being a young guy on your, being an older guy in your Juco team and mentoring the younger guys. What is going to be your message to these younger guys? Are you going to take them under your wing and kind of mentor them up a little bit?
Mark: I got to ease my way in. I’m not going to say I’m going to come in and be that guy. I have to earn the respect from the players first. If they don’t like you they don’t listen to you. If they respect you they will, and if they like you and respect you then that’s even better. That’s a plus. I just want to go into Florida and just be a cool guy, get on everybody’s good side. Be someone who leads by example and not vocally. I’m better at if people see you going hard, 100% of the time, which they’re already doing. Then I’ll be someone who’s respected.
Nick: Coach McElwain seems like a very interesting guy. He’s got a certain sense of humor and some personality to him. What is your sense of him? Is there something? He’s kind of quirky being from Montana. Is there something, a joke that maybe sticks out to you, or something that he does that is kind of funny to you?
Mark: He just has that swagger, that swag that you love to see a coach have, especially being a player of that coach. He knows when it’s game day during the week that he’s getting his team ready to go for whoever the opponent may be that next game. Interviews and after the game, pregame interviews, things like that, you see when he talks to the press that he’s confident all the time. If you have a confident coach you’re a confident player.
Andrew: The biggest question is Coach Mac’s a peanut butter and jelly guy. Are you crust on, or are you like Callaway where you want him to cut the crust off?
Mark: I’m going to have to go with the crust off on that one.
Nick: Coach McElwain’s going to have some extra hours of cutting crust off with you and Antonio both making that request next year.
Andrew: Real quick before we get you off in a minute, what is your message to guys that reach out to you? If someone reached out to you and said, Mark, why should I choose Florida? What’s good about Florida? What do you tell them?
Mark: I just tell them to tune in on Saturdays and watch what they do.
Andrew: That’s pretty self-explanatory right there. You’re done with your season unless you guys make a bowl game. What’s these next month to two months like before you enroll in Florida? What are you focusing on? Where’s your mindset going to be?
Mark: These next two months before I arrive at Florida I want to do a lot of running. Doing 40s every day, 20s every day, or every other day. Three times a week for sure. Lifting as well. I’m already big. I’m 6’, 230. I just want to keep focusing on running, my agility, and my footwork. It’ll be a very nice feeling for me.
Andrew: You’re taking your official to the Florida State game. Going to be doing some recruiting there I’m sure. What are you looking forward to the most out of that trip? Just having fun, or what?
Mark: Yeah. Really just enjoying the game. I went to school with a lot of people from Florida here in Kansas, and they said that Florida State game that’s the game. That’s the big game. I want to have fun, but I want to have fun in Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. I’m not really concerned with outside fun. I just want to have fun on the field, and that’s going to make me want it even more when I see it.
Andrew: Definitely. Mark, before we get you out of here. Lamical gave a shout out to the Gator fans. Before we get you out, any message to Gator fans.
Mark: We’re going to have another year just like this one.
Andrew: Definitely. You heard it guys, from Mark Thompson. Mark, we appreciate you coming on. We will talk to you soon, buddy. Nick, two dynamite running backs right there, Lamical Perine, Mark Thompson. I don’t think people understand this enough, but those are two big boys. Mark just said he’s 220, 230, and he’s running a solid 4-4. Lamical’s 215, and he’s running 4-5 area. Running back city is coming Gainesville.
Nick: Yeah. It’s really back to back years. We can’t forget about Jordan Scarlett.
Nick: And Jordan Cronkrite. Jim McElwain’s wearing his Jordans this year. I really do expect Kelvin Taylor to leave for the draft after this season. So that would leave you with just two running backs really. To get Lamical in and to get Mark Thompson in, that really gives Florida a deep back field.
Andrew: The thing is it gives them a deep back field of guys he likes, and that is power backs. That is Jim McElwain 100%.
Nick: Hey now, Mark will tell you, and you brought it up, that power back can jump a little bit.
Andrew: Oh yeah. The thing is you do have a guy like Mark who can hit that outside burst. Lamical as well. He’s hit several 70 yard runs. It’s not that they don’t have speed, but it’s a little bit of both.
Nick: They don’t mind getting down there and running between the tackles, getting dirty down between the tackles.
Andrew: Yeah. They don’t have Demarcus Robinson problem.
Nick: D Rob had a very good game Saturday.
Andrew: He did. I love D Rob, but I’m just saying. They’re the opposite of D Rob. They actually like contact. Contact is good for those guys. I think what you just heard from both of those guys, and you can pick up on this, because you haven’t talked to these guys as much as I have, but I’ll ask you this. What was the tone that you got from both of those guys about Jim McElwain?
Nick: Jim McElwain is doing a very good job connecting with these guys, connecting with these young players. All the players liked playing for Will Muschamp, and they respected him as a football coach. For some reason I’m just picking up a different vibe with McElwain and these players. It kind of for me goes beyond being a football coach. It really resonates to just him as a person. We like to joke about it, and Jim McElwain cuts the crust off of Antonio Callaway’s sandwiches. We talked to Brian Poole today. Brian Poole says it’s not just about going to Jim McElwain’s office because he has food. He’s like, we go there, and I eat, and we just hang out. We’re just sitting there talking. I don’t know how many coaches that I can say I’ve had where I would have felt comfortable just going and sitting in their office and just talking to them like that. I think Jim McElwain has done a really good job of connected with these kids on a different level, and it’s not just football to them.
There was a lot of talk about Lamical after getting the Alabama offer. He’s an Alabama kid. Where does Florida stand in this? I think from hearing him talk right now on the podcast and talking about the relationship he has with Jim McElwain, I think you might be able to put some of that to rest. The relationship that McElwain has with these two guys, with the current players, and the current recruiting class is very strong.
Andrew: Very strong. It’s like you said though, it’s not so much of a coach player relationship. It’s almost like just two guys talking. I think that is the thing that goes. Especially a guy like Mark. This is not disrespect to Lamical, but Mark being a Juco guy he’s been around the college coaches more, so he knows when a guy’s lying/telling the truth or being real. I think that that’s something you can pick up as well on that. The one thing with those two guys we hadn’t even mentioned, and you and I have gave a lot of props to him, but Tim Skipper. Coach Skipper. Those guys love Skipper because of that youth in him, a guy that talks to these guys and is able to do well with them. We’ve seen that a lot with Kelvin Taylor this year as well. Big with Kelvin Taylor, because he gets football. He gets how to talk to a young guy, a young man, and that’s what’s helped him. I think you and I both agree that Tim Skipper’s probably the biggest reason Kelvin Taylor’s having a good year this year.
Nick: Yeah. I was talking with a former player over the weekend, and he asked me who I thought were the guys that have made the biggest improvements. I think I’ve said it on the podcast before, and I said it to him. Marcus Maye getting a new coaching staff, and Tim Skipper coming in, those two, Kelvin Taylor and Marcus Maye are the two that have benefitted from this coaching change the most. You’re really seeing it with Kelvin. You can look at Kelvin’s stats and say, that’s not that impressive. It was under 4 yards a carry versus Vanderbilt, but to see Kelvin running and to see how different he looks on the field, to see how different he looks playing behind his pads, running hard, pass blocking. The way Kelvin Taylor is approaching practice and games this year is really the biggest difference in his game, and that’s a credit to Tim Skipper being able to reach him like the coaching staff before couldn’t reach Kelvin and kind of get their message across to him in a way that would motivate him.
Andrew: I think it’s different with Kelvin than it is most players. Kelvin’s had a father who knows football. You have to be very confident about what you’re teaching, or Kelvin’s not going to take you serious. I don’t mean that as he’s disrespecting guys, but it would be like you and I going to talk to I don’t even know. A big guy that has done our job for years and years. You have to earn the respect of your players, and I don’t know if that was ever there. Again, this is a solid class. Those two guys are two of the bigger names in this class, two of the bigger pieces in this class in my opinion, and are going to be future backs for the Gators. Mac’s building that running back class, as we said, much like Alabama had it in the past of just a stock hold of every year having a new guy to rotate in. The biggest thing also is all these guys talk. It’s a family already that these guys have, and that transforms to the team. You don’t have guys having to get used to everybody, because they talk every day. I think that’s the biggest thing, and don’t think that just happened. Mac, Drew Hughes, Skipper, all those guys kind of helped that process along.
Nick: That’s true. It’s easy to say, you’re teammates, of course you’ll get along. It’s not that easy. It’s not like basketball. In basketball you’ve got 12 guys on a roster and only five are playing at a time. In football you’ve got 85, 90 guys in a locker room. It’s easy, I don’t like him. I’ll just stay away from him, but that’s not going to help the team. It might prevent a fight, which you don’t want to have happen, but it’s not going to build that team atmosphere. What I think you see, if you follow these guys on social media, they’re Instagram pages and their tweets are all, Jonathan Bullard posting a picture of Alex McAllister. He posts a picture of Kelvin Taylor. It’s they’re celebrating each other more than they’re celebrating themselves.
Andrew: Alright, Jim McElwain. That’s a line out of Jim McElwain’s book.
Nick: Maybe he’s rubbing off on me. Anyway, it’s just different. You don’t see that everywhere, and it’s not something you saw the last couple years here in Gainesville.
Andrew: Definitely. Nick, this is a different podcast you and I are going to be doing getting these guys on. Their seasons are over, so they have a little more time for us. Tweet us. Let us know who you want next week. We’ll go two more next week. Tweet us. Let us know. If you’re a prospect and you want on, give me a shout out. I’ll let you in. Yeah, Nick. I guess I’ll let you say your few words, and I get to ruin it, because this is my show.
Nick: I should be able to ruin it and end it, because you ruin my show.
Andrew: You won’t be invited back anymore if you ruin my show.
Nick: Thank you to both Lamical and to Mark for coming on today. Enjoyed talking to both of them. Looking forward to seeing what they do in orange and blue next year. As always, follow me on Twitter. Let’s get me up. I need to catch Andrew Spivey on the followers. @NickdelaTorreGC. That’s all I got. You stay classy.
Andrew: Definitely. Again, thanks to Lamical and thanks to Mark Thompson, both great guys who have to deal with me, and as you guys know that’s not an easy chore. Nick will attest to that. We appreciate those guys, and let us know who you want. As always, go Braves.