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    Florida Gators recruiting target Shavar Manuel at the Under Armour game- GatorCountry photo taken by David Bowie

Podcast: Florida Gators
recruiting visit updates

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Written by Andrew Spivey, January 26, 2016, 1 Comment,
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This GatorCountry podcast recaps the second weekend of official visitors that the Florida Gators hosted this past weekend when six prospects were on campus.

Andrew Spivey and Nick de la Torre are joined by Ryan Brauninger of TexAgs.com to talk about receiver Tyrie Cleveland cornerback Kristian Fulton, plus he gives his take on the Under Armour All-American game.

Andrew and Nick also break down the upcoming on GatorCountry.com that includes coverage of the Senior Bowl and the Florida Gators basketball team.

TRANSCRIPT:

Andrew:​What’s up, Gator Country? This is your man, Andrew Spivey, with my man, Nicholas de la Torre. What’s up, Nicholas?

Nick:​What’s going on? We are rapidly approaching National Signing Day. We’ve got two official visit weekends, unofficial visits as well, but two visit weekends in the books. Probably the big one coming up. You save the best for last. The biggest weekend coming up. So we’ll recap last weekend and the visits that happened then and really look forward to probably Florida’s biggest weekend before Signing Day.

Andrew:​Absolutely the biggest weekend. Last weekend had some committed guys on campus, but it was more about kind of firming those guys up that were kind of leaning elsewhere. You had the likes last weekend of Shavar Manuel on campus. Big thing for Florida was to try to get him to cancel that Florida State visit. There is some talk he may have, but with that you got to really just see if he shows up on Friday in Tallahassee or not. You had Antonneous Clayton also on campus. He’s as firm as they get. No talk there, despite what some others like to drone up on that one.
Then you had Brian Burns, who is uncommitted defensive end on campus. Florida did a really good job there. Kind of picked up some momentum there. Still got that Florida State visit there as well. Dee Walker, the linebacker from Colquitt County, not going to get offered. Didn’t get offered. Then you had Vosean Joseph the linebacker, coming off that Alabama visit. Was talking Bama high up. Came to Florida, had a really good Florida visit, and I think they kind of stove that off. Nick Eubanks didn’t make the trip. He was sick. Supposed to come in this coming weekend.
​Then the unofficial visitor this weekend was Aaron Robinson, the cornerback from Deerfield. Once again this was a big visit to kind of sure him up. Still looks like he’ll go to Bama this coming weekend, but Florida did a good job of solidifying their guys this weekend, and then making up some ground with Brian Burns.

Nick:​All right. Real quick, let me ask you. Eubanks not coming in, what is the story behind that? What does it mean for Florida? Will Florida see him again before Wednesday, before Signing Day?

Andrew:​Yeah. They’re going to go down. They’ll have an in home visit with him. Coach Mac will as well one day this week. I don’t want to say, I don’t know if it’s going to be Tuesday or Wednesday. It’s going to be one of those two days, either Tuesday or Wednesday, going down there to see him and try to solidify that visit this coming weekend. He was sick this past weekend. That’s what everyone says. I know some people say why was he too sick to come to a visit? I don’t know. It’s not my job. I’m not a doctor. All I can go by is he was sick. That’s what several people have told me, people that I trust very much that told me he was sick. So I think he’ll come in next weekend. As long as he visits next weekend it probably is a good thing that he used his last visit to Florida, because you got the last word. There was no chance he goes to take that USC visit. Could end up working in Florida’s favor as long as they get him on campus this coming weekend.

Nick:​So he has a visit to USC, Southern Cal, this coming weekend, but you think that there’s a possibility he’ll head to Gainesville instead.

Andrew:​Yeah. Everyone, Chad Wilson, one of the coaches out at American Heritage, said the same thing. He said he expects him to be in Gainesville this weekend. Everything I’m being told is he’ll be in Gainesville this weekend. The battle is Alabama or Florida. USC is not in the mix. There’s even some question marks if Alabama has room for another tight end in the class. Again, I think you see Eubanks in Gainesville this weekend. I like to say if he shows up this weekend he has a good shot of being in the class, and I know that’s a lot of what-ifs, but just make it on campus.

Nick:​Got you. Now we’ll shift to the teammate in Brian Burns. This is a kid that, kind of a fan favorite. People find fan favorites I recruiting. What does Florida need to do here? You said they kind of made up some ground with this visit. How important is he as Florida continues to try to shore up the defensive line and get some guys who can get after the quarterback? How important is Burns, and where does Florida stand? Is he in your mock class, which dropped on Monday?

Andrew:​He is in my mock class that dropped on Monday actually.

Nick:​Check that out on GatorCountry.com. Shameless plug. It’s on the message board. If you’re not there, you’re missing out.

Andrew:​Yeah. It was a great mock class. The Goat dropped mock class, and it’s good. I only do Goat things. Brian Burns, he’s an interesting kind of recruitment here. He’s a guy that really doesn’t say much, doesn’t give away much. He continues to say Florida, Florida State, Georgia are his leaders. If you listen to one person Florida leads. If you listen to another person Florida State leads. If you listen to another person, Georgia leads. It’s that. I talked to some people that had heard different things that were around him this past weekend, and everything I’ve heard is very positive in this. I know confidence is high in Gainesville for Brian Burns right now. He’s got that Florida State visit there.
The thing I’m going on is this, and this is a big thing for me, is he’s very close to Quincy Wilson and several other guys that are on campus at Florida right now. He’s developed a great relationship with Chris Rumph, and Florida needs pass rushers in this class very bad. Antonneous Clayton’s one of them, and he’s going to be a hell of a football player at Florida. They need a guy to go on that opposite edge of Clayton, and that’s Brian Burns. I don’t know why. I don’t know why. There’s something about this weekend and things he said, things people have told me, that just lead me to believe that it’s going to be Florida on Signing Day. That Florida State visit is there this weekend, and a visit could change anything.

Nick:​Right. A visit can change anything. It’s recruiting. A change in weather can change something. When you look at this class you’ve got 26 kids. What is that number that Florida is still trying to shoot for? Is it still 32? With some kids, Nate Craig-Myers, for instance, picking a different school, Sam Bruce reaffirmed that he’s going to Miami, with some of these kids falling off is 30 still the number that we’re shooting for here?

Andrew:​32 is the number they can take. That’s the max number they take. I’ve said over the last couple weeks I don’t think they hit 32. I think they try to save a couple of these spots for next year in a class that will be a little bit smaller. They’ll be trying to find ways to get to 25, and I think they get to 25 next year. This is Jim McElwain, who’s been in the Nick Saban pedigree. You don’t sign less than 25. They’ll figure out a way to get there. 32 is the number. I don’t think they get there. Guys like Josh Uche on Sunday night got turned away. Guys like Sam Bruce got turned away. Florida is being very choosy in who they take to get to that 32, or to that number of what it is. I don’t want to say they’re chasing stars per say in this final stretch run, but I think they’re chasing difference makers in this, and if they’re not a difference maker.

Nick:​You wrote a good story about it early last week, and it was a credit to this coaching staff going out and finding guys like Lamical Perine and Aaron Robinson before other schools found them. What Florida has been able to do, what this coaching staff has been able to do in their first full class, is go and build that foundation with guys who for whatever reason, whether it wasn’t camp or didn’t have the film necessary, went out and got those guys that are going to be the foundation of the class. You’ve got a big class in 26 already. So now when it comes down the stretch run we’ve got everything we need to go, if we end the class with only the kids we have, and we don’t get anyone else, we’re fine.
So now we’re going to go after the big dogs. We’re going to go after those big five star guys that we feel like are guys we can flip, a Kristian Fulton, a Tyrie Cleveland. These guys, if they don’t come to Florida on Signing Day that’s when fans will say couldn’t close, but right now Florida is very comfortable with the class that they have as far as a mix of guys who are projected to be starters down the line, players who might have to redshirt their first, mixed in with guys who we know and are confident can play as freshmen, who are going to contribute right away. So a lot of people are freaking out that Florida isn’t building enough momentum, but you’re forgetting that there’s already 12 guys on campus. That’s a ton. What was there three last year? Three early enrollees?

Andrew:​Two. Bebe and Kalif Jackson were the only two.

Nick:​And Bebe didn’t make it long.

Andrew:​Yeah. Bebe is back in Bebe land.

Nick:​Bebe’s back in Bebe land.

Andrew:​I don’t know where that is, but it’s back in Bebe land. I would say something, but it’s not appropriate for iTunes. We may get kicked off. I’ll be good. The thing is filling needs. This class is about filling needs, getting players that are football players, that are good football players. Had Florida landed Freddie Swain today would fans be excited and say the momentum is going straight? Absolutely. If Florida would have landed Feleipe Franks today would Florida fans be saying it was going good? Yes. Florida landed these guys early, so don’t get upset that they landed them early instead of now. You got those 12 guys, they’re on campus.

Nick:​Just because you haven’t been able to fire off those tweets bragging about Florida’s recruiting in a while doesn’t mean that Florida’s not doing well recruiting. You were firing off tweets back in July when they were getting these kids, and nobody else was able to fire off those tweets.

Andrew:​Right. The thing I’ll say is this. While Florida State’s got a nice 24 man class they got what? Five kids early enrolling? Four kids early enrolling. Florida’s got 12 new football players on campus that next year they’re not going to be freshmen really. They’ll be freshmen on the football field, but they won’t be freshmen. You landed a great thing with that. Take everything with that as it goes. Remember that kind of stuff. Nick, I want to bring on real quick our good friend from TexAgs, Ryan Brauninger. He’s going to talk with us about Tyrie Cleveland, talk some Kristian Fulton, talk some Under Armour game, who he liked out that way. For background on him real quick, he’s from the Houston area. He knows that Tyrie situation pretty well. Let’s go real quick to Ryan Brauninger.
​What’s up, Gator Country? I’m now joined by my man, Ryan Brauninger, from TexAgs. What’s up, Mr. Houston?

Ryan:​What’s up, man? It’s good to talk to you.

Andrew:​Absolutely. For everyone that doesn’t know you, Ryan, kind of tell everybody what you do over at TexAgs, and just tell us about yourself for a second.

Ryan:​I’m originally from Nederland, Texas, which is down near Beaumont, and played college baseball at McNee State. Came to A&M, got my Master’s Degree, and have been working for TexAgs now for, started back in late July. I am one of the recruiting analysts for our site, and, obviously, we cover Texas A&M. Throughout the fall I’ve seen a lot of these kids in Texas, and every Friday night doing the Friday Night Lights deal over here in the Lone Star State. Got to meet Andrew down in Orlando at the Under Armour All-American game, and was a great guy. It was a pleasure to get to know him. We’re looking forward to kind of forging our info and forging our sites together a little bit.

Andrew:​Definitely. That’s what I wanted to talk to you a little bit about, Orlando, Under Armour game. It was a lot of good players down there. You and I kind of got to watch a lot of practice together. I’ve told people on the site before, and I’ll say it again. I think Kristian Fulton, the cornerback out of Louisiana, was one of, in the best, cornerbacks out there. A&M is trying to get in the mix there. What are you hearing on that deal? Just what did you think about Kristian as a player down in Orlando?

Ryan:​I thought Kristian really came on, especially as the week went on when he started getting more comfortable with the guys that he was around, and then just the practice setting and everything. On the first day when we got to meet him I thought he was a little undersized and maybe it was going to be tough for him to hold up physically, but he really stepped up as far as a lockdown cover guy, loved to get in guys faces, was in their hip pocket, and was able to keep up with them.
As far as A&M’s chances with Kristian, he told me during the Under Armour week that he’s got some really good connections, really close connections, on the A&M roster. A&M’s done a pretty good job in south Louisiana since Kevin Sumlin has been in College Station. I would say that A&M’s definitely on the outside looking in. They’re working really hard to get Kristian on campus at some point before National Signing Day. I tell people this all the time, if LSU wants a kid in south Louisiana it’s awfully tough to get them away. You’re starting to see that now. Just had Willie Allen commit this morning, and they’ve got a great class in Baton Rouge. I would say A&M is on the outside looking in for Kristian. I would put LSU and Florida near the top for him.

Andrew:​I tell people all the time, he’s one of those guys that’s kind of a natural cornerback. Got the ball skills and is just a smart football player. You and I were able to kind of talk to him a little bit, and he kind of demonstrates that off the field as well. He’s got that cornerback mentality of, not cockiness, but competitiveness is what I would say.

Ryan:​There’s no doubt. I think that he handles himself as well as you can expect a 17 or 18 year old kid to do in that media circuit. When he showed up the first day in Orlando that ca be kind of overwhelming to kids, and they’ll shut off. Kristian looked every reporter in the eye, answered their questions, which I thought from an off the field perspective and kind of a first impression for me with Kristian I thought that was very impressive.

Andrew:​Now I got to talk to you about the guy that you’re going to probably make Florida fans upset at you about. Tyrie Cleveland. I know you and I’ve had several conversations about him. He does have some off the field things that maybe get in the way of things, but I’ve told you this before, I think he’s an elite receiver. Florida’s going to get him in on the 29th. Kind of update us on that, and what the heck is going to at Houston and Tom Herman down there?

Ryan:​To start, with Tyrie he makes these plans, but I’m not even sure that Tyrie knows where he’s going to go weekend to weekend. There’s rumors that he’s going to go to Fayetteville and see Arkansas this weekend. Obviously he’s had the Florida trip planned for a while. There is zero question in my mind about the athletic ability and God given talent of Tyrie Cleveland. I think we saw that in Orlando. It was very evident. Just the raw skills that he’s got. I think he needs some polish with his route running, and obviously just becoming a receiver, but any college program is going to give him that.
​With U of H, Tom Herman’s done a great job down there. You can’t deny that. They won a ton of games. They look great in their bowl game. He’s got a lot of things going in state, and especially in the city of Houston, which you know as well as anybody that city produces as much talent as any place in the country. I told you this the other day, I don’t suspect Tyrie will stick with U of H, except every day that it goes by that he’s still a Cougar looks better for Tom Herman and his staff. Tyrie has kind of been a roller coaster ride up and down. He was committed to A&M for a while. Now it looks like A&M doesn’t even have a shot. They’re moving on to other receiver targets. To be honest with you, I would suspect this is going to go down to the eleventh hour for one of the most highly coveted guys, not only in Texas, but in the country.

Andrew:​Yeah. That’s kind of the feeling Florida’s getting right now from people I talked to. One minute he’s interested and burning the phone lines down to talk to Florida. Then there’s days that go by and they don’t speak. It’s a situation where I think if Tyrie’s really interested in Florida Tyrie needs to make a move to let Florida know he’s interested. I don’t know. I just get this weird funny feeling he’s going to end up at Houston and hate himself at the end of the day, because he’s kind of burned bridges everywhere else. I don’t know. Maybe it works out at Houston, maybe it doesn’t. I really think he’s a bigger player than Houston is. That’s no disrespect to the Houston program.

Ryan:​He’s got his buddy, Ed Oliver, going there. We saw in Florida Ed was as impressive as any D lineman there. I think you’ll agree with that. Tyrie, he’s a great player. There’s zero question about that. I also think that TCU did a really good job on him last weekend, to the point where the folks up in Fort Worth feel good about their chances landing Tyrie. Again, everybody that you talk to feels like they’ve got a shot. When you talk to people and a lot of different people are telling you different stuff, it means nobody knows anything.

Andrew:​Pretty much. You talked about Ed Oliver, and I want to ask you about a guy that you and I were both impressed with, and Ed Oliver was one of those guys for sure. You got the chance to see Antonneous Clayton. I can say how good he was all along, but people want to call me a homer for saying that. You’re a Texas guy. You have no ties to Antonneous at all. Tell the people what you and I kind of talked about there and what you saw from the big guy that was on the defensive line at the Under Armour game.

Ryan:​Obviously with the recruiting base that I follow, A&M doesn’t venture too much that far east. When I showed up to Orlando he was green to me. That was the first time I’d ever seen him. I’d heard his name, but not extensively. What I saw was a kid that played with great energy, had a lot of bounce to his step, was having a lot of fun just playing the game of football. To me, I’m a baseball coach as well, to me when I see that in a kid I like, and I enjoy it, because it’s not going to be hard to coach that kid, because he’s going to come to the practice field every day. He’s going to come to the locker room and be a good positive influence as far as an energy guy goes.
As a skillset I don’t think Tony was blocked but maybe five or six times, maybe a handful of times all week that we saw him in the one on ones. Explosive first step. Good get off. Really likes the bull rush. Relies on his first two steps, because they’re so elite, to get around blockers. If there was a criticism of him, and it’s hard for me to have one because of the performance he put on, my criticism would probably be that he just needs another couple set of pass moves. We didn’t see a big arsenal of those in Orlando. That’s not to say he doesn’t have them, and that’s not to say when he gets to Gainesville that the Florida staff can’t teach him that in a couple months, but he’s an impact guy. He’s just like the defensive end you guys have had there for a while. Elite pass rusher. He’s going to be a big time player.

Andrew:​Yeah. That was kind of what I’ve been telling people. He finally got his fifth star. He’s happy about that, that’s for sure. Good for those guys. Ryan, I appreciate you coming on. You got us some good stuff. Maybe got some people off the cliff. I’m not sure what’s going on in A&M, but Florida fans are all down at the bottom of the cliff right now because of missing on a couple of wide receivers.

Ryan:​A&M’s got the biggest two official visit weekends come up. This weekend, the 22nd, the following weekend the 29th, and we’re just kind of in a wait and see mode over here in College Station, and going to see what Kevin Sumlin and John Chavis and staff and Noel Mazzone can pull off here with these two weeks left.

Andrew:​Let me ask you this real quick. What is the state of that A&M program? People in Gainesville don’t see the day to day stuff you do. Has things settled down a little bit after the two quarterback transfers, the new OC hire? Has things settled down a little bit?

Ryan:​I think stability was a big word that people were throwing around in Orlando as far as the criticisms of A&M and the program. Kevin Sumlin, and not only Kevin Sumlin, but his staff, have done a really good job of combating that as the dead period ended. He stabilized his staff. They’ve got big recruiting weekends moving forward. Everything is set up for them to end this thing in a good way. I think that, obviously you lose two talented guys and it can have an effect on perception, but with the entrance of Trevor Knight from Oklahoma, who by all accounts has been a great kid and will be a huge addition just to the locker room, I think that started the ball rolling. Then you get an experienced offensive coordinator who’s had success with quarterbacks in the past, and so I would say that things are definitely trending up in Aggie land, and especially if you look at it from a month ago. Where things stand now you’ve got to be pretty happy.

Andrew:​Have you picked all the fans up from the cliff that they’ve all jumped off of?

Ryan:​I figured this out since I’ve started working with this stuff. I figure every fan base to some extent is the same way. In this modern age of a microwave society things are really reactionary, but in the end, and I think this too, I think these recruiting ranking and everybody’s fired up about recruiting, and it’s awesome. I love it, but at the end of the day shouldn’t you judge the recruiting class or recruiting class’s value a couple of years down the road? To see what they got.

Andrew:​Agreed. That’s exactly my point. You and I talked about this a little bit, but it’s like what qualifies someone out there watching these guys to give them a five star over the coaches? You and I talked about that a little bit. It’s kind of a crazy. These coaches see this stuff. They know what they’re doing, and in two years a bunch of three stars may be winning a championship. In my opinion that’s the most important thing, so I don’t care if they’re three stars, two stars, or one stars. Winning is winning.

Ryan:​Right. Coaching and development when they get on campus is a huge part of it. To me, the upper echelon five star guys they’re freaks. They’re athletic and the stuff that you’ve got to be born with. Now I think once you start getting to the three and four star kids the difference may be the coaching they’ve received now. So there’s a lot of different determining factors. I love to follow these kids and see how they develop. Then you get to see what kind of coaching staff you’ve got not only from a recruiting evaluation perspective, but also a development perspective.

Andrew:​Absolutely. Tell everyone how they can find you, Ryan. That way they can check out your work, and then we hope to get you back sometime.

Ryan:​Definitely. TexAgs.com, we’re the largest A&M site in the market, and we’re an independently owned site, like you guys at Gator Country. My Twitter handle is @R_Brauninger. Andrew likes to retweet me every now and then, so you can follow it that way. You can follow @TexAgs on Twitter. We’ve got also a recruiting landing Twitter page, and we just put out a documentary on five star safety out of east Texas, Brandon Jones, who it’s free for the public, and it is an incredibly well done little short film. It’s about 25 minutes. It’s not a pro A&M film in any way. It was just we sent a camera crew with some great editors out to Nacogdoches, and just filmed him four or five days and filmed him at a game. Just kind of the rigors that these five star kids, or any of these kids really, go through when choosing a school. Brandon is down to A&M, Texas, Arkansas, and Baylor. It will be a Signing Day decision.
It kind of makes you feel for the kid to see what he goes through every day and the pressures that he’s under. He’s a great kid. He lost his daddy when he was real young, and so he’s kind of had to raise his brothers with the help of his mom. It’s a really moving story. I encourage you guys if you got a chance go check it out on the TexAgs page. TexAgs.com. It’s called On the Island with Brandon Jones. Big thing. We’ve got big things going. Obviously Signing Day right around the corner. I know you guys are working hard. If I can get back on here and help you in any way, Andrew, you know I’m always up for it.

Andrew:​Definitely. Ryan, I appreciate it so much. We’ll be definitely checking you out. I’m going to have to check out that piece as well. I like seeing that stuff. You and I kind of know what goes on with these guys, but if you’re a fan and haven’t seen that kind of stuff it’s incredible. It really is.

Ryan:​It’s an eye opening thing. You get an idea of just a small glimmer of what not only the kid goes through but the parents, the little brothers. It’s a whole ordeal.
Andrew:​It is. Coaches calling every night. Ryan, we appreciate it so much. Take care, and we’ll talk to you soon.

Ryan:​All right, Andrew. See you, buddy.

Andrew:​That was good stuff with Ryan, Nick. You and I got the chance to meet him out there in the Orlando area. Good guy. Knows his stuff as well. I know you’re ready to be talking baseball with him, as I am. It’ll be good to catch back up with him. He’s very high on Tyrie Cleveland. I think you’ll agree with me when I say that was a man among boys out there at the Under Armour game. That’s something for me. When you dominate the Under Armour game you prove yourself to me. Not that others aren’t good that had a bad week out there, but when you’re able to do what he did out there you get recognized.

Nick:​We kind of talked about it a little bit before. It’s an interesting week. You can kind of go several ways. You’re in a new environment. Are you going to be a leader and take charge, or are you going to be a little intimidated by the whole process, you know what I mean? These are some of the best players. I’ve heard about this guy. I’ve heard about that guy. Herm Edwards is out here. Steve Mariucci’s out here. Does the moment become too big for you? It definitely wasn’t for Tyrie. This is a kid who at any moment it felt like he could beat whoever was covering him over the top for a big play, but also ran routes really well. Showed good hands. Seemed like a very nice humble kid from talking to him. Definitely the most impressive receiver in my book that I saw.

Andrew:​Absolutely. He’s a football player. He’s very good. I told someone he’s the best receiver I’ve seen this year. That was after watching Craig-Myers and those guys film. Nate Craig didn’t impress me at the Under Armour game. He just looked like a guy out there. Don’t get me wrong. Nate Craig’s a good football player, but he just looked like a guy out there, not dominating.

Nick:​Every kid out there earned the right to be in that game. So saying they had a bad week doesn’t mean they’re a bad player. There’s a lot that goes into it having a good week at the Under Armour game, at any All-Star event.

Andrew:​Yeah. Again, that’s not to down on him or anybody else. It is what it is on that end. It’s an important visit for Florida this weekend. Same thing with Kristian Fulton. We’ll talk more about this on Friday when we do our preview show, but Florida has a shot with this guy. I continue to hear people say, he’s just playing around. He’s going to LSU. You’re wrong. This is Gerald Willis kind of stuff where Florida has a chance. I don’t want to say Florida’s the leader for him, by any means, I don’t want to go that far. I don’t want to raise up LSU fans and have all the corndogs coming at me, but Florida’s got a really good shot here. Again, he’s a pure athlete there.
It’s an important week. This week Florida’s coaches are out making that final push to Signing Day. Maybe some guys that are maybe under the radar. I always call the last weekend the weekend they bring in surprises. They do it every damn year, and they’ll do it again this year. Last year it was Kalin Johnson and a couple other guys. Florida’s going to do it again. We’ll find out about it sooner or later, but they’ll do it again. McElwain and those guys will be visiting these guys this week, as well as making those last in home visits that he hasn’t made before this week. It’s a big week.

Nick:​Big week. We weren’t really going to jump into the full visitor list, but I will just rattle off a couple names here, Tyrie Cleveland, commit Rick Wells, commit Quincy Litton, commit Lamical Perine, Jeremiah Moon, Jawan Taylor, CJ McWilliams, Antonio Nelson, all UF commits. Josh Uche maybe not coming in after committing to Michigan. Kristian Fulton, Mack Wilson, Nick Eubanks, big week.

Andrew:​Big week. Just a couple of guys, Coach Mac visited Mack Wilson, Jawan Taylor, and Tony Nelson on Monday, and I expect him to be on there on Tuesday looking at the list. I expect Tyrie Cleveland to get a visit from Coach Mac this week. Nick Eubanks is going to get a visit from Coach Mac this week. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him head up to New York to see Malcolm Bridgestone for a visit, John Simpson for a visit this week. Shavar Manuel’s also getting a visit from Coach Mac this week, and Brian Burns also going to get a visit from Coach Mac this week. If Mac hasn’t visited you yet, and you’re a prospect, chances are he’s coming to knock on your front door this week and sell that one last push to Signing Day. If Florida’s getting them on campus this weekend they get the last word. If they’re going somewhere else then Mac wants that last word before they get on campus, and if they’re a commit he’s going to try to persuade them not to take a visit and try to go from there.

Nick:​When does this coaching staff sleep?
Andrew:​I don’t know. You and I, we just cover this stuff, and I feel like I don’t get no sleep. I don’t know what in the world they’re doing. I say it all the time. It’s a young man’s game with some older guys playing in it. I consider myself to be young at 28, but I couldn’t do it. Sorry. I guess that’s why Coach Mac’s pulling in the $4 mil a year.
Nick:​That’s why he gets paid the big bucks.
Andrew:​That’s right. Somebody wants to throw me $4 million I’ll be tired and work. Anybody looking for a job. Southern Miss, I know you’re looking for a coach. Hit me up.

Nick:​Head Coach Spivey.

Andrew:​It’d work out. Will Muschamp got a job.

Nick:​I’ll go cover Southern Miss, and I will break every scoop.

Andrew:​I don’t know, Nick. There’s something wrong with you.

Nick:​Just feed me all the info. I won’t have to work for it.

Andrew:​I don’t know if I can trust you.

Nick:​I am not trustable. Not trustworthy.

Andrew:​Not trustworthy at all. Nick, a couple things before we get out. I know this is a shorter podcast, and it’s a day later than usual, but we are going to try to start doing our podcast more on Tuesdays that way to wrap up everything. A quick thing, basketball routs Auburn over the weekend. Shout out. Congrats to Dorian Finney Smith, player of the week this week. Good for him. You were in the O Dome on Saturday. How was that atmosphere?

Nick:​It was a good atmosphere. The rowdies, I was sitting in the second row, so I kept catching some girl’s foot in my back, and I was getting hit with pom-poms in the head, but the rowdies were rowdy. It was cool. For me it was the first time seeing Bruce Pearl. I don’t know how he’s doing it, but he has a great tan for living in Auburn, Alabama.

Andrew:​That farmer tan.

Nick:​Florida just dominated. You really look at the kind of run they’ve been able to make and how much better they look once they changed that starting lineup and put Chiozza and KeVaughn Allen in the starting lineup, getting Kasey Hill to come off the bench as a sixth man. They’re really playing differently. You look at Chris Chiozza, how good he is with the ball in his hands, really that turnover to assist ratio, that assist turnover ratio, is incredible. I love KeVaughn Allen. Love his game. It’s a team that playing the way they did in Auburn could make an interesting run when it comes to the SEC tournament time.

Andrew:​I was going to say, Kasey Hill looked like a different basketball player coming off the bench. He kind of seems more relaxed kind of deal. Him and KeVaughn are playing well. Vandy this week, and then West Virginia Saturday.

Nick:​That’s a big one.

Andrew:​West Virginia game. You always talk about resume wins. That’s a resume win. Didn’t West Virginia just knock off Kansas or Oklahoma?

Nick:​Maybe.

Andrew:​Something like that. Whoever was #1 last week. I don’t know. I don’t watch basketball enough. Whoever they just knocked off. I think it was Kansas last week. It’d be a good win for them if they’re able to do it. At least play competitive. First got to go to Vandy and that crazy bench play where the benches are in the, what do you call that? I don’t even know. What do you call that out of bounds behind the goal? I know it’s not the base line.

Nick:​It’s the base line.

Andrew:​So they’re in the base line. Don’t know. I’m not a basketball guy, in case you haven’t already picked that up. Also, Senior Bowl week. Nick and I are checking out Senior Bowl week all week. We’ll have some good stuff up. Jake McGee story. Antonio Morrison, Jeff Driskel, and who knows? Whoever else we can find.

Nick:​Yeah. We ran into Jake today. Also ran into Jeff. It’s nice. It’s good to see these guys again. Jake was fun. I’ll tell a little story I told Jake today about Jeff Driskel. It was two years ago up in Tennessee. Jeff was pulled from the game. Treon Harris comes in. Florida goes back, wins 10-9. We couldn’t talk to Treon Harris, because he was a freshman at the time. We needed to talk to somebody on offense, and they asked Jeff, who had already showered, gotten changed, and gotten onto the team bus.
Jeff, knowing that the questions were going to be what happened? Why were you guys losing? How do you feel about a freshman coming in and basically taking your job right now? Got off the bus and came and talked to the media for 10, 15 minutes. It’s just the kind of character he has, the kind of person he is. I know fans got tired of him as Florida’s quarterback, but he is the kind of guy that every parent would want their son to grow up to be like, and for me personally it was nice to see him have the kind of season he did at Louisiana Tech, and I hope he has an even better week this week in front of every NFL team out here.

Andrew:​Yeah. We’ll see. It’s going to be a big week. We’ll see how he does. I think we can all agree we wish him success. I don’t have a lot of faith in the pro style system how he’ll do. We’ll see. I hope he does really well. It’s funny he’s on the North team. Jake was laughing about that, him being from Louisiana Tech playing on the North team. Last time I checked Louisiana Tech was far south. It’s about even on the globe as Gainesville.

Nick:​There’s just more talent in the south. That’s what it is.

Andrew:​That’s right. If you’re not playing in the south chances are you’re not playing real football. Playing popcorn ball up north.

Nick:​Popcorn ball.

Andrew:​That’s what I call ball that I don’t like or is sissy ball. Instead of calling it sissy ball I call it popcorn ball.

Nick:​I love popcorn.

Andrew:​Good. Get your popcorn ready and watch some popcorn ball, because that’s what they do up north. Nick, let’s get out of here. You guys check us out. Tell them where to check us out, Nicholas.

Nick:​As always, you know what we’re going to say. It’s @NickdelaTorreGC on Twitter. @AndrewSpiveyGC on Twitter. Www.GatorCountry.com on the world wide interwebs. Check us out on Instagram as well. It’s TheGatorCountry on Instagram. It’s going to be crazy. We will be back on Friday with a little preview for you of the weekend, the big huge recruiting weekend coming up in Gainesville. It’s definitely not going to be one you’re going to want to miss.

Andrew:​That’s right. We’ll have a lot of coverage this weekend as always. Junior Day this weekend as well. We didn’t even talk about that. There’s a small Junior Day. I say small. It’s not small in the town. There’s some five star good football players coming in. It should be a fun weekend for everybody involved. One week from Signing Day on Wednesday. We’re taping this on Monday, so you’re nine days out. Eight days when you’re listening to it. Big week as always. I can guarantee you Mark and Butch won’t have fun. As always, go Braves. Chomp, chomp.

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.

  1. thedudeabide524January 29, 2016, 5:25 pm

    Sorry for asking questions on the comments, but where do I find the message boards. Is it the forums? I don’t know what you mean.

http://www.gatorcountry.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Florida-Gators-recruiting-target-Shavar-Manuel-at-the-Under-Armour-game-150x150.jpg Andrew Spivey FeatureFootballPodcastsRecruiting ,,,,,,,
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This GatorCountry podcast recaps the second weekend of official visitors that the Florida Gators hosted this past weekend when six prospects were on campus.

Andrew Spivey and Nick de la Torre are joined by Ryan Brauninger of TexAgs.com to talk about receiver Tyrie Cleveland cornerback Kristian Fulton, plus he gives his take on the Under Armour All-American game.

Andrew and Nick also break down the upcoming on GatorCountry.com that includes coverage of the Senior Bowl and the Florida Gators basketball team.

TRANSCRIPT:

Andrew:​What’s up, Gator Country? This is your man, Andrew Spivey, with my man, Nicholas de la Torre. What’s up, Nicholas?

Nick:​What’s going on? We are rapidly approaching National Signing Day. We’ve got two official visit weekends, unofficial visits as well, but two visit weekends in the books. Probably the big one coming up. You save the best for last. The biggest weekend coming up. So we’ll recap last weekend and the visits that happened then and really look forward to probably Florida’s biggest weekend before Signing Day.

Andrew:​Absolutely the biggest weekend. Last weekend had some committed guys on campus, but it was more about kind of firming those guys up that were kind of leaning elsewhere. You had the likes last weekend of Shavar Manuel on campus. Big thing for Florida was to try to get him to cancel that Florida State visit. There is some talk he may have, but with that you got to really just see if he shows up on Friday in Tallahassee or not. You had Antonneous Clayton also on campus. He’s as firm as they get. No talk there, despite what some others like to drone up on that one.
Then you had Brian Burns, who is uncommitted defensive end on campus. Florida did a really good job there. Kind of picked up some momentum there. Still got that Florida State visit there as well. Dee Walker, the linebacker from Colquitt County, not going to get offered. Didn’t get offered. Then you had Vosean Joseph the linebacker, coming off that Alabama visit. Was talking Bama high up. Came to Florida, had a really good Florida visit, and I think they kind of stove that off. Nick Eubanks didn’t make the trip. He was sick. Supposed to come in this coming weekend.
​Then the unofficial visitor this weekend was Aaron Robinson, the cornerback from Deerfield. Once again this was a big visit to kind of sure him up. Still looks like he’ll go to Bama this coming weekend, but Florida did a good job of solidifying their guys this weekend, and then making up some ground with Brian Burns.

Nick:​All right. Real quick, let me ask you. Eubanks not coming in, what is the story behind that? What does it mean for Florida? Will Florida see him again before Wednesday, before Signing Day?

Andrew:​Yeah. They’re going to go down. They’ll have an in home visit with him. Coach Mac will as well one day this week. I don’t want to say, I don’t know if it’s going to be Tuesday or Wednesday. It’s going to be one of those two days, either Tuesday or Wednesday, going down there to see him and try to solidify that visit this coming weekend. He was sick this past weekend. That’s what everyone says. I know some people say why was he too sick to come to a visit? I don’t know. It’s not my job. I’m not a doctor. All I can go by is he was sick. That’s what several people have told me, people that I trust very much that told me he was sick. So I think he’ll come in next weekend. As long as he visits next weekend it probably is a good thing that he used his last visit to Florida, because you got the last word. There was no chance he goes to take that USC visit. Could end up working in Florida’s favor as long as they get him on campus this coming weekend.

Nick:​So he has a visit to USC, Southern Cal, this coming weekend, but you think that there’s a possibility he’ll head to Gainesville instead.

Andrew:​Yeah. Everyone, Chad Wilson, one of the coaches out at American Heritage, said the same thing. He said he expects him to be in Gainesville this weekend. Everything I’m being told is he’ll be in Gainesville this weekend. The battle is Alabama or Florida. USC is not in the mix. There’s even some question marks if Alabama has room for another tight end in the class. Again, I think you see Eubanks in Gainesville this weekend. I like to say if he shows up this weekend he has a good shot of being in the class, and I know that’s a lot of what-ifs, but just make it on campus.

Nick:​Got you. Now we’ll shift to the teammate in Brian Burns. This is a kid that, kind of a fan favorite. People find fan favorites I recruiting. What does Florida need to do here? You said they kind of made up some ground with this visit. How important is he as Florida continues to try to shore up the defensive line and get some guys who can get after the quarterback? How important is Burns, and where does Florida stand? Is he in your mock class, which dropped on Monday?

Andrew:​He is in my mock class that dropped on Monday actually.

Nick:​Check that out on GatorCountry.com. Shameless plug. It’s on the message board. If you’re not there, you’re missing out.

Andrew:​Yeah. It was a great mock class. The Goat dropped mock class, and it’s good. I only do Goat things. Brian Burns, he’s an interesting kind of recruitment here. He’s a guy that really doesn’t say much, doesn’t give away much. He continues to say Florida, Florida State, Georgia are his leaders. If you listen to one person Florida leads. If you listen to another person Florida State leads. If you listen to another person, Georgia leads. It’s that. I talked to some people that had heard different things that were around him this past weekend, and everything I’ve heard is very positive in this. I know confidence is high in Gainesville for Brian Burns right now. He’s got that Florida State visit there.
The thing I’m going on is this, and this is a big thing for me, is he’s very close to Quincy Wilson and several other guys that are on campus at Florida right now. He’s developed a great relationship with Chris Rumph, and Florida needs pass rushers in this class very bad. Antonneous Clayton’s one of them, and he’s going to be a hell of a football player at Florida. They need a guy to go on that opposite edge of Clayton, and that’s Brian Burns. I don’t know why. I don’t know why. There’s something about this weekend and things he said, things people have told me, that just lead me to believe that it’s going to be Florida on Signing Day. That Florida State visit is there this weekend, and a visit could change anything.

Nick:​Right. A visit can change anything. It’s recruiting. A change in weather can change something. When you look at this class you’ve got 26 kids. What is that number that Florida is still trying to shoot for? Is it still 32? With some kids, Nate Craig-Myers, for instance, picking a different school, Sam Bruce reaffirmed that he’s going to Miami, with some of these kids falling off is 30 still the number that we’re shooting for here?

Andrew:​32 is the number they can take. That’s the max number they take. I’ve said over the last couple weeks I don’t think they hit 32. I think they try to save a couple of these spots for next year in a class that will be a little bit smaller. They’ll be trying to find ways to get to 25, and I think they get to 25 next year. This is Jim McElwain, who’s been in the Nick Saban pedigree. You don’t sign less than 25. They’ll figure out a way to get there. 32 is the number. I don’t think they get there. Guys like Josh Uche on Sunday night got turned away. Guys like Sam Bruce got turned away. Florida is being very choosy in who they take to get to that 32, or to that number of what it is. I don’t want to say they’re chasing stars per say in this final stretch run, but I think they’re chasing difference makers in this, and if they’re not a difference maker.

Nick:​You wrote a good story about it early last week, and it was a credit to this coaching staff going out and finding guys like Lamical Perine and Aaron Robinson before other schools found them. What Florida has been able to do, what this coaching staff has been able to do in their first full class, is go and build that foundation with guys who for whatever reason, whether it wasn’t camp or didn’t have the film necessary, went out and got those guys that are going to be the foundation of the class. You’ve got a big class in 26 already. So now when it comes down the stretch run we’ve got everything we need to go, if we end the class with only the kids we have, and we don’t get anyone else, we’re fine.
So now we’re going to go after the big dogs. We’re going to go after those big five star guys that we feel like are guys we can flip, a Kristian Fulton, a Tyrie Cleveland. These guys, if they don’t come to Florida on Signing Day that’s when fans will say couldn’t close, but right now Florida is very comfortable with the class that they have as far as a mix of guys who are projected to be starters down the line, players who might have to redshirt their first, mixed in with guys who we know and are confident can play as freshmen, who are going to contribute right away. So a lot of people are freaking out that Florida isn’t building enough momentum, but you’re forgetting that there’s already 12 guys on campus. That’s a ton. What was there three last year? Three early enrollees?

Andrew:​Two. Bebe and Kalif Jackson were the only two.

Nick:​And Bebe didn’t make it long.

Andrew:​Yeah. Bebe is back in Bebe land.

Nick:​Bebe’s back in Bebe land.

Andrew:​I don’t know where that is, but it’s back in Bebe land. I would say something, but it’s not appropriate for iTunes. We may get kicked off. I’ll be good. The thing is filling needs. This class is about filling needs, getting players that are football players, that are good football players. Had Florida landed Freddie Swain today would fans be excited and say the momentum is going straight? Absolutely. If Florida would have landed Feleipe Franks today would Florida fans be saying it was going good? Yes. Florida landed these guys early, so don’t get upset that they landed them early instead of now. You got those 12 guys, they’re on campus.

Nick:​Just because you haven’t been able to fire off those tweets bragging about Florida’s recruiting in a while doesn’t mean that Florida’s not doing well recruiting. You were firing off tweets back in July when they were getting these kids, and nobody else was able to fire off those tweets.

Andrew:​Right. The thing I’ll say is this. While Florida State’s got a nice 24 man class they got what? Five kids early enrolling? Four kids early enrolling. Florida’s got 12 new football players on campus that next year they’re not going to be freshmen really. They’ll be freshmen on the football field, but they won’t be freshmen. You landed a great thing with that. Take everything with that as it goes. Remember that kind of stuff. Nick, I want to bring on real quick our good friend from TexAgs, Ryan Brauninger. He’s going to talk with us about Tyrie Cleveland, talk some Kristian Fulton, talk some Under Armour game, who he liked out that way. For background on him real quick, he’s from the Houston area. He knows that Tyrie situation pretty well. Let’s go real quick to Ryan Brauninger.
​What’s up, Gator Country? I’m now joined by my man, Ryan Brauninger, from TexAgs. What’s up, Mr. Houston?

Ryan:​What’s up, man? It’s good to talk to you.

Andrew:​Absolutely. For everyone that doesn’t know you, Ryan, kind of tell everybody what you do over at TexAgs, and just tell us about yourself for a second.

Ryan:​I’m originally from Nederland, Texas, which is down near Beaumont, and played college baseball at McNee State. Came to A&M, got my Master’s Degree, and have been working for TexAgs now for, started back in late July. I am one of the recruiting analysts for our site, and, obviously, we cover Texas A&M. Throughout the fall I’ve seen a lot of these kids in Texas, and every Friday night doing the Friday Night Lights deal over here in the Lone Star State. Got to meet Andrew down in Orlando at the Under Armour All-American game, and was a great guy. It was a pleasure to get to know him. We’re looking forward to kind of forging our info and forging our sites together a little bit.

Andrew:​Definitely. That’s what I wanted to talk to you a little bit about, Orlando, Under Armour game. It was a lot of good players down there. You and I kind of got to watch a lot of practice together. I’ve told people on the site before, and I’ll say it again. I think Kristian Fulton, the cornerback out of Louisiana, was one of, in the best, cornerbacks out there. A&M is trying to get in the mix there. What are you hearing on that deal? Just what did you think about Kristian as a player down in Orlando?

Ryan:​I thought Kristian really came on, especially as the week went on when he started getting more comfortable with the guys that he was around, and then just the practice setting and everything. On the first day when we got to meet him I thought he was a little undersized and maybe it was going to be tough for him to hold up physically, but he really stepped up as far as a lockdown cover guy, loved to get in guys faces, was in their hip pocket, and was able to keep up with them.
As far as A&M’s chances with Kristian, he told me during the Under Armour week that he’s got some really good connections, really close connections, on the A&M roster. A&M’s done a pretty good job in south Louisiana since Kevin Sumlin has been in College Station. I would say that A&M’s definitely on the outside looking in. They’re working really hard to get Kristian on campus at some point before National Signing Day. I tell people this all the time, if LSU wants a kid in south Louisiana it’s awfully tough to get them away. You’re starting to see that now. Just had Willie Allen commit this morning, and they’ve got a great class in Baton Rouge. I would say A&M is on the outside looking in for Kristian. I would put LSU and Florida near the top for him.

Andrew:​I tell people all the time, he’s one of those guys that’s kind of a natural cornerback. Got the ball skills and is just a smart football player. You and I were able to kind of talk to him a little bit, and he kind of demonstrates that off the field as well. He’s got that cornerback mentality of, not cockiness, but competitiveness is what I would say.

Ryan:​There’s no doubt. I think that he handles himself as well as you can expect a 17 or 18 year old kid to do in that media circuit. When he showed up the first day in Orlando that ca be kind of overwhelming to kids, and they’ll shut off. Kristian looked every reporter in the eye, answered their questions, which I thought from an off the field perspective and kind of a first impression for me with Kristian I thought that was very impressive.

Andrew:​Now I got to talk to you about the guy that you’re going to probably make Florida fans upset at you about. Tyrie Cleveland. I know you and I’ve had several conversations about him. He does have some off the field things that maybe get in the way of things, but I’ve told you this before, I think he’s an elite receiver. Florida’s going to get him in on the 29th. Kind of update us on that, and what the heck is going to at Houston and Tom Herman down there?

Ryan:​To start, with Tyrie he makes these plans, but I’m not even sure that Tyrie knows where he’s going to go weekend to weekend. There’s rumors that he’s going to go to Fayetteville and see Arkansas this weekend. Obviously he’s had the Florida trip planned for a while. There is zero question in my mind about the athletic ability and God given talent of Tyrie Cleveland. I think we saw that in Orlando. It was very evident. Just the raw skills that he’s got. I think he needs some polish with his route running, and obviously just becoming a receiver, but any college program is going to give him that.
​With U of H, Tom Herman’s done a great job down there. You can’t deny that. They won a ton of games. They look great in their bowl game. He’s got a lot of things going in state, and especially in the city of Houston, which you know as well as anybody that city produces as much talent as any place in the country. I told you this the other day, I don’t suspect Tyrie will stick with U of H, except every day that it goes by that he’s still a Cougar looks better for Tom Herman and his staff. Tyrie has kind of been a roller coaster ride up and down. He was committed to A&M for a while. Now it looks like A&M doesn’t even have a shot. They’re moving on to other receiver targets. To be honest with you, I would suspect this is going to go down to the eleventh hour for one of the most highly coveted guys, not only in Texas, but in the country.

Andrew:​Yeah. That’s kind of the feeling Florida’s getting right now from people I talked to. One minute he’s interested and burning the phone lines down to talk to Florida. Then there’s days that go by and they don’t speak. It’s a situation where I think if Tyrie’s really interested in Florida Tyrie needs to make a move to let Florida know he’s interested. I don’t know. I just get this weird funny feeling he’s going to end up at Houston and hate himself at the end of the day, because he’s kind of burned bridges everywhere else. I don’t know. Maybe it works out at Houston, maybe it doesn’t. I really think he’s a bigger player than Houston is. That’s no disrespect to the Houston program.

Ryan:​He’s got his buddy, Ed Oliver, going there. We saw in Florida Ed was as impressive as any D lineman there. I think you’ll agree with that. Tyrie, he’s a great player. There’s zero question about that. I also think that TCU did a really good job on him last weekend, to the point where the folks up in Fort Worth feel good about their chances landing Tyrie. Again, everybody that you talk to feels like they’ve got a shot. When you talk to people and a lot of different people are telling you different stuff, it means nobody knows anything.

Andrew:​Pretty much. You talked about Ed Oliver, and I want to ask you about a guy that you and I were both impressed with, and Ed Oliver was one of those guys for sure. You got the chance to see Antonneous Clayton. I can say how good he was all along, but people want to call me a homer for saying that. You’re a Texas guy. You have no ties to Antonneous at all. Tell the people what you and I kind of talked about there and what you saw from the big guy that was on the defensive line at the Under Armour game.

Ryan:​Obviously with the recruiting base that I follow, A&M doesn’t venture too much that far east. When I showed up to Orlando he was green to me. That was the first time I’d ever seen him. I’d heard his name, but not extensively. What I saw was a kid that played with great energy, had a lot of bounce to his step, was having a lot of fun just playing the game of football. To me, I’m a baseball coach as well, to me when I see that in a kid I like, and I enjoy it, because it’s not going to be hard to coach that kid, because he’s going to come to the practice field every day. He’s going to come to the locker room and be a good positive influence as far as an energy guy goes.
As a skillset I don’t think Tony was blocked but maybe five or six times, maybe a handful of times all week that we saw him in the one on ones. Explosive first step. Good get off. Really likes the bull rush. Relies on his first two steps, because they’re so elite, to get around blockers. If there was a criticism of him, and it’s hard for me to have one because of the performance he put on, my criticism would probably be that he just needs another couple set of pass moves. We didn’t see a big arsenal of those in Orlando. That’s not to say he doesn’t have them, and that’s not to say when he gets to Gainesville that the Florida staff can’t teach him that in a couple months, but he’s an impact guy. He’s just like the defensive end you guys have had there for a while. Elite pass rusher. He’s going to be a big time player.

Andrew:​Yeah. That was kind of what I’ve been telling people. He finally got his fifth star. He’s happy about that, that’s for sure. Good for those guys. Ryan, I appreciate you coming on. You got us some good stuff. Maybe got some people off the cliff. I’m not sure what’s going on in A&M, but Florida fans are all down at the bottom of the cliff right now because of missing on a couple of wide receivers.

Ryan:​A&M’s got the biggest two official visit weekends come up. This weekend, the 22nd, the following weekend the 29th, and we’re just kind of in a wait and see mode over here in College Station, and going to see what Kevin Sumlin and John Chavis and staff and Noel Mazzone can pull off here with these two weeks left.

Andrew:​Let me ask you this real quick. What is the state of that A&M program? People in Gainesville don’t see the day to day stuff you do. Has things settled down a little bit after the two quarterback transfers, the new OC hire? Has things settled down a little bit?

Ryan:​I think stability was a big word that people were throwing around in Orlando as far as the criticisms of A&M and the program. Kevin Sumlin, and not only Kevin Sumlin, but his staff, have done a really good job of combating that as the dead period ended. He stabilized his staff. They’ve got big recruiting weekends moving forward. Everything is set up for them to end this thing in a good way. I think that, obviously you lose two talented guys and it can have an effect on perception, but with the entrance of Trevor Knight from Oklahoma, who by all accounts has been a great kid and will be a huge addition just to the locker room, I think that started the ball rolling. Then you get an experienced offensive coordinator who’s had success with quarterbacks in the past, and so I would say that things are definitely trending up in Aggie land, and especially if you look at it from a month ago. Where things stand now you’ve got to be pretty happy.

Andrew:​Have you picked all the fans up from the cliff that they’ve all jumped off of?

Ryan:​I figured this out since I’ve started working with this stuff. I figure every fan base to some extent is the same way. In this modern age of a microwave society things are really reactionary, but in the end, and I think this too, I think these recruiting ranking and everybody’s fired up about recruiting, and it’s awesome. I love it, but at the end of the day shouldn’t you judge the recruiting class or recruiting class’s value a couple of years down the road? To see what they got.

Andrew:​Agreed. That’s exactly my point. You and I talked about this a little bit, but it’s like what qualifies someone out there watching these guys to give them a five star over the coaches? You and I talked about that a little bit. It’s kind of a crazy. These coaches see this stuff. They know what they’re doing, and in two years a bunch of three stars may be winning a championship. In my opinion that’s the most important thing, so I don’t care if they’re three stars, two stars, or one stars. Winning is winning.

Ryan:​Right. Coaching and development when they get on campus is a huge part of it. To me, the upper echelon five star guys they’re freaks. They’re athletic and the stuff that you’ve got to be born with. Now I think once you start getting to the three and four star kids the difference may be the coaching they’ve received now. So there’s a lot of different determining factors. I love to follow these kids and see how they develop. Then you get to see what kind of coaching staff you’ve got not only from a recruiting evaluation perspective, but also a development perspective.

Andrew:​Absolutely. Tell everyone how they can find you, Ryan. That way they can check out your work, and then we hope to get you back sometime.

Ryan:​Definitely. TexAgs.com, we’re the largest A&M site in the market, and we’re an independently owned site, like you guys at Gator Country. My Twitter handle is @R_Brauninger. Andrew likes to retweet me every now and then, so you can follow it that way. You can follow @TexAgs on Twitter. We’ve got also a recruiting landing Twitter page, and we just put out a documentary on five star safety out of east Texas, Brandon Jones, who it’s free for the public, and it is an incredibly well done little short film. It’s about 25 minutes. It’s not a pro A&M film in any way. It was just we sent a camera crew with some great editors out to Nacogdoches, and just filmed him four or five days and filmed him at a game. Just kind of the rigors that these five star kids, or any of these kids really, go through when choosing a school. Brandon is down to A&M, Texas, Arkansas, and Baylor. It will be a Signing Day decision.
It kind of makes you feel for the kid to see what he goes through every day and the pressures that he’s under. He’s a great kid. He lost his daddy when he was real young, and so he’s kind of had to raise his brothers with the help of his mom. It’s a really moving story. I encourage you guys if you got a chance go check it out on the TexAgs page. TexAgs.com. It’s called On the Island with Brandon Jones. Big thing. We’ve got big things going. Obviously Signing Day right around the corner. I know you guys are working hard. If I can get back on here and help you in any way, Andrew, you know I’m always up for it.

Andrew:​Definitely. Ryan, I appreciate it so much. We’ll be definitely checking you out. I’m going to have to check out that piece as well. I like seeing that stuff. You and I kind of know what goes on with these guys, but if you’re a fan and haven’t seen that kind of stuff it’s incredible. It really is.

Ryan:​It’s an eye opening thing. You get an idea of just a small glimmer of what not only the kid goes through but the parents, the little brothers. It’s a whole ordeal.
Andrew:​It is. Coaches calling every night. Ryan, we appreciate it so much. Take care, and we’ll talk to you soon.

Ryan:​All right, Andrew. See you, buddy.

Andrew:​That was good stuff with Ryan, Nick. You and I got the chance to meet him out there in the Orlando area. Good guy. Knows his stuff as well. I know you’re ready to be talking baseball with him, as I am. It’ll be good to catch back up with him. He’s very high on Tyrie Cleveland. I think you’ll agree with me when I say that was a man among boys out there at the Under Armour game. That’s something for me. When you dominate the Under Armour game you prove yourself to me. Not that others aren’t good that had a bad week out there, but when you’re able to do what he did out there you get recognized.

Nick:​We kind of talked about it a little bit before. It’s an interesting week. You can kind of go several ways. You’re in a new environment. Are you going to be a leader and take charge, or are you going to be a little intimidated by the whole process, you know what I mean? These are some of the best players. I’ve heard about this guy. I’ve heard about that guy. Herm Edwards is out here. Steve Mariucci’s out here. Does the moment become too big for you? It definitely wasn’t for Tyrie. This is a kid who at any moment it felt like he could beat whoever was covering him over the top for a big play, but also ran routes really well. Showed good hands. Seemed like a very nice humble kid from talking to him. Definitely the most impressive receiver in my book that I saw.

Andrew:​Absolutely. He’s a football player. He’s very good. I told someone he’s the best receiver I’ve seen this year. That was after watching Craig-Myers and those guys film. Nate Craig didn’t impress me at the Under Armour game. He just looked like a guy out there. Don’t get me wrong. Nate Craig’s a good football player, but he just looked like a guy out there, not dominating.

Nick:​Every kid out there earned the right to be in that game. So saying they had a bad week doesn’t mean they’re a bad player. There’s a lot that goes into it having a good week at the Under Armour game, at any All-Star event.

Andrew:​Yeah. Again, that’s not to down on him or anybody else. It is what it is on that end. It’s an important visit for Florida this weekend. Same thing with Kristian Fulton. We’ll talk more about this on Friday when we do our preview show, but Florida has a shot with this guy. I continue to hear people say, he’s just playing around. He’s going to LSU. You’re wrong. This is Gerald Willis kind of stuff where Florida has a chance. I don’t want to say Florida’s the leader for him, by any means, I don’t want to go that far. I don’t want to raise up LSU fans and have all the corndogs coming at me, but Florida’s got a really good shot here. Again, he’s a pure athlete there.
It’s an important week. This week Florida’s coaches are out making that final push to Signing Day. Maybe some guys that are maybe under the radar. I always call the last weekend the weekend they bring in surprises. They do it every damn year, and they’ll do it again this year. Last year it was Kalin Johnson and a couple other guys. Florida’s going to do it again. We’ll find out about it sooner or later, but they’ll do it again. McElwain and those guys will be visiting these guys this week, as well as making those last in home visits that he hasn’t made before this week. It’s a big week.

Nick:​Big week. We weren’t really going to jump into the full visitor list, but I will just rattle off a couple names here, Tyrie Cleveland, commit Rick Wells, commit Quincy Litton, commit Lamical Perine, Jeremiah Moon, Jawan Taylor, CJ McWilliams, Antonio Nelson, all UF commits. Josh Uche maybe not coming in after committing to Michigan. Kristian Fulton, Mack Wilson, Nick Eubanks, big week.

Andrew:​Big week. Just a couple of guys, Coach Mac visited Mack Wilson, Jawan Taylor, and Tony Nelson on Monday, and I expect him to be on there on Tuesday looking at the list. I expect Tyrie Cleveland to get a visit from Coach Mac this week. Nick Eubanks is going to get a visit from Coach Mac this week. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him head up to New York to see Malcolm Bridgestone for a visit, John Simpson for a visit this week. Shavar Manuel’s also getting a visit from Coach Mac this week, and Brian Burns also going to get a visit from Coach Mac this week. If Mac hasn’t visited you yet, and you’re a prospect, chances are he’s coming to knock on your front door this week and sell that one last push to Signing Day. If Florida’s getting them on campus this weekend they get the last word. If they’re going somewhere else then Mac wants that last word before they get on campus, and if they’re a commit he’s going to try to persuade them not to take a visit and try to go from there.

Nick:​When does this coaching staff sleep?
Andrew:​I don’t know. You and I, we just cover this stuff, and I feel like I don’t get no sleep. I don’t know what in the world they’re doing. I say it all the time. It’s a young man’s game with some older guys playing in it. I consider myself to be young at 28, but I couldn’t do it. Sorry. I guess that’s why Coach Mac’s pulling in the $4 mil a year.
Nick:​That’s why he gets paid the big bucks.
Andrew:​That’s right. Somebody wants to throw me $4 million I’ll be tired and work. Anybody looking for a job. Southern Miss, I know you’re looking for a coach. Hit me up.

Nick:​Head Coach Spivey.

Andrew:​It’d work out. Will Muschamp got a job.

Nick:​I’ll go cover Southern Miss, and I will break every scoop.

Andrew:​I don’t know, Nick. There’s something wrong with you.

Nick:​Just feed me all the info. I won’t have to work for it.

Andrew:​I don’t know if I can trust you.

Nick:​I am not trustable. Not trustworthy.

Andrew:​Not trustworthy at all. Nick, a couple things before we get out. I know this is a shorter podcast, and it’s a day later than usual, but we are going to try to start doing our podcast more on Tuesdays that way to wrap up everything. A quick thing, basketball routs Auburn over the weekend. Shout out. Congrats to Dorian Finney Smith, player of the week this week. Good for him. You were in the O Dome on Saturday. How was that atmosphere?

Nick:​It was a good atmosphere. The rowdies, I was sitting in the second row, so I kept catching some girl’s foot in my back, and I was getting hit with pom-poms in the head, but the rowdies were rowdy. It was cool. For me it was the first time seeing Bruce Pearl. I don’t know how he’s doing it, but he has a great tan for living in Auburn, Alabama.

Andrew:​That farmer tan.

Nick:​Florida just dominated. You really look at the kind of run they’ve been able to make and how much better they look once they changed that starting lineup and put Chiozza and KeVaughn Allen in the starting lineup, getting Kasey Hill to come off the bench as a sixth man. They’re really playing differently. You look at Chris Chiozza, how good he is with the ball in his hands, really that turnover to assist ratio, that assist turnover ratio, is incredible. I love KeVaughn Allen. Love his game. It’s a team that playing the way they did in Auburn could make an interesting run when it comes to the SEC tournament time.

Andrew:​I was going to say, Kasey Hill looked like a different basketball player coming off the bench. He kind of seems more relaxed kind of deal. Him and KeVaughn are playing well. Vandy this week, and then West Virginia Saturday.

Nick:​That’s a big one.

Andrew:​West Virginia game. You always talk about resume wins. That’s a resume win. Didn’t West Virginia just knock off Kansas or Oklahoma?

Nick:​Maybe.

Andrew:​Something like that. Whoever was #1 last week. I don’t know. I don’t watch basketball enough. Whoever they just knocked off. I think it was Kansas last week. It’d be a good win for them if they’re able to do it. At least play competitive. First got to go to Vandy and that crazy bench play where the benches are in the, what do you call that? I don’t even know. What do you call that out of bounds behind the goal? I know it’s not the base line.

Nick:​It’s the base line.

Andrew:​So they’re in the base line. Don’t know. I’m not a basketball guy, in case you haven’t already picked that up. Also, Senior Bowl week. Nick and I are checking out Senior Bowl week all week. We’ll have some good stuff up. Jake McGee story. Antonio Morrison, Jeff Driskel, and who knows? Whoever else we can find.

Nick:​Yeah. We ran into Jake today. Also ran into Jeff. It’s nice. It’s good to see these guys again. Jake was fun. I’ll tell a little story I told Jake today about Jeff Driskel. It was two years ago up in Tennessee. Jeff was pulled from the game. Treon Harris comes in. Florida goes back, wins 10-9. We couldn’t talk to Treon Harris, because he was a freshman at the time. We needed to talk to somebody on offense, and they asked Jeff, who had already showered, gotten changed, and gotten onto the team bus.
Jeff, knowing that the questions were going to be what happened? Why were you guys losing? How do you feel about a freshman coming in and basically taking your job right now? Got off the bus and came and talked to the media for 10, 15 minutes. It’s just the kind of character he has, the kind of person he is. I know fans got tired of him as Florida’s quarterback, but he is the kind of guy that every parent would want their son to grow up to be like, and for me personally it was nice to see him have the kind of season he did at Louisiana Tech, and I hope he has an even better week this week in front of every NFL team out here.

Andrew:​Yeah. We’ll see. It’s going to be a big week. We’ll see how he does. I think we can all agree we wish him success. I don’t have a lot of faith in the pro style system how he’ll do. We’ll see. I hope he does really well. It’s funny he’s on the North team. Jake was laughing about that, him being from Louisiana Tech playing on the North team. Last time I checked Louisiana Tech was far south. It’s about even on the globe as Gainesville.

Nick:​There’s just more talent in the south. That’s what it is.

Andrew:​That’s right. If you’re not playing in the south chances are you’re not playing real football. Playing popcorn ball up north.

Nick:​Popcorn ball.

Andrew:​That’s what I call ball that I don’t like or is sissy ball. Instead of calling it sissy ball I call it popcorn ball.

Nick:​I love popcorn.

Andrew:​Good. Get your popcorn ready and watch some popcorn ball, because that’s what they do up north. Nick, let’s get out of here. You guys check us out. Tell them where to check us out, Nicholas.

Nick:​As always, you know what we’re going to say. It’s @NickdelaTorreGC on Twitter. @AndrewSpiveyGC on Twitter. Www.GatorCountry.com on the world wide interwebs. Check us out on Instagram as well. It’s TheGatorCountry on Instagram. It’s going to be crazy. We will be back on Friday with a little preview for you of the weekend, the big huge recruiting weekend coming up in Gainesville. It’s definitely not going to be one you’re going to want to miss.

Andrew:​That’s right. We’ll have a lot of coverage this weekend as always. Junior Day this weekend as well. We didn’t even talk about that. There’s a small Junior Day. I say small. It’s not small in the town. There’s some five star good football players coming in. It should be a fun weekend for everybody involved. One week from Signing Day on Wednesday. We’re taping this on Monday, so you’re nine days out. Eight days when you’re listening to it. Big week as always. I can guarantee you Mark and Butch won’t have fun. As always, go Braves. Chomp, chomp.

Nick:​You stay classy, Gator Country.

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